For immediate release: August 19, 2013
Contact: Alicen Kikkert, Martin County Library System, Public Relations, 772-463-3205
The Turull children choose their latest books at the Peter & Julie Cummings Library August 16. From left: Olivia, Emma, Sophia and Jackson.
Though the Turull family lives in Port St. Lucie, the Martin County Library System (MCLS) has been their go-to place for books and research for the past 18 months. Shelley Turull, a mother of four, homeschools all of her children and utilizes the Peter & Julie Cummings Library in Palm City exclusively. “The Cummings Library is close to my home and has a good variety of books,” said Turull. “Plus, the interlibrary loan system is fantastic and I use it often. I simply go online, find the book I want, place a hold on it, and my book is sent to the library just a few days later. The system works so well and is really convenient.”
Reasons to homeschool vary based on the needs of the family. For the Turulls, the idea of one-on-one learning and letting their children explore, in greater depth, subjects that interest them was very appealing. They visit the library four to six times a month for homeschool purposes and find that it is a great way to break up the week and do some learning outside of the house. “The greatest benefit of using the library is the diversity of age-appropriate books for my children. I have a preteen daughter, a preschool son, and everything in between. Being able to find something that each one is interested in, and at their level of reading, is a tremendous blessing,” said Shelley.
Shelley’s 12-year-old daughter Olivia says the library has helped her learn a lot about history. “I read a lot about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War this summer. I really liked the books Broken Drum, and My Brother Sam is Dead. I also loved learning about medieval history this past year. The Squire’s Tales were some of my favorite stories from that time period.” Not to be outdone, five-year-old Jackson added that he likes “learning about bugs, like the peanut-head bug whose wings look like eyes. I learned about beetles that can actually swim underwater and stuff too.”
Jennifer Woods of Jensen Beach has been homeschooling her two children for the past nine years and has been using Martin County libraries regularly since 2000. The Hoke Library is now her family’s library of choice, visiting at least twice per month. When her children, Tyler and Ryan, were younger they were also regular participants at the Blake Library’s story times and Exploration Lab. “We love that we have access to so many excellent resources. My children love to go to the library and have fostered a love of reading due to their exposure to so many good books,” said Woods.
Both families have also benefitted financially by using the library system. Turull estimates that in the last year alone she has saved nearly $700. Woods agrees saying, “I am sure that we have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. We have definitely been able to avoid buying some items for our curriculum by utilizing the library collection, and we’ve been able to enhance the kids’ learning experiences.”
Offering another way to assist the homeschool community, the Martin County Library System will host its first Homeschool Fair on Saturday, September 14 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Blake Library, 2351 SE Monterey Road, Stuart. Featuring workshops, vendors and speakers, including two former Martin County Teachers of the Year, the event is free and open to parents and students alike. Anyone currently homeschooling their children, or just considering it, is encouraged to attend. Please register by calling 772-221-1407.
“We are very excited to host our first Homeschool Fair. There is a large community of homeschool families that use our libraries and we want to be able to provide additional resources for them,” said Melanie Daniels, MCLS Family Literacy Outreach Specialist. “This will be a great opportunity to get the word out and let them know what we can offer their children.”
When asked if they would recommend the Martin County Library System to other homeschool families, Turull and Woods both gave a resounding yes. As Woods described, “Martin County libraries have an excellent collection of resources. In the past, I have used some of the study rooms for co-op classes or book clubs as well. We appreciate the efforts the library system is making to reach and be more of a resource to homeschooling families in our area.”
To learn more about the Homeschool Fair or the Martin County Library System, pick up a Library Connection, call (772) 221-1403 or visit the website at www.library.martin.fl.us.