Monday, October 8, 2012

Home schooling the kids? Library offers valuable educational resources for any student

By: Reginald Lewis, city release
One of the biggest challenges for homeschool families is finding quality extracurricular activities for the children. Thanks to the Arlington Public Library, that is no longer as much of an issue.
As a way of showcasing some of its unique programs and services for this growing community, the Arlington Public Library hosted its third annual Homeschool Fair at the George W. Hawkes Central Library on October 4. More than 70 people, including parents and children, visited the library for this two-hour event.
“Homeschool families are an important part of our community,” said Sharon Granado, Youth Library Service manager for the Arlington Public Library. “We offer several extracurricular activities – drama club, crochet camps and hands-on science – which are programs normally found in public and private schools.”
Before the presentations began, several toddlers and tweens walked across the hall to enjoy playing Wii video games, arts and crafts, and a puppet show. Once the little ones settled in, library staff members began covering a variety of topics, including checkout procedures, current online resources and unique programming, An air of excitement filled the room when a program specialists mentioned the music and science programs.
Jeffrey Warber, 14, smiled when hearing about The Gene and Jerry Jones Youth Technology Center, an activity center that specializes in science and technology for teenagers. “It seems like they have some really cool stuff there,” Warber said. Teens can utilize everything from Lego Mindstorms and Snap Circuit kits to professional software like AutoCAD to learn tech literacy. Warber plans to visit the center, located at the East Arlington Branch Library, in the coming weeks.
Representatives from Arlington Police Department, Animal Services, and Parks and Recreation also had a chance to highlight some of their unique programs. The Citizen Police Academy offered by the Arlington Police Department and the nature camps sponsored by Parks and Recreation were audience favorites.
Overall, organizers were very pleased with the turnout. “We did very well considering the Fort Worth Zoo sponsored an event today for homeschoolers,” Ms. Granado said. “Our attendance was almost twice the size of last year’s.”
Jeff Warber, father of 14 year-old Jeffrey, was glad he made the trip to the library “We moved to Arlington two weeks ago so the timing of this event was ideal for us,’ Warber said. “The fair was a great opportunity to learn about the great things the City of Arlington has to offer.”

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