7 Questions to Ask When Building a Home Library

books and school supplies organized on a lovely white shelf

Although you don't have to be a homeschooler to love books, being a homeschooler seems to make you more likely to be a book hoarder! After all, educating from home is easier when you have a collection of your own resources on hand to use whenever the need or desire arises.

Of course, we all have limitations of one kind or another that keep us from owning the dream library we may want. Here are some tips for building your home library as a homeschooling family. Ask yourself these seven probing questions.

1. What is My Budget?

How much you have to spend is the first thing to consider because this factor will help you decide what books are worth investing in versus what books can wait or be borrowed. Obviously the larger your budget, the freer you can be with your purchasing choices.

For instance, we use unit studies for history, so we use a large amount of reference books as well as historical fiction. With a smaller budget I won’t purchase the majority of these books but borrow them from the library. If we find there are some we love and really want to have for the future, then I add them to my wishlist.

7 Questions to Ask When Building a Home LibraryBuying curriculum that is book-based, like BookShark, will help grow your home library without extra expense. Your school books are also great books for your home library.

2. How Much Space Do I Have For Books?

Those five books at the yard sale may seem like no big deal, but multiplied by ten, you've got to buy a new bookshelf! If you don’t have much space to store books, then you should be very choosey.

Storing books in boxes for future use is an option, but if you forget about them in the meantime, the money you spent will have been wasted. It is better to think ahead and create space for your books; then plan your purchases accordingly.

3. What Are The Ages of My Children?

If you are purchasing for an older child with younger siblings coming behind, then you can purchase books, knowing that there are plenty of opportunities for the books to be used.

For instance if you homeschooling your youngest child, purchasing things like easy readers might not be a good investment of money or bookshelf space. Instead you might want to save that money for purchasing something that child will love and use until it's threadbare.

4. What Local Used Book Options Do I Have?

Do you have internet access with which you can easily purchase new or used books online? Do you have an awesome local option for purchasing used books? Are there great library sales or group books sales in your area?

Having a local resource to buy used books can revolutionize the amount of books you purchase! Not only do you save on shipping, but you can browse first hand resources you might never have considered. I have purchased most of my recreational reading library through local used book sales. Often I will find stack of books I never even considered until I saw them for a good price!

5. Should I Borrow This From the Library?

Consider the length of time and how many children will get use out of a particular book. Often the popular chapter books and novels are a read once kind of endeavour, so you might want to borrow these from the library.

On the other hand, a series or genre your child is really passionate about might be something worth purchasing.For example, my son has read each Harry Potter title at least seven times, so we bought him the books to start his own private book hoarding habit.

When it comes to picture books we borrow dozens each month from the library and then evaluate them. If they turn out to be favorites for our family, they go on the wishlist. We have a acquired quite a collection throughout our years and plan on keeping a good supply for our grandchildren someday!

6. Is This a Quality Reference Book?

Good reference books go on the purchase list. We have an entire shelf of history and science reference books. These are used time and time again throughout multiple years with all of our children. These are books you want to keep for years to come because of their practical uses. Here are a few examples:

7. What Should I Add to My Wishlist?

Keeping a running list of books and book-rich programs to add to your home library. Using the wishlist function at your favorite book retailer is a great tool for keeping track without the risk of losing a list written on paper. Plus your list serves as a reference when shopping used books sales. You both know what to look for and what the regular price is. 

For fantastic books that you can trust, start with the BookShark curriculum catalog. There's no need to cobble together you rown book lists when BookShark has done all the leg work. Start with any of the literature-based programs as a foundation, and add extra books to satisfy your voracious readers. 

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