Back to Homeschool Series – “Book Organization”

August 19, 2013

It’s that time of year again! By the end of August, I’m usually just about ready for autumn to begin. I love this season – the leaves changing, the cooler temperatures, the brand spanking new school supplies, and the excitement that a new school year brings (with no mistakes in it yet)!

I’ve been brainstorming some ideas to share here about organizing your homeschool. I don’t claim to be completely organized – with 6 people in our house we tend to make a lot of clutter, but I like to think that after 10 years of homeschooling (going on 11!), I’ve finally figured out a few things that work well for us. I’d like to share that wisdom with you as I go about getting my home ready for our new school year.

Today I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart – organizing your school books. Now, I don’t know about you, but at my house, we have a LOT of books. I try to keep them at least semi-organized so that I am able to find things when we need them. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a book only to find out that you already own it – or having to hold up your school week because a book has gone missing.

We actually have bookshelves in every room of the house, but I keep all our “school” related books in our main living area. IMAG1660On these shelves I have most of our science/history related reference books:IMAG1669 The American history books:

IMAG1670The geography books:IMAG1672

The high school level history: IMAG1667The main read alouds and readers we’re currently using (along with some strays that seem to always end up here): IMAG1671 Then on the other side of the room we have our other bookshelves (Sorry for the poor lighting, photography is not my thing.):


On this shelf I have our World history books:

These are the ancients and early middle ages books.
This shelf covers middle ages through modern history - though many of the modern history books are pulled right now in my 4th grade pile. ;)
This shelf covers middle ages through modern history – though many of the modern history books are pulled right now in my 4th grade pile. 😉

The art and poetry books (along with some general reference):IMAG1680

Science books:

These are mostly life science books along with our field guide collection.
These are mostly life science books along with our field guide collection.
Earth & Space, Chemistry, and some living math books.
Earth & Space, Chemistry, and some living math books.

And finally, picture books for my youngest:


I’ve probably rearranged our books a dozen times over the years, but I think this set up is my favorite. It’s easy to find what we’re looking for, and for the most part, everything is at our fingertips. Upstairs the kids each have their own bookcase. In the girl’s room there are mostly picture books and board books for my youngest, and tons of literature that my oldest has claimed. My twins bookcase is full of art, non-fiction (especially our dinosaur book collection – I think we have something like 40 dinosaur books), magazines (Discover Kids, Nintendo Power, Zoobooks, and Guitar and Drummer magazines), some literature and the early reader collection.

I also use Delicious Library (for the Mac) to keep track of our books. This is helps me to check if I already have something before I purchase it again, and it also helps when I’m writing a unit study to do a search for all the books we have on any particular topic.

If you have a system for organizing your home library, I would LOVE to hear about it!

Related Article(s):

Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 21 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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About Build Your Library

Have you been looking for a literature based homeschool curriculum that is secular? How about a way to incorporate narration, copywork, dictation and memory work into your child’s education? Or art study that ties into history?

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