Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to use whatever materials we want, but with that comes the potential to want to own everything we see! As an avid reader, I made it a goal to pass the love for great books on to my children. There was, of course, only one way to do that: I made sure they had plenty of books at their disposal. So, that’s just what I did. We’d have books climbing the walls, shelves, cabinets, the van….you name it. If a book could fit, one usually found its temporary home somewhere in or around our home.
The upside to this is that there were always plenty of good books for my children to access. The downside was figuring out how to store all these books….because heaven forbid I got rid of any of them!
Here are three ways you can limit the amount of curriculum you’re storing:
- Limit the amount of textbooks you buy.
Certain subjects (such as math) don’t require an actual textbook for younger children. Plenty of hands-on activities can teach valuable math concepts your kids will need for life. As kids get older, you may find a textbook useful, especially if you’re teaching a high school-aged child. In such cases, a textbook can be a lifesaver. For other topics, like science and history, you may find using games and activities help teach your children concepts you want them to retain. Still another option is to see if what you’d like comes in audiobook format (if you have an auditory learner), or if it is available as a downloadable e-book.
- Purchase materials that have multiple uses.
Parents familiar with the unit study approach usually buy these types of materials on a regular basis. Some refer to it as the “cross-curricular” approach. Essentially, it means purchasing material that will span at least a couple of subject areas. One great historical fiction book will let you teach reading comprehension, reading strategies, vocabulary, copywork, and history in a fascinating way! It also takes up far less space on your bookshelf than a history textbook, its accompanying workbook, and the mandatory test book for each child.
- Download material when possible.
With sites such as TeachersPayTeachers.com, Educents.com and CurrClick.com, you can have curriculum immediately at your disposal, ready to print on an as-needed basis! Not only will one purchase work for all your children; you’ll also be able to use the materials in future years.
Most long-term homeschoolers go through years of “hoarding,” usually with a “just in case I need it” mindset. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you don’t touch it for three years and don’t actually foresee using it again anytime soon, get rid of it. If it’s computer-based, knock that timeframe down to one year because computer programs become outdated all the time. If you use at least one of the ideas above, you should start finding more space on your shelves in no time!