On August 22, 2012, we set up the BuildYourLibrary.com website, Facebook.com/BYLibrary page and made Levels 1 and Level 5 available for purchase to the public. Way back 7 years ago, when you placed an order I had to personally check my inbox, write an e-mail and attach the PDF file as an attachment myself and manually click send. Our current automated system is so much better now. There is no way I’d keep up if I was still doing them by hand!
I’d had the idea to design secular literature-based lesson plans for a while. It had been brewing in the back of my head for about a year and a half prior. I had no idea if anyone would buy it, or if they did, if they’d like it. But I knew in my heart of hearts that it was something the homeschool world needed. So I put myself out there and went for it.
I was spending the majority of our homeschooling years adjusting lesson plans to fit our family anyways. We all do it. I was so frustrated that everything I found that might fit what I was looking for was completely saturated with religion. Why hadn’t anyone written something that was secular? So I did. Isn’t that how we homeschool moms roll? We see a need and we fill it the best we can.
With the debut of Level 1 and Level 5 in 2012, I adopted the crazy ambitious schedule of having to have the next year ready by the time customers would need their following level . So I had to have Levels 2 and Level 6 ready by 2013 (and somehow Level 0 (K) snuck in that year also). Then I had to have Level 3 and Level 7 done in 2014, to be followed without pause getting Level 4 and Level 8 done in 2015. Somehow this was all accomplished in the midst of homeschooling my own four children.
At this point in late 2015, full year lesson plans were complete for Levels 0-8. We seriously contemplated stopping there. You are on your own for high school! Just kidding! After many inquiries as to whether we were going to offer high school curriculum, work continued and 2016 saw the completion of Level 9, Level 10 in 2017, Level 11 in 2018, and as of a week ago – Level 12 was released for the 2019 school year!
Just writing all of that out and seeing it in black and white, I have no idea how that was all accomplished… well I know how but it just seems unreal. Especially when you throw 14 unit studies and 17 Family Reading Crates in there!
It sounds so cliche to say it’s truly been a labor of love. But honestly, besides homeschooling my own children, this is the best thing I’ve done. Over the last seven years, I’ve read hundreds of books, searching for the best of the best, I’ve written thousands of pages of lesson plans, I’ve written a book, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve gotten to talk to so many wonderful homeschooling parents, I’ve gotten to travel, and speak, and create a community. I never could have dreamed that my little endeavor 7 years ago would grow into something so wonderful.
I couldn’t have done any of this without all of you! You are the best cheerleaders, the most amazing customers and dearest friends. Thank you for sticking with me over these past seven years! I can’t wait to see what the next 7 will bring.
What’s on the horizon for Build Your Library? Updates, updates, updates! I am always replacing books, tweaking this and reworking that. We also have a slew of new unit study ideas bouncing around. The next (and final!) Harry Potter unit study is definite. And we still have to figure out what our new Family Reading Crate model will be. So there is always something going on, and you know we will let you know as soon as we can.
Again, Thank you all!
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. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.