Building Your Home Library on a Budget

February 10, 2014

When you homeschool with a living books philosophy, you’re going to need to invest in a good Building Your Home Libraryhome library. But if you’re like me, you’re probably on a pretty tight budget. Being a living books homeschooler doesn’t mean you have to spend a small fortune or go into debt providing your children with an expansive home library. I’ve been an avid book collector for as long as I can remember, but I’m also extremely careful with our money. Some might even say that I’m cheap. 😉

This cost me about $13 at the library book sale!

My favorite ways to get great books for very little money are to hit the used book sales. Check your local library (and neighboring libraries) for sales – mine has a porch sale every spring, and the big city library 15 minutes away has a huge sale around the same time. I can get stacks of books for just a few dollars. You can check Book Sale Finder to see what sales are in your area.


Amazonamazon is great for shopping for books on a budget. If you pay attention, they have sales all of the shopping for books on a budgettime and you can get a really great deal. For example – if you plan on using our Grade 5 and Grade 6 curriculum to study American History, you’ll need to purchase A History of US: Eleven-Volume Set: Paperback Setamazon. These books are fantastic – they are colorful and well written, making history come alive. I especially appreciate that her books are more about the people who made history rather than memorizing a bunch of dates and names. She makes George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc. feel like real people, who had to make real choices, rather than just facts to be remembered. But these books, fantastic as they are, can cost a fortune if you aren’t careful. Retail value is $175! But right now, amazon has them listed for just $98.98. A few years ago, I purchased them for around $89. But when you see a great deal like this you need to act fast, as prices can change overnight.

Thrift shops can also be a great way to get a great deal on books – I love book-hunting at Goodwill. I’ve gotten some gorgeous books for extremely cheap. Along the same lines, you can find great deals at yard sales and flea markets as well.

The most important thing though – know what you are looking for. Even with great deals, you can end up spending too much on things you didn’t necessarily need. My house is small, so shelf space, unfortunately, is limited. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to purge books to make space – it’s not easy! But if a book hasn’t left the shelf for over a year and I won’t need it in the near future, it has to go. To keep from making too many spontaneous purchases, I keep a list in my purse of all the books I’m currently looking for. I try to shop at least one school year ahead. This helps me to avoid purchases of books I don’t need, no matter how pretty or cool or fun they might look. I mean, how many dinosaur books does one family need anyway (cause we have 50… seriously.)

best-of-the-best children’s literatureInspiring a love of reading in our children is one of the most important things we can do. So fill your home with the best-of-the-best children’s literature, but don’t break the bank doing it. With some careful shopping, you can provide your child with a great home library where they can learn and dream and grow.


I hope you will try out a program and join the Build Your Library family, – building young minds, one book at a time!

Current Full Grade Level Products Available for Purchase:
Kindergarten – Grade 1 – Grade 2Grade 3Grade 4 – Grade 5 – Grade 6Grade 7Grade 8Grade 9 – Grade 10 (coming soon)

Current Unit Studies – Supplemental Educational Products Available for Purchase:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Unit Study – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Unit Study – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Unit Study – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Unit Study – History of Thanksgiving Unit Study – A Jan Brett Christmas Unit Study – Winter Holidays Around the World Unit Study – The Hobbit Unit Study – Darwin and Evolution Unit Study – Sharks! Unit Study – World War II Unit Study – Prehistory Unit Study

Emily CookEmily 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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