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Maximizing Homeschool with Your Local Library

Library Homeschooling

Sometimes, I get a little bit overwhelmed with trying to lesson plan for three very tiny children who would rather do more play than sitting and trying to support my feeble attempts to homeschool them. Which is why I love my library (the Chicago Public Library) and their Kids Museum Passport program. Here’s what they have to say about it:

A partnership between Museums Work for Chicago and the Chicago Public Library

Witness the birth of a star, stare down menacing moray eels, come nose to antennae with fragile butterflies or sway upon the rigging of a huge schooner. Wander galleries and marvel at both ancient and modern art. Journey backward to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth, or step back just far enough to trace the growth and changes of Chicago and the nation.

All of these adventures and much, much more are possible without even leaving Chicago. It’s all waiting for you and your family at any Chicago Public Library location by checking out a free Kids Museum Passport to 15 of Chicago’s world-class cultural institutions. Made possible by Museums Work for Chicago, the Kids Museum Passport program represents the organization’s commitment to support the development of Chicago’s kids.

We’ve been able to take advantage of these museums because of the partnership, and sometimes its with the covering of parking, or the ability for the adults to go to the museums when the children are free. What it also does is help tie everything together that we may have been learning in a home unit.

Museum Passport Cards
Photo courtesy of

Brookfield Zoo is one of the places that we love to visit (remember, the ladybug is all about the lions and the bears) and it totally tied into the color and animal unit from Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? for her. It was nice for her to tell me how different the real bears looked compared to the bears in Carle’s book. It also helped the twizzlers learn what sounds certain animals made, since the zoo has hands on interactive stations at most of their animal stations.

Bear Tracks at Brookfield Zoo

The only thing that you need in order to take these Passports out, is a Chicago Public Library card in good standing (I’m not sure about reciprocal borrowing for suburban patrons, but I’m sure a quick call can set the record straight) and you have the Passport for one full week. I love my new keychain card. It makes it totally convenient to do random drop-ins to the library and still be able to come out with something great.

Library Homeschooling

The participating museums are as follows:

 Adler Planetarium | American Writers Museum | Art Institute of Chicago | Bronzeville Children’s Museum |Brookfield Zoo | Chicago Botanic Garden | Chicago Children’s Museum | Chicago History Museum | DuSable Museum of African American HistoryThe Field Museum | Illinois Holocaust MuseumInstitute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture | Lincoln Park Zoo | Mccormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum |Museum of Contemporary Art | Museum of Science and Industry | National Museum of Mexican Art | The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Shedd Aquarium 

Now, you have the choice of whether you want to plan a museum around a unit, or a unit around a museum. If you’re in Chicago, or scheduled for a visit, the choices are vast!

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