Putting together your own curriculum using the library

usinglibraryI have been trying something different this coming school year.  I am utilizing all of the library’s resources and planning my curriculum based on that.  To start, I decided on what topics I wanted to cover for the upcoming school year.  I am using the library’s resources for almost every subject.  Math, Bible, language arts, and foreign languages are subjects where I will purchase curriculum or books.  But for science, music, art, history, geography, and literature I am sticking with the library.

Once I decided on the topics I want to cover, I searched the catalog online and put all the books on hold for that topic that remotely looked like something I would use.  This process is long and tedious especially when you have to tote the books home and go through them one by one.  But it has opened up a treasure of resources.  If I purchased all the items I planned to use on geography alone I would spend well over one thousand dollars.  I will be listing resources and plans on this blog as soon as they are complete.

Once the books are chosen I will then need to mesh all the resources together into a cohesive learning experience.  I’ll have to reserve the books we will read and the DVDs we will watch as well as add in activities.  Lately, I have been checking out about 80 books twice a week for the past couple months.  I should be done with choosing resources in about a month.  At that point I will have to put them all together into cohesive studies.

Here is the result of my most recent library trip.  The largest stack is on ancient Egypt.  I am just starting to look at books and DVDs on that topic.  On the back left is a short stack on the country of China.  I am finishing up picking resources for China.  On the back right is a short stack of books on ancient India.  There isn’t much available on that topic so my resources to choose from are limited.  On the front left are a few books on ancient Europe.  The front middle contains a large stack of DVDs which is mostly about ancient Egpyt this time.  On the front right is a stack of potential literature choices for my younger son.  I am still choosing reading books and read alouds for him.  It will take me about 3-4 days to go through these before I return them for another lot of books.

Why in the world would I do all this when it doesn’t cost much to buy someone else’s plans?  I like personalizing my children’s education.  And one aspect often missing in studies that I can purchase is depth.  My children thrive on depth so we dig deep in the topics we explore.  Also, as I choose resources I can pick and choose ones that I believe will be the best resources to teach my children.  And it sure doesn’t hurt that I enjoy the process.  I also find it easier to teach when I have put the plan together.  By making my own plans I don’t have to try and find the books required for someone else’s plan.  Sometimes a library will have all the required books, but often a parent will have to purchase a handful of books to complete a study anyway.  I am looking forward to using the library as the main contributor to our studies this coming school year.


  1. i thought i was the only one taking out that many books each week…i like to have them around within easy reach so DD can take a look at her leisure..we too an eclectic inour approach to h/s….i am organized by nature & love to work within a schedule so finding it a little hard to go with the flow, but its our first year…love your blog….thanks

  2. We use alot of library materials also visiting three different locations to get everything since we live in a small town – hence small library. This year I created our own math and home ec curriculum. I am a planner so this is just alot of fun for me.

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