OK, last thing we're going to go over. We specifically chose Tapestry of Grace because of the quality of literature and history books. We don't have access to a great library, so we knew we'd be making a LONG term investment, because we'd be buying all of the books ourselves. (And, no, it's not cheap to do it that way, but, it's an investment, right??)
We also knew we'd need a way to organize everything. Plus, have I mentioned our kids are HARD on books? After scouring blog after blog and message board after message board, here's what we finally came up with!
First, many of the books are paperbacks. NO GOOD for my house!! I had to come up with a way to protect those precious covers, and covering them with contact paper seemed the easiest (and cheapest) way to do that.
Second, when we cycled back to Year 1 (TOG is a 4 year cycle, and we'll keep cycling through until everyone's out of school), I would need to know at a glance what books I already had, and what books I would need for any new levels we were going to be in.
And third, I needed a way to know when I was done using a book, so I could put it away. We live in a pretty small space, so I didn't want books we weren't using out, taking up space, and I didn't want them out where little hands could get to them and ruin them, either.
Here's what we came up with:
TOG has their levels color coded. Lower Grammar is red, Upper Grammar is yellow, Dialectic is green, and Rhetoric is blue. I bought simple foil star stickers with those four colors on them. Some books in TOG you're going to use for one week, some for a unit, some for multiple units. In the same way, some are only for 1 level, and some for multiple levels. I went through every book we bought (we only bought what was on the UG list), and stuck a sticker on them for whatever level they had.
This book is used only for Upper Grammar, for example:
While this one is used for LG, UG, and Dialectic:
Next, as you can see, I took a sharpie to them. I marked them with the year and units we'll be using them for. The top one, we only use for Year 1, Unit 1. The bottom book, we use for Year 1, but all four units. When the kids are done reading the top book, it'll be put away. The bottom book, though, will stay out all year long, as they'll use it all year long.
The next thing I did was cover the paperbacks. I put the stickers and the markings on FIRST, so they were protected, too. I got a few rolls of contact paper, and went at it. There are good instructions on how to do this here. It took me 2 or 3 rolls to do them, and, I admit, I have bubbles, but it's SO much better than letting them get ruined by spilled juice or gumming babies.
For the hardback books, I simply took a piece of clear packing tape, and taped it over the stickers and markings. That should protect them for now.
Now, we take out each book that we need for the week, and put it in our book basket. I also put our grammar book and science book, and anything else they're going to need to finish their lessons in there. That way they always know where it is. The basket's also portable, if we need it to be. ;)
I think that's pretty much it for our organization this year!! We're still keeping their notebooks and binders and such in bins, for simplicity's sake, but they're getting to be too stuffed, so I need a new system for that. Working on that one, and I'll keep you posted! :)