I used to feel like I had to have every educational toy, every workbook, all the curricula, every new thing I saw – to homeschool my children well…
But I realize now that I don’t need much. Kids learn well when left alone, maybe just a little coaching and guidance. We’re pretty laid back these days.
I have minimized to the top ten items we love and need to homeschool our four kiddos.
Our Top Ten Homeschool Items
10. Reference books: encyclopedias, dictionary, and thesaurus; Strong’s and Matthew Henry (yeah, I’m old-school!), our history encyclopedia…yeah I know that’s technically more than one thing. See what I did there? While we love the Internet for research, I think it’s really important that my kids learn how to use these tools.
9. Workboxes (or cubbies, cubes, drawers, folders – however you want to work it); i.e.: somewhere for the kids to put their stuff! I like the Closetmaid Cubeicals and other prefab bookcases. We have used it all, depending on our space allowances. Currently, the three younger kids each have a magazine file on their desks for their workbooks and papers and my teen has a cabinet in the basement. We use these as overflow bookshelves now. (They don’t survive moving very well, but they’re fairly inexpensive to replace.)
8. Art Supplies (all that crafty stuff that makes life stressful and messy and fun and beautiful). We like to get our arts and crafts stuff from Discount School Supply. We love colored pencils and glue sticks and the Back to School aisles still give me butterflies!
7. Library Cards (the kids and I all have our own cards and we max those suckers out each week!) We love books. While I purchase lots, I always check the library and the Overdrive app to borrow eBooks first. Libby by Overdrive is another great tablet reader.
6. Camera: to document memories, for those blog pics, and to send to friends and family to prove that we do something productive (those doubters!).
5. iPad Minis. Alex loves his. Thank God for technology. Starfall taught Alex his ABCs. The kids and I all have one with color-coded Trident cases. (They were gifts from grandparents.) We use them daily for schoolwork and fun. I gave the girls their own shared Kindle account and we download FREE eBooks all the time! (Am I brilliant, or what?) We love weather and geography apps. And yes, we watch YouTube and Netflix when we have WiFi. We love Stack the States, Splash Math, and Duolingo ! (These were gifts from grandparents.)
3. Bibles. Each child has a KJV. We have The Message, an Amplified Bible, and The Complete Jewish Bible for comparison. I love having this freedom to teach the Bible during our school day. Also those Bible reference materials. (See #10.) And we love Bible apps too. We use Pray Now every evening before bed. Sure, we have Bibles on our Kindle, but sometimes, I want to feel a book.
1. Lap Desks/Trays. My kid fight over the lap desks. We have four of this little table kind, but they argue about who gets the Marvel superheroes one. ugh! I found plain ones at Michael’s and the Marvel one at Savers thrift store. We use these to do our school work and to eat in front of the TV (a special treat!) We also have these fun ones from Room It Up. And I even found Liz a mini one with a cool clipboard on it! They’re also great for travel.
We continue to purge and downsize our belongings, including our homeschool items, each year. It’s getting even more fun as the kids get older. We need less and less.
What are your must-haves for your homeschool?
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