In our early years, we used little curriculum and a lot of books. We still go to the library at least once a week; I almost always test drive a book before buying it. If I renew it twice and still want to keep it, then I buy it. Library Elf is the best $20 I spend each year because I avoid all fines by using it. If you’re looking for inspiration to find some new books, here are some places to start.
Sonlight.com – Sonlight makes literature-based curriculum for all grades. On their website you can look at the books listed for each grade and just pick and choose what interests you. You can order a paper catalog too. They have lots of historical fiction and read-alouds. Some of their books are quite dry but there is a lot to choose from so you won’t miss the ones you don’t like. The Sonlight forums are now free so you can ask about different books or just look on the feed that interests you. Don’t be afraid to go to books that are listed for a younger age group.
Classical-homeschooling.org has a 1000 Good Book List for all grades. I will sometimes sit at my computer with the library webpage open beside the book list putting books on hold. I have used it to find great books on CD for the car as well. We are nowhere near finishing the list and we haven’t enjoyed them all but it’s a great place to find some new titles, especially picture books. Don’t stop reading picture books too early, they are full of great stories and beautiful artwork. Use them until at least age 12. My 16 year old still sits and listens to me re-read our favourites.
Oak Meadow also has some good ideas for books, although their lists are a lot smaller than Sonlight. They are not quite as advanced as Sonlight so they can be a good comparison. For us, the Oak Meadow list is far more reasonable to complete in a year (although we still pick and choose).
There are also great books on Pinterest! Search by ‘book list’ or ‘books for children’ or ‘math books’ or whatever. There is a lot of love for children’s books on Pinterest. While you’re there, follow Oak Meadow because they post some great stuff.