There are probably lots of things that come to mind when you think of homeschool essentials. The following ten items may not be the first to jump to your mind, but they’re things that I use regularly in our homeschool and often find myself being so thankful to have them. Well, except for two of them. Those two are things I’ve wished, multiple times, that I had, but have never actually broken down and purchased.
1. Heavy-duty 3-hole punch. For a long time, I just had a regular 3-hole punch. When it finally gave out, I purchased a reasonably-priced heavy-duty 3-hole punch like the one I linked to. Every time I use it, I am amazed at how much easier it is than the old one. I wish I’d bought it years ago. With all the hole-punching we do for our Trail Guide to Learning pages, it only makes sense to have a sturdy hole-punch that doesn’t require most of my body weight to actually punch through all the pages.
2. Quality dry erase board. Our dry erase board is something we use nearly every day. I’ve been through several smaller, inexpensive ones. It was so worth finally investing in a sturdier one…with a tray for our markers and eraser! It’s a bonus that it’s magnetic, so we can use and store our All About Spelling tiles on it, too.
3. Electric pencil sharpener. I found our electric pencil sharpener at a yard sale the first or second year we homeschooled. I think I gave, at most, $5 for it, but it would have been worth the full price of a new one. It’s one of those sturdy, heavy ones and we use it every single day.
4. Paper cutter. Okay, this is one of those things that I only wish I had, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that I had one. I’m a little OCD about cutting straight, but I can’t do it to save my life. I used to make lots of game cards and word cards for the kids. I would have used a good paper cutter regularly back then.
5. Long reach stapler. This is the other one that I’ve often wished we had. It would have been so handy for making our passport books for our homeschool group’s Around the World Day when the kids were younger or for making homemade books.
6. Large storage cabinet. I got my storage cabinet the first year we homeschooled and it’s still in use over 10 years later. It’s not my everyday storage cabinet now – I’ve got lots of places hidden around my kitchen for storing homeschool supplies – but it’s still the first place I start when I’m looking for something we need. It’s where I store all my good stuff that I may not be using now, but I’m not ready to part with.
7. Bookshelf. Okay, maybe normal people don’t have bookshelves in their dining rooms, but I think we’ve already established that homeschoolers are not normal people. I love my dining room bookshelf! It’s where all the stuff that we use every day is stored.
(See? There it is, behind the cats.)
8. Portable file box. I have a portable file box that I keep filled with a variety of papers and stored in my China hutch. It’s so handy! It’s got notebook paper, construction paper, cardstock, computer paper – whatever we might need – and it’s all stored in easily-accessible hanging file folders.
9. Computer. I honestly don’t know what we’d do without a computer (or two or three) for our homeschool. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably already heard me lamenting the two laptops that have recently crashed, leaving all three kids trying to do their math on one really old desktop.
I’m so thankful that Brianna’s new laptop (bought with her own money) should be here any day now! She’ll be back on her own computer and once Megan finishes the last 10 or so lessons of her current math level, I think I’m going to give in and put the next level on my laptop, so no one will have to wait on anyone else to finish with the computer in order to do their math. That will just make my life easier and more peaceful.
10. Camera. Hey, you’ve got to have a good camera to document the days of living, learning, and loving together. They go by entirely too fast.
What are your non-curricular must-have items for school?
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