books, Uncategorized

Where to find free, cheap, or fast books

We are all a little behind on everything around here, sorry in advance. There was a funeral, a wedding, and unexpected Turkey Day guests, as well as some paid freelance work that we couldn’t turn down. We planned on doing a whole week of books that didn’t quiet make the curriculum, but we ran out of time. This post, however, while intended for the end of the week, was written first. We still think it will be helpful, so without further ado: Where to find free, cheap, or fast books to use when homsechooling.


First, check the library. Not only is your local library an amazing resource, but you’re actually helping them out when you check books out since many local libraries depend on check out numbers for funding. Plus it’s free!

If they don’t have what you need, ask a librarian about inter library loan. This is a program that lets you check out books from libraries across the country. If you need a longer check out period, ask your librarian if they do an educator card or have a homeschool program. Some libraries have programs, but you almost always have to ask.

If you use e-books, check and see if your library uses an e-book system. My smaller public library system is sort of terrible about having print books I need on hand, however, they have a huge e-book collection.

If you have a university near you, look into getting a library card from them. Most public institutions have some sort of program for the public to use their resources. They usually have a bigger selection of books on hand, and they also are part of local and national networks of libraries for inter library book loans. Also, they often let you check out books for longer than the public library would.

Shop your shelves! I own three different translations of the Iliad, and Sam kept all her college textbooks. Check and see if you already happen to own the books you need.


If you want to buy a book, look into buying used.

Powell’s Books

If you are in Oregon, go visit. Heck, I might just plan a vacation around going to Powell’s, its that great. It also has an amazing selection of used books for sale online.


This is good if you’ve struck out elsewhere. While we are only listing in-print books for the curriculum, this is the place to find some really hard to locate stuff as well as more common used books.

Daedalus Books

These guys specialize in remainder books, so you can occasionally get a really good deal on last year’s popular books.


And, of course, if you want that book new and at your house tomorrow, there’s always Amazon. Or, if you like e-books, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited has a pretty large selection of e-books that is sort of on a Netflix model and can be in your hands immediately.


We use affiliate links. When you purchase a book from one of our links to Amazon, we receive a small commission. 




More books!

Amazon is currently running $5 off $20 on most books with the code GIFTBOOK17, just in case you you are in the market for some more books (and who isn’t?)

Continuing our book from the cutting room floor week, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature was an option we considered for nature study. It’s an excellent book for parents who don’t mind a bit of non-secular/spiritual content, but didn’t pass our secular-ness test. It’s definitely aimed at parents and not students, and has has interesting things to say about childhood and our experience of nature have changed and how we can approach nature appreciation with kids.

We use affiliate links. When you purchase a book from one of our links to Amazon, we receive a small commission. 


One From the Cutting Room Floor

We are still hard at work trying to find a single decent history book for the middle school set, but I wanted to share a book we rejected from the Year 12 list today. Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile by Eden Medina is a intriguing look at the history of computing outside the United States, a rare thing indeed. It focuses on the days before Allende’s overthrow, when modern technology was invoked with a bit of utopian fever. Allende vision of a socialist computer society ended in a bloddy coup, but the story of the innovated ways he and his followers tried to bend technology to their purpose might be of interest to all the computer nerds out there.

We decided it was a bit too academic for most Year 12 students to connect with, but if you have a computer fanatic, are an auto-didact, or just want to read something outside your normal choices, this book might work for you.

We use affiliate links. When you purchase a book from one of our links to Amazon, we receive a small commission. 


New Science Expansions!

We want to say hello to all our new visitors. We are blown away by the interest in this program, unfinished and unadvertised as it is. Behind the scenes we are working away, so that we can continue to add to the Usra Minor Learning curriculum.

Today’s addition is the high school science expansion list. Unlike our other expansion lists, it is organized by topic instead of grade, as we are attempting to create a more integrated, Charlotte Mason inspired high school plan. Expansion lists are designed so that you can pick books in area that you or your student want more emphasis on. They also help with rabbit trails and showing the broader impact of the subject. They also make great reading lists for deep dives in particular subjects. Go check it out!