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As a homeschooler one of the greatest challenges you’ll face doesn’t have anything to do with what curriculum you’ll choose or what homeschooling style you’ll follow. In fact, it’s a problem you’ll have for many years: how to catalog all of those books you buy for homeschooling. One way of keeping track of all those books is by cataloging your homeschool library with Goodreads. Below, I’ll tell you how to do that.
Granted, there are those who rent their textbooks and return them at the end of the year or use a lot of electronic curriculum, but even if you only have a few hundred books in your house, knowing where they are and which ones you have can cause some frustration. We have over 6,000 books in our house, and tracking them down can be a real pain in the neck!
Fortunately, there are a few technological solutions that can help you catalog and organize your books using your smartphone or just a simple Internet connection. Over the next three months, I’ll review some of the options you can use to manage your home library.
This month I’ll be reviewing Goodreads–which not only allows you to catalog your books but also rate and share them via social media.
To start, you’ll need to create a free account. If you already have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Amazon account, you can login using any of those accounts. Otherwise, you can go about the account creation process manually. It doesn’t take long, and soon you’ll be ready to start adding books to your collection.
The easiest way to start adding books to your account is to download the app to your smartphone or tablet and start scanning bar codes. After scanning them you can add them to bookshelves. The default bookshelves are “read,” “to-read,” and “currently reading,” but you can create your own. For example, “school room” or “front hall.” I prefer to add them all en masse and go back over time and sort them. Breaking such a huge task up into smaller tasks is very helpful.
If your library is anything like mine, some books don’t have bar codes and others do but are so old they’re not compatible with current standards. Those you’ll need to add manually. I usually just look up the book’s title and choose the most current edition. Granted, there may have been some changes to the book, but at least you have a representation of it in your online catalog.
Finally, if you have a spreadsheet or text files that you’ve been using to keep track of your books, you can upload it to Goodreads via the website and it will take all of your books and add them to your collection. This is the quickest way to add books if you’ve been using Excel or some other electronic tool to track your books.
You can add an unlimited number of books to your catalog, and reading some of the reviews that people post on Goodreads is very helpful. The only downside I see to using Goodreads is that Amazon knows what books you’re adding to your catalog and may use that information to target ads at you when you’re shopping online.
Next month I’ll take a look at LibraryThing, which has a bit of a different spin on cataloging your home library.
John Wilkerson has been married to Lisa for 15 years and they have 7 children. All of them are homeschooled and keep them busy but very happy. When he’s not solving technical problems at a local private college during the day or podcasting and blogging at night, John likes to pursue his other current “hobbies” which include social media, martial arts, and coaching soccer. If you’d like to connect with John online visit the contact page at his website, The Wired Homeschool.