I’ve read a few things about what other homeschoolers consider their must haves so I thought I’d make my own list. Whether your just curious, just starting out homeschooling, or want to maybe consider homeschooling and wondering what you might need, hopefully this list helps. This list is basically my essentials, obviously there are other things we use on a daily basis, but take out all the work books and bought curriculum and I could make it work with just these things.
Good Quality Pencils
Dry Erase Markers
Crayons, Markers, and Art Supplies
Flash Cards and Card Stock
Puzzles and Games
Let me break this down so you understand why I chose these things.
Laptop – This is number one because to me it’s most important. I can look online for ideas for specific subjects. I can find free online printable worksheets. I have access to ask other homeschooling parents for tips or help if I need it. I can use Word or Excel to make my own worksheets and printables. It’s rather obvious that having a computer is an endless resource. If we didn’t have curriculum books I could find lots of things online to use to teach the kids.
Good Printer – It is so important to have a really good printer. I use my printer every single day to print, copy or scan things for school. We have found it a great investment for how much we use it. It prints, scans, photocopies, and has a fax machine. Part of the reason this has become an essential is because I make a lot of my own curriculum work sheets and booklets. Having a good printer means the quality is better and the printer takes less time to print. Plus out sourcing your printing needs to Staples, Office Depot, or other printing places can be extremely expensive. It us it just made sense to invest that money to buy our own. The printer we use is the Ricoh SP C261SFNw All-in-One Color Laser Printer.
Printer Paper – We go through so much printer paper. We typically buy a case of it when it goes on sale someplace. We use it to print out worksheets, and sometimes for art projects.
Laminator – I make a lot of my own worksheets and manipulatives that we use and I also sell. I use my laminator to make dry erase worksheets, posters, and charts that we hang up in the school room. It’s not something I use daily but it has come in so handy. It has actually saved us from using even more printer paper. Laminated worksheets means my boys can use them over and over again instead of me having to continually print more. I use the Scotch Laminator, it is fairly inexpensive and works amazing.
Good Quality Pencils – We go through a lot of pencils, but having good quality ones means we don’t go through as many. It means they don’t go dull as quickly, break less, and sharpen easier. Saves time and money. We use Ticonderoga Pencils, watch for when they go on sale.
Dry Erase Markers – We go through a lot of dry erase markers. The kids use them on some of their laminated worksheets and white boards. The kids have a couple small white boards and I have a giant one that I use for teaching lessons. Dry erase markers dry out so quickly so we always have a bunch on hand. I have found that Expo Dry Erase Markers work the best and wipe off cleaner. I like the jumbo ones because they can stand up to more abuse from the kids.
Crayons, Markers, and Art Supplies – Art supplies are always just great to have on hand. We tend to go through a lot of crayons because they break, the ones that I’ve found work best for us are Crayola Twistables. The kids aren’t able to break them as easily. We always have construction paper, paint, water colours, glue sticks, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, etc. We also have a lot a Biblical colouring books, and I’ve made colouring sheets with shapes, letters and numbers. I’ve always thought it was important for the kids to be able to explore their creative side.
Story Books – Reading is so important so having a lot of story books in the house is a must. We have continued to build our own library from the time the kinds were little, but as great as is it to build your own mini library you can also go to your local public library. Browse the shelves, let the kids pick and read some books. You can find books on almost anything at the library. Take them home, read and learn and return them. The library is an amazing resource for any parent.
Flash Cards and Card Stock – We have so many different kinds of flash cards. Alphabet, numbers, sight words, word blends, addition, subtraction,etc. The list goes on and on. Whether you buy them or use card stock to make them, they are an amazing learning tool.
Puzzles and Board Games – We have slowly been building our puzzles and games collection. Puzzles take focus and concentration, and depending on the content of the puzzle it can also be a teaching tool. We have puzzles of maps, alphabet, numbers, colour matching, animals, etc. We have several games for all different kinds of learning. Colour recognition, sums and differences, number recognition, matching, counting, etc. Games are always a fun way to learn and keep the kids engaged.
So these are my must haves. If we didn’t have anything else we could definitely make do with these things. My kids would still be learning a ton and having a blast doing it. If you want you find out more about specific worksheets and manipulatives we use stay tuned.