Welcome!  
I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How I Use goodreads In My Homeschool

How I Use goodreads In My Homeschool {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Can I confess something to you?

If we are going to be friends, there is something you MUST know about me...a dirty little secret, if you will, that I must get off my chest if we're going to continue this relationship with honesty and forthrightness.

I am a book-a-holic.
There. I've said it.

"Hello. My name is Jamie and I am a book-a-holic."

It's a sickness. Really.


But, the really embarrassing part is that I'm not just content with the four books that I am currently reading at any given moment. I am also usually thinking about and planning for the next four books I want to read...and the five books I want my kids to read...and the stack of books that I think YOU should read.

It's kind of an ever-growing list that I carry around in my head.
Or at least I used to.

But not anymore.
I still have the list, but now I have a place to "shelve" all those titles knowing that they will be waiting for me whenever I get around to them.

I use goodreads.
I use goodreads and organize NOT just my books, but also my homeschool. 

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.)



What is goodreads?

Goodreads is a free online book catalog created by the folks at Amazon. It is an organizational tool designed to help you keep track of the books you've read and the books you want to read. In addition, it provides an easy-to-use rating system that you can utilize to tell other book lovers what you thought of certain books. This information is then used in the "recommendations" section of your personal homepage. Books are preselected and recommended to you based on your personal reading habits and profile. So, in those rare moments of "I don't know what to read," you can just check your "recommendations" section for a few potential titles. 

It is a social media platform which brings book-lovers together. I follow several of my book-reading friends, as well as a few well-known homeschooling personalities whose book reviews and suggestions I trust. I can see their reading lists and they can see mine.

Why not just "pin" books to Pinterest?

I used to pin potential books on my Pinterest boards. But, a pinned picture of a book only provides the title. A goodreads list, however, gives the rating of a book, easy access to a general summary of the book, and the names of other potential titles related to the topic. (After I had shelved this fun title for my second grader, this one popped up in the recommendations list. He enjoyed both. Had I just "pinned" the original book, the fun would have ended with ONE. Since then, we've shelved many more titles based on that one book and have them waiting on our "shelves" when we need them. No dusting required!)


Goodreads for Homeschool organization

Personalized "shelves"

I have created a personal "shelf" for everyone in my family. As I come upon book suggestions that I think someone will like, I add that book to his/her shelf. Not only does this help me when I am assigning reading material for my kids, it also helps THEM as they navigate the local library for appropriate reading material. I let them have access to my goodreads account. They can view books I've "shelved" for them and add titles to the list based on the "recommendations".  While the recommended books are not fail-proof, they are based on personal reading profiles and are usually pretty accurate. I can review any "shelved" books and delete them if I think they may be inappropriate. 

In addition, since I have multiple readers at different ages and stages, I can easily add one book to multiple shelves. An older sibling can read a book today, give it a rave review, and recommend it for his/her younger sibling for someday-in-the-future. I can see at a glance who has read a book and who might like to read it in the future.

Read Aloud "shelf"

I have designated a separate shelf for potential family read alouds. Since we always take a collective group vote for our next read aloud, this goodreads "shelf" is a great way to display all the book candidates. The kids can see the cover of each, hear the synopsis, and make a more educated vote. 

Unit study "shelves"

Recently, I have begun to create shelves for future unit studies. We will be embarking into the Middle Ages for history next year and I've got a shelf full of books waiting for us via goodreads. I can plan a unit quite quickly with a simple look at the list of potential titles. I also, currently have shelves for each of our upcoming science units, as well as one for "way-far-in-the-future" curriculum options for books that are not currently appropriate but will be someday when my children get a bit older.


Other helpful homeschool features

Similar to an on-line library card catalog, goodreads allows you to look up books based on title, author, or keywords of both. You or your kids can easily find book options for unit studies, independent projects, or pleasure reading. It's one of my best kept secrets for passion directed-reading.

You can follow your favorite authors to be alerted of any titles they've just released and encourage your kids to do the same.

Use the "sort" option to print out a list of books each of your kids have read this year or ones you've used for certain subjects/units. Add these printed lists to your homeschool portfolio to make record-keeping a breeze. 

Goodreads has been a safe tool for encouraging a culture of reading in my home. It helps us organize. It creates literary conversation. It keeps us moving forward with great books.

And best of all, I can clear my head of all those book titles floating around in there...at least in theory.

I'd love to have you follow me on Goodreads!

FYI: I am in no way affiliated with goodreads and stand to gain nothing from giving them a good old fashioned shout out. I just like the site. Consider this a 1980s-esque public service announcement. 

11 comments:

  1. Learning how to use good reads. You may also like. http://myhomeschoollibrarian.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for the post. I tend to use the Amazon Wishlist to store any potential future reads, but the idea of using the Good Reads shelves is intriguing. I'll have to investigate that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the advantage of goodreads over an Amazon Wishlist would be if you followed specific people that you knew and trusted. You would get to see what books they have read and recommend. The accurate record of completed books/dates is a perk too. But, other than that, I think both methods would be very useful.

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  3. I just signed up. Would we be able to follow you?!

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    Replies
    1. Right now, I have my profile set to private because I have all our personal info on there. But, I will think about changing some of that and opening it up. I have had this request many times before and think that maybe it's time. I'll let you know.

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  4. I would love to see your book shelves too if possible! Thank you for the helpful article.

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  5. Thank you for taking time to share your gifts and experience! I came across your blog just a few days ago and with all of your resources I now have the hope (and excitement;) that I can realize my vision for homeschooling:) I just signed up for goodreads and made shelves for all of my children, and sorry, I tried to follow you (like pinterest) not realizing it was private;)

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    Replies
    1. Jamie, I have since set my goodreads to public. Be sure to follow the link at the bottom of the post to find my account.

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  6. I never comment on blogs but I have to say I absolutely LOVE your blog. This has been a Godsend. Also....I work in a bookstore lol. Always nice to see I'm not the only addict!

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    Replies
    1. Oooo...a bookstore. You're living the dream! (swoon) If I worked at a bookstore, I'd be afraid that I'd spend my paycheck before I even left the store.
      Thanks for reading!

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