It’s one of the most common questions in the world of Facebook Homeschool groups. A family is setting up to begin homeschooling and they ask, “what do we need?”
It’s a difficult question because “need” is so subjective. Really, we “need” so little. A library card. Pencil and paper. A sense of adventure. Google. No, scratch that, I guess even Google isn’t truly needed.
I’m not going to write a list of things you need. Instead, I’m going to share ten things that have been particularly helpful for our homeschool so far.
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1. Binding Machine
I actually use my binding machine a fair bit. Our chosen curriculum (Ambleside Online) uses quite a few books that are Public Domain and so I print and bind a number of these myself. I have a budget plastic comb machine which, while time consuming, is a nice finish. I have seen people learn to make actual bound books out of their printed pages, which are gorgeous, and I’m considering trying my hand at it… someday. I’ll just stick with my plastic combs for now.
2. Brother Laser Printer
The thing that makes binding my own books affordable is my super handy Brother colour laser printer. This was one of the best investments we have made for our homeschool. I buy toner from eBay and it is so cheap to run. My old inkjet printer used to run out of ink every 150-200 pages. It was horrible, and the ink cost a fortune.
3. Highlighter Pencils
I picked one of these Staedtler Textsurfer pencils up while restocking my craft and stationery supplies this year and I LOVE it. It is just as bright and lovely as a liquid highlighter but doesn’t soak through the page. I like to underline or highlight non-fiction books when I read them and add little icons in the margins. This is such a simple little thing, but it is bringing me joy!
We use baskets and bins quite a bit around our house and car. My old Morning Time basket bit the dust late last year and so I went hunting for a new one. I found this gorgeous handmade basket from a local boutique and it now graces one of the chairs at my Dining Table. I picked up a second one which is my house-to-car basket and carries all the stuff of our daily lives (that doesn’t need to go in a bag).
This used to be our nappy (diaper) trolley for our cloth nappies. When the boys started sharing a room, we repurposed it. Firstly, for craft supplies and later for homeschooling. We homeschool at our dining table and yet store all our supplies (except my Morning Time basket) in the study, behind a baby gate, and out of our 2yo mischief’s reach. It’s so easy to just wheel out the trolley each morning.
We love using games in our homeschool. They are incredibly educational, not just for academic skills, but social and personal skills as well. We use them to transition from Morning Time to Tablework, on family game nights, and just for fun. We collected a number of new ones for Christmas and have had so much fun trying them out over our Summer holidays. These are some of our new favourites (click on the picture for more information):
Discovering audiobooks was a gamechanger for us. We spend so much time travelling in the car (usually at least an hour a day) and use this time to listen to so many wonderful stories that we otherwise wouldn’t get to. Currently we’re listening to Little House in the Big Woods, which is our first Year 1 book!
8. JBL Flip 4 (Bluetooth Speaker)
We’re a bit slow to get with the times, and have just acquired our first Bluetooth speaker for our home. (We also have a CD/Cassette player – so our boys actually know what cassettes are!) We don’t have much of a digital music collection, but it is slowly growing. We can also listen to our audiobooks at home now. This model is waterproof so it’s great for using in the bathroom during a relaxing bubble bath. Mmmmm… Bliss!
9. Rain Jackets
After getting caught in the rain a number of times on our adventures last year, we all got Kathmandu rain jackets for Christmas. They fold into their pockets, and live in our car along with our emergency adventure backpack (for those times when adventuring just can’t wait). We’ve already used them when our peach picking tour ended up a little drizzly. Super handy.
Finally, we really love our globe. So many stories carry us all around the world and it is so helpful to be able to visit these places on our globe. When we read The Secret Garden Mr 4 tracked Mary Lennox’s journey from India to England. Mr Popper’s Penguins had us investigating the Arctic and Antarctic. A good Atlas or even a lovely world map would work too, but we prefer a globe.
Oh, and of course, books
What’s on your list?