© Copyright 2010 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. You may, however, pass this newsletter along to your homeschool friends as long as it is sent in its entirety. Thank you for helping me to protect my copyrights.
For more info about Cindy Downes, see my Website.
I hope your April started off as good as mine. It’s a beautiful, 80 degrees here in Oklahoma today!
This month is homeschool convention month. How many of you are going to a homeschool convention? I hope all of you are. They’re a fun place to go to look at books, see what’s new, listen to some great speakers, and just plain enjoy the day. I’m planning on visiting the Arlington fair in Texas on Friday. I love browsing the used books as well as seeing what’s new.
The main thing you want to do before you go to a convention is PREPARE. Otherwise, you WILL spend too much money! Use the resources found on my Website to create a shopping list before you go.
If you happen to the Texas convention and see me, please stop me and say hi! I might not recognize you, but I’d love to meet you in person.
The best homeschooling memories I have are reading the “Great” books to my children. One of my favorites is the original, unedited version of Robinson Crusoe. (E-book version) It’s the story of a prodigal child, a father who trusts God to do what he cannot do, repentance, restoration, and God’s faithfulness to bring salvation even to the uttermost parts of the earth. I read it to my children for enjoyment, but it also became a springboard to tell them of my own journey from atheism to salvation.
Another “Great” book that influenced our homeschool was Thomas Edison, Young Inventor by Sue Guthridge.
Reading about the success of a famous American who was considered by the schools to be “addled” not only encouraged me, but also my son who was a delayed learner. I attribute part of his success today to reading that book.
Best Books for Children, Preschool through Grade 6; Best Books for Junior High Readers; or Best Books for Senior High Readers by John T. Gillespie. These three reference books are found at most libraries. Each book contains a list of books sorted by age level, topics, and author. What’s really helpful is the list of recommended books by topics. If you’re looking for a book about the Civil War, simply turn to the section on Civil War. There you will find a list of books related to the topic, as well as the author, number of pages, recommended grade level, and a brief description.
Online books sorted by theme: Carol Hurst’s Literature Guide.
The library catalog. Learn how to use a Boolean search to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for. Ask your librarian to show you how. Search for your favorite authors as most authors have written more than one book.
Check college and trade school bookstores. You’ll find ideas here that you may not think of otherwise.
Most people forget to look for living books related to math. Check my Math Reading List for ideas.
A printable list of classics and recommended literature for all ages.
Purchase The Book of Great Books by W. John Campbell. This is a really great resource. I can’t believe it’s currently out of print. However, if you hurry, there are about 30 copies left on Amazon.
As an avid book collector with a library of over 3,000 books, I can tell you where I found them. Here goes:
Used bookstores. Check frequently to find the best books. The northeast is a treasure trove of used bookstores. I found an 1858 copy of Peter Parley’s History of the World by Samuel Goodrich in Connecticut. I’d love to see this one reprinted.
Some of the best and least expensive books are found at flea markets, garage sales, auctions, library sales, Salvation Army, and Goodwill.
The best search engine for used books is Addall.com. If addall.com can’t find it, no one can AND you’ll find the lowest price currently available on the Internet.
Looking for a particular series? Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew or Happy Hollisters? Check out Reading Well to view a list of titles in these series. Very helpful for finding out which books you are missing in a series.
Free books - don’t forget to ask your friends and relatives! While I was homeschooling, every time I went home, my dad gave me a cherished book from his collection!
Free E-books abound on the Internet. Check out these resources:
If your child has a reading disability, check out the resources offered by Bookshare.
Coming Soon! Search for books on The Checklist Assistant. This is a brand-new, free database that I am including on my new Website. It will search for topic-related books, worksheets, coloring pages, unit studies, and much more. My newsletter, Facebook and Twitter readers will be notified when this site goes live.)
Finally, keep a database of your library collection. Keep one on your computer and one in your iPhone or iPod. It will prevent your buying a book that you already own! I have one on my iPhone called iBookshelf that will scan in the barcode and input the data for you. Love that! It is also available for iPod Touch. Have your teen create a book database to earn high school technology credit!