When planning my homeschooling for the upcoming school year, I always start by committing the year to God and asking Him what areas to study. We go through history chronologically, but all the other subjects besides math are delight-directed until high school, depending on what we haven’t studied yet.
Anyone who has done unit studies successfully is able to pull together lots of fun books on one topic. You can do this by going to the library, but I prefer to own the books so that they are always available to me. (I like to preview all the books as well, and only have the very best.) When I write down what topics we will cover for the following school year, the books practically pop out at me wherever I look. Here are my favorite places to find books:
- yard sales
- second-hand stores
- used book stores
- used books on Amazon
- Craig’s List
- library book sales
- used curriculum sales
- gifts from friends or family
Back when I first got married, I didn’t have the basic Bible study tools like a concordance, Bible dictionary, handbook about Bible times, maps and charts, etc. I asked myself who would feel joy if I studied the Word of God? My parents decided to get me the whole set, which was on sale, for Christmas. Our whole family is closer to God now because we have proper Bible study tools, and the credit goes to my parents. I have no doubt they will be rewarded in heaven. That set of books was not cheap, even at 50% off. What I’m saying is that if people are going to buy your family Christmas presents anyway, make known specific books that you can’t wait to purchase.
After getting the bulk of my books at yard sales and second-hand stores, can you believe that I actually made money off books, and I could buy whatever I wanted—even new books—from my list? I know you’re eagerly waiting on the edge of your seat for my secret, so here it is: I buy hardcover children’s classics and coffee table books at yard sales for fifty cents. Then I turn around with a large stack of almost-free books that look new, and I trade them in to a used book store. My used book store also sells new books, and I often get a trade-in value of $80! I do this in the summer when yard sales are in profusion. I never buy children’s books that are from a book club, because they are worthless. I’ve learned over the years which books have higher trade-in value, and which ones get rejected. But with practically no money, I’ve acquired over 2,000 outstanding, high-quality books for my home library that my family uses profusely in our homeschooling.