What do you need on your homeschool supply list? What are the essential supplies for electives and exploring extracurricular activities?
Homeschooling school supplies are unique to each family depending on the curriculum used and the age of the students.
There are some basic supplies and homeschooling essentials that are useful for everyday learning.
Basic school supplies
Most everyday basic office supplies are great for homeschooling kids! These are supplies that you probably already have around the house. Many of these supplies can be found at dollar stores. Since homeschoolers do not have to provide supplies for a traditional school year, parents can also take advantage of the fall close-out sales and discounts for school supplies at many retail stores.
- Expo Markers
Tip- Did you know you can use Expo Markers on mirrors and on tub or shower doors? Great for helping kids memorize difficult concepts or practicing new skills.
I’ve used this in the past as a space to list sight words in the early learning years.
- Pencils (Mechanical or Wooden)
Pencils are always a necessity. It’s much easier to erase mistakes with a pencil, especially for little ones still learning to write.
In today’s age a lot of students prefer mechanical pencils because there is no need for sharpening, but it’s all about preference.
For regular pencils, hands-down the best are Ticonderoga Pencils! The tips on these pencils do not break off as much as cheaper pencils. You can go through one pack of these a year compared to four packs of cheaper pencils!
- Small whiteboards
Multiple whiteboards for students are always a great idea. They can do independent work, use them to work out processes, and you can even play guessing games with them as a group.
These offer kids a break from paper and pencil but still give you the information you need to monitor their progress.
- Ring Binders
Proper planning prevents poor performance! Having materials and assignments organized in advance helps out on those chaotic days when it’s difficult to have everything in order.
Ring binders can be an essential supply for parents to hold plans and important information, or for students to keep different notes and subjects organized.
- Post-it Notes
Post-it notes are great for setting reminders, marking notes and helping students stay on task.
If you have a student who struggles with attention, using post-its with the 3-5 goals they need to accomplish for the day is a great visual support to help them stay focused.
Clipboards are great for when students want to work away from the table and still need a surface to bare down on.
We use these often to take learning outdoors for things like scavenger hunts or making notes or observations for different concepts.
- Accordion File Folders
These folders are great for you to keep your student’s records organized and safely put away.
- Index Tab Dividers
Tab Dividers can help your students to organize each of their subjects into one binder, which can save space and paper throughout the school year.
- All the papers!
Copy paper, wide-ruled, college-ruled, graphing paper: all of these will come in handy for note taking, working problems out and so much more.
Your student’s art supplies are the gateway for them to explore creative outlets while developing important skills. Here’s a great list of art supplies to keep on hand in your homeschool.
- Colored Construction Paper
There are so many crafts to be made with construction paper and the more colors, the better! Students can also save scraps for other projects and save more paper that way!
Fingerpaint is great for young learners to incorporate art with practicing skills, such as drawing shapes, numbers and letters.
Chalk is always a great idea for students to have fun outside and draw on the concrete with little to no mess! With such a large space to draw and write it’s a great activity for kids to get creative outdoors.
- Crayons and oil pastels
These are such a classic and you can reuse crayons and oil pastel for many school years. You can save the broken crayons to melt them and use them for other art projects.
Another classic that improves fine motor skills while allowing kids to be creative and engage in pretend play.
- Variety of paint brushes
- Drawing pads
- Coloring books/Paint by numbers books
Math and science supplies
Math and science school supplies can change from age to age, but there are some staples you will always need for experiments and solving problems.
Students learning upper level math usually require specific calculators or even just a four function calculator can be helpful.
- Safety Goggles
Safety goggles or swimming goggles are important to have for experiments that require proper protective equipment.
- Bar Magnets
Bar magnets are great for students learning about the qualities of magnetism. The classic bar magnets are great, but you can also use magnets on your fridge to teach your students these concepts.
- Magnifying Glass
Magnifying glasses come in all shapes and sizes and you probably have a perfectly capable one at home already. If not, these are another great dollar store find!
Any household thermometer can work for science experiments. For topics such as the weather and different seasons, smart phones or devices such as Alexa can provide fun ways to explore different temperatures.
- Graduated Cylinder
You can also use a household glass that holds 3.4 ounces.
- Math Manipulatives
Self-care supplies (For the teacher-parents!)
It’s no secret that homeschooling can be stressful and take a lot out of a person. It’s important as a homeschool mom to take care of yourself and your own well being. Self-care and self-care supplies can look different for everyone, but here are some ideas and supplies that might just be what you need on those days that are more challenging than others!
- Coffee, chocolate, or both!
- A planner or planning system
- Me time
All moms, and especially homeschooling moms, need some downtime whenever possible. Build some time into the schedule for doing something for yourself, whether it’s a trip to a spa or your favorite store. Sometimes it’s just what we need in order to “refuel” as a parent and teacher.
- Hobbies or creative outlets
Did you like to paint or craft? Whatever it may be, try to do something you enjoyed and had more time for before homeschooling.
Get a workout in and release some good endorphins! This can actually be built into the homeschool schedule and benefit everyone!
- Be kind to yourself
Homeschooling comes with some of the sweetest experiences and memories that parents and kids will never forget. But it also comes with days that are challenging and exhausting. Seeking perfection will lead to a major case of burnout and feeling defeated.
It’s okay if meals need to be cereal or soup, or if you have to move to a plan b (or c) when things don’t turn out as you thought they would. Be kind and extend grace to yourself!
Free homeschooling supplies
We all know homeschooling supplies aren’t always cheap and can start to add up. It’s great to save a dollar here and there on supplies for your kids.
A lot of times it’s easy to think the more you have, the better, when in reality a lot of supplies are already at your disposal. There are so many creative ways to use tools you already have in your home as homeschooling supplies for your kids.
Many homeschooling supplies can also be found at your local thrift stores and even some yard sales around the neighborhood. It’s a great idea to stop by and check out yard sales around town when you see some signs or have the time to go on a hunt for some. (You could even turn it into a homeschool field trip!)
Here are some ideas of ways to use items you already have at home:
- Use the timer feature on your stove/microwave or phone instead of purchasing a timer.
- Using mirrors or windows as a fun version of a white board!
- A standard kitchen scale can be used in many science experiments.
- Clothespins are an inexpensive option for math manipulatives.
- Measuring cup sets work great as a visual aid when teaching fractions.
- Dry beans are a great counting tool for the early years.
- Flour, baking soda, spoons, rubber bands, cotton balls, material scraps.
- Items found in nature such as leaves or soil.
- Popsicle sticks and glue are awesome for crafts.
- Convert a corner of your homeschool room into a cozy little library with books you already have.
There are things you already have in your home that will work well as supplies for homeschool.