Book Challenge for a New School Year

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So these are the current state of my main book shelves…


These are my picture book shelves…which, even though my kids are older (12 and 16), I keep a fair amount of because I am a huge fan of picture books…many of these I had long before I ever had kids, as I was a preschool teacher in my pre-mom life and invested a lot in good quality picture books. Also many are my own childhood books…plus many have sweet memories from my kids’ childhoods…

But believe it or not, I’ve actually pared this collection down quite a lot. It used to be much bigger!

Anyway, I still find great value in good quality non-fiction picture books, even for older kids…and I do have little visitors from time to time…so I don’t see much more of these getting purged…


Now these are my educational/homeschooling books…and I REALLY need to go through these and purge a fair bit. I suspect there’s many that are too young for my kids now. And honestly, I’m ashamed to say that usually once a book makes it to this bookshelf, it gets forgotten and rarely looked at or used. Pathetic!! It’s time for a change!!

Any of you also find that you purchase tons of fantastic books for homeschooling, stick them on wonderfully organized shelves where they look so impressive and then NEVER READ THEM OR USE THEM?? What is UP with that?? Why have books if they are never opened??

So this year I am challenging myself…and I invite you to join me…

I’m going to try to force myself to remember to USE these books! There’s some great ones here!

These books are ones I have sifted through over the years for group activities I’ve done…but I could be pulling from them just for stuff to do with my own kids!


This one I got years ago to give me ideas to use all those great picture books! I really need to dig through this this year!!


I’ve got 3 of these Earth Heroes books… Wild Animals, Ocean and Wilderness…great stories to teach my kids about real people! I just need to READ THEM to them!!


Here’s a book I could really use that I totally forgot I had…don’t even remember getting it or where!


This one is fantastic and I don’t think my kids have ever looked at it or even know we have it!!

So, you get the point…there’s tons of great stuff on MY shelves, waiting to be rediscovered and finally read and used…I really don’t need to buy much or even anything new this year I bet, if I just go through all the tons of stuff collecting dust on my shelves already! That’s not even counting the curriculum I got and never used!

So what I’m going to do…and you’re welcome to join me…

STEP ONE: Go through all existing shelves and boxes and purge stuff that is too young and outdated or that I no longer want…narrow it down to just the good stuff, age appropriate.

STEP TWO: Organize everything in a way that makes sense…topic-wise, age-wise, etc…grouping things together to see if I get any new ideas on how to use things…

STEP THREE: Make a plan to use my newly organized books/materials in the new school year. Supplement with library and online materials where necessary, but really focus on USING what’s on my shelves!

I don’t have to get through it all in a year…it will most likely be far too much.

But after organizing, I may have a better idea for some sort of stretched out plan over a number of years…and make a DOABLE plan that can regularly utilize what I already have!

And plan to go through everything every summer and reorganize and replan, depending on how things are going…

I’m horrible at follow through. So I will need the revisit. I will put it into my annual Purge and Clean, or I will forget. And a reminder on my Google calendar now.

Heck, monthly reminders on the calendar to remember to follow the plan, look at the books, aren’t a bad idea…to keep the idea in my head, since it’s common for me to come up with a great idea like this and promptly forget it!!! Heading to my calendar now…DONE!

So what do your book shelves look like? Do you have a lot of unused/unopened books too? Want to join my book challenge?

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2 thoughts on “Book Challenge for a New School Year

  1. We are on the same wavelength… I’ve been doing inventory this last week finding books I forgot I had, books I didn’t know I had, and multiple copies of the same book. I am working on arranging my fiction books by grade level but that is proving harder than I thought as I can’t seem to find a consistent way to figure out the grade levels of the books. I thought Lexile scale would work but some of the scores don’t make sense. WIth all these books, I am wondering if there is some type of app for my iphone that would catalog them so I know exactly what I have?

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