Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Do You...Plan a New School Year? {Part 2}

How do you keep track of all the book possibilities when planning a new school year?

Last Wednesday, I talked about how I narrow down what to teach when planning a school year.  Since we don't use a box curriculum, our choices are endless.Today I'm focusing on how I find books on our chosen topics and how I keep track of all those lists of books!

Since we have no limitations on what books or methods we can use, my mind is always alert to ideas.  A friend may rave about a book series they read for history.  If it sounds like something we'd enjoy and it fits the next time period we need to cover, I do a little research and pencil it into our plans. If I glimpse an art book in the bookstore that seems to fit our style, I make a mental note to look it up later. I often work several years ahead, not because I have to, but because I have more ideas than I have time to implement them!

The key is getting my ideas out of my head and onto paper before I forget and maybe miss out on a gem.  Sometimes I simply scribble a title or author in the margins of my planning notebook. Lately, though, I've been taking advantage of two online list systems. 

The first is the Amazon wishlist.  If I hear about a book I may want to use for science, I save the title to an Amazon wishlist, designated for school books.  Adding to the list does not mean I intend to purchase it from Amazon or even purchase it at all, but I put it there as a reminder. 

I also use the list system available on my local library's online card catalog.  If the library owns a book that I want to use for school, I click "Save To My List" and I am able to save dozens of books into as many categories as I create . 

So how does all this work from a practical standpoint?  Say, for example, I read about a book on architecture on a friend's blog.  I know I want to study architecture for art next year so I check to see if my library has a copy.  They have a copy available so I save it.  If they do not own the book, I check Amazon and put the item on my wishlist. Later when I'm compiling my resources for the year, I read back through my lists, narrow down my choices, and gather all the books I need. 

How do
you find and keep track of books or resources you want to use?


My How Do You...? series is ending soon.  Is there anything you want to know?  Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page or send me an e-mail.  I'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, you can browse the archived index of past topics.


  1. We find books in a similar fashion - also searching Amazon on topics, and then checking the library catalog. I usually jot down ideas on a magnetic notepad I keep on the side of the fridge.

  2. I often save books to my Amazon wishlist to look at later. I've never used the library's list feature, but I might look into that.

  3. Thanks for sharing these tips!! I am always putting items into my Amazon cart...but never thought to access the wish list. And I didn't know that the library web site had such a feature. So now I can add some online lists to my pencil-and-paper lists! Yay!

    Off to make lists...


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