Note: All East Central Regional Library locations have been closed effective March 17 until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Homeschooling families in the Mora area now have another option when it comes to finding a curriculum: check it out at the local library. Beginning this past January there is now a section in the Mora Library where families can check out homeschooling materials that have been donated by members of the community. 

The idea came about when stay at home mom and business owner Angella Knutson approached Mora’s Branch Librarian, Katherine Jordan, about partnering to provide educational materials free of charge. Knutson went into the library to talk with Jordan, asking if there was the room for it and if it was even a possibility. Jordan happened to have an open space, had been wondering what to do with it, and agreed immediately. 

“We had the space, and we have a large homeschooling population in the area, so why not try it?” said Jordan. 

Knutson’s inspiration came from her previous hometown in southwest Minnesota where she and her husband Brett moved from a couple years ago. There was a large homeschooling population there, and when the Knutsons moved to Mora they found great resources and homeschooling communities, but not all of the same opportunities. One of those was having access to all types of materials for no cost, which is important to Knutson as she homeschools their four children. 

While it has its advantages, homeschooling is also expensive, and Knutson said parents “homeschool based on our children’s needs.”

Curriculum manuals and workbooks are not cheap, and oftentimes parents will try something only to discover it doesn’t work with their child’s learning style. Then they’ve put all this money into a program, but may need to switch to a new one. Or many families have several children they homeschool, and need materials appropriate for all ages and levels. This can start to add up, so having a local library that offers materials for free is a huge cost savings. 

Knutson is hoping this will be a helpful resource for the community. 

“I want families who are homeschooling to have as much help and power and information as they can, because I feel so passionately about homeschooling,” she said, also adding this couldn’t be done without the support of the community and all the people who have donated materials. 

As of right now she has plenty, but is always willing to accept more. The only stipulation is they can’t accept materials extremely outdated, or more than 10 years old. They are also not looking for “how-to” homeschool books, but rather textbooks, copyright approved workbooks/worksheets, answer keys, teacher texts and those types of material, all in good condition.

The homeschool section is separate from the East Central Regional Library System, meaning they are not checked out like other items in the library. There is a check out sheet kept behind the counter where people sign their materials in and out with Katherine. A library card is “encouraged, but not necessary” if wanting to borrow materials. There is no due date for these items, and they can be checked out for an entire school year. The library asks they be brought back when finished. 

As of right now this service is only offered at the Mora Library branch, and materials are not available for inter-library loans. 

There is a drop box at the library for those wishing to donate. So far Knutson is the only volunteer who handles the donations. If anyone else would like to volunteer a few days a month, or has any questions about the program, please contact Librarian Katherine Jordan at 320-679-2642.

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