Wrapping up the year.

I am wrapping up our year in more ways than one.  As I prepare for the New Year I am preparing for our new school year.   We begin our school year with each new year.  (More on why in another post).  So in the next few weeks I will be sorting through what the children have done this year, and creating their portfolio.  ( I will show samples in another post).  I will be boxing up used curriculum for another child and another year and bring out the new curriculum.  Then we will set up their school planners and be ready to go come January 3, 2011.

What I do want to share with you is where I go first to get the books my kids will be reading and I find them for free.  Buying books for 6 children can quickly eat up your homeschool budget so after looking in our public library, I then go free online sources and ebooks.

Sheri at Graham Family Ministries put together a great post of many of the places I go for ebooks.  She also has some great ones I did not know about.  Check her post for yourself.

Build Your Home Library for FREE!!!

I love books.  As a child I could always be found with a book in my hands.  I love the way they feel in my hands, the smell of the pages.  The older and more “loved” a book is the more I like it.  But if your homeschool and/or book budget is like mine, there is never enough money for all the books you want.

The next best thing is your local library.  You may be surprised at what you will find at your local library.  And most libraries now have an online catalog of their books with the option to put them on hold and then pick them up at your convenience.  This is the best option for me.  Although we go to the library every week with 6 children under the age of 10 I rarely get the opportunity to browse.  So in the convenience of my home I can order books from my library.

But there are times that you want your own copy of a book or you need it for longer than the 3 weeks the library allows you to borrow it.  A new option available to us is online books.  I have been using ebooks for about 2 years now.  But I have to admit that I had never read one on the computer until 2 weeks ago.  I had printed out several ebooks, bound them and then read them like regular books.  However, a couple of weeks ago I found myself with 1 1/2 to 2 hours of time every day with nothing to do.  How did I get so fortunate you may ask–your the woman with 6 children.  Well we found ourselves at family camp and every day during the little ones naps I would sit outside our cabin and wait.  I happened to take my computer with the hope of getting some things done.  What I accomplished was I read 2 books on the computer.  Ebooks, what to do with them all by Michelle Geffken and The Real Life Home School Mom: It’s a Life in ReVision by Virginia Knowles.  Both excellent resources I highly recommend.  The point is I was pleasantly surprised how easy and even enjoyable it was to read the book online.  I had a word document open to jot down notes (I am a write-in-the-margins kind of reader) and since the many ebooks are hyperlinked (and these were) I was able to click on links imbedded right in the text and research the topic as I was reading.

So with this positive experience I am going to try my 4th grader reading a book online Madam How and Lady Why.  We will see how he does and then possibly add more online reading.  What I have done in the past is simply print the ebooks for him.  It is possible to print most more inexpensively than buying them and with my comb binder I have made some nice little books.  But if he enjoys reading them online I can save myself a lot of work.

For more free online resources check out Susan at Homepreschool and Beyond.  She has a fantastic post with some of the resources I use and some I had no idea about. Click on Homespreschool and Beyond and learn more about how you can get free resources for you home (ebook) library.
Stay tuned for my next post on how to organize all those ebooks.