With the beginning of the new school year, the Harker Heights Public Library has begun the Homeschool Club, which meets every Wednesday at 11 a.m.
The club, designed for children ages 6 and up, will have a different theme every week and is, according to children’s librarian Amanda Hairston, “what we call a dabbler program.”
“There are two things we are trying to achieve,” Hairston explained. First, we want to expose them (the children) to new things and ideas, so they can find more information (about the topic) on their own.
“The second part is life skills: sustained sitting for 20 minutes or more, raising their hands, taking turns, patience ... the parents are doing a great job homeschooling, but we give a small taste of a classroom environment.
“The lessons are engaging and fun, with real world information, and the kids can hang out together and socialize while the parents get the opportunity to network with each other,” Hairston said.
The theme of the morning was “Kindness Rocks.” The lesson Hairston taught the roughly three dozen children who attended was, “Sometimes saying one nice thing to someone can make their whole day better,” so the children set about making literal kindness rocks.
Aided by 15-year-old volunteer Abby Dawson, each child chose a stone that they painted the top of; once the paint dried, they were going to write (with a sharpie pen) an uplifting message which would brighten someone’s day.
While the paint was drying, Hairston had the children brainstorm kind messages that they might want to write on their stones.
Six-year-old Ari Barnett had two ideas: “You are great!” and “You are loved.” Other children offered up “You are sweet,” “You’re a good sport,” and “You are fabulous!”
After Hairston read the children read a story, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” which was about friendship and kindness, it was time for the kids to check on their rocks.
Seven-year-old Wency Reillo painted her stone blue. She said, “I did the whole entire rock. I’m going to put ‘God loves everyone’ ... and put it in the backyard because everyone will see it.”
Seven-year-old Caleb Laboy came in a bit late, but used three different, bright colors to paint his rock, and instead of writing a message, he painted a design on the top.
Parent Sarah Hoelscher brought her two daughters, Danni, age 6, and Lizzi, age 8; she came all the way from Copperas Cove just to take part in the program.
She said, “I came to get the kids socializing with other kids in their age group.”
Her daughters, initially quite shy, blended right in, eagerly participating in every activity the morning offered.
For future activities for the Homeschool, Hairston said, “We’ll do library skill programs, science, social studies activities, a lot of STEAM, and an array of whatever sounds fun.”
Hoelscher said she loved the program and the activities it provided, and even though she will have a bit of a drive, she said, “We’re hoping to make it (to Homeschool Club) every week.”