The Blessings of a Homeschool Library

I wrote this post, The Blessings of a Homeschool Library, for Sonlight Curriculum.

I'll never forget how happy and proud my son Jordan was after we completed our first year of homeschooling with Sonlight. All the books he read that year sat on the shelf in the order he read them, and he beamed with happiness.

"I read all those books!"

They were not as shiny and new as they had been when we started. Little hands had worn and tattered the books. Evidence of dog-eared pages, bent covers, and smudges were noticeable from handling as he carried the books around with him, outside in the sandbox, or in his bed late at night.

But most of the wear was from the trudging hands of a little boy who didn't like to read and who didn't think he was good at it. His confidence was at an all-time low when we began homeschooling.

It was hard, but he read every single book on the schedule that year and was so proud.

At that moment, I was decidedly thankful I chose Sonlight for our first year of homeschooling.

Had I not had the books displayed on the bookshelf though, he might not have felt such an accomplishment because the next year I tried to save money. I bought an old IG and borrowed the books. We had all the books we needed that year, but not all at the same time, and it was a lot of work and hassle to round-up a book when I needed it.

We had a wonderful year of learning, but at the end of our school year, my son did not feel as accomplished. In fact, he felt a little sad. He remembered how good he felt at the end of his first year of homeschooling and missed seeing all his books lined up on the shelf. In fact, he even asked me if we could buy his books the next year!

We did because we could see that there really was something to working on his book list and seeing the books on the shelf, as he went and at the end of the year. Seeing them all lined up made him feel accomplished.

So we built our library one year at a time, and I'm delighted to have a homeschool library of our own right here in our home.

Looking at all the books lined up on the shelf makes me happy knowing that we have had 12 wonderful years of homeschooling with the blessings of a homeschool library!

A Homeschool Library is a blessing because...

  • it builds self-esteem and confidence in your child. I'll never forget how proud my son was for reading "all those books!" and the impact it had on him. 

  • it's really nice to just grab the next scheduled book right off the shelf when you need it. Our library is wonderful in that you can give them a book list and they will find the books for you, but it is still a hassle, takes time, and often involves a fee.

  • you can use the books over and over. As my kids grow, they reread many of the books I have read aloud to them — sometimes two or three times if it's a favorite book. 

  • with homeschooling multiple children, we will go through each level three times, so building a library has been well worth the money spent.

  • you can help other homeschool families who are in need. I've been known to loan out complete levels from our Sonlight shelves when I see a need. 

Malachi, 13, is pictured here reading a Level F reader from our homeschool library. He has read all the read-alouds from Levels A, B, and C which are books I originally read to him.

How to Care for Your Homeschool Library

Here are a few things I have done over the years to help keep books nice:

  • I try not to worry about it. I like to keep our books nice, but I didn't want to add any extra stress to a struggling reader, so I decided to let my kids wear them out and replace beloved books as needed. I'd rather they love a book than have the book rest on the shelf unread. In fact, I remember when I had to replace the Usborne Book of World History from Levels B and C. Malachi carried that book around as a preschooler until the book fell apart, and of all my kids, I think he loves History the most! I've also had to replace The Beginners Bible more than once!

  • I use a miracle eraser to remove fingerprints, dirt, smudges or other marks on glossy covers - even from permanent ink. Just a light rub with a slightly damp miracle eraser should get it clean, but be careful because if you scrub too hard, the ink will rub right off the book. They really do clean up nice! 

  • if you like to keep your library organized, have children use a ruler as a bookmark when they take a book off the shelf to keep books in order. I like to put them in order on the shelf so I can see how far we are along and so I can grab the next book with ease, but with giving my kids free access to our library, I've never been good about keeping them organized! I just grab the book list and put them in order when we start a new level. 

  • don't forget to dust! A light dusting with a feather duster is a fun job for kids! 

The investment we've made to build a homeschool library is an investment we've made in our children and was well worth the effort. With twelve years of homeschooling down and twelve more to go, it's a blessing to have a homeschool library!


Previous editions on Delightful Learning:


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  1. We love Sonlight as well! I have a question on your shelves/cubbies - are they Ikea or something else? One of our struggles in keeping things organized is finding shelving/cubbies that are tall enough for the IGs and some of the books to fit (like the Usborne World History).

    1. Hello, yes, the shelves are the Kallax shelf units from IKEA. :)