How to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool Library

how to create a homeschool library

This list of the best books for your homeschool library will help you create an awesome learning resource for your kids!

In addition to whatever brand or type of curriculum you purchase, you will also want to have a good selection books for your homeschool library.

These books can greatly supplement and enrich your kids’ education and learning experience!

While your local library may have a ton of great books, building your own homeschool library over time will be a great benefit to your kids. 

Studies have shown that kids who grow up in a home with lots of books tend to have better literacy, math, and IT skills than kids who grow up in homes with very few books. 

(And in case you’re wondering, one in five households in the United States owns less than five books!) 

Now, I’m not saying you need to run out and start buying all the books you can get your hands on! Quality and quantity both matter when it comes to selecting the books for your homeschool library. 

Free Homeschool Resource Library

Speaking of quality – there is an incredible FREE Resource Library here at the Reluctant Homeschool Mama! It is full of free printable downloads to help you organize and carry out your homeschool – from binder covers to book report forms, I’ve got you covered! 

Click the image below to get access!

all homeschooling moms can benefit from this free resource library

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase. I only recommend products that I feel strongly you will love and will help you in your homeschool.

In this article we’ll take a look at homeschool reference books, books from classic literature, popular fiction books, as well as the best nonfiction books for your homeschool library.

Are you ready to get started?! Let’s go! 

Homeschool Reference Books

While most reference facts, such as definitions and synonyms for words, or geographic data, can be easily found online, being able to locate facts in a book is a fundamental skill that all kids still need to learn.

I highly recommend that you have at least one book from each of the following categories: dictionaries, atlases, and thesauruses. 


Miriam-Webster Elementary Dictionary. This is THE dictionary for homeschool students up through grade six. Newly revised, with more than 36,000 entries and easy to find guide words, this is an essential element of any homeschool library.
Miriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. If you have students in middle or high school, you will want this brand-new 11th edition that was published in 2020.


Smithsonian Children’s Illustrated Atlas. This hardcover atlas is full of more than 50 maps for elementary school aged kids to learn from and enjoy. In addition to understanding the geography of the world, kids will also learn how to read a map key and use a compass and map scale.
National Geographic Student World Atlas. Created for middle and high school students, this easy-to-use atlas is the Amazon #1 best seller for young adult atlases.
National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World. This fourth edition is a beautiful volume that contains more than 1,000 maps of the world. Quite a bit larger and more detailed than the paperback student version above, this edition will be something to keep in your home for many years.


We love these Usborne Encyclopedia for both upper and lower elementary grades, as well as middle school.

(There are “My First” versions of the encyclopedias available, but I don’t think going for these here are a better choice – and a money saver in the long run!)

To make the encyclopedias easier to use they are divided into three categories: science, history, and geography. 

The Usborne Science Encyclopedia. With tons of great illustrations and internet links to videos, images, and more this encyclopedia has served our family for years!
The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia. This book is amazing! It included a world atlas, as well as maps, photos of different countries, regions, and ecosystems, and more.
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. This volume is an easy-to-follow chronological presentation of world history. It does a great job of presenting all world cultures without an overly strong western slant.


Children’s Illustrated Thesaurus. A nice-to-have reference book by the time kids are in third grade. Instead of boring lists of words, this thesaurus has lots of color and illustrations to make it more exciting to use!

Classic literature 

Filling your bookshelves with classic literature is always a wonderful idea, especially when your kids are young! 

Some homeschool moms may not agree, but I find that offering a condensed version of a classic book to my kids when they are very young IS extremely helpful! 


Because it introduces the plot, characters, and setting in a way that is easy to understand – without getting weighed down by overly complex wording or words that aren’t commonly used anymore! 

The Classic Starts Series

Of all of the condensed classics we own, the Classic Starts series is our hands-down favorite! With 55 classic books in the series, such as Little Women, Treasure Island, The Odyssey, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Anne of Green Gables, each hardcover book features lovely illustrations throughout and stays true to the original text. And the best part? Each hardcover book is easily affordable. We’ve slowly been adding to our collection over time, and it has been very rewarding for all of us.

Dover Thrift Editions Classics

For middle school and high school grades, the Dover Thrift Edition series are fantastic. With all original text, these are the classics you want your kids to read! There are many titles available, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, and many more.

No Fear Shakespeare

The No Fear Shakespeare series is fantastic! With all of the original prose included, there is a side column on every page with editorial comments to help your kids understand what they are reading.

D’Aulaire’s Books of Myths

For reading myths from any culture, I highly recommend D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths and D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths! They are beautiful, durable, and have been highly enjoyed by all of my kiddos!

Nonfiction books for your homeschool library

There are probably thousands of great nonfiction books for kids available at your local library. 

And while I definitely encourage you to rely on our local library a LOT, it is still so nice to have a small nonfiction homeschool library of your own!

(Funny story: Once I was at the library late one evening. The evening janitor saw me stuffing my bag full of nonfiction books for kids and asked, “Are you a homeschool mom?” 

“Yep. How did you know?” I asked. 

“That’s what you all do. Bring in a big old bag and fill it to the brim with those big old books.” 

#sotrue haha!)

Here are some great suggestions for your homeschool library in social studies, math, science, and art and music. 

Social Studies

You Wouldn’t Want to Be Series

With hilarious illustrations and a tongue-in-cheek approach to many periods of world history, this is a fantastic series for kids in the elementary grades! Some of our favorites include You Wouldn’t Want to Be an American Colonist, You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Viking Explorer, and You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Pyramid Builder.


If you are studying ancient Egypt, Egyptology is must-have! It takes your kids on a mystery of solving an ancient secret about an Egyptian tomb. With gorgeous details, mature lift-the-flaps, and lots of interactive features, this is one of our very favorite books in our homeschool library.

The American Story Series

The American Story Series are beautifully illustrated and packed full of information about the colonizing of the American, the Revolution, and the founding of the American government. If you’re kids are learning about any of these topics, definitely consider these books! We especially love the The New Americans: Colonial Times, Liberty or Death: The American Revolution, and Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars.

Bringing History to Life

This is another great series about colonial and revolutionary times in North America. These books are for upper elementary and make perfect read-alouds or independent reading for grades 4 and up. Some of our favorites are: Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution, What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, and And then What Happened, Paul Revere?.

Primary source books

While reading about history is very important, it is also essential for our kids to be exposed to actual historical writings.
The World in Ancient Times and it’s accompanying primary source books are compilations of ancient poetry and prose that have survived through the ages and been translated for us to enjoy now.

If you’re not settled on your homeschool history curriculum yet, check out this post about our favorite history curriculum ever! 

Math books for your homeschool library

Greg Tang Math Books

For younger to middle elementary grades, these books about math are highly engaging and lots of fun! With titles like The Grapes of Math, Math Fables:Lessons that Count, and Math Potatoes: Mind-Stretching Brain Food, how could they not be?

The Sir Cumference Series

Presenting math in a fun and interesting way, the Sir Cumference series is a favorite for many kids who are struggling with math. Some of our favorites are: Sir Cumference and All the Kings’ Tens and Sir Cumference and the Fraction Faire.


Magic School Bus books

Popularized by the hit cartoon show in the 90s, the Magic School Bus books are full of great science facts about particular topics. They make fantastic read alouds for the whole family! This Magic School Bus set is a big savings over buying them individually too! There are Magic School Bus chapter books for upper elementary grades too. They definitely get my kids’ stamp of approval!

Who Would Win? series

These books are the Ultimate Ninja Smackdown for kids’ nonfiction science books! Each Who Would Win? book pits one animal species against another to see which one would win in a fight. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll spend hours with these books!

Basher Science

Perfect for kids who always seem to want more info, Basher Science books are filled with facts. They are more like an encyclopedia or other reference book – just a lot more entertaining! If your kids have a big thirst for more facts, they’ll really enjoy these.

Smithsonian books

The Smithsonian science books are also presented encyclopedia style. The difference is that these books focus on one topic and take a deep dive instead of giving a general overview. If you like the unit study method for homeschool, these Smithsonian Science books would be a fantastic resource for your science curriculum. Titles include The ElementsThe Human Body, and Space!.

Art and Music

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists

This fantastic series details the lives of many of the most influential artists in history in a humorous and educational way! Some of our favorites include Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso,and Vincent VanGogh. 

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers

Also written by Mike Venezia, this series focuses on helping kids learn about the lives of the world’s greatest composers. My kids often pull these books out just for fun! Some of the most popular titles are Johann Sebastien Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Art That Change the World

If you want to teach your kids art history, this is THE book to use as a reference! I taught an art history class for our homeschool co-op using this book as my primary textbook. Art That Changed the World is full of gorgeous representations of the most significant works of art. While the text is aimed toward middle and high school grades, elementary students can still gain a ton from looking at the art.

A Child’s Introduction to the Orchestra

With 37 downloadable music selections, this book is an amazing resource for teaching your kids about classical music. A Child’s Introduction to the Orchestra keeps things lighthearted and fun, while helping your kids gain an appreciation for the great composers and the various instruments in an orchestra.

Final thoughts about creating your homeschool library

Remember, you do NOT need to rush out and buy all of these books at once! 

Curating a great and resourceful homeschool library happens over time – here a little and there a little. 

You may consider creating an Amazon wish list of the books you’d like to add to your homeschool library over time. You can share this list with grandparents, aunt and uncles and other people who might be interested in helping your kids grow and learn! 

Related articles about homeschooling

15 Awesome Educational Toys for Children (Make Homeschool Easier!)

What Do You Need for a Great Homeschooling Room?

10 Important Secrets to Help with Homeschooling This Year

5 Awesome Homeschool Math Curriculums You Need to Check Out

Do you have any of these books in your homeschool library already? 

How to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool LibraryHow to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool LibraryHow to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool LibraryHow to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool LibraryHow to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool Library

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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10 thoughts on “How to Easily Create an Amazing Homeschool Library”

  1. this is a great list! we have a TON of magic school bus books and all four of my kids (ages 9-3) enjoy them.
    They all also love refernce books. are favorites are smithsonian books.

    1. Thanks for reading, Amanda! Sounds like you have an awesome homeschool library in the works!! Magic School Bus is great for a wide range of ages!

  2. Soooo many good suggestions! We are thinking of going the joe school route because we travel so often! Definitely remembering this list for when my sons are a bit older!

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