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Books and Book Sources

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Purchasing Books and Printing e-Books

As you begin your home schooling journey you will find as I did that the curriculum catalog becomes your guide, your mentor, your best friend. First things first: go to the following curriculum publisher's and booksellers and request a catalog. You might not receive a copy right away as many of these company's send catalog's out in June. But once your name gets on their list, you will be certain to receive their catalog on a regular basis.

I consider this to be the 'JC Penney' catalog for home schoolers. The Rainbow Resource company prints out a 3" bound catalog, really more of a reference book, each year. It is filled with thousands of curriculum options, most with personalized reviews from staff members. Rainbow Resource also has some of the very best pricing available and if you order over $150 dollars, shipping is free!

Christian Book Distributor's is one of the larger Christian booksellers in the nation. You will not only find excellent prices and a wide variety of school books, but also will have access to other Christian books, bibles, and devotional items.

Dover Publications is IMO (in my opinion) a must-have, especially for the thrifty/budget conscience shopper. Dover has some wonderfully unique items, thrift editions of classic books, coloring books and oodles of paper doll sets and much more!

Other catalogs to consider:

Printing and Binding e-Books

Electronic textbooks have revolutionized the educational community. PDF (Portable Document Files) were once reserved for business, are now found all over the internet. These easy to read documents (all that is required is Adobe Acrobat's Free Reader - open in most web browsers and allow you to print, search, and save the files to your computer's hard drive.

Electronic Libraries

There are some wonderful electronic libraries where you can read e-Books online for free. These websites contain books that are classics - those published over 75 years ago. Most e-Libraries offer html formatted text so that it is easy to read the book right off the screen or print each page to your computer's printer.

Ambleside Online Books

Ambleside Online's curriculum uses many books that have been formatted as Word documents or PDF files. These books, mostly classical literature selections, are ready to be printed on your home printer. While this is a cost-effective method for procuring books, for some families it is just not possible to do (either they lack a good printer or the cost of ink and paper is too expensive).   Thankfully, a couple dedicated mom's are working to make these books available as professional bound books.

Binding Your Own Books

To begin with, you wouldn't even need some heavy-duty glue. An all-purpose white glue that bonds fast which you can find at any ordinary office supplies shop will do. You see, the trick is not in the glue-it's how you use that glue!

Next, make sure the pages that you will bind are folded perfectly. Take a piece of ordinary coupon bond and fold this in half-cross-wise, not length-wise. The size should resemble a typical book. To make sure you fold the paper perfectly, don't taper off the middle until you have both ends of the paper exactly matched. If you don't do that, I can assure you, you will never achieve perfect binding. Some of the pages would protrude like sore thumb!

Once you have neatly folded and flattened all the book pages, put them all together on the table-one on top of each other, arranged exactly the way the pages in your book are supposed to look when read. Hold the book's top and bottom, and as you do, tap it's yet unbound outer spine on the table to make sure that all the pages line up perfectly.

That done, clip the middle part of the book with one hand, then replace the pressure with two metal clips, which, again can be pretty much any type (snap on or clip on) you can buy from a school supplies shop. After all, you will only need them temporarily. The idea is to hold the yet unbound book perfectly until you are ready to glue the spine (which is the back of the book, or in other words, the part to be glued or bound). Apply the clips strategically at the top and the bottom of the spine.

That done, get yourself at least two pieces of cotton swabs (yes, the ones you use for your ears). You have no idea how useful these are for the binding job at hand. On the table, put them on top of a tissue paper. Now, dip one end of the first cotton swab in the glue and apply the glue on the spine while carefully holding the book. Think as if you are doing a wall painting job. Make sure you cover the entire spine and that the "paint" is evenly applied. It doesn't have to be very thick as most likely your first attempt will be-but that's okay, as that will not affect the quality of your binding. Use the other end of your cotton swab to repeat the process if necessary.

The cotton swab is better than any glue applicator for this purpose because you can use it to wipe out any excess glue, too. The result is the most even application that you can achieve.

That was just the first coating. Here's how you do the final coating-that second cotton swab has a purpose! Position the book's spine at the edge of the table, then put a telephone directory on top of it. Make sure your book's spine is protruding outside of the edge of the table! Now you are ready to apply the second coating of the glue.

Do it the same way you did the first time, wiping off excess glue with the cotton swab to even out the application. By now, the glue earlier applied would have already began to dry -giving your book that solid look which gives you that growing confidence that you're on the right track.

Your second glue application finished, leave the book alone to dry. Thirty minutes should be just fine. While you are waiting, make use of the time by working on the cover which in this case is a paperback stock. By now, from the way the book pages have bonded together-you can estimate with your eyes the width of the spine. Draw two vertical pencil lines on the inner part of the book cover-make sure the space in between is the exact width of the spine.

Then, with the help of sturdy ruler, fold the cover along the lines pretty much like you were a machine doing some flawless perforation (e.g., creating a permanent fold on the paper). Now it's time to apply glue to the space between the two lines of the book cover. There is really no need to apply too much. That done, pick up the book you left to dry out, and slide its spine snugly in between the covers.

If you did a pretty good fold or perforation job on the two lines of the cover, the book's spine should just fit perfectly into the space inside the cover. Again, leave the book (now with the cover attached) under your ever-dependable telephone directory. An hour should be just enough to do the job, and you have yourself a perfectly bound book.


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