Let’s Talk About Books

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Only very rarely do I buy books at full price. The most recent full-price purchases were The Natural History Book and History Year by Year, along with the Islamic History and Science books were are exceptional and well-worth the money. They are all absolutely first rate and deserve a place on any library shelf regardless of whether one is homeschooling or not.

The vast majority of our collection of books have been harvested from thrift shops, publishers outlets, car boots, ex-library sales and gifts from friends and relatives. I would not have been able to afford the collection we have if they were full price. And our collection is extensive and all-consuming since the eldest has always loved, with a passion, all manner of books. The more obscure the better.

The midget is slowly and steadily being sucked in too, although to be fair, is has taken a while to see the benefit of a book over the lure of the dressing up box, but gearing books to his particular range of interests – mainly engineering, science, robots and any kind of lift-the-flap interactive book, has helped him find his way.

When buying books for the homeschool library I try to buy quality over sheer quantity, and I try to find books that will stretch the boys out of their comfort zones as well as buying things I know they’ll love. Catering to their interests is important, but I do like to offer them something new and different as well – you never know when an interest might pique and a new direction take off! I also do not limit them to just ‘childrens’ books’. A great deal of our factual library consists of books meant for adults, like National Geographic and Readers’ Digest. They are excellent and inform more deeply as well as sparking some very interesting conversations.

It is no secret that the eldest leans heavily towards zoology and natural history, as well as space and monster trucks. The midget is well into inventions. But having books outside these interests has slowly opened them up to new fascinations – history is a new interest, for example. And every so often a project will burst into being from an obscure book, bloom and die ready for the next obsession. Books, as you might have gathered, form a very large part of how we do things here.

So, some new loves on our shelves these days ::

:: RHS Wildlife Garden, generating a great deal of ‘at the allotment’ chatter.

::Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide Collection, thrifted and I think out of print, but if you can get your hands on these books a visual treat.

:: Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 8: Fireflies: Freaky Fish and Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 8: Fireflies: Modern Day Explorer: Steve Fossett; I pick these up if I find them cheaply; encourages young readers to have a go.

:: War Boy: A Wartime Childhood and After the War Was Over are two books by the same author recounting his childhood memories of the war and post-war period. An excellent first-hand account that children can relate to; speaks louder than any dry history book.

And if you are just starting out on your own buying-for-children journey then I highly recommend the publishers DK books and Usborne, as well as National Geographic, Readers’ Digest and various factual books by the BBC.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to thrift a new bookcase for our recent acquisitions!

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