This post is from contributor, Heather Haupt
*affiliate links used
Good books have the power to light our imaginations, to open our minds to new ideas, to explain how things work. They can draw us into a good story. But when you are on a tight budget or have limited space to store all these treasures, you must start getting strategic about what you buy and what you borrow.
Every family is going to approach this a little differently, but here’s how our family tackles this dilemma.
When to Borrow Books
Of course this is a no-brainer. The primary place where we secure books for our homeschooling is the local library. If there is a book we’d really like to read, but don’t necessarily want to buy, I’ve even taken advantage of their “recommend a purchase” option. We never buy straight informational books because those are almost always available at the library.
This is another great option for getting ahold of books. My sister utilizes this all the time in her small town. Sadly, both of my libraries now charge $5 per book. So I only use this option for impossible-to-buy books, like this one.
Are you in a homeschool support group? In our group we put out requests for books all the time.
When to Buy Books
We do not eat out, rarely buy toys/gadgets, but books are my weak spot. Here’s how we decide what to buy:
Every once in a while, you’ll find a great book in the library that will actually mention someone’s faith. But more often than not, you won’t find faith-based books in the library anymore. I love to find good missionary stories and biographies that bring out how a person’s faith affected what they did. As a Christian and a biologist, I want to find good quality books written from a Christian perspective to balance out what we get from our library. I’m constantly bookmarking recommendations from blogs, reviews on amazon, or perusing books in person at a homeschool convention!
History is being re-written, folks. When it comes to the history books, I like to find ones that don’t get bogged down by wild speculation which takes the focus off actual historical events. So I try to find books that old-time homeschoolers recommend and then snag them at used book fairs, thrift stores, or online.
Another trend I’ve noticed is that many of the books in the library are over-simplified with crazy simple text and unimaginative plot lines. Since we use books so much in our home, we are always on the lookout for books that explain science, explore geography, or delve into history through the power of a story.
Do you own a basic kindle yet? I’m planning on picking up another one or two on craigslist. We love to get old classics for free from Amazon. We’ve also acquired a huge number of books through buying digitally restored older books. The cost savings is amazing and we get access to hundreds of out-of-print great history books for kids from the early 1900s, without having to find space to store them.
This last reason won’t be for everyone, especially if you are on a really tight budget, but I’m so thankful for my mom’s amazing book collection. I was homeschooled, and my mom bought and saved many great books. We call her book wall, “Oma’s Library.” With that perspective in mind, I’m not only buying books for my children, but also for my grandchildren.
How do you decide what to borrow and what to buy?
Latest posts by Heather H (see all)
- 10 Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling from a Homeschool Graduate’s Perspective - August 1, 2018
- 3 Keys to Remember When Planning Your Homeschool Year - April 3, 2018
- Adding Story to Your Homeschool History Makes it Come Alive - July 14, 2014
- The Secret Ingredient Every Homeschool Should Utilize - April 16, 2014
- A Frugal Approach to Building Biblical Literacy - March 12, 2014