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Upper elementary and above: Help me cull our books and decide how much to keep (especially history and science)


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I want to downsize our books. I have no room to buy more if I don't get rid of some, but I've already done the easy sorts of early readers etc that the kids have outgrown. Now my focus is on the history and science books I've accumulated. Yes, they are all wonderful books and great resources and all that, and I love having them on hand for the kids to pick up and read through. But seriously, how many do I really need (we also live near several libraries). I also don't want to regret getting rid of them.

 

Many are DK, Usborne, GreenLeaf, etc books. My children are going into fourth grade. We have many books on Ancient Egypt for example. Or the usborne internet linked science or history books. We also have several thicker history encyclopedias such as kingfisher, usborne and more. What would be a good way to determine how many or which ones to keep? If you have these types of books, how do you use them in your home and school? The reason we have so many to begin with is at they were early readers and loved non fiction, especially encyclopedia type books. Now they are usually more interested in reading novels in their free time. Or something more comic such as the horrible histories or venezia's books. They do still read through them, just not as much as when they were younger. We have well over 1000 books.

 

Thank you.

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Look at the table of contents for like items and see which of two similar items, you feel is the better. Compare scope + sequence and then read the passages on the same topic. Who has more detail? Whose graphics are more pleasing, clear and better explained? Do they have vocab in the margins (maybe pronunciation/definition) What about the glossaries? Which is more complete.

 

Check your library catalog and see if you will have access to the books should you change your mind?

 

I would keep one complete set of Encyclopedias and then which ever publisher has the superior materials. Once I had all the books that I was nixing, I'd give the kids a chance to rescue a max of 3 books--just in case you were planning on nixing their favorite or something.

 

We just borrow all our books from the library and our homeschool is 70-80% reading library books.

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I have many times more that in books, but it helps in that there are some non-fiction out on designated shelves for free reading and some I put in rubbermaid bins by topic for when we reach that time/subject in our studies so it will be "new" to them. My oldest loved to read non fiction also (still does) so he went through a lot of those NatGeo books, DK books etc.

Right now I have a bin for: Ancients, WWI/WWII, American History, Chemistry, Earth Science, Astronomy and Biology . Each has things from spines/picture books/teacher guides/dvds, etc. in them We have out the middles ages and the physics right now. Also I can store books in there I find that might be better suited to later grades. 

I like this so if I find some books at a garage sale/thrift store I can bring them home and pop them into their tubs or sort those out for free reading.

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The classic WTM forum answer:  You just need to buy more bookcases. :)

Our older kids love re-reading the younger books, and the thick reference books work great if we have a gap in our book collection.

I'd keep all of the ones you like . . . at the bare minimum.

But I would hate to either need the book I had just pitched, or be unable to get to the library before starting a unit, etc.

It's just easier to have a big book collection!

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Fourth grade still seems a little young for a major purge. I think in terms of the history cycle--we'll be starting our third time through ancients this fall (just my 6th grader and me). I may purge a few things that I know we won't use this summer, but I probably won't majorly purge until next year. At that point, we're done with ancients (my kids will do public high school), and I will just keep the really good stuff, the classics, the things that I can imagine they just might use in high school. Some things will stay around for grandkids. I don't really want to get rid of the Let's Read and Find Out books or the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History--that was dd's favorite.

 

We're not much help, are we?

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I wish I could do a major book purge, but DS would go crazy if I tried to get rid of anything at all. We are moving shortly and I'm going to packing up many thousands of books. The only thing he let me get rid of we're some babish Read and Chew books:)

So more bookshelves for us. At least we will still have them all in twenty years when he brings the grandkids over:)

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Get rid of books? I'm not sure I understand.... Like Beth S. said, just buy more bookcases.  Surely you have some nook or corner free?  

 

Seriously, I would separate books according to subject and then separate again for specific topic.  Keep the books that give the best explanation in depth and eloquence.  Keep your favorites no matter what. I would get the kids opinions too.  It might renew their interest in non-fiction.  Good luck and Congrats on all the new books you'll be getting.

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I get rid of books every year. Basically if you have owned it for some time and it hasn't been read or used...donate it, sell it...whatever. I used to have the "but I might want it/use it, later" problem. But later never comes. 

 

We're big time book collectors as well. But we've basically hit critical mass as to how many bookshelves we can add to our home. 

 

I've basically narrowed it down to essentials that I know will be used and read.

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Purging good books... people do that? There was a Boromir meme going around Facebook earlier this year that expresses my opinion. "One does not simply stop buying books because one has run out of shelf space."

 

I would sort them by topic and type and perhaps clean out redundancies or badly abridged editions though.

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Purging good books... people do that? There was a Boromir meme going around Facebook earlier this year that expresses my opinion. "One does not simply stop buying books because one has run out of shelf space."

 

I would sort them by topic and type and perhaps clean out redundancies or badly abridged editions though.

 

Oh I never stop buying the books!!!! :)

 

But unless I buy a bigger house there won't be room for anything else!

 

So I have to get rid of things to make room.

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Sigh. We struggle with the same problem. Many of the classics our library discards wind up in our home.

 

Our library got rid of the community bookmobile several years ago. My kids asked if we could buy it and just keep it in the driveway and fill it with our books. . . that would have been so wonderful . . .

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