Most Used Homeschool Reference Books

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Happy Thursday friends!

If you missed my two previous posts this week about my most used homeschool supplies and planning/prepping items check them out here:

Most Used Homeschool Supplies

Most Used Homeschool Supplies for Planning & Prep

I buy books as we go and start with which ones will be most helpful in our upcoming school year. For example, next year we are studying “Around the World,” so I made sure to purchase Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and the DK Countries of the World. These will be very useful in future homeschool years too.

When purchasing books, I try to check my favorite second hand book store websites first. (Thriftbooks, AbeBooks, DiscoverBooks) I have gotten many books for a great price, saving money to buy even more from my wish list. For all other books we use throughout the school year (chapter books, picture books, specific reference books) I use the library as often as possible.

These reference books are the ones I like to purchase to have on my shelves so we can pull them out any time, any year, when we come across a particular topic. My kids love looking at them, and they have led to great interest-led learning. Only purchasing useful reference books helps me save money and space!

(I put a ** by my children’s favorite books from this list.)

Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinksa

The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan

Julia Rothman Series

History Timeline– This is a blank timeline notebook that you fill in yourself. Anytime the kids and I learn about an event or person in history we add it to our timeline and are able to refer back to it anytime.

DK & Smithsonian Encyclopedias

I love DK & Smithsonian Encyclopedias! We have slowly been collecting lots of them and they are so great to pull out for lessons. They have beautiful photos and explanatory text that isn’t too hard to understand. These are the ones we already own and love!

First Human Body Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia of Animals (**FAVORITE)

Children Just Like Me (**FAVORITE)

Human Body


The New Children’s Encyclopedia (Visual Encyclopedia)

American History

The Arts


Trees Leaves Flowers and Seeds

Bible, Reading, and Handwriting

Draw Write Now Books (**FAVORITE)

These books are the best for drawing and copywork. Each page gives a certain topic, how to draw it, and facts to use as copy work. These are really helpful when we are notebooking and we can pull out one with a topic we are learning to help draw and write. I get THIS primary journal for my kids to use with them as well.

DK Children’s Bible Stories

Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

These below aren’t reference books, but are early reader series that we have on hand because they get read through often.

Dash Into Learning- Early Reading Books (use code SMITH20 for 20% off)

Elephant & Piggie Series by Mo Willems


Usborne My First Reading Library

Arnold Lobel Books

Usborne Books

I love Usborne books! Their books are so colorful, engaging, and fun. They have lots of great ones that are great for kids in all different subjects.

Usborne Big Book of the Body

The Usborne Big Book of… series are so cool! Each of the books have huge fold out pages to see and learn about things on a bigger scale. They have great facts for kids and are super engaging and colorful.

My Very First Our World Book

Usborne Encyclopedia of World History

Usborne First Hundred Words in Spanish

Usborne Fold-Out Solar System

My Wish List:

These are some great books that I will be purchasing over time to have on our homeschool shelves. I usually will get them when we are going to start a specific subject or for holiday gifts.

Where on Earth? Atlas

DK Water Cycles

DK Life Cycles

DK The Rock and Gem Book

National Parks of the U.S.A

Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature

Magnified books

The Big Book of series by Yuval Zommer

I know this was a long list and I hope it didn’t overwhelm you. Hopefully it was helpful on what reference books would be great to add to your homeschool shelves. We love to use these for facts, beautiful photos, art, copy work, deep dives, and interest-led learning.

Comment below with any of your favorites!

Have a great rest of your week!


If you want to read more about great books here are some other posts of mine:

Read Aloud Tips, Books, and Free Download

How I Taught My Kids to Read

Early Reading Resources

Beginning Reader Chapter Books

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