So where was the first place we went as a family in our new town (other than to the grocery store)? We went to the library. While holding the key to learning just about anything in the palm of our hand, we use our library cards like most people use credit cards. We frequent the library at least once a week, leaving with bags overflowing with all sorts of books (paper and audio) and videos (educational and entertainment).
As homeschoolers, we find the library very helpful. The library systems we have utilized over the years have each saved us a large amount of money. Though I do have to admit we still buy lots of books (we have six full sized bookcases to prove it), it’s the library that helps us to supplement many of our educational books. This resource gives the kids (and us) access to areas of study rarely frequented by the traditional learner.
The kids are also participating in the library’s Summer Reading Program. I am sometimes weary about summer reading programs. I don’t like to artificially reward the kids for reading. I think that they should read books that are interesting to them, when they are interesting to them, not necessarily because they’re going to be getting a prize for reading. The ultimate reward for reading should be the knowledge they gained from reading the book, or the pleasure they received from the process. Call me old fashioned if you must.
Well, this library has a slightly different program, so I decided we would give it a try. The kids are asked to roll a die each time we come in and then they will “move” along their game path the rolled number of spaces and read the type of book described on the spot landed upon. Today, for instance, Jake rolled a 1 and was asked to read a story about an animal (pointing him to the call number of the animal books in the youth section of the library). Jolie rolled a 6 and was asked to read a story by an author whose last name begins with the same letter as her last name (M). Jensen will be participating too, and he (well, really I) rolled a 1 and will be reading a book whose author has a last name beginning with E, F, G, H or I. The kids have all met today’s goal, so we will probably be making another trip to the library in the next few days so we can roll again and see what type of book we will be encouraged to read next.
So where was the second place we went as a family, you might ask? The recycling drop-of center, of course. Our new town doesn’t currently have curbside recycling pickup, so we’ll be taking our recycles to the drop-off locations around town when we are out and about heading to other places (there is one on base, near the library, and behind the organic food store that I know of thus far). I am pleased to say that our new town allows us to recycle more items than any other place we’ve lived. I can’t imagine us filling the 90 gallon garbage can each week, yet trash is collected twice a week! Come the beginning of the year, our town will be starting curbside recycling pickup, so we’ll be able to downsize our trash can (to a 45 gallon can) and upgrade to a 90 gallon recycling can. I’m sure we’ll proudly be filling the recycling can each week.
We take great pride in being recyclers. While in Virginia, our curbside recycling even caught the attention of others on our block, who would ask us which weeks were recycling weeks so they could recycle too. The kids have been recycling since day one and are trained to look at the bottom of any plastic container to see if we can recycle it. We have been at homes of friends and family and had the kids ask where they put their recycles. Unfortunately in some instances we’ve found that they didn’t recycle. Maybe the kids’ asking put a little bug in their ear.
Again I ask, where would you go first in your new town? I am one of those people who think a person's actions speak louder than words. We are trying to teach our children to be proactive, thoughtful, compassionate people. I think our first family adventures in our new town have spoken volumes about us. What would your travels say about you?