• 10 Must-Haves for your Homeschool


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    So, you want to homeschool? FANTASTIC! Welcome to the club! Do you think that this means you need to spend a house payment on school supplies?


    Not only are there fantastic sales this time of year to stock up on the basics for mere pennies, but there is also Craigslist for larger items, or even looking around your house, garage or storage for items to repurpose for your new adventure. And, whether or not you have a dedicated area in your house for your homeschooling, or are sort of spread out all over the place, you're still going to need some stuff for the fun learning escapades you are about to set in motion. Since not all stuff is created equal, here are my thoughts on supplies that every homeschooler should have quick access to!

    1. Library Card. Your local library can be your homeschooling friend. Free resources, endless books, research, movies. You can find out much more about what's available to you in our article: Homeschooling for (almost) FREE thanks to the Library. Oh, and make friends with the librarian. They are a WEALTH of knowledge.
    2. Good pencils and sharpener. Do NOT go cheap and get those bargain bin pencils. They don’t sharpen, they break constantly and in general, are a cause of frustration. Get a good brand like Ticonderoga and a good manual or electric pencil sharpener. Or go with mechanical pencils if that works best for you. I prefer wooden ones, and we have a old fashioned, attach-to-the-wall manual pencil sharpener just for me. My boys prefer mechanical ones. Whatever floats their boat. It saves me the bickering hassle of getting them to actually DO their work.
    3. Laminator. Granted, maybe you don’t NEED one of these babies, but you are going to WANT one. Your homeschool mom friends will have one, and this is a definite “keeping up with the Joneses” thing! Amazon has some GREAT deals on them. You can laminate labels, signs, worksheets (think multiple kid use here), their homeschool ID card, you name it… you can laminate it. In the end, you will wonder how you ever did without it.
    4. Netflix. There are SO many, MANY educational shows on Netflix. You can tie into almost any unit study. For those sick days when nobody feels like doing school, turn on an educational show and BAM! Unplanned learning! Jump onto any homeschooling parent forum and ask what shows are recommended and your LIST will be full before you can cry UNCLE! There is even a dedicated homeschool Facebook group for people to share suggestions of educational programming on subscription sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Streaming and more.
    5. Paper. Copy paper, lined paper, scrap paper, construction paper. You will need paper. And now is a perfect time to stock up on said paper. It is CHEAPER than CHEAP right now. Notebooks for 10-20 cents, binder paper and reams of copy paper. Even cases of copy paper are cheap with coupons on coupons at places like Staples and OfficeMax. Showing their work, problem solving, art, doodling, essays, handwriting practice, spelling words, it all takes paper. Good news is, paper is recyclable. When you are done, toss it in recycling! Oh and you can use THAT as a lesson in itself! Learning about recycling and what happens to paper before and after it's used. BAM!
    6. Storage. Repurpose a bookshelf, clear out a closet, grab some FREE fruit boxes from the grocer. Whatever it takes. You are going to end up with stuff. You are going to NEED somewhere to put said stuff. You can tell yourself that you will not be one of those people. I am going to let you in on a little hint. It will happen. You won’t realize it, but it will happen. It happens to ALL of us. Before you know it, you will come home from the yard sale down the street….giggling. Why? Because you got a set of MATH counters, a science book, 2 new board games and a crate to haul it all for $2. Who cares that your kids are only 2 and 4. It was DIRT CHEAP and you can save it for later. This is where checking out what you have comes in. You don’t have to go nuts, check your garage or storage. Ask family members. Watch craigslist for FREE or bargain deals. Little spit and polish, some paint if you want and BOOM, homeschool storage and organization.
    7. Pinterest Account. Join Pinterest and you will have access to literally thousands of homeschool ideas for every subject, organization, printables, craft ideas, science experiments and ?! You name it, you will find it on Pinterest. And it is like a secret trail. One pin leads to another and then another and before you know it, you have more folders of great homeschool ideas than you know what to do with.Stuck on supplementary ideas for fifth grade math lesson plans? Not anymore!
    8. Thrift Store. You can and will find bargains at your local thrift store for homeschooling. Sometimes you might hit the mother-lode, other times you might only find 1 thing. I have found books on almost every subject, math manipulatives, organizational items, educational board games, and even science kits.
    9. Homeschooling Forum. No, forums are not dead. At least the SecularHomeschool.com one isn't. We're still proud to be an active and supportive place to chat with other homeschooling parents. You will need it. Family might not get it, your public schooling friends might not get it, even your spouse or partner might not get it…but other homeschooling parents will have been there, done that and have oodles of advice or just the pat on the back you need.
    10. Patience. This is the most important thing to have. I really should have listed it as #1, but I also wanted it to be the last thing you read so it sticks with you. Homeschooling will not be easy every day and it will not be fun every day. Some days you will be dancing around because they finally figured out that impossible math problem. Other days you might feel like hiding in the bathroom with wine and chocolate and binging on Facebook and letting the kids go "Lord of the Flies." Guess what? 100% normal. We have all done it. We have all whined about it. We have all cheered and blabbed about it. You are doing this for your kids and in the end, they will thank you for it. YOU GOT THIS!

    Now, go forth and educate! We look forward to hearing all about your adventures in the forum!

    Like this article? You might also like our infographic: "10 Habits of Highly Successful Secular Homeschoolers"
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