Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Online Library

Recently I came across a treasure - an online Christian library! Think Netflix meets CBD!

I receive just about every homeschooling catalog that is produced in this country. I am not sure how all these places have gotten ahold of my name and address, but they have, and they continue to bombard me with stacks of catalogs. Sometimes I find it almost distressing. I mean, each catalog has such great ideas, and as I flip through them, I see so many interesting and fun projects that I would like to do with the girls. Not only am I limited by time, I mean, how many different ways can you study one topic? But a big hindrance to carrying out many of these great ideas is a lack of resources. Most of our homeschool budget goes towards curriculum. Yes, we have invested into a program that most consider quite costly, but we have found something that we believe in, that works for us, and that has proven successful in our family, so we don't deviate from the plan. But do I often wish for more? Sure! I can't tell you how many times I have circled wanted items, and bent back pages of catalogs, just waiting for "a few extra dollars" to purchase it. I typically wait a few months, and then ditch the catalog into the recycling bin, feeling bad for missing out on those great finds, but knowing and accepting that it is not in the budget right now.

Well....not anymore! Thanks to some industrious sales of used curriculum on ebay, I earned enough to invest in a membership to The Family Vision Homeschool Library. I went big, and bought the premium membership that allows me to have 10 items checked out at once. As I searched through the online catalog of over 9,000 items (books, DVD's, periodicals, and e-books) I found tons of items to move into my "bookbag".  I was so excited that I stayed up one night for a couple of hours just browsing the online catalog. I dusted off the stack of catalogs with circled desires, and typed the titles into the online card catalog. To my great delight, I found all but one of the items available in the library!!  They have a great assortment of Christian and family based items for all ages.

I easily had 100 items in my bookbag before I knew what was going on, and I wasn't even done yet! Going through that list, I selected my first ten items, reserved them, and got an email a few hours later that those items were on their way, complete with a tracking number for me to watch for their arrival.

With a paid membership, all the shipping fees are included. The library ships the items 'media mail', and when your three week borrowing time is up, you print out a pre-paid label to ship the items back. The only expense is the annual membership fee.

I chose a wide assortment of books - something that would appeal to every member of the family. They even have a wide variety of curriculum books for those who want to see a book before deciding to purchase it. 

In my first shipment, I will be receiving a cookbook that I have long wanted to buy. This will give me a chance to check it out to see if it is actually worth it or not.  There are also some supplemental history and government resources for Heather, who is studying American Government this semester. I added in a few historical fiction books for Melissa, who seems to chew through books in a matter of hours. She has pretty much exhausted the supply of acceptable books at our local library, and in our personal library. She reads quickly and really enjoys it. I am thrilled to have an almost unlimited source of new material for her to devour. Kelly is following close behind, and is getting better at reading every day.

I have a list of great Thanksgiving resources - both video and printed material - lined up for my next shipment. So far, I have encountered very few things that were not available, meaning they were already checked out by someone else. Even if that is the case, you can still reserve them, and place yourself on a waiting list for when the item is returned. Members are allowed to have materials checked out for three weeks, and there is an option to renew items if you find that you need to keep them a little longer.

The other thing that impressed me about this library is their great communication. All my emails have been met with quick, friendly, and polite responses.

Anyone who follows a literature based curriculum should definitely check this library out, and consider buying a membership. It would save the expense of buying all the books that you will only use once or twice as you move through that area of study. Instead, you could just reserve the books, and plan your shipment to coincide with those lessons.

I am looking forward to getting some very good use out of this library, without ever having to leave the house. I believe it will be a great addition to our homeschool program, and am excited to have been able to become a member.

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