In 2010, my personal interest-led learning journey began. As a family, we were living in Florida. My kids were 1- and 3-years old at the time. I was the only stay-at-home mom that I knew, and most of my days were spent just managing chaos.
I was alone and lonely, distracted and defeated, and feeding my fear of failure by not even hoping for anything better.
Until the day I became desperate enough to change.
The only downside of this change was an unhealthy attachment to books. In all my youth and intensity for loving to read, I equated happiness with buying a new book.
And bookstores are made for people like me, placing – conveniently by the door as you walk in – their discounted titles for easing your mind that buying 4 books today at $3 really isn’t all that hard on your wallet.
Now I laugh at some of the silly books I bought. The titles reveal what I felt I lacked knowledge of – history, politics, self-help, parenting, etc.
Books, books, books.
And it got worse before it got better.
Because to be a successful homeschooler, I reasoned that I would need to have a lot more books.
But what use is any tool if it sits on the shelf?
Or what good is it if I can’t find it when I need it?
So what I’ve come to understand through 11 moves in 10 years and by the inspiration from others, is that it is simply impossible to live holistically with my life’s purpose and be surrounded by piles and piles of stuff. Even good stuff like books.
Set up a simple home school library.
Since my kids are still young it’s hard for me to expect to have perfectly organized bookshelves. Especially kids’ bookshelves – when the reason I bought the books is for them to read. I can’t expect them to be great readers and great organizers at the same time – I have to pick one or the other.
So, in order to help them in their reading and learning journey, I’ve identified the need for a home library system of organization that works for everyone.
First of all, I had (and still have) to go through all of our books and get rid of the twaddle.
Second, I had to decide how I wanted things organized. One blogger that I follow, alphabetized her children’s books using a simple poster with a large black alphabet stickers.
I bought the supplies to do the same (see the project details below), but then I realized I didn’t want to alphabetize my books just yet.
My kids are still young enough that they don’t know all the titles or the authors, and it wouldn’t be fair to expect them to be able to replace the book where they found it. I think reality hit me, and I saw my future self endlessly re-alphabetizing.
Instead, I decided to categorize my books by subject matter, unit, or curricula.
Here’s my key:
- FIAR – Five in a Row
- EAH – Early American History
- SCI – Science
- LIT – Literature
- SS – Social Studies
- NF – Non-fiction
- REF – Reference
Third, for now all pleasure reading books like chapter books or easy readers they still enjoy, go in the book nook. I’m not very picky about how these books get organized only that they’re well taken care of.
Finally, I hope to model not only a love of learning through reading great books myself, but to also model discernment with how many books I own and how I take care of them.
Useful tips for getting rid of books:
- My experience with Paperbackswap.com
- Donate to:
- The library: You can always borrow it if you need to read it again.
- The local mission: Imagine the person who may be waiting for just the right book to help them break through whatever barrier that’s holding them back.
- Thrift stores: Think of thrift stores for books like a library that charges late fees up front. Be sure to bring with you the same number of books to donate as you intend to take home.
Project Details: I bought a simple, white poster board and alphabet stickers. I cut the board into strips (which left ragged edges, so I covered them with Washi Tape) and applied the stickers to the strips. Then I simply separated books by subject and placed the poster strip between them.
This is Day 21 in the #31Days to #Back2School series; check out Day 1 and the Index by clicking here.
Break life’s tasks into manageable chunks: download One Bite at a Time by Tsh Oxenreider today!
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