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Downloading Classic Literature
Visit an Online Library to Download Books for Your Homeschool

Learn how to download classics from a digital library. Find classic literature online and supplement your homeschool curriculum with digital library resources.

Publications whose copyrights have expired are referred to as “in the public domain” and considered public property. There are several digital library websites that allow visitors to download books for free or for the cost of an annual or monthly membership. There are also resources that offer the opportunity to download audio books through an online library.

Classic Literature

Searching for classic literature through an online library can be time consuming. Begin with a book list that includes titles, author and original publisher or publication date. Try checking with your homeschool curriculum publisher for a recommended book list or a required reading list.

If your homeschooling curriculum doesn’t specify a book list, there are several book lists available online. Try visiting The Great Books, sponsored by the Access Foundation. Their goal is to keep a comprehensive classic book list with links to online library sites that allow visitors to download classics.
Before you visit an online library to download classics, designate a file folder in your computer for each book. Often, the book will be available in several formats; .pdf, .html and .txt are the most popular. Sometimes one book might require more than one file to be downloaded. This folder is also a good place to keep study notes, or a reading journal. Separating each book into its own folder helps keep lesson plans organized, too. 

Download Audio Books

Listening to audio books as a family is a great way to enjoy classic literature. In The Well Trained Mind [Peace Hill Press 1999], Susan Wise Bauer suggests that students listen to a chapter from an audio book each day during a restful time. She means this to be a time when a homeschooling mother can take a break and children can enjoy classic literature without distractions. There’s no reason an adult can’t enjoy books this way, too.

To download audio books, first decide how you’ll be listening to them. If you plan to use an iPod, you can save them to iTunes in .mp3 or .mp4 format. If you’re using any other player, .mp3 is most likely to work the best. Windows media player will play .wmv files, but you can’t always download audio books in that format. Create a folder for your playlist and keep all of the “tracks” together. Sometimes one chapter will consist of several tracks. Consider whether you’d like to keep each chapter separated by folders for a chapter-by-chapter replay.

How to Use Downloaded Books

Printing all of the books you’ve downloaded can be expensive. Consider reading them on screen. An advantage to reading books on your computer is that you can fight eye strain by simply zooming in on the text to see it larger. Additionally, personal notes can be made using a font-color change, an editing program’s “sticky-note” feature or text highlighter. Files can be shared with other members of a study group as well, for scholarly discussions. These “Socratic” discussions are an important part of some homeschooling philosophies.

Explore A Digital Library

Before you spend a fortune buying beautiful hardbound leather embossed editions of classic literature, or even visiting a used curriculum sale, consider visiting a digital library for a free download. Enjoy supplementing your homeschool curriculum with free resources and keep them organized and accessible in your computer. Make a habit of visiting an online library to download audio books and classics regularly.


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