1) A computer, internet, and a printer/copier. Could you homeschooling without them...I guess yes it would be possible but why would you want to. I use pinterest to pin all kinds of great homeschooling resources. My kids have tons of access to educational tools online. I am constantly printing games, free worksheets, and activities. I'd also suggest having a printer that works as a copier as well. Some of the books I've bought rather then having to buy three sets I just copy the worksheets or activities right out of the book. It saves me money and time.
2) An electric Pencil sharpener. With three kids in school and one little one playing school we go through a lot of pencils, and we sharpen a lot of pencils. Sure I could make each kid use a little plastic sharpener. But an electric one is so fast, it saves me time and aggravation.
3) A three hole punch. I punch a lot of paper. I have a notebook where I keep all of my curriculum, our notes, attendance, and what we did for the day. We also keep a science notebook where we add in any cool experiments we've done. Anything on notebook paper is already prepunched but stuff I printed off from the computer needs to be. I bought this years ago and am grateful to have it.
4) Dry Erase Board/Chalk Board. We actually have two big white boards up in our kitchen. They are nice for writing out information I want all the kids to write down, for teaching actual concepts, for making diagrams, for working out problems, or just a good place to put information I want up for a couple of days. We also have two little white boards that the kids can have at their seat to work problems out if they need. The ones I like the best are magnetized!
5) Basic school supplies. I've always been a school supply hoarder and this year homeschooling it really paid off. It is so nice to be able to just go to my stash and find what I need as opposed to having to run out to the store for every little thing. A great time to stock up on school supplies is during the back to school sales in July in August. Stores will often sell things at a loss to get you in there. I'm telling you, you will not find glue sticks, scissors, crayons, or pencils at a cheaper time all year. Stock up then and you'll be glad you did all year. Here are things I've used just this week that I was glad I already had on hand.
- scissors- You need a least a pair for every kid and a nicer pair for yourself. You will be cutting. Have extras on hand to avoid fights.
- note cards - We use these all the time. Just this week Peach was playing a memory game with sight words on note cards and we were writing out facts about America to put on our American History Time line.
- adhesives- I like glue sticks because they are less messy, but I also keep Elmer's glue on hand and tape, lots of tape, a stapler, and staples.
- Three Hole Punch Note Books - I use one to keep roll and curriculum, the kids each have one to hold all their science papers, Cheetah has one that holds her preschool curriculum. They are nice to have around. You can find 1 inch ones at the dollar store or stock up during back to school sales.
- Notebooks/Composition Books/Paper - School work takes up a lot of paper. My kids write in a composition journal book every day. They use paper for scratch or for writing or craft assignments. We keep a Social Studies notebook. You are going to get your best price on this during back to school sales but you can also find composition books at the dollar store for $1 year round.
- Page protectors - I used page protectors as an easy way of laminating papers in my preschool notebook. Then Cheetah can write on them with dry erase markers and I can just wipe them off. I buy my page protectors at the dollar store when they carry them. You can get 16 for $1.
- Contact paper - I use clear contact paper as my poor person laminate. Scotch has a laminator you can buy for like $30 but then you have to continue to buy pouches which can get a little pricey and it doesn't worth with stuff that is wider than the laminator. So instead I just use clear contact paper. Yesterday I "laminated" a few of the pages I was putting in Cheetahs book that I wanted to be a little more sturdy. I just laid out the contact paper after pulling off the back side, put my page face down on it. Put another piece of contact paper on the back and then cut it out. I also had Gigi "laminate" some pieces of a shapes game that I wanted to stay a little bit more sturdy. You can find contact paper at Walmart or the dollar store.
- Hole punch/loose leaf rings - Often times if I'm making a study guide the kids will write things down on note cards and then we will single hole punch them and put them on a loose leaf ring. An example of this would be the sight words Peach has or the multiplication cards Captain E has. It is nice to have the rings on hand for when you need them. I've bought them at Walmart and at the dollar store.
- Art supplies- We just have these on hand, construction paper, water colors, crayons, markers, colored pencils, pastels, pompoms, googly eyes, Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners. I buy them in August and they last me all year. They also have quite a few art supplies at the dollar store. I'd advice any new homeschooling family to go to your local dollar store and walk the aisles. That way you know what is available, and if you ever see any supplies cheaper you know you should snatch them up.
- Writing supplies - Pens, pencils, pencil top erasers, dry erase markers, chalk. My kids go through a lot of erasers...mainly because Cheetah is always biting them off. It helps to have erasers I can just pop on the top of the pencils.
- Calculator/Ruler/Pencil compass/dice - these come in handy for some of the math things the kids do. I bought a couple at the beginning of year a few years ago and we still occasionally pull them out.
- Supply holders - We are using one shelf to house all our homeschooling supplies right now. We have four milk crates, two plastic bins, and a clementine box. It isn't pretty but it gets the job done. I also have a lot of pencil boxes, and pencil pouches holding all our art and writing supplies. I buy these at the beginning of the school year when Walmart has them at great prices. You can also get pencil boxes and pencil pouches at the dollar store year round but I don't think the quality is as good.
So there you have it. These are the things I keep in my house to keep our little school going. Is there anything I missed? Let me know if you have a must have that makes homeschooling or just plain parenting easier in your house.