Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The End of Homeschooling ~ Part 3

When you come to the end of your home education journey, you will have to come to terms with all of the books you have collected over the years. Picture books, field guides, chapter books, textbooks, art books, novels... the shelves go on and on and on.

Evaluating your book collection

How do you decide what to keep and what to let go? Maybe you've already purged your shelves of all but the most treasured of childhood books and now you are down to the high school level reading material. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin to sort those shelves:

1- will my children (or grandchildren) ever want to read this book again?

2- will I or my spouse ever want to read this book again?

3- is this a fairly recent edition in good enough condition that I should consider selling it?

4- is this book a solid resource that would bless some family I know because it fits with their teaching and learning styles (should I gift it to them)?

5- was this a book I wish we had NOT used? If so, is it a poor quality or content weak resource... or did it just not click with my kids?

6- in five years will I wish I still had this book to re-read or loan to family friends?

7-is this book worn out or used up and just needs to go in the recycling bin or kindling pile?

(If you have not already begun this process with the children's picture books and middle school resources, then choose just one area to start with. Move to another area in a month or two.)

Finding new homes for your books

After you've evaluated your books, or at least a few shelves' worth of them, talk with your spouse or adult children and make sure no one is upset by your rating of each book. You might have listed them by final destination spots in a notebook, or simply put color coded post-it note flags in them. Another option is to fill each shelf with books destined for the same end.

Once you've got your piles and the OK from the family for those you want to part with, get online and decide where and how you want to offer those titles from category #3 for sale. Does your local homeschool group host an annual used book sale? Is there a local facebook group to sell them from, or are you going to list them on one of the nationwide used-curriculum sites? Sometimes all you need to do is let your friends with middle school aged kids know what you want to part with. Books from popular homeschool publishers like Apologia, Math-U-See, IEW, and Memoria Press tend to find their new homes quickly!

Next, look over that pile of #4 books. Gently offer these books and resources to families you would like to bless. They might be thrilled with the offer, or they might decline. Don't be pushy, give them time to think over your offer before they need to decide. On a similar note, do NOT make them your dump site! If they only want one or two of your 40+ chapter books, then just gift them those two. You can find somewhere else to dispose of the others.

If you have a pile of #5 or #7 books because they are falling apart or because they were just horribly written, then look for one of those large book and paper recycling bins in the parking lot at the library or supermarket and give then a toss. If that book truly was awful - it can better serve someone after it is recycled into couple of egg cartons. :)

Final thoughts about your book collection

Overall, you probably will not get rid of as many books on this first culling as you initially think. Be willing to lower your price if necessary on books you want to sell, or look for places that collect free used curriculum to bless others with. After six months or a year you may want to go through the process again.

Our house will probably always look like a small library. That's OK with all of us since we have books we love. Our goal is not to get rid of all of the books - just to move the ones we are done using to new homes so that we can better organize and find the ones we love!

Come back later this month for part 4 in the End of Homeschooling series - What about mom?

In the meantime, you can read parts one and two in this series again anytime!

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