After just 6 years using Sonight curriculum we have acquired an amazing library, that can be an amazing thing for most book lovers. I love books as much as the next homeschool mom, however I have as great a desire to keep our home tidy and our homeschool curriculum well organized. If I let all the books we own congregate all over our house, I would start feeling pretty claustrophobic.
Our home has held a wonderful space for our homeschool room, however we only have one bookshelf in our homeschool room and not a single one in our living room. Due to our lack of bookshelves, the books amassing could get out of hand rapidly if I didn’t find a way to hold back the wave of literature threatening to take over.
Most would say, buy more bookshelves for your growing library! I can hear the voices of the homeschool mamas as I write. Well sure we love books but we have chosen to make room for other parts of our life we love like music, art, movies & games. So I maybe I cannot squeeze that extra bookshelf in our living room but the piano is also a lovely sight. No complaints here!
Perhaps you love all the books everywhere, if so, more power to you! That being said, I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has wondered what to do with all these books.
Over the years I have found a way to highlight our books for the two current History/Bible/Literature packages we are working through and keep all the books we are working on prominent in our homeschool space. When we complete a package I pack it away, GASP, I know but I promise I have a good reason for it which I will tackle at the end.
This year we are using History/Bible/Literature B & E along with three separate reader packages. Each of my readers have their own pile of books to read throughout the year and it is easy to lose track quickly. This year I made it a goal to get a system down before I lost my mind trying to keep track of it all and I’m really pleased to say that the system we used this year worked perfectly for us.
(Disclosure: After using Sonlight since I first began Homeschooling, Sonlight approached me to write for the Sonlight Curriculum blog during the 2017/2018 school year. As a Sonlight Ambassador, I’ve received curriculum in exchange for my guest posts. )
How I Keep All Our Sonlight Books Organized
A history spine helps connect the living books we are reading to a smooth historical timeline. Well usually things aren’t too smooth in the course of history, but it helps us string it together. So while we read Across Five Aprils, which takes place over the span if the Civil War, we also read about the Civil War in The Children’s Encyclopedia of American History. We keep our history spine in two difference places because we read them at two different times of the day.
We read our history spine for History/Bible/Literature B in the morning so we keep it in our basket for morning time. My oldest tends to read her history more independently, discussing it with me after she reads it, so we keep the spine for History/Bible/Literature E upstairs in our living room for her to read on the couch during our quiet afternoons.
Just one shelf on our schoolroom bookshelf is used for our read aloud books, I keep them high so little hands cannot destroy them. We stack the books for Literature E on the left side of the shelf & the books for Literature B on the right side! As we complete a read aloud we stack it in the middle between the two. This gives us a huge sense of satisfaction as we see our completed stack of read alouds grow throughout our school year!
With three kids reading this year I finally just got them each a little basket to sort their own reading books in. Before the year begins I sort them so the first book they will read is at the front of the stack and the last one they will read is in the back. This builds anticipation over the year as they look forward to reading their favorite book on their own for the very first time!
We keep our bible books in our morning basket and include that with morning time! Again though, my oldest is more independent so we keep hers in a different spot. She is more likely to remember to do her assignment if I keep her book, Starting Strong, up where she reads before bedtime.
Some of our favorite poetry books are from Sonlight curriculum and we keep them all in our morning basket for morning time. Poetry is typically scheduled in the Instructors Guide every other day so one day we read some for the younger kids and the next day we take a turn reading a poem that is a bit more difficult! Thanks to starting Poetry Teatime a few years back my kids now love reading poetry. This year we have especially loved National Geographic’s Book of Animal Poetry!
We love our timeline books & keep them right in our desk drawers. Honestly we don’t do the timeline book every time it is assigned! Most likely at the end of the week we see which ones we covered over the week and have a little refresher on what we learned as we add them to the timeline book.
Past History/Bible/Literature Packages
After one of the HBL packages is complete we save them for younger siblings. Speaking of hand me downs, it can feel like that to younger siblings who do NOT get a box day when those new books show up. The oldest sibling gets shiny new books to open and adore but the younger kids are typically sitting there with maybe a few new workbooks.
That is part of why I pack ours up! Sonlight books stay in boxes until the day our box of new curriculum comes. Before we open the new box of books I run down to our storage closet and pull out the package that my younger kids will be working on the next school year so they can have a box day too.
Because the books have been in hiding, it keeps a fun surprise for the kids who are going to get the used books so they have something to look forward to on box day too.
This also helps me to keep track of what we have in case we need to add a few new books as the History/Bible/Literature packages are updated. When the changes are released I simply run down to the box that package is stored in, see what books we are missing & add the extra books we want to my curriculum list. No searching the house for books which could be randomly placed everywhere!!!
One year Tenderhearted Guy made a HUGE heart connection to Adventures With Waffles, another year it was Dreaming Daughter with The School Story, those books sit fondly on the shelves in their bedrooms. Sometimes I will make an exception to keeping things in the boxes but it has to be a big time favorite to stay out of the box.
These books have certainly worked their way into our hearts. Hopefully some of these solutions will give your family inspiration to keep your growing library organized!
If you have any ideas to add please share in the comments, I would love to hear what has worked for your family!