Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Homeschooling Mom's List of Must-Have School Supplies

I love back-to-school supply shopping.  Ever since I was a kid I have eagerly awaited the first sign of the special school-supply aisles at the local stores.  I would excitedly pick out my new crayons and a Lisa Frank folder, pack them up in my New Kids on the Block backpack and anticipate the start of a new school year.

My kids have no idea who Lisa Frank is and would think I was talking about a family a few doors down if I mentioned the New Kids (Mental note:  This must be remedied!  Teach the kids all about NKOTB and practice the Step by Step dance with Sis.).  And, as homeschool kids, they don't have much need for backpacks.  But, they do still love getting new school supplies and the anticipation it brings.  Crayons, markers, binders, and rulers still excite them.

But, as I've gotten older, my school-supply palette has matured.  A box of crayons is nice, but a waxy stick of Electric Lime just doesn't compare to my arsenal of grown-up school supplies.  What are these amazing tools of the homeschool trade?  Glad you asked!

Here are a list of my top 10 school supplies.  Some are obvious.  Some are not.  But, they all play a special part in my job as a teacher/mom.

My Top 10 Must-Have Homeschooling Mom Supplies

#10 - Reward stickers
My kids love stickers. They try so hard to do their papers correctly so they can get a sticker.  I make sure to never run out.  I know this phase of life won't last for long.  But, for now, I enjoy the look they get when they earn a sticker.

#9 - A Self-Inking Date Stamp
This one might see silly.  But, when you are as bad about keeping up with paperwork as I am, having dates on everything is REALLY important.  Instead of having the kids waste time writing the date every time, I just have them use a date stamp. 

It not only saves time, but, because it is fun, the kids actually remember to do it!

#8 - Command Hooks 
These little hooks are great!  I use them for so many different things.  Since they can be removed cleanly, I don't have to worry about changing my mind about where to put them.  It also helps with my limited wall space.  I always keep my bulletin board with our calendar on it on the wall.  But, I can easily hand and remove our white board right over top of it using Command Hooks. 

#7 - Poster Tack 
Speaking of changing your mind about where you hang things...poster tack allows me to hang posters, and visual organizers for my kids without making it permanent.  This way, as they grow, they won't be stuck with the same kindergarten posters because Mommy stuck them up permenantly.

#6 - My computer and printer.
I use these every day!  I make worksheets or find them online and print them off.   The kids also use the computer for typing lessons.   Since my printer is also a scanner/copier, it is great for copying from reproducible workbooks, too.  I can't imagine how much more I would spend - in money and time - on homeschooling if I didn't have the internet.

#5 -  A Laminator 
LOVE my laminator.  The pouches can be a bit pricey if you buy them at a local office supply store, but you can find pretty good deals at Amazon or other online discount stores.

So, what do I laminate?  So far just this school year I have laminated pieces of my calendar board, check-lists, home-made flash cards, and a few games.  I've gotten more use out of this than I ever imagined I would!

#4 - A Paper Slicer  
This tool goes right along with my laminator.  There are lots of things that, once I have them laminated, need to be cut up.  As long as we are dealing with straight lines, there is no faster way to get the job done than the "paper guillotine."

Line it up, and one quick slice later, you are done.  If I had to sit and cut things out with scissors, my hand would get really tired!

#3 - Binders
We are trying something different this year to help me with my lack of organizational skills.  We have several different binders for each child to keep all their work in.

First, we have a large 3" binder that contains math, copywork, calendar worksheets, grammar worksheets, writing, and other miscellaneous work.  When they finish a worksheet or other paper, I immediately check it to see that it is done neatly and the answers are correct.  If an answer is incorrect, I circle the number and have them try it again (my goal is for them to learn the material thoroughly and correcting their work helps with this.)  Then, it immediately goes into their binder under the correct tab.  If it is a graded paper, the grade gets written on a sheet at the front of the correct section.  This means no more random papers waiting to be graded and put away!  It also allows the kids to see their progress throughout the year.

Second, we have a science/nature binder.  This is a small 1" binder.  We do a lot of notebooking in this binder and keep it organized by the field of science we are studying.  We also have a section for important scientists.

Third is our Five in a Row binder.  We do not row a book every week (for example, we are currently doing a science unit instead)  But, we do love the program and use it as the basis of our curriculum.  Last year we made lapbooks, but this year we will be notebooking instead.  We will keep our notebooking pages in a 3" binder organized by the books we rowed.

And finally, we have another 1" binder that we keep out "time line" in.  We are using the Book of Centuries Notebook Pages over at Harmony Art Mom.

#2 - A Blanket
One of my favorite things to do is to cuddle up on the couch under a blanket and do our Bible or FIAR lessons.  We also love to cuddle and read.  I am cherishing the cuddle time while I can!

#1 - My Bible
I really try to teach from a perspective of raising godly children. The Bible encourages us to increase in knowledge and understanding. This is the reason I homeschool!

So, what are your must-haves as a homeschool mom?

Disclaimer: The Amazon links above are a part of my Amazon Associates account.

1 comment:

  1. New follower here from Bloggie Moms and I'm looking forward to looking around!
    I have home schooled in the past and I may need to do so again this year. Jury is still out. I appreciate your list!
    nancy-of the crazy 9