Homeschooling and Remote Learning Resources at the Library

Hey, parents and teachers at home- we see you. You’re working hard to educate remotely, and most likely dealing with your own kids at the same time. We’re committed to helping you, whether you’re a caregiver, educator, or both. We have some great resources for distance learning and homeschooling, and we have lots of information that can make your life a little easier right now.

We’ve scheduled timely and informative virtual programs about homeschooling coming up in January and February:

So You’re Thinking about Homeschooling?

Monday, January 11, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Join Linda Hincks, East Hampton homeschool mom and owner of Wren Homeschool Consulting, to learn the basics of homeschooling and the laws in Connecticut. She will provide information to help you decide if it is right for your family.

Tips and Tricks for Remote Learners from a Homeschool Veteran

Monday, February 1, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Schooling at home and homeschooling are different, but there’s also a lot of overlap. Get some tips and tricks for remote learning from 20 year homeschool veteran, Linda Hincks. We’ll talk about how to relieve stress for kids and adults alike and revive energy for learning. Bring your questions and concerns.

Homeschooling: What’s Next?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

You’ve decided to homeschool. What’s next? Join Linda Hincks of Wren Homeschool Consulting to find out not only what to do, but how!

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We also offer virtual Toddler and Preschool Storytimes featuring interactive songs, stories, and other fun learning activities.

What about books? Or access to e-books? We’ve got a variety of materials for at-home reading and studying needs for all ages!

 

 

Homeschooling Books. If you’re unsure where to begin, these books are a good starting point! Get tips and resources from people in the know.

Lit Kits are a great way to take storytime and learning home with you!  Each kit contains 3-4 books on a theme, toys or manipulatives, and a caregiver guide with suggested songs and activities. Our Lit Kits are designed for children 3-5 years old, but they can be adapted or modified for use with almost any age group.

Audiobooks (both digital and on CD) offer many benefits for children. As a child hears an audio book, they enter a journey where reading seems friendlier and more approachable. A young reader listening to an audio book is more apt to establish a pattern of concentrating on the sounds of words without being interrupted by personal reading obstacles.

Playaway is a pre-loaded audiobook that gives kids the portability and freedom to listen to audiobooks anytime, anywhere. It promotes literacy, bridges the digital divide, and makes technology accessible to everyone, with high-quality audio productions of titles from the industry’s best publishers.

VOX™ Books combine outstanding picture books and non-fiction with audio recordings that capture children’s attention and make learning and literacy development fun. The permanently attached VOX™ Reader transforms an ordinary print book into an all-in-one read-along. There’s no need for computers, tablets or CDs. Children simply push a button to listen and read.

Books on DVD – audiovisual adaptations bring outstanding children’s picture books to life and help children fall in love with books and reading. Our DVDs are word-for-word adaptations of the books they are based on, and help all readers improve their fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

NEW! Launchpad Reading Academy, a fun and focused way to help kids improve their reading skills. This multi-media tablet contains interactive storybooks, videos, and apps that help kids learn to read, progress through reading levels, and fall in love with reading. This 5-level guided reading system helps kids master verbal, reading, and writing skills — starting at any level. Every app, storybook, and video has been hand-selected to help kids gain the knowledge they need to transition from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn.

Mango offers over 70 world language courses expertly designed to adapt to a diverse range of learning needs, styles, and backgrounds. Mango prepares learners for realistic conversations and communication and the confidence needed to communicate in a new language.

researchIT CT online reference databases: newspapers, magazines, journals, genealogy & more. researchIT CT provides all students, faculty and residents with online access to essential library and information resources. Through researchIT CT, a core level of information resources including secured access to licensed databases is available to every citizen in Connecticut.

Many families are pursuing distance learning – at least part-time, and while it can be an incredibly rewarding experience for families to learn together, we know it can also feel overwhelming to find the right tools and resources that will help your child succeed. Libraries are here to help!

What’s Happening (Virtually) at Cheshire Library in January

Happy New Year! Back when we started doing virtual programming in April, we thought it might be for a couple of months. Now here we are starting our tenth month of virtual programs, with no in-person programs on the immediate horizon. We like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at them, though, and have found that some kinds of programs actually work better in a virtual setting. We’ll keep working to bring you entertaining and informative program online – we’ve got a ton of them coming in January, here’s a look:

January Teen Volunteering Challenges

Earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video, or other content that may be added to CPL’s social media pages! Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours. January’s challenges include:

  • Art: Make a fancy snowflake (cutting from paper), or draw a picture of an Abominable Snowman.
  • Writing: Write a story, poem, or essay about someone who inspires you.
  • Food: January is National Soup Month, so make some soup and warm your family up with piping hot bowls of comfort!
  • Reading: Read a book about Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 18th).
  • More Reading: Celebrate A.A. Milne’s birthday (also January 18th) by reading (re-reading?) a Winnie-the-Pooh story.
  • Even More Reading: Build a pillow fort and read a book inside it!

If you participate in the challenges, earn community service credit by submitting your creations so we can share them on our social media pages!

Take + Make: Paracord Bracelet

Pick up January 4 – 9, 2021

Make something at your own pace with Take + Make kits! We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open (hours listed here) during the week of January 4, 2021. For grades 6-12, one kit per person, please.

Support Through Meditation – Weekly Zoom Event

Tuesdays,  January 5-26, 2:00 – 3:00pm

This introductory meditation class is geared towards helping you through these anxious and challenging times. You will learn various meditation techniques that you will practice in session and guidance to perform meditation on your own. Presenter Tia Mandrozos will explain the purpose of meditation and interact with the participants to provide the help needed and to address specific concerns. Please register via the Event Calendar for each session you wish to attend.

White Memorial Through the Seasons – White Memorial Conservation Center

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Brother and sister Alain and May White left their fingerprints all over Litchfield County, beginning with our 4,000 acre sanctuary. Sit back and enjoy breathtaking images from a variety of contributors depicting the extraordinary people, places, and things that make up this living masterpiece! Advance registration is required to join this program.

Murder of the High Wizard – Virtual Murder Mystery

Thursday, January 7, 2021, 3:00 – 4:00pm

The College of Wizards investigates a shocking murder! Join us in playing the roles of wizards and faculty for this virtual magic-themed murder mystery game. For teens in grades 6-12. Please register in advance to receive your character sheet before the program.

Adult Take & Make Workshop: Macramé Coaster

  • Pick up materials: Tuesday, January 5, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Zoom workshop: Saturday, January 9, 3:00 – 4:30pm

A macramé coaster is a great project for beginner to intermediate level crafters. We will use cotton rope and basically we will repeat one type of knot several times in a circle to create this useful and cool looking object. Join our Macramé artist Linda to make this fun project. Supplies are limited, registration is required to pick up your supplies on January 5th and attend the virtual workshop on January 9th.

Foundation Gardens and Native Plants: A Winter View

Monday, January 11, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Presenter Kathy Connolly will discuss how to use winter’s lean lines to assess a foundation area, imagine new design, and build your plant list during the dark months. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Homeschooling 101

Monday, January 11, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

So you’re thinking about homeschooling? Join Linda Hincks, East Hampton homeschool mom and owner of Wren Homeschool Consulting, to learn the basics of homeschooling and the laws in Connecticut. Please forward your questions to aallen@cheshirelibrary.org ahead of time so Linda can include the answers in the Zoom presentation. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Baby Steps

Join us in an exploration of shared activities for babies ages 0-12 months and their caregivers that provide the opportunity to strengthen your connection with your child and enrich your baby’s cognitive development through joyful movement and social experiences. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Preschool Storytime

Wednesdays, January 13 – February 10, 10:00 – 10:30pm

A virtual storytime for preschoolers (and their grown-ups!) to learn through talking, singing, reading, writing,and playing! Best for children ages 3-5. Younger and older siblings are welcome.  This program meets five times: January 13, 20, and 27 & February 3 and 10. Registration required, register once to attend all five sessions.

Getting Started in Genealogy

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Carol Ansel, Director at the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, will present the ABC’s of beginning genealogy, with an emphasis on the 8 (or so) basic types of genealogical records—where you can find them and how best to use them. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Sing Your Story

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Sing Your Story is an education music experience where kids become songwriters! Creator, Michele Urban, is an Early Childhood Music specialist, songwriter and vocal performer. Check out the song we wrote this summer here! Best for children in grades K-6. Please register for this virtual program to receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the program start time.

Cooking Program: Ditch the Diet

Thursday, January 14, 2021, 3:30 – 4:30pm

Join Food Explorers to learn how to start the New Year off in a healthy way with a Registered Dietitian! No more calorie counting or juice cleanses, you’ll learn how to determine if a diet is fad or fact. You’ll also have the chance to cook along and make a delicious lunch-prep recipe: Sweet Potato Fajita Bowls with Guacamole (ingredients in the calendar description). Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Teen Take + Taste Challenge: Kit Kats!

January 19 – 23, 2021

Try some new tastes in the New Year- discover the wild and wacky flavors of Kit Kat candy bars and try to guess the flavors without peeking… do you think you can guess the flavors by just their taste? We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open (hours listed here) during the week of January 18, 2021. For grades 6-12. Registration is required to reserve and pick up a kit, and kits are limited to one kit per person per week.

Connecticut & the Pandemic of 1918

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 3:00 – 4:30pm

What was it like to live through the Influenza Pandemic of 1918? In this program, we’ll look at archival images, letters, and newspapers to explore this topic, including sources left by Connecticans who experienced the flu first-hand. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Take + Make: Snowflake STEAM

January 25 – 30, 2021

Make something at your own pace with Take + Make kits! We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open (hours listed here) during the week of January 25, 2021. For grades K-6, one kit per child, please.

Cut the Cord

Monday, January 25, 2021, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Join us for an entertaining presentation meant to help cable-TV customers break the expensive and often frustrating cable service cycle. The presentation will cover  details of streaming equipment (some of which you may already own) and how to explore the ever-expanding list of channels and services streaming—as well as the “forgotten” free resource of broadcast TV—can bring to your living room. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Books Over Coffee: The Searcher

Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. This month’s book is The Searcher by Tana French. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Feeling Alone-a Because of Corona

Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Hands-on Workshop with On-hand ingredients – with Velya and Ehris Urban. We’ll learn how to make DIY Ginger Ale and Vanilla/Almond Extracts. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library (virtually) in October

Welcome to fall!  In October we’re meditating, gaming, cooking, and getting in the Halloween spirit as we continue our virtual programming for all ages. There are even some live animals to see this month! Check our Event Calendar to see more and register for our programs.

Book Buzz Teen Book Club – pick up Alice by Heart this month!

Our new teen book club meets next month, and for our first book we’ll be talking about Alice by Heart by Steven Sater. Teens can pick up a copy at the Children’s Desk, or by calling the Children’s Desk (at 272-2245 x 33003) to schedule a Grab n Go pickup. Don’t forget to register to join the book club on Zoom November 18!

Support Through Meditation – Weekly Zoom Event

Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:00pm

This introductory meditation class is geared towards helping you through these anxious and challenging times. You will learn various meditation techniques that you will practice in session and guidance to perform meditation on your own. Presenter Tia Mandrozos will explain the purpose of meditation and interact with the participants to provide the help needed and to address specific concerns. Please register via the Event Calendar for each session you wish to attend.

Kids Cook Dinner

Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Spend some quality time with your children in the kitchen while encouraging them to try new foods! An instructor from Food Explorers will show kids 7-14 how to prepare a delicious meal for the whole family!  Registration is required, and the  ingredients needed for each program can be found on the Event Calendar listing.

Spirits of the World

Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Dustin Pari from SyFy’s Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International shares some of his favorite stories from investigations in Irish castles, French chateaus, Australian prisons, and more! Grab your passport and prepare for a fun and frightening journey! Registration is required, registered participants will receive a link on Oct. 7 to join the Zoom virtual program.

Christine’s Critters

Thursday, October 8, 2020, 4:00 – 4:45pm

Learn about birds of prey and reptiles with a virtual visit from live animal ambassadors! All ages are welcome to attend. Please register in advance to receive a link to the Zoom meeting prior to the event.

Before Salem: Witch Hunting in CT

Thursday, October 8, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Decades before the Salem Witch trials, 11 people were hanged as witches in the Connecticut River Valley. Dr. Richard Ross will present his acclaimed book and discuss new information his research has uncovered regarding Connecticut’s witch hunting history. Please register in advance to receive a link to the Zoom meeting prior to the event.

Switch it up at CPL! Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

2:00 – 3:00pm:

  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020
  • Tuesday, October 20, 2020
  • Thursday, October 29, 2020

Social distancing got you down? Got a Nintendo Switch? Join us at CPL’s Smash Ultimate arena! Play against your friends and folks from all across Cheshire, all skill levels welcome! No registration required, instructions on our Event Calendar for how to join. For teens in grades 6-12.  A Nintendo Online Account required to connect with others and play online.

Baby Playgroup on Zoom

Tuesdays, October 20 – November 17, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

For babies ages 0-12 months and their caregivers,  this program provides an opportunity to strengthen your connection with your child and enriches your baby’s cognitive development through joyful movement and social experiences.  We will meets five times,  you only need to register once to attend all five classes. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the morning of each program.

Preschool Storytime

Wednesdays, October 21 & 28, 2020, 10:00 – 10:30am

A virtual storytime for preschoolers to learn through talking, singing, reading, writing,and playing! Best for children ages 3-5, younger and older siblings are also welcome. This program meets four times: October 21 & 28 and November 4 & 18, (there will be no storytime on November 11). Register once to attend all four sessions. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the morning of each program.

Spooktacular Storytelling (dramatic reading)

Thursday, October 22, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Join us for master storyteller Christian Hege as he delights us with a Spooktacular storytelling.  Hear Christian tell the tales of:

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow based on the story by Washington Irving
  • Josh: a Werewolf Story (original story)
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe

Registration in advance is required to receive a link to the Zoom meeting prior to the event. Please note this program is intended for adults. 

Virtual Books Over Coffee: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. We will meet over Zoom for our Oct. meeting. This month’s book is The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link on the day of the program.

Witches in CT

Thursday, October 29, 2020, 6:30 – 7:45pm

The trials and executions of witches in Connecticut predated the more famous Salem witch panic by over 40 years. Hear the stories of some of the women and men accused, tried, and executed as witches and learn how Connecticut successfully controlled the spread of witch accusations long before Salem erupted in panic and violence. Please register in advance to receive a link to the Zoom meeting prior to the event.

Outside Book Groups

Art Book Discussion: The Lost Painting

Friday, October 16, 2020, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Do you love to read? And love art? Let’s discuss! Join us for a monthly book club discussion on the third Friday of each month from 11am to 12:30pm in a Zoom Virtual meeting.  This month’s discussion is on The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. Please register for this program online, registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the program.

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club: The Widows of Malabar Hill

Thursday, October 22, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Do you like to read and talk about mysteries? Then join us for monthly book discussions, fresh perspectives, new authors and a friendly atmosphere!  We are meeting virtually via Zoom. This month’s discussion is on The Widows of Malabar Hill: A Perveen Mistry Novel (Book 1) by Sujata Massey. Please register for this program online, registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the program.

A Librarian’s Guide to “Longform” Reading

Long-form journalism is a branch of journalism dedicated to longer articles with larger amounts of content. Typically this will be between 1,000 and 20,000 words. Long-form articles often take the form of creative nonfiction or narrative journalism

Publications such as Reader’s Digest, The Atlantic, and Harper’s Bazaar popularized this format of writing, which led to the founding of several new long form coverage companies such as The Atavist and Longreads. These articles tend to be categorized as “non-fiction” with a majority of the titles falling into human interest or think piece articles on a specific topic. These topics cover a broad range of subjects, including but not limited to: crime, art’s and culture, books, business and tech, current events, essays and criticism, food, profiles and interviews, science and nature, and sports.  Much like a non-fiction book, these articles are long enough to really develop a story, and inform you on topics you may not know much about. Personally, this is my favorite part about reading longform. These articles help you learn more about a topic, without overwhelming you with becoming an expert. They also give you a view into a strangers lifestyle, ideas or hobbies, which is one of the many reasons why non-fiction keeps me coming back for more.

There are thousands of articles that are as long as books, or as short as short stories, on thousands of different topics and subject matters. If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite “longform” websites, as well as several popular non-fiction titles available at the Cheshire Public Library.

            1. First up is Narratively, which is my favorite of all. Narratively’s tagline is “celebrating humanity through authentic storytelling”. The website works with a network of over 3,000 talented journalists and storytellers that explore the hidden stories of the world, focusing on the “underdogs” and the “overlooked tales that enlighten us”. The website has several subsections, including: hidden history, memoir, renegades, secret lives, and super subcultures. Examples of articles include “Secret Life of a Children’s Party Princess“, which explores the not so glamorous life of a part time princess, full time college student, as well as “That Time I Conducted an Autopsy Without Any Medical Training” or the mistaken identity of a med school poser. These articles, and many others, are charming, heartbreaking, and insightful. Narratively is a gem of a website, and worth coming back to again and again.

              2. Longreads and Longform are two fantastic websites that recommend longer works of fiction across the web. Each  feature in-depth investigative reporting, interviews and profiles, podcasts, essays and criticism. Both websites curate content from a variety of different publications including, The Atlantic, Harper’s Bazaar, The Guardian, and Cosmopolitan. Articles include a variety of subject matters from serious to silly, including “Taken: How police departments make millions by seizing property” (Anna Lee, Nathaniel Cary, and Mike Ellis, The Greenville News) and “I Walked 600 Miles Across Japan for Pizza Toast” by Craig Mod. Each website is updated frequently, and each hosts a fantastic array of human interest stories as well as investigative reporting.

All of these websites have a handy feature which lets you subscribe to their stories, which sends you articles by email on a weekly basis. This lets you cater your taste in articles, and lets you catch up on news when you have a moment. It’s a fantastic way to exercise your brain, and learn more about the world around you.

If you’d prefer a physical title, the Cheshire Public Library has a large collection of non-fiction titles, as well as newspapers for current events and other human interest pieces. My personal favorite is our biography section, as well as our true crime selection. A few new titles that I’ve been enjoying lately are “Three Women” by Lisa Taddeo, and “I’ll be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle MacNamara, . There are plenty of titles on a variety of subjects, and if you see gaps or something we don’t have, you can always feel free to mention it to a staff member (we’re pretty great about supplying titles our patrons suggest!)

 

Looking for more? Here are some titles from our new non-fiction section:

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British Mysteries from Book to Screen

Today’s post comes to us from our Deputy Director Deb, who loves a good mystery!

Many devoted mystery readers began with Agatha Christie’s classic golden age mysteries featuring Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. I certainly did! These distinctly British offerings are a perfect gateway into the world of mysteries. And like so many other British mysteries, they have been made into marvelous television series, which you can watch using the library’s new streaming video service, Acorn TV. Or you can download the books in e-book or e-audio from the library’s website.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are both well represented on Acorn TV and in our e-book and e-audiobook collections. Consider reading or listening to Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders or The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Check out Acorn TV and watch Marple, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime, The Agatha Christie Hour and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Also try Christie’s classic locked-room mystery, And Then There Were None, considered to be the world’s best-selling mystery, available in e-book and e-audio and on Acorn.

The Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton features a middle-aged woman who sells her London PR firm and moves to the country (the Cotswolds, to be precise), where, in true amateur detective fashion, she encounters—and solves– murders galore! Try the first book in the series, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, available in both audio and ebook. Or read any of the others—like so many long-running mystery series, it isn’t necessary to read them in order. Then watch Agatha Raisin on Acorn, a top pick for fans of cozy British mysteries.

One of my favorite village cozy series, also by M.C. Beaton, features the unambitious and charming policeman Hamish Macbeth who patrols the village of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. I have listened to all of them on audio. The reader, Graeme Malcolm, imbues the audiobooks with such charm and personality that I’m betting you, too, will be hooked! We have more than a dozen titles available on e-audio, including Death of an Honest Man and  Death of a Gossip. Then check out Hamish Macbeth on Acorn.

The Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, featuring a glamorous private detective in 1920s Melbourne, is actually Australian, but close enough to fit in with our British theme. The supremely independent Miss Fisher has class, sass and the means to pull it all off! Try Cocaine Blues, the first in the series, or The Spotted Dog. The clothes alone make the series worth watching Miss Fisher on Acorn!

Ann Cleeves’ series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope is considerably darker than the other series in this post. DCI Stanhope is a solitary, obsessed, caustic, brilliant investigator near the end of her career working in northern England. Try listening to the first in the series, The Crow Trap, or read The Seagull. And be sure to watch Vera on Acorn TV.

Set in Ireland, the long-running Jack Taylor series by Ken Bruen has been thrilling readers (and now TV fans) for years. Taylor is a classic ex-cop turned seedy private eye prowling the underbelly of Galway. Try e-book or e-audio  Galway Girl or e-audio Purgatory and check out Jack Taylor on Acorn.