Homeschooling gives you amazing flexibility to think outside the box. There are so many opportunities to add unusual resources. Sometimes an idea that is not traditionally thought of as ‘educational’ can really open up huge learning opportunities. This was the case for us with these three unusual types of homeschool books I added to my homeschool toolkit.
Please note that some of the links are affiliate links, which means if you buy I get a (very) small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to yourself.
Unusual Books to Use in Homeschooling
Paper Doll Books
These were an accidental find!
I was looking for a way to help the children visualize what was happening as we read aloud from Lamb’s Tales From Shakespeare. Although this is an introduction to Shakespeare for children, they were getting muddled with the many different characters in each play.
I happened to see a book of paper dolls of ‘Great Characters from Shakespeare’ and thought that might help. We had so much fun acting out the plays with the dolls that I began to look for other opportunities to make use of similar books.
You will be amazed at the selection of paper doll books available – famous people, traditional costumes from around the world, fashion through the ages, and more!
I have a resource list of paper doll books here to share some examples. Don’t think paper dolls are just for girls! My son loved them as much as my daughter (although the male dolls did tend to get recruited into enacting battles!).
As well as acting out different stories or historical events, we found the dolls very useful for lapbooks and then notebooking. They are also great for adding to timelines – especially the fashion ones. Seeing how people dress at the time really helps you to visualize a particular era. You could also make copies of the dolls and added small magnets to use as fridge magnets.
Following the advice of Trish Kuffner in the Toddler’s Busy Book, I always carried a small ‘busy bag’ with us when we went out and about. I filled a pencil case with small activities (tiny jigsaws, a toy car, and craft materials).
It was perfect for keeping the children entertained in a cafe or waiting in the doctor’s office. Coloring books and crayons in the bag became a firm favorite! And coloring books are also the perfect way to keep small hands occupied during storytime.
There are an amazing variety of educational coloring books covering history, math, and science (to name a few!). I always look for them to add to a unit study on a particular theme. We have also used them in lapbooks and in wall displays. They work very well for longer projects when you can add in a coloring page or two a week to supplement your topic.
Do check out my list of 50 Kids Educational Coloring Books here to get you started.
My kids went through a time when they absolutely loved quizzes! Those little pieces of trivia are soaked up by children (although in the case of my children it seemed the weirder the subject the better).
We used quiz books as a stop-gap to fill in odd moments of time. On the bus, in a queue, waiting for cookies to cool down when they came out of the oven! A quiz is also a good way to start the day and get brains thinking!
There are lots of quiz books available covering all kinds of subjects at different levels of difficulty. My children always preferred them to be a little easier than they needed so they could ‘win’. It made it much more fun for them to know at least some of the answers. That was ok with me too – you will find it a great way of reinforcing the knowledge they know.
The repetition helps too. After the 2nd or 3rd time through a book they usually remembered most of the answers. At 19 my son still can recall some of the facts he picked up from our time quizzing him! I totally recommend you pick up a quiz book or some quiz cards if you can – it will add a fun factor into your homeschooling with very little effort on your part. Result!
I just love how the simplest ideas can spark so much learning effortlessly. I hope you give at least one of these unusual homeschool books a try in your homeschool routine.