Untitled Design 4During this crazy stay-at-home time, how many of you are finding your sanctuary within the pages of a book?  Reading is the best way go somewhere and meet new friends without actually leaving your home.

Books inspire.  Books entertain.  Books can be as soothing as a hot cup of coffee and a warm fuzzy blanket.



Take this extended time at home to read aloud as a family.  Use your audible credits and listen to the wild adventures of Mole, Rat, and Mr. Toad or to the merry adventures of Robin Hood.  When’s the last time you shared Mary’s secret garden with your family or Long John Silver’s treasure island with your kids?  Have you met the Penderwick family yet or the false prince?  Girl, there are so many places to go and so many people to introduce to your kids.  Now is the time to get some serious read aloud time done!

IMG_3601Our New Podcast is up, which is the  10 Essentials to Homeschooling:  #4 Essential  Read Aloud Time One of the best things about homeschooling is the extra time available to read aloud as a family. In this week’s podcast,  we give practical tips on how to consistently incorporate read aloud time into your day and how to use read aloud time to learn as a family.  Some of the resources mentioned in the podcast are listed below.

We ran out of time in our podcast, so this week’s blog is about how to organize your read aloud time and how to organize all of your books.  Like me, most homeschooling moms are book-a-holics!  My motto:  You can never have enough books!  The problem is how do you surround your children with tons of great books without breaking the bank and how do you organize all of the books Amazon Prime keeps putting on your front porch?


IMG_3549First, use your public library to its fullest potential.  Change your account to “teacher.”  This will allow you to check out more books at one time and your due dates will be extended.  Make sure each child has a library card too.  As soon as a child can write his name, he can get a library card.  Most libraries have lower late fees for children.  Using these little hacks will allow you to check out more books for a longer period of time and if they are past due, your fees will be less.

Second, use your library’s interlibrary loan system and online catalog.  This will make your library visits more productive and enjoyable.  Instead of arriving at the library with a long list of books to locate, search for them online in the wee hours of the night when the family is asleep.  Your library will find them, collect them, and set them aside for you.  If your library doesn’t have a particular book, it will find it at another library and have it waiting for you when you pick up your other books.  It’s like Take Out but for books.

Buy the books you want and love but save your money in the process!  Borrow a few books from friends first to see if you even like them.  If you don’t, you just saved yourself a few bucks.  If the book is a “must read” and a “must have,” then check out used curriculum sales and yard sales first.  Try a book swap with your homeschool support group.  You can exchange books instead of buying them.  My favorite is using the “other sellers” option on Amazon.  I often buy slightly used books instead of purchasing the new paperbacks.  Save your money for buying your absolute favorite books that you want to have on your shelves or for the books you just can’t locate anywhere else.


IMG_3548Buy or make bookshelves and place them anywhere and everywhere in your house.  The more accessible and visible the books are, the more likely your child will pull them off the shelf and read them.  Organize your shelves with some kind of system.  It makes it easier to find books in a hurry or to recommend books to a child who is “bored.”

I organize our books in several ways.  First, I have a bookcase of historical fictions and biographies arranged by time periods.  There is an ancient history shelf, a Greek and Roman civilization shelf, a Medieval shelf, a Renaissance and Age of Exploration shelf, and an early modern history shelf.  I have several bookshelves dedicated to US History and Presidents.

Then on another bookcase, I have a shelf for Bibles, commentaries, and resource books like encyclopedias, atlases, etc. I have a shelf filled with poetry books and another shelf filled with art history, art technique, music and composer books.  I have another bookcase devoted strictly to science-related books.  I have a shelf of astronomy books, a shelf of animal books, a shelf of geology books, and several shelves of nature books and field guides.

I place most of our picture books on the bottom shelves so the younger ones can reach them.  I organize them by seasons and holidays.  I also put early readers on the lower shelves like Dr. Seuss and Frog and Toad.  The rest of the books are classics, Newbury winners, and chapter books.  These bookcases are filled with sci-fi books like Wrinkle in Time, realistic fictions like Because of Winn Dixie, distopian books like Hunger Games, action and adventure books like The Hatchet, and just fun books to read like The Penderwicks and Charlie and Chocolate Factory.

We also have bookshelves in each bedroom.  My son’s shelves are filled with baseball and biography books.  My daughter’s shelves are filled with fantasy books!  My bedroom has all of my devotionals and mystery books.  (I am a Bible prophecy guru and real crime fanatic….)


IMG_3619But I don’t leave the books on the shelves.  If they stay there, they start to collect dust. Even though we see them all of the time and pass by them every day, we forget what treasures we possess.  This is why I began using the basket system when the kids were younger.  Each child had a large basket in their room.  This is where they dumped all of their monthly library books.  It made it easier for them to read them and easier for me to find them when it was time to return them.

We also had a very large basket in the front room.  This is where I put all of the library books I checked out.  If we were studying spiders or volcanos or Greek gods, I checked out tons of picture books on those topics.  I knew I wanted to read them during basket time and read aloud time, so I placed them in the basket in our front room.  It made it easier for me to grab them each morning, and it made it easier for me to keep track of them.  I also searched our shelves for books and picture books we owned that had to do with what we were learning that week and I put them in the front room basket too.

The “office” or “school room” was where the kids did most of their creating.  Up until the time my daughter left for college, I had a shelf and a little easel-like apparatus that held some of my favorite art books.  If we were learning about Monet or the Impressionist Period, I  put several books on display to highlight Monet’s masterpieces.

On our coffee table, I would put two or three books that I thought the kids might enjoy.  I wouldn’t say a word. I just put them there and let their curiosity get the best of them.  Each child also had a school basket, which is where I placed all of their daily workbooks and any chapter books I wanted them to read for school.

The key to making read aloud time a priority in your homeschooling is to set the time aside, get a bunch of books, and start reading.  Words are life, books are portals to strange and wonderful places, and reading aloud truly is an essential!


Our New Podcast is up!  10 Essentials to Homeschooling:  #4 Essential  Read Aloud Time One of the best things about homeschooling is the extra time available to read aloud as a family. In this week’s podcast,  we give practical tips on how to consistently incorporate read aloud time into your day and how to use read aloud time to learn as a family.  Some of the resources mentioned in the podcast are listed below.

coffee carrie pod cast image