As I was preparing for this series I asked my children (ages 8, 6, and 3) what they thought the most important tool in our homeschool is. All three of them, in unison shouted… BOOKS! Now that warms a Momma’s heart!
I am VERY blessed to have a bunch of bookworms for children. Lot’s of people ask me how I made that happen. I think it started long before I ever had any notion to homeschool. Long before they were even born! Back in college as I was studying to earn my teacher certification I took a bunch of classes on children’s literature. I loved the topic!
As I graduated and moved into teaching I started a habit that unbeknownst to me would be a major blessing to my own children some day. What was my habit? Buying children’s books! I was a public school preschool teacher who created her own curriculum using wonderful picture books. It became tedious constantly hunting them down in the library with each new topic we studies so I purchased the best of the best. When I left the classroom I took my books with me. My collection numbers well into the several 100’s at least. I’ve never counted.
As my children have come into the world they’ve had the benefit of being surrounded by all of those luscious books! I read to them constantly! CONSTANTLY! Even when they wouldn’t sit still and listen or look, I’d just read aloud as they played. I also read a tremendous amount myself. I’ve always got my Kindle within arms reach, just so I can snatch a page or two here or there if I can. They see me reading!
Even as they’ve grown and their reading ability has shot far beyond that of picture books, I still read to them ALL OF THE TIME! We are currently making our way through 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and enjoying every minute of it.
The knowledge they gain through their reading astounds me. We often pick a topic as a family and then dig up dozens of books about it. I set them out in the living room and before I know it I’ve got little smarty pant’s boys coming up to me saying… “Mommy, did you know…..?” And they ramble on some great fact they just discovered. When I ask them where they learned that from I always get one answer…. “A book!” I often tell my husband that I could just dump or sell off the rest of the curriculum I’m trying to teach them because they learn more from books than they EVER do from me!
Let’s talk about where all of these books come from because clearly I am no longer able to supply my book munching crew with only those picture books I bought for my preschool class!
1. The Library
Yes, pretty obvious I know but I’m always amazed when I meet families who tell me they aren’t taking advantage of such an amazing treasure trove. Bringing my kid’s to the library is more exciting to them than bringing them to a candy or toy store. That is probably because they get to take out as many books as they please! I do try to have influence on their choices and I always hold veto power. Generally though they can go hog wild… and they do! Here is a shot of our stash from our trip earlier today. Well over 50 books in total.
2. Garage Sales, Second Hand Shops and Grandma’s Attic
Garage sales, tag sales, yard sales… whatever you call them. Shop them! You’ll likely find lots of books for penny’s apiece. Our library does a “Friend’s of the Library” book sale pretty regularly. People donate unwanted books and the library resells them to help keep their lights on.
Second hand book stores are another fabulous source. We have one in our area called the Book Barn. It’s actually so big it is spread over 3 locations. My children generally clear them out of our favorite authors and series each time we visit.
Check around with older friends, neighbors and grandparents. Sometimes you’ll find they’ve held on to a wonderful stash of books from their own youth or their children’s younger days. They may just let you take a peek!
Yes, all of my children have eBook Readers. I prefer the eInk kind. These are different than tablets like the iPad. The only thing they can really do is display books for reading. The screen technology is also incredibly different. It mimics the pages of a real book and requires a lamp (just like a book) in order to see the print properly. My children each have the $69 Kindle from Amazon. We put them in cases with attached lights. If I’m not careful these boys will read long past bedtime with these little devices!
The benefits of Amazon Kindle are many. First, you can fit hundreds upon hundreds of books in them. These means that you aren’t STORING all of them some place in your home! Plus, if you are on the go, the kiddos always have a book on hand. Second, pretty much all of the classics are free! Pride and Prejudice, Tom Sawyer, The Secret Garden. ALL FREE! Take a look at the long list here. Third, many books can be purchased at a reduced rate compared to their paper counterparts. Fourth, requesting Amazon gift cards from family and friends can really help their shopping and your book spending habit. (or am I the only person with a book spending habit?) Fifth, children can SHARE the books. I can purchase a book for my oldest but download it to his younger brother’s Kindle as well. They can read the same book at the same time! Plus all of these wonderful books will be waiting for their little sister when she becomes old enough to enjoy them…. and I don’t have to store them for her! Sixth, you can borrow books from the library too! Did you know that one? Seventh, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can “borrow” one book a month from Amazon for FREE! The benefits list just keeps growing doesn’t it?
In our family we could toss out everything but our Child Training Bible and I do believe my children’s education wouldn’t suffer a bit. BOOKS! They are a Homeschooling Essential!
Come read what other Schoolhouse Crew Team Members think are essential in their homeschools. Here are a few to get you started. Click on the image below to read even more
Lisa @ A Rup Life
Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
Brandi @ Brandi Raae
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness
Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles