Melodie Rae Storey

CHECK THIS OUT: How the library can help with COVID-19 homeschooling

The Nelson Public Library has all sorts of options for kids forced to learn remotely

By Melodie Rae Storey

All spring breaks must end — even those spring breaks extended by a week when no one went anywhere. Now our kids are back to school, but are still in the house and all of a sudden, we are reminded that teachers should be paid a handful of jewels hourly for the role they play in our community.

For all the parents now looking at different ways they can support their child’s learning at home, consider the library. Even though our facilities are closed, we are open to serving you during this time. We can help you with the classic three Rs (writing, reading and arithmetic) and also with emerging, non-traditional ways of learning.

Practising to write without a purpose can be a challenge, so let us help with that. We offer creative writing prompts every week for ages nine to 18 and because we all need a little incentive, there will be a weekly winner for a $25 gift certificate to Otter Books. Or email us artwork or messages for the seniors in care homes in our community and we will make sure they get them.

So many of our seniors are in lockdown and could use some point of human connection. Another way to connect with your community is to sign up for our Pen Pal Club. Practise writing letters like the old-fashioned days after we set you up with a local pen pal.

The library is not the first place you think of when you think math resources, but during this closure, we have been able to give free access to TumbleMath, an amazing collection of math-related picture books. Story is a powerful way to learn difficult math concepts and some of these stories are even animated and narrated. Reading support is one of our more obvious strengths.

We offer thousands of junior fiction audio and ebooks — and even help finding the perfect one for your child through our Next Five Reads program, where librarians recommend five books based on your child’s past reading loves. While programs such as Family Book Club and Mother Daughter Book Club have been moved to Zoom and are a great way to foster a love of reading.

The library can support non-traditional ways of learning too. Baking, nature walks, playing board games, learning new technologies all play a part in homeschooling curriculum. Another free database we can offer is World Books, an engaging digital resource for grades pre-K through high school.

In World Books, there is an activity corner that features hundreds of craft projects, art challenges and science activities. Through Libby, we offer a plethora of ebooks on family cooking, like Betty Crocker Kids Cook or Baking with Kids by Leah Brooks. Children can keep up their second language studies through our database, Pronunciator, which has live teachers, and fun, self-directed lessons.

And what about for you parent? We haven’t forgot you. Through Gale Courses, there is a free, online, instructor-led class entitled Homeschool with Success that starts May 15. There also a number of more specific courses for educators where topics range from supporting literacy to math and science strategies.

If you have any questions about any of these resources, please call us at 250-352-6333 or email us at All resources and programs are free with a library membership. Don’t have a membership yet? Sign up for one on our website and we will get you all set up and ready for your next homeschooling class.

Melodie Rae Storey is the teen and literary services co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out appears every other week.

Related: From classroom to the living room: Nelson homeschooler has advice for parents


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