So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90.12

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Choosing Books

I love books.  My husband loves books.  My kids love books.  So naturally, we have a lot of books in our house.  In fact, I'm in the study and there are over 400 books of various types in here!  That's not all the books we have.  The kids have some in their bedrooms and we have an almost full bookcase in the living room.  I love incorporating lots of reading into our homeschooling - real books, "living books" as Charlotte Mason would call them.

I'm quite discerning about what books we have because obviously we don't have room for every "good" book there is.  I tend to like classics and older books (Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens,  L M Montgomery, A A Milne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Robert McCloskey, etc), but are also some really fine newer books (my kids love If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Moose A Muffin, for example).

I have 3 tips for choosing books:

1. Get a good book list to help you.  I use the book lists that go with the Sonlight curriculum (you can order a free catalogue from them) and Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt.  I don't agree with every single choice on either of these lists, but they are both good resources.  You could also ask people for their recommendations or try to remember what books you enjoyed reading as a child.

2. Use your public library.  I am so thankful for our provincial library system!  I can search for and order books online and then go and pick them up at my local branch.  I realise not everyone has access to a public library, especially if you live in a remote area, but you can get many books in eBook format online and often you can find free ones.  By using the library, you can try out books to see what they are like without the cost of having to go out and buy them.  If you come across a book you don't like, return it.  Easy.

3. Make a wish list of books that you know you really want (ones that you've "previewed" and you know you'll want to read again and again).  Keep your list handy when you're out.  Thrift shops and second hand stores are great places to find books.  Of course, there are usually lots of "junk" books in places like these, but sometimes you can find real treasures as well.  About a month ago, I found a brand new hardcover biography of Thomas Cranmer for my husband - for $1.  I have found stacks of older Scholastic editions of some of my childhood favourites for 25 - 50 cents apiece.  Our library has a book sale of old and discarded books every spring (VERY inexpensive).  One year, I bought a stack of antique books, a number of children's books and a couple of fiction books for me for $5.

Of course, the most important book of all is the Bible.  Many have received a fine education from this one book.  It is something no home should be without.  Some books may be good books, some may be great books, but the Bible is the best of all.  There is no other book like it.  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."  2 Timothy 3.16&17

So, I guess I actually have 4 points in the end:

  1. Get a good book list.
  2. Use your library.
  3. Make a wish list.
  4. Never forget the importance and value of the Bible.
Thanks for visiting today!  I'm linking this post to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

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