Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homeschooling: Building a Homeschool Library

You don't even have to be a homeschooling mom to know the importance of having a great home library! There is such pleasure watching your kids reach for a book off the shelf and just spend time perusing it, soaking up images and words to further their knowledge.

As an avid reader myself, I have always created large libraries for my boys since they were babies. As they grew, I would find out what authors and/or subjects intrigued them, and I would add books whenever I could. Outgrown books were always donated to libraries so that they could get longer shelf life.

Even now, my boys have full bookcases in their rooms with books that follow their interests. Our home library is filled to the brim with leadership resources, American History, biographies, classics and books to enrich our Christian life. (There is also one shelf dedicated to my fiction favorites!) 

When we decided to homeschool, I first shopped our own bookshelves to find resources that could be included in what we have decided to learn this year.  It was such a blessing (especially to our budget!) to find that we already had a great selection of books that we could reread and reference as we worked!  

Don't misunderstand, we LOVE the library!  Where we live, we have two libraries that we can utilize. One of these is very family friendly, (and my high school son has been volunteering there for over 2 years now) but it is a newer public library and does not yet have an extensive non-fiction section.  The other library has been around longer, but is still too small for good research. While we will continue to visit our local libraries and the much larger libraries in Austin, there is still much to be said about owning books on favorite topics of interest and study.  Here are my tips for growing your library on a bargain budget.  

Where I Find Bargain Books

Goodwill Stores
The best place for finding book bargains for me has been Goodwill drop-off locations. Here in Texas, (and maybe where you are too), Goodwill has several small "drop-off only" locations that have now evolved into mini book stores.  These locations take all their book donations and move them directly to shelves in the store for resale.  They do a great job of catagorizing too, so you can easily search for treasures. My favorite finds: piano music books, Classics in like-new condition, elementary age chapter books and education workbooks. 

Half-Price Books
This retailer has stores in various parts of the country, but are very prevalent here in Texas. The great thing about Half-Price Books is that you can sell any books, movies and music you don't want anymore and get a credit toward in-store purchases. The store works like their name: find a book and pay half-price the original retail price. They have books in any genre you can think of -- including DVDs, CDs, computer software, LPs and more.  There are even new books sold at discount.  Find out more about Half-Price Books and their online search at their website: www.hpb.com  My favorite finds:  used homeschool textbooks and curriculum, Classics, Christian Fiction.  

Library Sales 
Libraries get more donations than they can use and book duplications they do not need. Many will have an annual sale to get these books into the hands of patrons and make money for the library in the process. Some libraries have a separate room where their book sale is always available during library hours.  Ask your local library what they do with unneeded books.  For an Austin library resale location, check out recycledreads.org     

Free E-books
I have written a popular post on where to find free e-books HERE.  Our family does have a Kindle and iPad, but I am finding that even my kids prefer the actual book in their hands.  If you are an e-book family, definitely look out for free downloads of books that you may not need now, but can use in the future.  Favorite finds:  Classics! There are always several that are free (or cheap!) to download on websites like Amazon.com  

Don't underestimate the importance of a home library!  I truly believe that having books accessible in areas of interests for your kids will grow them into avid readers and continual learners! 
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