** Book Basket - Ideas for obtaining books (author reply)

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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** Book Basket - Ideas for obtaining books (author reply)

Unread post by Marie »

hisgraceissufficient2004 wrote:I have been searching through weeks 1 - 8 and have yet been able to find a book in my library system. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Feeling a bit desperate! Thanks for any input or suggestions.
Love in Jesus,
None of those books are required. They are just suggested books-- ones we have read and thought were of good quality. (We read hundreds and thousands of books to compile our lists.) Everyone has a different library situation so the list is just a guide.

To use the list as a guide, search at your library to see what is available on the topics from the list. Look in picture books, juvenile, and adult (for the pictures when studying countries). Don't forget videos.

You might ask at your library about interlibrary loan for books on the list that are marked with an asterisk (*) as these are really the best.

Marie Hazell
Heather (WI)
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:02 pm

Unread post by Heather (WI) »

We also do what Marie and Kelly suggested... search the "topic area" at your library (asking your librarian for a copy of the Dewey Decimal numbers helps, also). I have found some real "treasures" that way.

Also, knowing ahead of time what books you really want to have can help. Then, you can put a "hold" on them at the library and they can get them through ILL.

Have fun!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Ideas for obtaining books (author reply)

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:17 pm
First, does your library provide an inter-library loan service? Some of the books I have to order from out-state. My librarian will take care of ordering them, as long as I give her all the info about the book from the ECC manual. I usually have to figure out which ones aren't available locally about a month ahead of time, because this process takes a while. In fact, ds loved the "Anatole in France" book so much that we keep ordering more out-of-print Anatole books from throughout our state :o)

The other idea is, if you are willing to pay for a super-deluxe package with tons more books & that is not yet available from MFW, could you go to ChristianBook or someplace online, & just create you own package? Purchase say the *starred* items with asterisks beside them in the category you are most enjoying now (picture books verses readers etc.)? If you purchase them from one source, at the same time, then shipping is minimized (Amazon even provides free shipping for orders over $25).

And as a last resort, depending on where you are in ECC (we're just finishing Germany), if you e-mail me I might be able to send you any books we are done with & have in our home library (I've had kids for 20 years & have way too many kids books!!!).

I must be more grateful for my library, which has a max of 100 books per card (& we have several cards in our family LOL)!
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KellyBell's Ideas

Unread post by kellybell »

[edited to compile ideas archived from other KellyBell posts]

Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:15 pm

Yikes, three books per subject! That's a bit restrictive. Here are the first knee-jerk reaction ideas I can think of.
First off, Julie's Interlibrary Loan idea is one to look into. Here are some other ideas.


1. If the library does NOT have the books on the lists, I found that if I just did a search (we've got a great library web site for card catalog searches and reserving books) on the country ("China") and the age ("child") and reserved a few that sounded good. I looked for cookbooks, fiction, maps, folklore, informational books, tour guides, beginning language books.

2. If the library DOES have books on the subject and you are hitting that three book limit, then can you check out your three on Brazil and have your homeschool buddy (who is certainly suffering from the same issues) check out three more on Brazil and have your mother in law get three more on Brazil. You'd have to arrange time to swap books.

3. It might be a pain, but perhaps you could get in the habit of previewing books and putting stars next to YOUR favorites. Perhaps, while you are studying USA, you could also check out three Canada books, three Mexico books, three Brazil books and seeing what you REALLY like and trying to reserve them at the right time. Maybe if you reserve a few Brazil books for this week, a few more for next week (when you return the first ones), etc.

4. A better way would be to equip your children with library cards if the "three book" limit is per card and not per family.

5. Can you approach the library for an exemption of the rule? Perhaps there would be a form you could fill out saying you homeschool and require extra books. Are there exemptions for teachers at public or private schools? Maybe if a group of you wrote a letter... Can you talk to the city council or the library board? Maybe see how the library decides on check-out limits, etc. See how they work and then work to change it (a good project to get homeschooled teens working on) to help you.

6. If the local library has any sort of budget, recommend a few books for purchase.

7. Similarly, if all the local homeschoolers would commit themselves to donating books to the library (on the condition the books would circulate) then perhaps you could grow the library.

8. What does your library mean by "one subject?" Does that mean a Brazil cookbook and a Brazil geography book and a fiction book about a little boy in the rain forest are all the same subject although they are quite different?

9. Bring it up with your local homeschool group. How do they get around the crummy library issue? They might have some great ideas for how to handle the problem. Or maybe they can approach the library together.

10. Get to know the librarians. You could even provide a schedule to your librarian so she knows that you need France books the first part of April and she could be looking for them. If your library allows reservations, use that service so that your France books will be waiting for you and not checked out by someone else when you need them.


1. Can you use a private or public elementary or middle school library? If you can't, do you know someone that can? My next door neighbor is a third grade teacher at a public school and I think if I were in this bind, I'd ask her how I could use the library at the school we'd be bused to if we attended school.

2. Is there a church library you can use? They are typically smaller libraries but usually have a great selection of books and videos. Even if your church doesn't have a library, bigger churches usually do. Never hurts to ask.

3. Does your school system sell used textbooks or used library books? Our local Christian school sells their discards in the spring (plus, the Christian schools are more likely to have books that line up with your worldview). Does your library sell used books? Is there a book swap in your area?

4. Take a look at your own shelves. Don't forget kids' Bibles, cookbooks, art books. Don't forget your MFW package books. My kids loved looking at the atlases when I stuck them in the book basket. You can tuck in whatever "package" books you can find. Ideally the book basket is centered around what you are studying in history, science, music, etc. but realistically it might not be. I'm guessing you have more than a basketful of books at home.

5. Figure out what books you most want and try to own them. I like half.com, amazon.com, and ebay. And when you are done, sell them for the same price or so. Sell them at the end of the year to someone else desperate for MFW books! We really liked the People Like Me series and bought two of them and kept them in the book basket pretty much all the time, bookmarking the pages relating to what we were studying.

6. Purchase books that can be used for more than one unit. So, instead of a book on Brazil and another one on Mexico, get an international book that covers many countries. This week, put a bookmark in Mexico, next week, move it to Canada.

7. Don't forget the internet. You can get a lot from there. I've printed articles and pictures from there and stapled them together and stuck them in the book basket. Also coloring pages and the like. Or have a friend do it for you if the printer is the issue. Email her some links and buy her a pack of paper at the beginning of the school year.

8. Look for a CD-ROM encyclopedia and challenge the kids to find articles on the current topic (CD-ROM World Books are pretty inexpensive).

9. If time permits, make regular trips to the thrift store and keep an eye out for some excellent books there (and I'm so cheap that I go there on half-price days). If you can get an encyclopedia set from there, you can always pick the volumes that have the right articles in them, stick a post-it on the articles and stick them in the book basket. Check garage sales. You only need a few books, so this would be just a few dollars.

10. Get to know the local used bookseller and let him know what you'll be needing and ask him to look out for the titles. A tray of brownies might seal this deal. Ask him if you can sell back to him when you are done. This would cost a little, but not a lot.

11. Use the MFW book lists for gift suggestions. Tell grandma and grandpa what books your dc need for their birthdays and Christmas. Or ask for Amazon, CBD, or B&N gift cards. Once you get them on board, then you can sell any books you are done with and get a little more pocket change for buying books. Have an "around the world" birthday party and suggest international books for gifts. Is that tacky though?

12. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for resources for these certain countries or certain time in history. Maybe some neighbors have some maps of France or books on India. You never know. Be willing to take all sorts of things (magazines, travel brochures, newspaper articles) in addition to books. Tell them when you anticipate needing them ("we'll be studying Kenya in February, could I pick up your photos then?")

13. Ask other local homeschoolers (regardless of if they use MFW or not) how they overcome the library issue. There might be a good book swap or lending program in your local support group. Are there any families that did ECC recently (or another around-the-world study)?

14. Try to organize a book swap with local homeschoolers (and "concerned parents" of public schoolers -- I'm guessing they are frustrated too).

15. If you know someone else doing MFW1 (or whatever year) see if you can buy some books and she can buy some books and if you stagger your school year a little (ie. she is on day 12 when you are on day 40), then perhaps you can share.

16. When traveling, check out the local library of where you are. You could go there a few times a week for "book basket" time.

17. Ask a homeschooled (and driving) teen how often she goes to the library. Would she be willing to pick up books for you?

Don't feel desperate because MFW is flexible and there's really not a "required" book on those lists. Let us know what works. We'll keep brainstorming.
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Unread post by annaz »

Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:45 pm

I live a bazillion miles from the nearest library which is no good. And the next closest library is no good.

So, I order everything from Amazon, but I really do the "Search Inside" and I read the age levels and all the reviews before I buy. If it's iffy, I don't buy it. I only buy what she'll use more than once. We have a pretty good library at home already. But owning a few great books beats going to the library for many so-so ones. And I still come out cheaper than buying a full-on literature-based program.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:59 pm

Just one tiny suggestion here... :)

Make a list of the major topics from the reading list in the TM (such as: all 50 states, Civil War, Ben Franklin, George Washington, Revolutionary War, Abe Lincoln, Civil War, Pilgrims, Pioneers, Transcontinental Railroad, etc.). Send the list in an email to your siblings, parents, and any good friends who are/have been teachers. Ask them to keep an eye out for books/videos on these subjects & pick up any they see that seem age/content appropriate for your kiddos. One of my dearest friends is a public school teacher. She sent me several books she wasn't using anymore. She even picked up a couple of brand-new books she thought were great.

You'd be delighted by how God will provide just what your family needs.
Paige in NC
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Unread post by niki »

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:22 pm

I too have a great library system, but...sometimes I forget to put our books on hold - and I RARELY search them out when I have all the kids with me for "library day" which is usually the case becuase they LOVE the library. Soo... they like to know what we're looking for (we're doing ECC) so they look for their books and when someone chooses a good one that everyone loves there's a proud feeling within!!! :) Anyway I do skim over them before checkout just to be sure they are appropriate - some have slipped through and I just tuck it away until our return trip.

My kids are learning how to use the library and tasting the benefit of their effort too. It's a fun time for us at the library. Librarians LOVE when the kids have questions or ask for assistance.

Our book basket is always full and even when it's not the MFW recommendations, our kids are very satisfied - sometimes sitting there long after the timer goes off...
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Unread post by LSH in MS »

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:16 am

This may be helpful if you have a bad library. I have bought some books used on half.com or other used sites and then sell them when I am finished with them. This takes some effort but is a less expensive option since you do get some of the money back.
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Location: Minnesota

Unread post by claraskids »

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:24 pm

I just find a way to make it work. I print off interesting articles from web sites to use as a substitute, plus use any books of our own that pertain to the topic.
Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:30 am

Another thought too is Encarta -- we have both Encarta and Enc. Britannica but Encarta has a lot more multi-media. The kids love that. Originally we were just going to use it to fill in the topics I couldn't get books for, but now we use it as a supplement for almost everything. It really does a good job filling in in the gaps and grabbing the kids interest. Lots of pic's, sound clips, that sort of thing. Just a thought.
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Unread post by Willow »

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:05 am

Another thought -- if your parents or dh's parents live nearby -- would they be willing to do the library runs? My parents live nearby; Dad has a card in another library district. He lets me use it and he does more than half of the pickup/returns.

I've got book basket down to a routine now. Every 2 weeks or so I reserve a batch of books (between our library and my dad's library, I can usually locate 6-8 books). Then someone -- Dad, dh, or I -- just stops by and picks up the armload of books, and we're set for the next couple of weeks.
Laura D.
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Digital Media from your library

Unread post by Laura D. »

Just wanted to pass along something worth investigating - I discovered that I can download audio books from our public library for free! I just downloaded The Children's Homer! You can burn a copy to CD, to your computer, to your ipod, etc. You must destroy the copy after fourteen days. I live in Ohio and you must be a patron of an Ohio library but I would bet libraries in other states have similar programs. I use the online services to renew, search for, and place books on hold but this is a service I didn't know existed!

I was just so thrilled to find this - I love to feel like I've found something free AND something I can access from home! IMO, audio books are very expensive to purchase but great to use on occasion.

cbollin wrote:Our libraries in Indiana are part of the OCLC dot org system for ebooks and downloads.
Maybe that would help others find something?
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Audio stories

Unread post by lyntley »

I just discovered this great site called Audio Kids. All audio stories you can download right to your computer. Lots of free ones available. I found many I would've liked to use for ECC last year. There are many classics as well. There may just be some here from our book basket list to kind of break up reading and listening.

There's another site StoryNori that has a whole section of Greek myths audio stories. for CTG...FREE. I even found "Minotaur" which I couldn't find at my library. We are getting ready for a big road trip and this is just what I needed. Hope it will be of use to others as well.
Lynnette: Wife and Mother by the will of God.
ECC 07/08 with 9,7, and 2
CTG 08/09 with 10,8, and 3
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Re: Audio stories

Unread post by my3boys »

Here's a few sites I've been checking out -
audible.com (has a sister site for kids as well)

They all have different programs. On audible you pay a monthly flat fee and get two downloads a month, another site has a netflix-type rental program. We've listened to all the audiobooks at our library (that were worth listening to) and buying is just way too expensive, so I have been mulling over these sites for a while.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
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Should I purchase books, use other books, ILL?

Unread post by KimberlyND »

marsha617 wrote:We will be using Adventures next year. I just spent some time searching my library catalog for the Book Basket books. So far, my library carries only a few of the books listed.

Should I try to purchase some of the books? Should I use other library books relevant to the week's study? I am familiar with ILL. I could use that as much as possible. I can have 3 requests out at a time. I know I am NOT the first to run into this problem!
When we first started ADVs I purchased a few of the books that were listed for book basket to use several times(the books on state birds).

I have found I haven't used them much. The books that came with the deluxe package were enough.

As for the weekly book basket books...I started out ordering some from ILL. We have to pay return postage so I didn't do that too long. I usually can find one or two from the list for each week at my local library and find others on the same subject.

Unless it is something that you and your children are really interested in I wouldn't buy them. If you can find other books at your library on the same topic that should be fine.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
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Re: Should I purchase books, use other books, ILL?

Unread post by KellyinPA »

We are in week 24 of ADV and I've had good success in searching for books at our library using the subject line. Both fiction and non-fiction.

Take a look (if you haven't already ;) at the ADV posts here on the board, there are some good suggestions there that aren't necessarily listed in the TM.

I hope you enjoy your year in ADV, we have :)
MFW K, 1st, ADV
ECC 2009/2010

Re: Should I purchase books, use other books, ILL?

Unread post by cbollin »

agreeing that you can use whatever your library has on the topic.

Other ideas:
*Ask the library to order some of the titles with asterisks on them and show them the manual. Our library enjoys buying books that they know will be used by homeschoolers and other teachers. Our library finally picked up on the idea that there were always many ILL orders for a book used in MFW and FIAR and finally just ordered the book. So, approach your library administration and ask them about process for book suggestions like that.

*purchase a few of the books with asterisks on them. Check online discount book places, or even a neat little homeschool vendor called booksbloom dot com

*check if your local public or private school allows for taxpayers to check out books. Maybe the schools have some.

*ask other homeschoolers in your area to work with you and the library. I'm spoiled where I live with a library system that serves the public. You're taxpayers.

*There are families who live one county over who get an out of county library card for the excellent library that is in my county. They live across the county line for cheaper housing, taxes, etc. That means a lesser library in that system. So, drive around 30 minutes, and go to the good library. That might not work in everybody's situation, but worth a mention to think outside of the box. I have friends who regularly drive about an hour or so to get to a really good library system. They go once a month to the larger city system and check out a lot of books, use online renewal, etc.

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Re: Should I purchase books, use other books, ILL?

Unread post by doubleportion »

Some weeks (particularly in the first few weeks) the book basket books from our library were scarce.

Other weeks I was amazed at how many we actually found.

You might also check used books stores in your area. Our library has a friends of the library book store within the library building and we have found some great books for our books basket there (all for 10 and 25 cents each). Some of them were library discards and other were donations to that book store. You might also check out paperbackswap dot com for ones you know you would really like to own (like the ones with asterisks).

We are on week 24 of adventures. I have some suggestions of our favorite ones we bought or would buy if our library hadn't had them, if you would like to hear my two cents on them.

Loving Adventures!!!
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Re: Should I purchase books, use other books, ILL?

Unread post by marsha617 »

Thanks ladies! I spent some more time today searching my library catalog. There were actually books my library DID carry. So those weeks there aren't any books available we will just work through it! God has brought us to MFW curriculum and He will make it all work together for good. I will try to purchase those books with an * and maybe the easy readers.

I look forward to sharing with you all about our "Adventure in Adventures".

Andrew 10
Nathan 8
Ryan 5
Josh 2
Yes, we have ALL boys. Life is fun and always interesting!
MFW since 2008; CTG this coming school yr.
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Will my kids get enough out of the program without library?

Unread post by doubleportion »

meleacherie wrote:We live in a small town and when I go to the library we almost never can find any of the books on the recommended reading list. If we never check out library books at all, will my kids still get enough out of the programs. We are doing adventures this year, but I am wanting to know about the other programs too. We used interlibrary loan some but the books were never here at the right time, and we had to pay for that too. Does anyone have any other ideas for me? Thanks
We did ADV and are doing ECC this year. YES, MFW is complete w/ out book basket.

If you are looking for only the books in the book basket list and can't find them, then maybe you can find even one or two books on just the topic you are studying for that week. They don't have to be from the list in your TM. The down side to non-list books is simply that you will have to pre-read them to be sure the content is acceptable to your family. You can also just throw in any children's books your child might be interested in reading into your book basket. I don't know how much your library does have in terms of children's books in general.

Last year I pulled out books off our shelf that I knew dd hadn't read and used those to supplement book basket. Don't feel tied to the list. It is more of just another way of getting your child reading more and enjoying reading. It can be any books you want in there. Often I will look at our homeschool support group's used book sale (held at the end of each year) and look for books on the topics we will be studying the next year. That way if we didn't have library books we could always pull something off the shelf. And they are usually inexpensive and items I would like to add to our book collection.

We are spoiled in a small town with a really amazing library. But I have often considered if we were in another town without a good library or overseas without one at all if we would still be fine using just what we have with MFW. YES is always the answer to that question.

Don't stress about it. You will still be giving your child a complete education.
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Re: Will my kids get enough out of the program without libra

Unread post by meleacherie »

Kelly1730 wrote:The library really does come in handy but it's NOT totally necessary for MFW. One idea might be to do a search for the topic or subject instead of looking for a specific title. You could even do a search on this board for "book basket", I think others may have been in your same situation, there may be answers there for you.
Thanks, yes I have used other books on the topic, but it is hard to pre-read all of them. so maybe quality is better than quantity on this. I don't trust just any old library book to be appropriate of course. I wish before the year started that I had done what you said and looked ahead to purchase books that were on topic. Does anyone know any other good topical book lists for good Christian okayed books?

Re: Will my kids get enough out of the program without libra

Unread post by cbollin »

Does your budget allow you to purchase a few of the asterisked titles?

Maybe if you had a list of some of those titles that look nice from book basket, you could go for the quality over quantity.
I like buying used books from a homeschool vendor, BooksBloom. their website is booksbloom.com basically what I've done since they don't have an online inventory--- I have specific titles in mind, I email the owner, Jan, (email is on her website) and we take it from there. Or I track them down at a homeschool convention near me and buy directly. Some people go through things like amazon, or other cheap internet sources for books.

The author of MFW uses an out of town library b/c the library in their small town is well, small. So, they pay the out of county fee and drive an hour or so about once a month to do book basket. Apparently so do other staff families who work for MFW. For a time the authors of MFW lived in Siberia and Moscow and homeschooled. They had to take their books with them or have people send some. So it's doable without a library.

Don't worry if the books aren't exactly as the same time on the grid --that's not a big problem.

Are there other homeschoolers near you who have home libraries that might help you a bit? What about any church libraries? I realize you live in a small town so maybe that's not an option.


Postby cbollin » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:57 am
I was thinking a bit more on this.... if you're in ECC next year, one idea for factual information is to read articles on each country from World Book Encyclopedia. MFW sells a computer version of WB.

also - they can read a bit more from window on the world in countries/people groups that aren't scheduled in the ECC manual. There's a map in the middle of the book to help with that.

then if sitting around reading books isn't going to work -- add in service projects in place of book basket ;) what things do you wish you could do with your kids to be a family of purpose? Do you want to help other organizations? When we homeschool, service can be part of our lives/school too. Even this week, I'm trying to remember that it might be better to make a valentine's day card to give to a military person in a hospital rather than having to complete an art history assignment.

so.... reading books is great and really important and there are ways around small libraries and still use MFW. But sometimes other solutions work too.

LA in Baltimore
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Re: Will my kids get enough out of the program without libra

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

One great tip I picked up off the Board was to bring your TM with you to your homeschool convention or if you are buying it there do that first. Then, you have the Manual in hand with the Book Basket list to make your way around to the used vendors and see what treasures they have for sale! It is a fun way to spend less and get what you really need. You don't have to buy a lot, but a few new (used ;) ) books about every 4 weeks keeps it interesting.
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
Currently enjoying Rome to the Reformation
Graduated oldest May 2010, Three more to go!
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Re: Will my kids get enough out of the program without libra

Unread post by KimberlyND »

With my younger two children I have things much easier as the card catalog is online. I can look for all the books at my leisure in my own home. Then I can save them to a booklist and print that out.

I still find that my library does not have most of the books on the list. After I check for specific titles I just look for books on the subject we are studying. I find at this age I am still reading the books to the children though they do look at the pictures during book basket time. So I am not too concerned about there being inappropriate content in the books. If I find while I am reading that it isn't a "good" book I will stop reading it and explain to them why we shouldn't read the book. That hasn't happened very often.

We have only done 3 MFW programs but it is opinion that MFW is enough without extra books.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
Posts: 972
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Will my kids get enough out of the program without libra

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Another possibility is to ask your librarian what the budget is to buy new books for the library. Tell the librarian you have a list of really good books that you think would be great additions to the library. Then, give the librarian a list of just the asterisked books. You never know. Our county library has been known to purchase when it can't find a interlibrary loan source.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
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