Monday, July 31, 2006

Summer Planning Madness

I finally finished the summer reading list for The Goose. Now all I have to do is make her use it, LOL. While I've been slacking off from posting, I've spent the last several weeks trying to narrow down our reading choices for the next school year.

This year we'll be doing Early Modern history a la WTM, 1600-1850. So we'll hit the time period I know and love best: colonial times. It always seemed silly to me to do the same material in school over and over again -- half the year spent on the Revolutionary War, another third spent on everything up to the Civil War, and then spending the last six weeks of the school year trying to cram in everything that took place after the Industrial Revolution. Changing the scope and sequence for history is one of the reasons we homeschool. But I still get excited thinking that we'll get to read Johnny Tremain this year.

There are so many good books available for this time period that it's hard to choose just a few to digest. I found a list of Sonlight titles arranged in WTM order, and that was extremely helpful. Using that, I marked up my Veritas Press, Sonlight, and Rainbow Resource catalogs. I've got notes of the prices for each title I'm considering. And then I finally cracked open my Story of the World activity guide and started winnowing down their list of suggested titles.

"But wait!" you interject. "You mean you're BUYING your books? What about that great big-city library system of yours?" Yes, in the past I've bought most of my books. I spent two years flipping through my SOTW activity guides, hunting online for titles at my local library branch, and finding only a handful available. I'll come out and say it right now: my local branch stinks, and the mere thought of spending hours every week requesting books through ILL makes me ill. Placing my school schedule and resources at the mercy of a clunky government agency just rubs me the wrong way.

This time around has been better, but it's still frustrating to find that 20 other branches carry the book I want, but my local branch doesn't. Or to find that the only copies available in the entire City of LA library system can be found only at the downtown Central Library.

So yes, I'll be buying most of our history books this year. But since we'll be out of the house on Fridays this year, I know I'll actually be able to set foot inside the library more than once. Finding the books I want while keeping the Flock both quiet and nearby is another challenge entirely.

I don't usually plan this much for history during the summer, but I'm tired of having things sneak up on me during the year. DH and I spent an afternoon planning our life schedule through the end of the calendar year (yes, we actually do this on a recurring basis) and I found 180 days of school to pack in around it all. Just doing that much has really taken a load off my mind.

Now, if I can just find the cheapest place to buy all my science books...


Faerie Rebecca said...

Definitely check out for used books. They list any copy available on the internet--from used to new to collectible. Gives you a good feel for prices. And the curriculum swap boards at are great.

Sherry said...

OK maybe I'm rubbing it in or maybe you already have this capability, but here in big-city Houston, all I have to do is go online, put in the books and materials I want to borrow, and request them. The librarians at my branch gather the books from their branch or from other branches in the system and have them waiting for me on a reserve shelf when I come to pick them up.

That said, if my finances allowed, I'd own all the books we use. I already own a lot. Have a good year.


It is frustrating when you have to rely on an inadequate system. The other problems you run into using the library system is the other homeschoolers studying the same thing and they have the book checked out and it's on hold for five other families!


Silly Old Mom said...


Thanks for the website tip. I just bookmarked it. I've used for gathering prices on new books, but I didn't know there was a similar site for used titles. Woo hoo!

Silly Old Mom said...


Rub away. All I ask is that you hold the salt. The wounds are still tender.

I did try making a reservation a year or two ago. I got an automated call that the book was ready. Too bad I'd already found the book, LOL.

I guess a big part of it is I tend to be lazy (at this point you should be SHOCKED! and saddened), and I don't trust myself to drive my lazy butt over to the library every week. In the past I would just do without the living books. Buying them forces me to use them. Stupid and lame, but true.

Silly Old Mom said...

Oh, duh. I'm such a dunderbrain. does show used prices as well as new. I totally forgot. I gotta stop being on hold with phone companies and ISPs -- my brain cells are dying en masse.