As Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, we have an extensive collection of living books in our homeschool. As avid readers and book lovers, we have an insane amount of books in our home. (We don’t believe in parting with books in this house much to my husband’s dismay.) It didn’t take long to realize that I had to come up with a way to organize our books so I could find them when we need them.
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How I Organized Our Books Using a Spreadsheet
The realization that I needed some system for inventorying our books came when I started finding multiples of the same book. We file our books by author name in our library, so it was easy to see the problem. I would find multiples of some books and then not find books I was sure I owned.
Library books only exacerbated the issue.
That’s when I devised a plan and created this fabulous spreadsheet. (In a former life I was an accountant, and so I am most at home using Excel.)
The spreadsheet worked great for a while. Anytime I would get a new book I would enter all the data for that book on my spreadsheet and use the “Data Sort” function to put them in alphabetical order by author name. It was just what I needed until I realized it wasn’t coordinating with the rest of my homeschool schedule.
When I wanted to assign a book, there wasn’t a good way to look it up by subject. Tracking what the girls were reading was also difficult, especially over multiple years. I needed a way to track not only our books but any other resources we might use. I needed some organization in my homeschool.
How I use Homeschool Tracker to organize our books and resources
That’s when I discovered Homeschool Tracker.
I like Homeschool Tracker for many reasons, but their Library function has helped me track all our resources with ease. The Library is the area for all your books and other resources such as textbooks, workbooks, videos, online units, etc. The key areas for input are ISBN, Title, Author, Publisher, and Grade Level, but these can be customized to fit your needs.
I add in custom fields to let me know where to find the book in our library and also if there is a Book Adventure test associated with that book.
My favorite part of adding to the library is the ISBN field. Once you enter the ISBN number from your book, the program automatically searches Amazon for the rest of the information and enters it for you. This means I don’t have to type everything in the fields. It even adds a thumbnail picture. You can learn more about the Library feature from the Homeschool Tracker help page.
Another great feature of the Library is that you can export your library to a “.CSV file”. This is great if you want to tweak your library for other uses.
Homeschool Tracker Resource Reports
Once you have all your resources entered in the Library, you can now use them in assignments. Because Homeschool Tracker has a great Daily Task List report, this has been a great tool for the girls to work on independent reading.
The Resource Report lists all the resources assigned for any period you desire and can be customized to fit your needs. I like to use this to print out at the end of the year for our umbrella school. It details all the resources we’ve used and categorizes them by subject. You can find out more about the Resource Report on the Homeschool Tracker Help page.
This is just one of the many ways you can use Homeschool Tracker to organize your homeschool. Using Homeschool Tracker for the last two years has helped keep us organized and made my life more efficient.
And, really, what Homeschooling Mama doesn’t want to be more organized and efficient? Gives us more time to Hide The Chocolate.