Some homeschool families prefer to dedicate an entire room (or floor) of their home to their homeschool treasures. When you walk into their homeschool rooms, you’ll likely see maps and educational posters on the walls, and books. Lots and lots of books. Our family is a little different. In fact, when you enter our (small) house you may notice something is missing. That’s because, in our house, we homeschool without books.
Now, before you alert the authorities, allow me to explain…
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As I said, our small house is just not big enough for a home library. However, this doesn’t mean we do not use books in our homeschool. We simply choose not to own them. In fact, I can count the number of books our family owns (excluding my husband’s comic book collection) on my fingers. We each own a physical copy of the Bible. My oldest son owns the complete set of Harry Potter books (hardback, of course). In addition to these books, we own three reference books. That’s it.
So, how do we manage to homeschool without books? Do our three boys sit in front of a screen all day? Are we depriving them of the pleasure of being able to turn the pages in a “real” book? Secretly, are we really just a “fake” homeschool family who hates books? Absolutely not. We love books, and we read them all of the time. We just don’t own very many of them.
Currently, we use My Father’s World for our homeschool curriculum. As you may know, My Father’s World uses lots of wonderful books in their program. So, how can I say we homeschool without books? Well, we are actually renting our homeschool supplies. I purchase our family’s curriculum at the beginning of the school year. When we are finished with the books for the year (usually by mid-May) I sell them.
So, say I pay $400 in August for the Creation to the Greeks package. Our family will use the program for 9 months and sell it when we have finished with it. If we sell it in May of the following year for $200, then we would have “rented” the curriculum for $200 or about $22 dollars per month. As a result, our family benefits from being able to read wonderful books throughout the school year, AND we don’t have to add any additional (long-term) clutter to our home.
Another program we use which allows our family to be able to homeschool without (owning) books, is Kindle Unlimited. Every member of our family owns a Kindle. Because we also have Amazon Prime, we have access to even more (free) books through Prime Reading. We prefer to read “real” books, however, with our Kindles, we have access to thousands of e-books (which our library doesn’t carry). In addition, my youngest son enjoys listening to audio books on his Kindle.
My absolute favorite resource for homeschooling without (owning) books is our local library. Our family takes full advantage of the free books and services offered through our library. However, we try to limit the number of books we check out per trip because we lack the space to keep them in our home. In addition, by limiting the number of books we check out from the library
if when we accidentally forget to return them on time, our fines are minimal.
Our library also offers an online service through Overdrive. With Overdrive (and a library card), we are able to borrow e-books, audio books, and videos. And the good news is, these items are returned electronically, so I don’t have to worry about late fees.
As a homeschool family, we frequently utilize Amazon Prime and Netflix to watch documentaries and educational programs. Additionally, once you sift through all of the dog, cat, and Minecraft videos, YouTube is a treasure-trove of educational resources. And, best of all, it’s totally free!
So, you see, our family gets by just fine without (owning) books. By “renting” curriculum, borrowing books from the library, and taking advantage of paid (as well as free) services, we are able to homeschool without books. Despite the fact that my house is not large enough for a dedicated homeschool room, I can still appreciate a well-organized “classroom”.