Using Your Local Library

by Rebecca Keliher

Purchasing homeschool curriculum can be a huge expense, and the more children you have, the more you need. I want to introduce you to a homeschooler’s best friend: your local library! Homeschooling can be made much more affordable when you reduce your purchases by using books from the library. While it is likely that you won’t be able to find all of your curriculum at your library, you may be surprised by what is there. And if you use Well Planned Lessons or a comparable Charlotte Mason or unit study based curriculum, you will be sure to find many books to go along with your studies.


While using the library can make a lot of sense financially, it helps to be organized. Otherwise you may find that you don’t have the book you need, or that you are paying large fines! Here are some tips to help you use your library effectively:


·    Schedule a specific day and time to visit the library, perhaps first thing Monday morning or the last thing Friday afternoon. Not only will it be easier to find the time, but you will be less likely to rack up those fines. If you do check out books on an off day, be sure to note the due date in your planner or on your calendar.

·         Plan ahead. When you write out your lesson plans, take the time to make a list of book titles and topics with the dates you will need them. Make sure you check out books ahead of time. You can also put a hold on books or take advantage of inter-library loan if you know what you need in advance.


·    Use the online catalog. Most libraries have their card catalog computerized, and you can access it online from home. You can use the catalog as you plan your lessons, make lists of books you want to check out, and even put a hold on books from the comfort of your home. You’ll save lots of time on library day! Libraries increasingly offer Kindle or e-books for check-out as well.


·    Take something with you to carry your books. Laundry baskets, crates, or cloth grocery bags all work well. You don’t want to make three trips to carry all of those books!


·    Be organized. Make sure you don’t have to spend hours looking for books on library day. Keep library books in only one or two locations and teach your children to always put them back when they are finished. A specific shelf, cupboard, basket, or container all make great homes for library books.


·    Teach library skills. Make sure your children understand library etiquette. Also, teach your children how to find their own books. As they get older, you can give them your list of books to collect as well.

With the library as your partner, you can create a unique education for your children without breaking the bank!

 With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

Used  by permission: Originally published at