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Mariam
02-01-2014, 03:45 AM
We just recently started homeschooling/unschooling and I am thinking about putting together a reference library so that we have books to look at when we want to explore various topics. I am thinking about having an world and US atlases, encyclopedia of global history, science dictionary, math dictionary, and I am wondering what else might be useful. We have a children's dictionary, which has been very helpful, and some other reference books.

What do you have on your reference shelf? Are their specific books which have been really helpful? I am looking for books that are appropriate for elementary-aged students.

Thanks for your suggestions.

sells_kate
02-01-2014, 07:03 AM
I really like the Usborne books. We have the Usborne encyclopedia of animals and history, dinosaurs, math...I think evolution is even in the history one.
I've been looking at the dk first encyclopedias on amazon though and am probablly going to get those. They have a nature one as well.

Oh, and for elementary I really like the Usborne lift the flap atlas, my son loves lift the flaps. Field guides are nice for looking up a particular animal.

sells_kate
02-01-2014, 07:07 AM
heres a link to one of the dk encyclopedias
First Animal Encyclopedia (Dk First Reference Series): DK Publishing: 0690472002277: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/First-Animal-Encyclopedia-Reference-Series/dp/0756602270/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391256334&sr=8-2&keywords=dk+first+encyclopedia)

sbweldon
02-01-2014, 12:15 PM
I second the Usborne books.

I'm not sure how old your kids are but the Let's Read and Find Out Science (http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/Kids/SeriesDetail.aspx?PSId=224) books are nice to have around. They're not reference books but they have tons of topics and aren't expensive, especially if you find them used. We keep them handy and our kids (7, 5, and 3) love them and they'll pull different ones out each night for bedtime stories.

Elly
02-01-2014, 12:48 PM
I love Usborne and also DK. I've gradually acquired volumes from yard sales and book sales. Sometimes i see something recommended and find it for a good price. EBay can be a good one, but also check amazon used because often they are way cheaper. I got some ideas from the Build Your Library amazon list (don't know how old your kids are, but might be worth looking). I think an atlas and dictionary are a good start. If you're using a curriculum, they might suggest particular sources, too. And what are your kids interested in? You might want to get more specific volumes based on that. I also really like the Lets Read and Find Out Science books. You can get them in lots on ebay, although they tend to be rather popular and can expect to pay $2-3 per volume.

Elly

farrarwilliams
02-01-2014, 12:48 PM
A potentially useful list that I made awhile ago on my blog:
The Elementary Homeschool Library | I Capture the Rowhouse (http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-elementary-homeschool-library/)

CrunchyNoVa
02-01-2014, 12:52 PM
I have a 7yo and a 4yo and they LOVE Usborne books. Even though these are technically on our shelf as reference books I often find them sitting on the couch together 'reading' them.

This is what we have on our shelves:
- DK Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary
- The Usborne Internet Linked Children's Encyclopedia
- The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions
- Usborne The Natural World
- Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science
- Usborne Children's Picture Atlas
- Usborne Illustrated Elementary Math Dictionary
- Usborne See Inside Math
- The Usborne Book of World History
- The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History
- The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature
- Usborne Look Inside Space
- Usborne First Guide to the Universe
- A bunch of Usborne See Inside Books: Rome, How Things Work, Dinosaurs, See Inside Your Body

*Disclaimer* I'm an independent consultant for Usborne as is shown in my signature. BUT, ALL of these books were purchased before I ever became a consultant. I would search Amazon and any little Ma and Pa bookstore I could find for Usborne books because my children love them so much. After I realized how many of their books we have (I think we have about 12 different sticker books too) I became a consultant.

quabbin
02-01-2014, 12:53 PM
One that I didn't see mentioned is The Anatomy Coloring Book. Kids' anatomy books leave a lot of things out (liver, kidneys, etc.!) so when we have a question, that's a nice thing to have on hand.

CrunchyNoVa
02-01-2014, 12:57 PM
A potentially useful list that I made awhile ago on my blog:
The Elementary Homeschool Library | I Capture the Rowhouse (http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-elementary-homeschool-library/)

Thank you for this list! We have quite a few of these on our shelf too! The math list is awesome, I'm going to have to search for some of those.

CrunchyNoVa
02-01-2014, 01:04 PM
One that I didn't see mentioned is The Anatomy Coloring Book. Kids' anatomy books leave a lot of things out (liver, kidneys, etc.!) so when we have a question, that's a nice thing to have on hand.

I went with the Dover Children's Anatomy coloring book because my son's fine motor isn't the greatest and he's able to color that a little bit easier. It does leave out the liver though. We have the Usborne Human Body sticker book and that includes just about everything, and he's able to place the stickers easily too. The SomeBody game is fun for 6-up too!

Mariam
02-01-2014, 06:09 PM
These are great suggestions. I was looking at the Usborne books. I didn't even think about the Anatomy Coloring book. Those are great. We also use the Let's Read and Find Out About Science series. We have a few books, I have been trying to get them at the library because we have so many at home.