When it’s time to order curriculum and reference books, every homeschooling parent on the planet cringes. It can cost a small fortune for just one child. When you have several children, well…you’d better make the most of all resources available to you.
Every homeschooling family I’ve encountered knows to make good use of public libraries. When you depend heavily on that, you start to find your library’s limits. You start to wish you had a Hogwarts-style library at your disposal.
Since we muggles can only dream of endless ladder-accessible-only shelves full of books, we’ve got to look elsewhere.
Enter my friend, neighbor, and librarian at our local university, Michelle. She’s been encouraging me to head up to her library and see what we could use to supplement our learning.
Finally, finally, I listened. Alex and I headed up there. Because I have a TexShare card, I’m able to check out books even though I’m not a current student.
While I never took classes at this school, I did use their library to do research for papers when I was in high school. It was lovely walking back into that familiar, comfortable, old building.
Michelle took us to the Curriculum Material department. It was broken down first by age/grade level, then by subject. Our current curriculum is fantastic and covers everything you really need, but we tend to always be hungry for more information. Alex has been wanting to learn more about Texas history, so we grabbed a regular ol’ textbook for that. He selected books on drawing, nutrition, and life skills. I grabbed literature and math for him and a spelling text book for Elliott.
Maybe you’re wondering why we would gravitate toward textbooks that public schools use. Simply put, I’m just going to pick and choose bits from each one to supplement what we’re already studying. We aren’t depending on them for curriculum work, but each one does have its bits of useful info.
We obviously can’t mark in these books or keep them forever, so here’s how we’ll put them to use: I’m going through them and marking with sticky notes the sections I want to use. Then we will head back up to the library and use their high-speed scanner to email the pages to myself as PDF files.
I’ve only begun to explore what resources they have, but I can tell you:
- We will be going back frequently.
- Their study rooms will likely become our part-time classroom.
- Using the books they have available will save our family a small fortune in homeschool expenses.
- I love that my kids will become very familiar with the campus so that when their college time comes, they’ll be as comfortable in a university setting as they are at home.
- Watching kids discover new things they never knew they’d love is and will be forever priceless.
- The smell of old and new books will keep me coming back forever.
So, I highly recommend looking into your local university and community college libraries to see what can help you and your family along your homeschool journey. Chances are, you’ll find a librarian so passionate about their job that they’ll spend lots of time helping you discover more than you even knew you needed.