Friday, September 6, 2013

Most Essential Homeschool Supplies


It's back to school time (for a lot of us). Do you have everything set up the way you want it?  Do you have a lovely school room or area for your kids to use?

I don't.  I don't have everything set up the way I want it.  And I don't have a lovely school area for the kids.  But I have enough to get by; I have the essentials.

My "Essential Homechool Supplies" List:

1.  A large whiteboard.  This is our most used tool - I write schedules and lists on it, the kids like to draw on it or write out their math on it.  Ours is not fixed to a wall, so it can travel around the house and yard with us, going wherever we have decided to do school that day.

2.  Pencils.  Sharpened ones to be exact.  I don't know about your kids, but mine are the masters of breaking pencils in the middle of their work and then of losing pencils in between work.  I try to keep a supply of sharpened pencils standing by to swap out.


3.  Blank books.  Sketch books, journals, composition books, etc.  Before I really started giving them all the blank books they could want, they used scrap paper for their drawings, stories, and other paper creations.  We ended up with drawings and scribblings floating all over the house and getting lost or just cluttering up every surface.  Keeping them in a book is much better.  Combine some blank books with some pencil pouches full of pencils, both graphite and colored, and you are all set to wander about the world and observe it.

4.  Computer/Internet Access.  So much of what we do is on a computer now, and with internet access you will be able to find online educational programs, look things up, create, explore, communicate.  It does pose its problems as well, but the world is literally opened up to kids on a computer.

5.  A Library Account.  We use our library accounts to their max: books for me to read to them, books for them to read out loud or to themselves, books about subjects we are studying,  DVDs, audiobooks, bilingual books for learning spanish, craft books, cook books, how-to books. There is no way I could afford all the resources we use if I had to buy them, so thank goodness for libraries!

6.  Workbooks.  Yes, we use some workbooks.  They have their place, and are one of our tools.

7.  A World Map/Globe.  Just to be able to get an idea of where in the world things are as they are discussed is invaluable.  We consult the map in relation to history, to current events, to literature, and at other times as well.

8.  A Normal Kitchen plus a few "Extras" (balloons, batteries, duct tape, wire, yarn, cheesecloth, pipettes).  If you include the contents of the recycling bin as normal kitchen supplies, you are basically set for 70% of the home science experiments your kids might do.

9.  A Sliver of Natural Space.  Somewhere for the kids to observe nature and engage in nature study, which is really not a planned "school subject" but rather the habit of feeling connection with nature and noticing what is going on out in the non-human world.  You can add in nature journals and field guides, tools to extend our senses (magnifying glasses, binoculars), and ways to capture and hold samples and specimens, but the real essential is just a bit of nature.

10.  And the most important "supply"!  Time!  The kids just need time: time alone, time with an adult paying attention to them, time to explore, time to read, time to create, time to be silly, time to ask questions, time to think, unrushed and unscheduled time!

What would be on your list of essentials?

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