By Lisa Marie Fletcher
Books are a homeschooler's best friend. Most homeschooling families I know are just like ours – shelves and shelves of books cover their home. Since books are an essential key to education, we use them all the time.
If you looked closer at my shelves, you'd find I have four main kinds of books.
Young readers need something exciting to read that is within their abilities, yet challenging enough to stretch their skills. I love the DK Readers. Their graduated levels allow for growth, increasingly becoming more detailed. This is a great feature, because the kids can see their development, be encouraged to work towards the next level, taking pride in themselves as they move up.
One of the great things about the DK Readers is that they have such a huge range of stories that feature popular and current characters. They also cover many other topics, so that you could easy include a DK reader in just about any study you are working on: dinosaurs, weather, space, animals, etc. They’re a handy addition to lessons.
Math has so many terms to remember. It can be easy to mix things up or forget what things mean. For myself, too, I went to French Immersion from Grade 7 through high school. When I got to Calculus in my final year, there weren't enough kids to run the class in French and I switched to English math. I was lost because I didn't know the English terminology. I still get things mixed up today. The Math Dictionary has been such an amazing tool to grab as a quick reference when we get confused.
The other math book I like to have close by is Help Your Kids With Math. Sometimes we just need a new way to explain a concept, or something visual to explain it better. This book is perfect for that. (And it helps me understand what I'm teaching!)
One of the things that DK excels at is their reference resources. Our shelves are lined with them. No matter what subject they are about, the books are top quality. What I love the best about their books is how vivid and visual they are. There are bright coloured photos and images all over the pages, making them attractive and interesting to look through.
Among some of my favourites are Pictureapedia. This book is fantastic and I've enjoyed lots of time flipping through the pages with my kids, even the youngest of them, learning about everything from animals to transportation to history to space. It's beautiful and educational.
Also, the DK Eyewitness series. These ones take a single topic and put them in one, detailed book. For example, we were studying Ancient Egypt and the Eyewitness book was a great addition and visual reference for us to learn about Egyptian history.
I know it might not seem like it, but having books for me is important for my homeschool success too. Role-modelling research and reading skills is very important, so I have a collection of DK books that are just for me. I'm a huge advocate of life-long learning, so having books to learn from are a great way for me to do that.
For example, the Get Started: Crochet book was perfect to teach me the basics in crocheting. Although I've only really mastered the art of the mostly square washcloth, it was fun to learn. The Slow Cook Book has been a great way to find new slow cooker recipes. Plus, I've loved learning about digital photography through the Idiot's Guide to Digital Photography. There are so many different resources for grownups from DK.
I love learning, and I want my kids to see that and follow my example.
It's actually amazing to me to discover, once I start intentionally looking at who published the books on my shelves, how many are actually from DK! What's on your shelf?
Lisa Marie Fletcher is a homeschooling mom with 5 kids. When she's not teaching her big kids or chasing the little ones, she can be found at her computer where she works to support the homeschooling community in Canada through her blog, The Canadian Homeschooler. Life is a good kind of busy.