I was in Walmart today and I noticed that they’ve already started stocking the back-to-school aisle. I love this time of year! It’s like Christmas for a homeschool mom. I usually do all of my back-to-school shopping the same week of our local curriculum fair in late July so that I’m all stocked up and ready to go.
Here are the ten things with which I fill my shopping cart on the back-to-school aisle.
1. Loose leaf paper. When you buy paper at $0.10 or $0.25 a pack, it’s hard to get too upset when the kids
waste create masterpieces with it.
2. Spiral notebooks. These are usually about $0.10 each and are perfect for drawing, journaling, or creating personal dictionaries. I read an interesting idea this weekend for leaving the first few pages blank for a table of contents and writing or even taping interesting things onto the other pages to create a personalized notebook.
3. 3-prong pocket folders. We use these for our science, history, and writing notebooks. I’ve also used them to create personalized “help” book for the kids by adding pages from workbooks about concepts that proved difficult to remember (example: a sheet from a math workbook, defining various geometrical terms, or the list of pronouns from Easy Grammar).
You could also use them to make one of the ABC books that the kids and I grew so fond of last year. If you haven’t made an ABC book yet, be sure to put it on your list of projects for the upcoming school year. They’re so easily adaptable for multiple ages and topics.
4. Index cards. We always go through a ton of index cards because they are so incredibly versatile. If you need some ideas on how to use them, be sure to read my ten favorite uses for index cards.
5. Crayons. The first few years we homeschooled, I foolishly only bought two packs of crayons per child — one for the beginning of the year and one to replenish around Christmas. Now, I buy…well, a lot of crayons. I use some of them to put in our boxes for Operation Christmas Child, but we just seem to go through a lot of crayons.
We have a big, plastic shoebox where I dump the crayons being replaced. This becomes the box that the kids carry all over the house, to color wherever they may happen to be. I like the kids to keep their school supply boxes in our dining room where we do school, so that we don’t waste time looking for it when we’re ready to start school. I also like to keep a separate box for art/nature study since things always seem to wind up missing from even the school supply boxes.
6. Glue. We always stock up on stick glue and school glue for various projects, to avoid running out right in the middle when we tried to make our relief paintings a few weeks ago.
7. Erasers. Please tell me that it’s not just my house where erasers are the first things to go on pencils. I buy the erasers that go on top of pencils, as well as the big, flat pink ones.
8. Markers and colored pencils. I have always splurged on markers to get the more expensive washable markers, but I get the $0.88, 12-count colored pencils. Not anymore. My step-mom got the kids 24-count markers last year and they loved the extra colors. All three of them asked me to please get the 24-count from now on. They were so creative with their drawings that I’m happy to oblige.
9. Dry erase markers. I love the fat, chisel-tipped markers. They are mine and the kids know that they touch them only if they want to risk my wrath. 😉
10. Pencils. These aren’t usually on sale (but I stock up anyway!) because I am a pencil snob. I buy only Ticonderoga pencils. Their slogan is: the world’s best pencil and they are. They sharpen evenly and write great. I’ve had friends who thought I was crazy until they tried Ticonderogas. I have no idea what makes them so special, but they’re well-worth the extra money.
What school supplies do you love to stock up on while the sales are hot?
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.