Overview: There are a few homeschool essentials that all homeschooling families need.
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There are many different ways to homeschool and even more choices in homeschool resources.
But there are a few homeschool essentials that all families need in order to start homeschooling no matter what method they decide to use.
Today I’m sharing a few tangible homeschool supplies that you need, but also a few non-tangible homeschool essentials that are a must for every homeschooling family.
Homeschool Essential #1: Art Supplies
One of the first chapters in Julie Bogart’s book, The Brave Learner, is about setting up an art space. This space should allow for free creativity with no boundaries.
I have our art space in a small corner of the room on an old rug, so my kiddos can be as messy and as creative as they want.
Then fill it with real art supplies, not kid-made art supplies.
Here are a few homeschool art supplies that I recommend:
- Natural Clay
- Clay Sculpting Tools
- Homemade Playdough
- Playdough Tools
- Acrylic Paint
- Watercolor Paint
- Colored Pencils
- Oil Pastels
- Chalk Pastels
- Variety of Loose Parts (beads, buttons, pipe cleaners, pompoms, stickers)
Homeschool Essential #2: Outside Space
We have several outside spaces that we can explore, play in, and do nature study lessons. Our main outside space is our backyard. But we also have several parks that we go to, plus a river and a pond.
Having a wide variety of outside spaces to explore gives your child different nature challenges and learning experiences.
Looking for a fun nature curriculum? Check out my three favorites:
Homeschool Essential #3: Library Card
Homeschooling is all about learning together as a family. Most of that is done through everyday experiences and books.
As you become more comfortable with homeschooling, you’ll start to get more adventurous and allow your child to explore rabbit holes or take on learning experiences on their own.
Plus many curriculum resources use a variety of books.
Instead of spending a boatload of money on books, use your library.
I rarely buy new books, but I also think my librarian knows my name by heart because I’m constantly checking out 50-100 books at a time.
Homeschool Essential #4: Cozy Reading Spot
We have a small cozy reading spot in our homeschool room, but my kiddos will read anywhere they are comfortable. Sometimes that’s outside, on their bed, or even on the floor in the middle of the living room.
I have several reading corners in my house. Plus each of my children have a book basket in their rooms. I also have a basket in the living room, and our homeschool room has a big bookshelf with all of our library books.
For our bookshelf, I just used IKEA spice racks that I painted and hung on the wall.
Add in a few pillows and stuffed animals to make your area cozy.
Homeschool Essential # 5: Computer or Tablet
We mostly use our tablets for homeschooling. I like to strew activities then add a YouTube video or app that helps extend their learning.
My kids’ favorite apps are ReadingEggs and MathSeeds.
With our homeschool routine, I rotate between my children as I teach their structured lessons. Having the apps and YouTube videos gives the one I’m not working with something productive and educational to do.
Homeschool Essential #6: Printer
Many homeschool curriculums these days are delivered to you via PDF. You can spend a ton and wait for weeks to have it printed for you, or you can print it yourself.
I use an EPSON printer. I print all my curriculum then place it in binders. Doing it this way has saved me a ton of money.
It does take a bit of time to put together, but I can have it within an hour rather than waiting weeks for a printing company. To me, it’s worth it to print my materials at home.
Homeschool Essential #7: Storage Space
Let’s face it…
Homeschooling requires a lot of materials and papers. It can be hard to store it all. Having a storage system is definitely on our homeschool essentials list.
For me, I store our resources in a drawer storage cart. Then each week, I pull out the materials I will need and place them in our daily bins.
For our manipulatives and toys, I use cube shelves. I highly recommend shelves because it’s easier for your child to see what you have available.
For artwork, I use a large art portfolio. And for completed worksheets, I just use a 3-ring binder.
Homeschool Essential #8: Easy to Use Planner
To organize all my thoughts and plans, I use a simple planner.
I use this to plan out each month with field trips and the activities that I would like to get done. Then at the end of each day, I plan from behind by writing down the skills and subjects my children covered.
Since much of our learning comes from our free time, I don’t know what they will really learn each day. Planning from behind makes it easier to track all their learning, especially if you have to turn in a portfolio for your homeschool review.
Homeschool Essential #9: Laminator
You’re not an official homeschool mom unless you have a laminator…
We use a lot of game pieces, models, and manipulatives throughout the year. I like to laminate them so they stay nice all year and I can reuse them.
Homeschool Essential #10: A Good Homeschool Curriculum
In our homeschool, we follow a 3 subject routine. I only teach math, language arts, and unit studies. All our other subjects fall into unit studies.
Anything else we do, like art or music, is just extra and we only do it on an “if I feel like it” basis. We also love doing classes on Outschool.
A good homeschool curriculum helps you to keep moving forward in important skills. Our curriculum is not something we follow step by step or day by day. Instead, it’s like a road map that helps us stay on track to the end destination. But we tend to explore lots of rabbit holes or take breaks to make sure we’re mastering skills throughout the curriculum.
I like to keep our structured lessons short.
Here are a few curriculum choices that I recommend:
Homeschool Essential #11: An Encouraging Environment
Did you know that you can pass a lot of the teaching onto your homeschool room?
Having an encouraging environment that promotes learning is one of the most important homeschool essentials.
We are a child-led family, but that doesn’t mean I give up all the control of their learning.
I control their environment.
The environment controls WHAT they learn.
My children control WHEN and HOW they learn it.
We each have our own unique learning timeline. What we place in our kids’ environment and the experiences we give them is what shapes their unique learning timeline.
Related: Our Learning Approach
Homeschool Essential #12: Mama Self Care
This is a super important homeschool essential, and it should be your top priority.
You cannot be the best mom, wife, homemaker, or homeschool teacher without putting yourself first. Your bucket needs to be overflowing, so you can give your best to everyone else that needs you.
Figure out what fuels you and how you best recharge. Then add it into your routine as a daily non-negotiable.
Homeschool Essential #13: A Relaxed Routine
Homeschooling is essentially real life. Your routine should reflect that.
Here at Homegrown Learning, we follow what I call The FRESH Rule. This means your routine should be:
When I teach homeschoolers how to create a relaxed routine, we always start with our children’s natural daily rhythm.
Creating a routine around your child’s natural tendencies and energies make for a more peaceful day.
Homeschool Essential #14: Lots of Food
Have you ever heard of second breakfast?
If you’re new to homeschooling, it’s only a matter of time before you realize that kids eat all day long.
I’ve learned to layout trays of healthy food for my kids to munch on in between meals.
Homeschool Essential #15: Transportation
What’s homeschooling without field trips?
This is one thing that makes me really sad about public school. They only do 1-2 field trips per year.
No matter where you live, I’m sure you’ll find so many amazing opportunities for your children to explore. A field trip can be as simple as walking down to the community pond. Or you may decide to take a big trip to a museum once a month.
In order to get there, you need some sort of transportation. Use field trips to your advantage. They offer so many wonderful learning experiences.
Related: 40 Virtual Field Trip Ideas
Homeschool Essential #16: Supportive Community
And the last homeschool essential is a supportive community. This can be family, friends, an online Facebook Group, a homeschool membership, or a co-op. It really doesn’t matter who it is, as long as you have a few supportive people in your corner.
Homeschooling is about creating a lifestyle around learning. You don’t need a bunch of fancy materials. In fact, the less you have the better it is for your children.
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