Topic | Using library books

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  • Cindy K

    Like  many homeschoolers, I use the library extensively. This is my first year using the Organizer and Sonya’s 5-Step CM Planner to plan our year. I have found some wonderful books to include in my plan, many of which I can get at the library and therefore don’t want to have to buy. However, I have to be careful that I get them reserved in time to have them when we need them, but not be blocked by someone else having it checked out, and yet not checking it out so early that it is due back before we are finished using it. (A couple of books we are using this year only have 1 or 2 copies in our library system and I have had to wait for them this summer while checking them out for review/planning purposes because of someone else having it checked out already.)

    How do you handle this juggling act? Do you have a “system” for remembering to get the upcoming books on hold? How do you remember to get the books you will need soon checked out in time so that you don’t get up Monday morning, look at the Scheduler and go “Oh, my gosh! I forgot to check out those books for this week!” LOL! And at what point do you decide that you might as well just buy that book instead?


    This is something that is always a struggle-the save money issue vs the time issue!

    For me, I try to buy as many of the time sensitive resources as possible. This is mostly history-it’s hard to move on in time order if you don’t have the books in time order. It may affect other subjects too depending on how you cover them.

    For those subjects that don’t require time order, I’m more willing to borrow from the library. So for literature, it doesn’t really matter if we read Heidi before Pollyanna so I can just get the one available first. This would work for literature, music appreciation, art appreciation, and maybe science readers (depending on your approach).

    As far as remembering to reserve books at all, it would probably be best to have a specific day (say Wed) to jump online and reserve those books you need. I always do it the day after we visit the library since they will almost always get there in a week and they will hold them for up to a week.

    HTH, Rebecca


    I know that if I get a book that’s available within our system it only takes about 3 days max to get it, now if I get an interlibrary loan it can take upto a week or more.  I try and plan 2 weeks ahead for those.

    A couple things for me.  I’d rather pay 10, 20 or 30 cents and finish a book that I might not want to buy then to have bought it and then hated it.  Also, I as Rebecca said buy all our history books because I don’t want to go find them.  That said I use the SCM modules for that and then I might request ADDITIONAL books from the library that I want but don’t have to be in exact time frame.

    Good luck, it’s a hard choice to make. Misty


    This has definitely taken time to workout and since we are fairly new to CM (this coming fall will be our first full year) I’ve had to tackle it a little bit each day.

    I made a list (you could print it, too, I suppose) of the history module for my oldest kiddos and searched the library online. If they had it I marked it in pink, if not it got yellow, if we own it, purple.  That gave me a good indication as to how many books I may have to buy myself or do Inter Library Loan for, especially if I felt they were too expensive and not sure if I want/need to own it.  My 11 yo’s list wasn’t that bad. We own 3 of them, the library has 13 and the other 3 we bought. My 8yo’s was okay, too. The library had the first 8, which I thougt was great, then we had to buy a couple or do ILL, then buy a couple more then the library had another, etc.  We ended up buying about 6 of them. It wasn’t because the ILL wasn’t working, but his books were fairly easy to get through, plus, I like to own some of our books, as well.

    Having the books color coded helped me to see *at a glance* how close I was to needed to get that next book, library or otherwise.  I also scour used book stores, the Goodwill, thrift stores so if I find one (even if the library has it) for .25 then I’m grabbing it:)

    I did the same thing with their literature and science.  I have to know in advance of what I’m doing and like to get my supplies way ahead of time and the only way I can do that is write it down (all the books) and search the library and go out looking for the books.  I do use amazon, paperback swap and ebay, as well. 

    I have no idea if I helped to answer your question, but I hope so. 


    For my own planning I write in red on a week when I need to request books and for which week. I try to allow 2 weeks for the bok to come in, that also gives me time to find soemthing else if it looks like the book is lost. 

    Cindy K

    @6boys1girl: I am buying all of our history books for the year, and I see your point about literature. Not a problem. The problem potentially exists because I am planning my own conceptual physics/astronomy course for my middle school boys. I still might run into the problem of getting the books when I need them in time for the unit we are doing. If the book is available, it only takes 2 days to get the book. But what if it’s checked out to someone else already?

    I have bought several that will be used all year as our “core” books, but wondered about any others that I might want to use. The problem would never have come up if I hadn’t noticed that the county library system only has 2 copies of a book I want to review for our physics course and both of them are checked out. Of course in this case, once I do get to see the book and decide if we will use it, it will be one that I will buy because it won’t be a shortly-used book. It just got me to thinking about the “problem”.

    @Iamasahm: I see your point about paying the fine for a couple of days in order to finish a book. I just always feel like a “bad” library patron when I do that! But it is worth it.

    @my3boys: I love the color-coding idea! I already have my books in 2 lists for those that are “library”, those that are “paperbackswap”, and those that are “buy”. I use Excel for that, so the color-coding will work great for that! Thanks!

    @kcoard: I write in red on a week when I need to request books and for which week.

    What do you mean that you writin in read on a week? Are you talking about a paper-based planner? Just curious!



    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one concerned about this!  This is our first year to Homeschool and I’m planning to use the library as much as possible due to costs.

    Kelly Bond

    I love the library, too, and have a plan for this year…we’ll see how it works! If I’m sure I want to have a certain book, and the library only has a couple of copies, then I will likely buy that book (used, if at all possible!). The stress involved in wondering if it’s going to be available and it’s really that important to me…then it’s worth buying it. If there are lots of copies and no holds when I’m looking at a particular book, then I’ll take the chance and place it on hold, then “suspend” the hold (it’s on my hold list, but not active. One click by me and then it will become active when I choose.) So, I recently finished our lesson plans for Sept, Oct, and Nov. Please keep in mind…this took me a long time to do! But I made a list of all the books I want for those three months, organized by the month or specific date, as the case may be. I have them all listed in my holds, and they’re inactive right now. About a month before I need them (that’s the length of time our library allows the average book to be checked out), I’ll go through and activate them. How I remember to do this? I set aside one night a week for homeschool planning/research/whatever. This is a night I would go on our library’s website and activate any books I needed.

    Hope this helps! Please ask any follow up questions if this doesn’t make sense.



    Yes Cindy, I use a paper based planner.   I just plan about 5 weeks or so in advance to make a note of the books I need and at the end of each week I make the online reservations for the books I will need.


    Hope that makes sense.


    I used the library and inter-library loan extensively last year and plan to again this year.  As an example: I used 106 days of Creation last year and I went through the whole book in the summer before school started and I put post-it-notes to order a certain book a week or so ahead of the lesson that I would need it.  For the most part it worked out great.  A couple of them I ended up postponing and eventulally I did “break down” and buy one as I got tired of waiting for it because someone took over a month to return the book.  That’s what happens when you are on a very small budget like us!  We just try and make the best of it.

    Good Luck

    Cindy K

    Wow, you are quite the planner to have sticky-noted the entire book for the year! I don’t know if I can do that!

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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