As Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, we have an extensive collection of living books in our homeschool. As avid readers and book lovers, we have an insane amount of books in our home. (We don’t believe in parting with books in this house much to my husband’s dismay.) It didn’t take long to realize that I had to come up with a way to organize our books so I could find them when we need them.
Book Organization Using a Spreadsheet
The realization that I needed some system for inventorying our books came when I started finding multiples of the same book. We file our books by author name in our library, so it was easy to see the problem. I would find multiples of some books and then not find books I was sure I owned.
Library books only exacerbated the issue.
That’s when I devised a plan and created this fabulous spreadsheet. (In a former life I was an accountant, and so I am most at home using Excel.)
The spreadsheet worked great for a while. Anytime I would get a new book I would enter all the data for that book on my spreadsheet and use the “Data Sort” function to put them in alphabetical order by author name. It was just what I needed until I realized it wasn’t coordinating with the rest of my homeschool schedule.
When I wanted to assign a book, there wasn’t a good way to look it up by subject. Tracking what the girls were reading was also difficult, especially over multiple years. I needed a way to track not only our books but any other resources we might use. I needed some organization in my homeschool.
How to use Homeschool Tracker to organize your books and resources #ihsnet #homeschool @HSTOnline Click To Tweet
How I use Homeschool Tracker to organize our books and resources
That’s when I discovered Homeschool Tracker.
I like Homeschool Tracker for many reasons, but their Library function has helped me track all our resources with ease. The Library is the area for all your books and other resources such as textbooks, workbooks, videos, online units, etc. The key areas for input are ISBN, Title, Author, Publisher, and Grade Level, but these can be customized to fit your needs.
I add in custom fields to let me know where to find the book in our library and also what type of book it is.
My favorite part of adding to the library is the ISBN field. Once you enter the ISBN number from your book, the program automatically searches Amazon for the rest of the information and enters it for you. This means I don’t have to type everything in the fields. It even adds a thumbnail picture. You can learn more about the Library feature from the Homeschool Tracker help page.
Another great feature of the Library is that you can export your library to a “.CSV file”. This is great if you want to tweak your library for other uses.
Homeschool Tracker Resource Reports
Once you have all your resources entered in the Library, you can now use them in assignments. Because HomeschoolTracker.com has a great Daily Task List report, this has been a great tool for the girls to work on independent reading.
The Resource Report lists all the resources assigned for any period you desire and can be customized to fit your needs. I like to use this to print out at the end of the year for our umbrella school. It details all the resources we’ve used and categorizes them by subject. You can find out more about the Resource Report on the Homeschool Tracker Help page.
This is just one of the many ways you can use Homeschool Tracker to organize your homeschool. Using Homeschool Tracker for the last few years has helped keep us organized and made my life more efficient.
And, really, what Homeschooling Mama doesn’t want to be more organized and efficient? Gives us more time to Hide The Chocolate.
This article is part of The Ultimate Guide to Low-Stress Homeschool Planning and Scheduling. Find more on Daily Planning, Long-Term Planning, Morning MeetUp and more by clicking the picture below.
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Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…
Lynna @ Homeschooling without Training Wheels says
Wow, Dachelle, this looks like a really cool system! Thanks for sharing ideas. 🙂
I really like it. It has helped me to be much more efficient.
Looks like a great resource.
What a great system! Can you import .csv files into homeschool Tracker? I use the book crawler app to scan my books into the app- it imports almost everything- book cover for that edition, isbn#, price, title, etc. You can tweak it of course and it doesn’t always work. The old books that have no isbn number or barcode have to be entered by hand. But you can batch enter so it really saves time! However, it does not have this kind of functions and the customer service is nonexistent. I am familiar with homeschool tracker- I may even own it! Lol
You can import .csv files into homeschool tracker’s lesson plans. I’m not sure if you can import book lists, yet. If not, their customer service is great about trying to implement customer requests. It sounds like Homeschool Tracker will do most of what your book crawler app will do. It imports the book cover, title, publisher and author. You just enter the isbn #. I’ve found on books without an isbn, if I look it up on Amazon I can find a number that will work to import all the data. Hope that helps! And, yes, it’s a pretty great system.
Hello!!! We use an umbrella school and have to repeat every 20 days. I would love to know the info you enter into HST and what reports you find most helpful for conveying what and how you learned during the reporting period.