View Full Version : Weekly Poll: What one homeschool tool could you not live without?

01-25-2012, 10:26 PM
This week's poll "winner" could very easily go to the "Other" category, because you may have highly specific things in your house that you couldn't homeschool without.

I know that when my boys were in the first couple of years of homeschooling, our most indispensable homeschooling tool was a set of brightly colored "fidgets". What in the heck is a FIDGET, you ask?? Fidgets are little devices, often soft and rubbery, but can actually be any shape or texture, that you use to keep your hands busy. The only possible way I could get my younger son to sit still enough to finish a math lesson was if he had at least one hand busily manipulating the fidget of his choice. Those fidgets effectively corralled his attention and gave him focus when nothing else would.

Today, without a doubt, our homeschooling would be essentially impossible without a computer. But I'm looking forward to finding out what device, tool, or resource your homeschool wouldn't be complete without!

p.s...I didn't include books, pens, or paper on the poll because I'm assuming it's a given that you couldn't homeschool without any of those! :)

01-25-2012, 10:50 PM
We use our little dry erase boards which hang on strings in the dining room for everything. I was shocked how much we use them. For teaching, doodling, drawing, math, words to copy for spelling, keeping score in games, leaving notes for each other... Every time I think some technology or curricula will lessen their use, somehow we redouble their use.

01-25-2012, 11:12 PM
I would like to modify the "computer" choice to "internet access." If I didn't have access to the world wide web, I'm not sure I could homeschool as well as I do. It is my source for curricula, moral support, and endless educational materials, including lots of stuff we look up on YouTube, Wikipedia, or just Google images (what does an armadillo look like? etc...) I also use it constantly to look up and reserve items from the library, saving me endless hours and trips in the car.

We also have a large whiteboard on the kitchen wall which gets daily use, but I would give up the whiteboard long before I gave up the laptop.

01-25-2012, 11:17 PM
I almost put computer. And then I saw coffee. And as much as I escape on my computer quite often, I can use a book for the same purpose if push comes to shove. I can't live without coffee.

01-25-2012, 11:21 PM
We use the computer a lot... It's almost like pens and paper. It's hard to imagine life in general without it and tease it out from what's homeschooling and what's just... everyday. The white board, for me, is much clearer.

I don't drink coffee though, so that one was easy.

01-25-2012, 11:26 PM
Computer (internet access) without a doubt. There are days when attempting to teach my children is utterly pointless. On those days, we watch Bill Nye or hit up YouTube. We play any and every game we find that will hold their interest for more than 5 minutes. Occasionally, we might actually find a game that has something to do with what we're working on at the time. Without it, we would have some pretty awful days around here.

01-26-2012, 12:15 AM
I chose the computer. But I have to confess, coffee is a close second. :)

01-26-2012, 12:20 AM

Best thing by far. I've taught without the internet and it isn't as much fun or as easy, it takes some planning and downloading and then printing at home.

I am surprised more folks didn't mention it.

I love my dry erase board, but I could use paper.

I don't have a dvd/video player so I can't use that.
I don't have any legos so we don't use those.
My filing cabinet stores our old work but I could put that somewhere else. Or even in a cardboard box.
The runners up on the list are pajamas and coffee. Most of the time those are tied first and copier is second.

01-26-2012, 12:42 AM
We don't make it through a day without the printer/copier. Sometimes it is just copying a page from a book, so LG can highlight all of the words he can read (I've found this helps him see his progress and not become discouraged with reading). Sometimes it is printing out all three billion pages of the Progressive Phonics program. I'm surprised it hasn't exploded by now. We definitely put it through its paces.

01-26-2012, 06:22 AM
Post-it Notes.

They make great bookmarks for our workbooks and textbooks. Since they stick, they don't fall out and get lost, unlike scraps of paper or regular bookmarks. They're the easiest way for me to keep track of where we are, which lesson we're doing for the day, etc. Even if I plan out lessons (which I do for 50% of our subjects), I don't want to have to flip pages to find it.

01-26-2012, 07:53 AM
Computer...hands down!

01-26-2012, 08:52 AM
It would definitely be difficult to get along without a computer, for sure. But it would also be really difficult for me to get along with out my coffee.... :p

01-26-2012, 10:02 AM
The library system is number one for me, with internet being a close second.

01-26-2012, 10:31 AM
I said computer because I saw the title of the thread and I though specifically of Word. I keep all my planning notes in Word and keep a long in there too.

01-26-2012, 10:39 AM
Computer (internet access) and a printer combined. The computer doesn't work as well with its trusty sidekick. 99% of my curriculum is based on things I find online and without a printer I wouldn't be able to out anything to good use.

01-26-2012, 10:46 AM
I picked computer but we also rely on the dry erase board a ton. It may be a toss up.

01-26-2012, 10:50 AM
Definitely computer. A good portion of our curriculum is pdf files, I use the internet to supplement everything - either to find project ideas or print out worksheets or to show videos and pictures. That's not counting the support I get from forums and facebook groups, which I would go crazy without.

01-26-2012, 11:09 AM
coffee! note big cup in my avatar ;)

(computer = very close second)

01-26-2012, 11:44 AM
It's a tie between coffee and the computer (I get a lot of ideas on pinterest). But without coffee I would never be able to do anything.

01-26-2012, 12:42 PM
Hands down, it's the chalkboard. I use it to explain just about everything. It's the perfect place to put dd's phonics, hints for math, draw diagrams for sci...

The computer and internet, and the photocopier (malfuntioning currently :punch: ) are all tied for second, though.

01-26-2012, 02:21 PM
Computer/internet without a doubt. How else could I research curricula, order materials, watch educational videos, get my kids to willingly practice math facts, find or create worksheets, and print out booklists and progress reports?

Oh, and (last but certainly not least) keep my sanity by hanging out with like-minded homeschool parents here. :)

01-26-2012, 02:47 PM
Workbooks !!!

01-26-2012, 04:07 PM
I couldn't decide between coffee and computer.
Went with coffee, but computer (w/internet connection) ties.

01-26-2012, 05:40 PM
oh you guys....

you could do it without the computer! It is totally different but you could do it. I did, so I know you could too. We've only had internet for a couple of months.... maybe 4 now.

01-29-2012, 02:08 AM
Diet Coke. Totally.

Yes, we sue the wipe board waaayyyy more than I anticipated (and in fact have two!). Computer and printer are also tops.

But without Diet Coke, I'd give up.



01-29-2012, 12:07 PM
Wine. Lakshmi probably feels the same way.

Just kidding. Chalkboard. Chalk is the best! Any mess that's accidentally made with it is so easy to clean up. I'm surprised more people don't use chalk and chalkboard. I mean like in every day life, HSing or not. I'd have a hard go of it without the computer too, but I'd really really be up the creek without the library.

01-29-2012, 02:16 PM
Adoo... I think you meant whine.. because without whine I wouldn't even know that I am homeschooling.

01-31-2012, 12:40 AM
Almost all of the above.
Computer; Mummys sanity saver Homeschool forums where I can ask questions, support others and vent.

Dry-erase board; (also known as a white board in Australia) Have to have somewhere to put our AAS tiles and used occationally for other subjects

DVD player; Well where would I be without the dvd player. Lost when it come to maths thats for sure.

Lego's; I am starting to think we could have too much but ds recons you can never have too much lego.

PJ's; well thats a given isn't it and the best part of homeschooling by far.

Printer/copier; I'd be at a total loss without it.

Great big Pencil sharpener thats attatched to the shelves. Wa ha ha! Can't loose it or break it easily. I love it and it's inventor.

Set of draws; each child has a draw for their school work. keeps it all together.

Now all I need is an eraser (rubber, in these parts) that dosn't grow legs and walk away. We always find them in the weirdest of places. under couch cushins, under the couches, even found one behind the tv cabinet, in the bed rooms, in the car.....all over really.

01-31-2012, 12:29 PM
I just want you all to know that I'd like to change my top tool..


I just went decaf and am feeling like a zombie.. well, how i think a zombie might feel without coffee.

01-31-2012, 12:30 PM
What? No option for booze??? ;)

Had to go with the computer. We use ours to upload DD's work (we send her schoolwork to a Laurel Springs teacher for grading and comments), for her to write her reports and produce charts for assignments, to research information, to renew our library books...and to access Secular Homeschool - my sanity-saver! We are a two-laptop, one standing computer, and three-smartphone household. Guess we're the wired types.

01-31-2012, 12:56 PM
Lakshmi every time I try to give up coffee I turn into a total B word. Are you feeling extra angry on the decaf?

02-01-2012, 12:26 AM
Adoo... I was feeling so tired, that I couldn't even move. I slept like hours and hours.

Then today I had coca-cola... and did the laundry, and came home and supervised room clean up...and spent about an hour looking at a new DIY blog. and pinned, and..... I suppose hijacked the tools thread... sorry... it's amanadoo's fault... <points up>

02-01-2012, 06:51 PM
The internet. How I love it.

02-01-2012, 10:45 PM
I'm not sure if I should have picked computer, but I went with 'Other'. We can't live without our Xbox. We have Netflix hooked up and during lunch (or if my pregnancy is acting up) he watches documentaries relating to whatever he's studying in science or history.

02-02-2012, 01:12 PM
I voted, computer (and that would include internet and the printer). I love that I can prepare for library trips, find resources from museums (not many in our area so I really appreciate the ones with good online exhibits, also some have excellent interactives and activity guides that can be used sans museum), book reviews, fun things to do in my area, and support through communities like SHS, all with one tool. Other things that come in handy at our school:
--slate-sized dry erase board, one side blank the other with lines (DD uses it for handwriting practice and math)
--a well-placed book shelf to keep all of the supplies and books we use the most where we do school the most
--a well-stocked art and crafts cabinet (art is her fav so I try to do it with everything)
--baking/cooking staples for science experiments and to make things like play dough
--my sewing machine (lately she's been making little books to review concepts and she insits that they are sewn when they are bound, and I also use it to make things like a perpetual calendar and manipulatives/props like bean bags)

02-04-2012, 01:11 AM
I could probably live w/out the computer except that we use Thinkwell math, which is all online. It would be really tough to do without, and we like the course too much to go back to straight textbook work.

Next in line (other than the obvious things like pencils and paper) would be the 3 hole punch. I don't know what I'd do without it.

02-06-2012, 04:25 AM
must have coffee. without coffee all else fails.