Monday, August 24, 2015

Building A Homeschool Library

Carlos Sardá

Home Libraries are an Educational Advantage for Children 

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

Building a home library can be challenging, rewarding, and fun. As the saying goes, the journey is as enjoyable, if not more so than the destination. Finding an older book that one has been searching for a long time is a great thrill.
I had searched for an original copy a Bernard DeVoto’s, Across the Wide Missouri for a number of years. One day I walked into a flea market, and there it was, and at a price that said the seller either did not know what he had, or he really wanted to part with it.
One might ask, with all of the interest in the Kindle(even my double mastered degreed wife has one) and other electronic book readers, why would anyone want to purchase books at all?  

Reasons for Buying Physical Books Instead of E-Books

  • First, there are a lot of valuable old books that will never be available on the electronic readers.
  • Second, at least some books, if taken good care of, can be a good investment.
  • Third, what if the lights go out and the battery on the reader runs down, and you want to read? You’ll be looking around for a book.
  • Fourth, suppose you need several books open at once.
  • Fifth, a bookcase with attractive looking books filling it is a rather nice decoration in your living room. So far as I know you can’t do that with the Kindle. Even though you can download multiple books on a Kindle, having a Kindle on the shelf just isn’t the same.
There are other reasons we could give to buy books, but hopefully those are sufficient to create an interest in building a library.

What does one include in a good home library?


Since I have homeschoolers in mind, the first thing is a good selection of different textbooks on school subjects; things like math, science, grammar, and hopefully, a good selection of histories, especially American histories, such as A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to America's Age of Entitlement by Larry Schweikart.
Let’s face it, some of the books used in the schools across the country are not very good, especially those that rewrite the history our great nation. Many are available that are far better.
A good selection of non-fiction books other than textbooks is a very important part of the home library. This would include biographies, histories on specific subjects or persons, politics and government, and current events, just to name a few. And, of course, don’t forget the Bible. That ought to be number one on the list! 

Classic Fiction 

Pride and Prejudice

A lot of classic fictionbooks are available, and these can be collected in used condition for just a fraction of the cost of new books. Authors such as Dickens, Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and that Shakespeare fellow, along with many others is a must.

Of course, if you want new ones, they are available that way, too. There is still some good fiction being written, but there is a lot of it that is not very good, so you want to be sure in shopping for those that you don’t buy something today, and then decide you have to discard it tomorrow. Build a library that includes good fiction
Crafts and how to books are real helpful for learning to do things that interest you. Whatever your hobby, there’s not much doubt that you can find plenty of books on the subject. Good crafts books, such as books on sewingor carpentry, can also be used as homeschool textbooks.
We can’t forget health and cooking now can we? The old adage, “Don’t believe everything you read,” is good advice there, but there is a lot of important information in those books, and some yummy good recipes, too.
Books on gardening sustainable living books are a good idea. Some of the good ones are out of print and have to be located at used bookstores are online sources, but there are some good ones out there.

Hardbacks vs. Paperbacks

When I started my home library I made the decision to buy only hardbacks if they were available, because they are more durable, and generally a lot more attractive on the shelf. Sometimes, though, there may be budget or availability reasons to purchase paperbacks. The choice there is up to you.
alex grichenko
There are good local sources in almost every town of any size to buy used books. Many public libraries offer books for sale. Some even have a separate store where books can be purchased for just two or three dollars or even less.

Even in the really small town where we live, there is a used book exchange. Garage and yard sales, and especially flea markets, are good places to find books.

Books are available almost any place you happen to be. A lot of dollar stores have a limited selection at reduced prices.
When I buy a book on the Internet, way over ninety percent of them come from Amazon has a huge number of books for sale. Once you have your account set up ordering is easy as just a click or two.  

Family Encyclopedia


When I was just a kid way back in 19 something or other, times were hard, and a good friend of the family had to take a day job selling encyclopedias to supplement his ranching business. My parents bought a set of those encyclopedias for a little bit down and a little bit a month.
I still remember the day those books were delivered. It was a thrill to me and my four siblings. It not only made homework assignments a lot easier to complete, but it opened up a door to places and things we previously had not known existed. That’s what I call the best reason of all to build a good home library.

You can still buy a current encyclopedia set, such as the World Book Encyclopedia 2015 (22 Volumes), but an older set would still be a good purchase. After all, the technology sections would be dated, but the histories, biographies, and basic science would all still be valid.

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