How to Use Evernote for Homeschool Book Lists

posted in: organizational | 2

Our next post in the Evernote for Homeschooling series is inspired by a question I received by email last week. Candy wrote:

One thing I struggle with is trying to organize and maintain a booklist both for read alouds and for my kids to read.  There are so many wonderful websites and it’s difficult to get it all in one place that is accessible when I’m out and about at the library, book sales, etc. 

So I’m wondering what you use to keep track of books you want to keep in the pipeline for your family? Something you can access when you are out.


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Most of my intense book list days were back in the days of paper printouts and notebooks in my purse. As I transitioned toward digital planning, I was also slowing down book collecting, but even so, I do most of mine online so I haven’t worried too much about offline availability. If I’m at the local library sale, there’s wifi, and most of my other book-buying is through Amazon used or paperbackswap.com. I almost never browse the actual library shelves, either, but search their online catalog, place a hold, and just run in and grab my books the librarians have already pulled off the shelf for me.

Now that we’re further down the road and I have a wider age range, I’m afraid we’ll miss reading an essential story to the middle or younger set as we keep moving forward with the older ones.

But a book list helps with that, too.

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So here’s the best way I’ve found to keep book lists in Evernote:

Book Lists for Reference

  1. Create a notebook in your homeschool reference stack that is solely for booklists.
  2. Use web clipper to save online book lists like 1000 Good Books list.
  3. Use the web clipper to save a screenshot of a book you want to add to your booklist.

This reference notebook is like your catch-all bucket for all the book ideas. I’ve saved descriptions of books from Exodus Books, added items to my cart and then taken a screenshot (with web clipper) of those books and saved it to Evernote, saved Well-Trained Mind Forum threads with book lists, and of course saved straight book lists like Christine Miller’s 1000 Good Books list.

In fact, if you’ve already saved some book lists in Evernote, we can even share them with each other by email. My friend who does the kids’ book club emails me her Evernote book list of the books she’s chosen. If you have book lists you’ve created or saved, tell us in the comments and we can send them to each other and not each duplicate work! :) I, for one, would like a simple book list for each year of AO. And to share, I have compiled the Omnibus book lists into a simple book list (with edition and translator noted) so I can keep my eyes peeled for those.

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Book Lists for a School Year

  1. You’ll also want a book list note in each School Year notebook, so you have a record of what you read in first grade, so that when you return to first grade with another child, that book list is ready to go. Make sure to note where you got the book: is it from your own collection, from the library, free online, on your kindle – make it easy to find again.

  2. Keep a separate note for a pared down, “I really want to be on the lookout for these” books, apart from your big reference notebook.

Because I don’t pay for Evernote premium, I have – from my laptop at home – emailed notes like this to myself so they’re in my inbox to pull up and reference while I’m out. It’s a quick workaround, and it’s much faster than having my poor little iPod work to index my entire Evernote collection to find what I’m searching for.

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Book Lists for Books You Have

You might consider beginning a personal library notebook, also. Especially as your collection grows, it’s nice to be able to quickly search for books by the same author, books tagged as “medieval,” or audio books you have downloaded.

I am currently cataloguing my library with Delicious Library, and have also used LibraryThing previously, but it’s possible to keep a library catalog in Evernote, too.

  1. Make a “Personal Library” stack.
  2. Make a notebook for different categories of books, either based on how you shelve your books or some other way that would make it easier to browse.
  3. Make one note for each book, with the author’s name (Last, First) and the book title as the note’s title.
  4. Take a picture of the book if you’d like so that a cover image is a part of the browsing experience.

I use Delicious Library or LibraryThing so that I can simply enter the ISBN (or even scan it) and have all the information auto-pulled from Amazon. Using Evernote this way means you have to do all the data entry yourself.

Another way to do it, though, is to use LibraryThing or Delicious Library – which do not have mobile apps (it’s a restriction based on Amazon’s terms of use – Amazon doesn’t want you browsing local used bookstores) – and then export your library list and save it within Evernote. This is a great backup plan, too, and also makes it possible to easily share your catalog or have titles come up as you’re searching within Evernote.

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I’m sure there are more ways to use Evernote for book lists and book reference.

Evernote for Homeschooling Series

2 Responses

  1. Jamie Glaze
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    I am new to Evernote since reading your blogs about it. I LOVE IT! I just started implementing a GTD (Getting Things Done By David Allen) program in my home management, and I found Evernote just after beginning those implementations. What an amazing difference both of these tools have made in my clarity throughout the day, not to mention all the additional things that are getting done during the day. Thank you so much for all that you share here. You are helping to make a difference in this family’s life!

  2. Megan
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    I use goodreads to keep track of the books we own- they have an app so I can check it on the go.