If we used textbooks, everything we “needed” to know would probably be right there. But since we use living books, we often come up with questions and need more information. I love going off on those types of tangents, those “teachable moments.”
Also, using reference books is a very important skill for becoming an independent learner. So far, I’m always the one suggesting we pull down the encyclopedia, but I hope that soon Sprite will do so on her own initiative.
Sometimes I do find that a reference book is missing from the shelf. When I ask Sprite about it, she retrieves it from her bedroom and says she needed it for looking up something. So even though she may not go the extra mile during our homeschool hours, she is using reference books to satisfy her own curiosity.
So we are slowly building our reference library as I find out what we need and get the books shipped over. Besides our dictionary (which these days is always the Oxford American Dictionary on the Kindle), here are the books we have now:
I bought this at a Scholastic book display when we went to the education conference. It’s been a great reference to complement our living math approach. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I wish I had bought this long ago. It really could be used as a base for finding math topics to study. It includes all of those special math terms and plenty of diagrams.
We got this one used via Better World Books. I love having it on hand. We turn to it often as an all purpose science reference.
This was a thrift store find — just $5. A steal. There are loads of full color diagrams to help you understand how various machines operate.
This is our primary writing, literature, grammar, and mechanics resource.
Obviously geography is important, but since Sprite is such a visual learner, maps are truly essential to understanding a lot of the history we study. We use the atlas several times each week.
This one is part of our Beautiful Feet Ancients study.
Almanacs have so much information! I frequently find myself looking up statistics when a local friend asks me something like “How many Americans have dogs?”
Please feel free to share your favorite reference books here. I’d also love to hear tips for encouraging their use during the homeschool day or otherwise.