Homeschooling can be the best way to control a child’s education, but it requires having access to the right supplies. Teaching children at home requires just as many educational supplies as teaching them in the classroom. Having the right tools on hand makes it easier to keep kids focused on what they need to learn.
Below you’ll find a list of some of the essential supplies used for homeschooling. While some of these supplies might be expensive, such as a printer or laminator, these are one-time purchases that will have multiple uses in your homeschooling classroom throughout the year. All do not have to be acquired at once, but can be bought or made as needed.
Homeschooling Supplies for Crafting
Arts and crafts is a good way for kids to use their artistic expression and creativity. It’s also a means for smaller children to improve their developing fine-motor skills. The same gestures used to hold a crayon or a paintbrush can help small children become better at tying shoelaces, buttoning their coats, and many more life skills.
Here are some of the essential crafting supplies for your homeschooling classroom:
- Glue: Glue is used in many different assembly-based crafting projects and comes in a wide range of types. Glue sticks are often the easiest form of glue to use in homeschooling classrooms since they are non-toxic, dry quickly, and don’t come with the risk of spills. Older children can use squeeze type glue bottles for larger projects.
- Paint and brushes: Finger painting is a fun craft activity for younger children, but it can be messy in the house without a lot of prep work to protect the space Tempura paint is a popular choice for homeschool crafts. Teaching older children to paint with brushes encourages motor control and allows their creativity to flourish. Plastic drop cloths are available in the paint area of many stores. They are inexpensive come in a variety of sizes and can be placed to protect floors and furniture.
- Construction paper: Construction paper is also known as sugar paper or stock paper and comes different colors, weights, and textures. This crafting paper can be used in many different homeschooling projects and crafting lessons.
- Sketchbooks: It’s good to get each child in homeschool their own sketchbook so they can keep their drawings together in one place. This allows students to measure their progress as their drawing improves. Paper can also be taken out and hole-punched to add to subject binders so that students can draw diagrams for different classes.
- Kid scissors: Scissors are an important part of any homeschooling crafting kit, but when you’re homeschooling children, you have to keep safety in mind. Kid scissors come with blunted tips, and they’re available in small sizes that allow younger children to grip their handles easily. If your child is left-handed, look for scissors that can be used with either hand, or are specifically made for lefties.
- Craft sticks: Craft sticks (also known as popsicle sticks) are a versatile crafting tool that can be used to create hand puppets, simple wooden models, and a whole lot more. Some craft sticks also come with notched ends to make fitting them together more simple in crafting projects. Craft sticks come in different sizes, the “popsicle” stick and the “tongue depressor” size.
- Crayons, markers, and colored pencils: It’s a good idea to get a varied mix of crayons, colored pencils, and markers for kids to draw with during arts and crafts. These supplies are also useful for learning-based activities like coloring in maps. Look for drawing tools that are non-toxic and preferably washable to avoid making a mess.
- Large craft paper rolls: Large craft paper rolls are great for crafting projects like outlining people or laying them out on an easel for drawing. Crafting paper can also be rolled out and used as a disposable tablecloth to help clean up messes during arts and crafts. Some DIY building stores carry brown contractor’s paper on a large roll that can be used in crafting.
Incorporating more music, art, and crafts into education is one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling your children. Making sure you have enough crafting supplies to keep them occupied will go a long way towards encouraging any artistic talents they might possess.
Arts and crafts aren’t just a good option for helping your kids foster their creative sides. Art therapy is beneficial for mental health across the board for all ages and walks of life. The more arts and crafts you can use in your homeschooling lessons, the better for your child’s creative processes. It is well-known that allowing a child creativity helps them learn much better.
Learning Supplies for Homeschooling
- iPad or Android tablet: iPads or other tablets might seem like an expensive investment for teaching school at home, but these tools are well worth the expense. There are hundreds of learning-based apps available that can add digital interactivity to educational homeschooling activities. Be sure to invest in some kid-proof cases to avoid a broken tablet. Kindle tablets are also available with learning apps for children.
- Calculators: Homeschooled kids can use calculators on their phones or smart devices, but they need to know how to use a traditional calculator. Graphing calculators should be purchased for older homeschooling students.
- Microscope: Having a microscope can be a great homeschooling station for science lessons. Be sure to pick up some prepared microscope slides for kids to look at. You should also keep some blank slides so they can create their own. A microscope can be a great way to introduce kids to scientific concepts such as cellular biology, botany, or microbiology.
- Map and Globe: Maps and globes are essential homeschooling tools for geography and social studies lessons. Different kinds of maps are fun for kids to look at, but a globe can help them appreciate exactly how different countries appear on the surface of the planet and how far they are away from each other.
- Counters: Plastic counters are an important learning tool to teach younger kids basic arithmetic skills. Fake money is another type of counting tool that can teach children how to calculate change or handle a transaction in a store or business. Counters are more appropriate for younger school-aged children and toddlers.
- Rulers: Rulers are a versatile homeschooling tool because they can be used to teach measurements and also to make straight lines and cuts in crafting projects. Plastic rulers come in kid-friendly colors. They’re also less sharp and dangerous than steel rulers.
When you homeschool your children, you want them to have access to the same quality of tools they’d be exposed to in public school and better. The learning tools above will give your homeschooled kids a chance to learn in a variety of different ways.
Many learning supplies used in homeschool are designed to give kids kinetic, hands-on experiences during the learning process. For some children, this method of education is much more powerful than just learning how to read, write, and listen to lessons.
Writing Supplies for Homeschooling
Kids do a lot of writing in school, and you’ll need several different kinds of essential writing supplies on hand to keep their writing activities organized. Here are some of the most important writing supplies you’ll need to get for a homeschool:
- Lined paper: Lined loose-leaf paper is one of the most basic writing supplies any school needs. The lines help children learn how to space their letters correctly, and you can get this type of paper in either regular rule or college rule. Loose-leaf lets children clip writing into their binders or put it in individual folders according to the lessons they’re learning.
- Grid paper: Grid paper is useful for teaching many concepts in homeschool, especially in geometry and mathematics. Grid paper can also be used in arts and crafts to help kids learn proportions in drawing.
- Pencils and pens: Pencils and pens are necessary writing utensils to have on hand for both writing and crafting activities. Pencils are appropriate for younger children, while older children might want to experiment with both pencil and pen as they get old enough to write without constantly erasing their mistakes.
- Notebooks: Notebooks are a great way for kids to keep all of their notes for any given subject together without resorting to a three-ring binder. Both spiral notebooks and composition notebooks are useful to keep on hand and affordable enough to buy in bulk.
- Erasers: Buying pencils with erasers is always a good idea, but having some extra handheld erasers available can be useful for helping to preserve the eraser tips on pencils for finer work. Kneaded art erasers work better for drawing activities than pencil erasers. They also have the benefit of being reusable.
- Pencil grips: For younger children, holding a pencil can be a learning experience. Hand fatigue from gripping a pencil too tightly can negatively impact handwriting skills and can make kids tire or lose focus faster. Pencil grips are a good way to teach children how to hold their pencils correctly and can make them more comfortable to use too.
Most of the school activities a child will participate in throughout the day will involve some writing, so writing supplies are supplies that you’ll be using the most throughout the year. Be sure to buy plenty of backups whenever these supplies are on sale. That way you don’t find yourself running short of supplies in the middle of class.
When homeschooling smaller children, it’s important to get writing tools that are tailored to the size of their hands and move up to different writing utensils as they get older. Trying to write with adult pencils as a child can be difficult and can make learning handwriting and other writing skills harder than they need to be.
Organizational Supplies for Homeschooling
Along with writing and crafting supplies, it’s also a good idea to have plenty of supplies on hand to keep all of your school supplies organized in your homeschooling station. Organizational supplies are needed to keep both individual kids organized with their work, and also to keep classroom supplies from cluttering the entire house.
Here are the essential supplies you’ll need to keep your homeschool organized:
- Folders: Folders are vital for any homeschooling operation. You’ll need folders for individual students as well as folders to keep teacher materials organized too. Making sure that folders are clearly labeled on both the front and the inside cover can make it easier for kids to see exactly what needs to be placed in each file.
- Index cards: Index cards are useful for kids to take notes on specific readings or assignments, and they’re a good way to teach children how to take notes for sources and citations on school papers. Blank index cards can also be used as flashcards, and index cards can be used as daily chore checklists that kids can carry around with them.
- Ring binders: Ring binders are useful for keeping loose papers together for each child in your homeschool. A hole punch can also be used on worksheets or other types of paper so that they can be incorporated into the ring binder too. Plain white ring binders are the easiest type for kids to decorate themselves. They can be labeled clearly too.
- Secure flap sheet protectors – sheet protectors have three holes to go inside ring binders and are used to protect paperwork, photos, or projects from damage. They can be used to make a semi-permament binder of achievements and photos, too.
- Desktop carousel: Desktop carousels are great for keeping all of a student’s individual supplies organized in one place at their workstation. The rotating design allows children to easily reach the supplies they need no matter which school activity they’re doing.
- Plastic bins or crates: Plastic bins or crates are the best way for homeschooled kids to keep all of their personal books, notebooks, binders, and folders in one location for school activities. Setting up a bin for each student makes it easy for everyone to know where their supplies are supposed to go at the end of the day.
- Storage shelves: Storage shelves are necessary for having a place to put all of your homeschooling supplies when they’re not in use. Without a dedicated space to store your supplies, they will eventually get lost or scattered throughout the house. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck looking for supplies when you need to be giving lessons.
- Backpacks: Even though your homeschooled kids aren’t going to a public school where they need to transport their supplies, buying backpacks for homeschool kids can still provide them with an essential way to carry around their supplies on homeschooling educational outings like field trips. It can also be used for playdates and sleepovers.
One of the biggest challenges of homeschooling is trying to keep everything straight. It can also be difficult to keep homeschool supplies from taking over the rest of the household. Organizational supplies help streamline the homeschooling process and keep kids from becoming frustrated when they can’t find the items they need.
It also helps with organizing homeschool to confine the majority of your homeschooling supplies to one area of the household. If a room can be set aside specifically for homeschool, that would be the ideal situation.
If this isn’t possible, making sure to set up some kind of a schooling nook near a communal space like a dining room table or the living room can help keep things organized.
Teaching Supplies for Homeschooling
Making sure you, as the teacher, have the right supplies and tools available for homeschooling students is important, but it’s equally important to have some supplies on hand to make getting lessons together less chaotic. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you’re trying to run a homeschool, especially if you’re homeschooling multiple children at different age levels.
Here are some essential teaching supplies that you’ll need to make your homeschool run smoothly:
- Laminator: Laminators are an expensive investment, but they’re a great way to make worksheets and other school papers reusable. This can ultimately save you money in printing costs. Laminators are also a good way to help keep kids’ papers and notes clean from spills and other messes.
- Laser printer: A laser printer might seem costly, but you’re unlikely to use any other homeschooling tool as often when it comes to putting together worksheets, lesson plans, and other essential paperwork. A good thing about buying a laser printer for homeschooling is that it’s useful for other aspects of running the household too.
- Hole punch: A hole punch is a good tool to have on hand for adding papers into three-ring binders or saving worksheets. Having a handheld one-hole punch is a good idea, but you’ll also need a standard three-hole punch to make sure you have even holes punched for adding your papers to a binder.
- Stapler: Staplers are needed in homeschooling for putting homework packets and other worksheets with multiple pages together. Staplers should be kept in the teacher’s supplies rather than as part of the general crafting supplies since staples are sharp and can injure children if they decide to play with them.
- Whiteboard and dry erase markers: A whiteboard can be a versatile tool in a homeschooling teacher’s arsenal. It can be used for everything from writing the daily lesson schedule down to drawing an object lesson. Using multiple whiteboards for different purposes can help keep the information on them more organized.
- Planner: Keeping a comprehensive planner to record lesson plans and other daily activities for homeschool is an essential skill for any homeschooling teacher. The type of planner you prefer will vary from person to person, but it should be big enough to cover the entire school year and preferably should have options for adding extra paper.
- Calendar poster: Calendar posters are a good idea for both young and older homeschooling children because they can be used to illustrate when assignments, tests, and other milestones in the curriculum are due.
- Pencil sharpener: Mechanical pencils can be used in homeschool, but the lead is easy to break and even easier for kids to lose when they open the pencil to replace it. Regular #2 pencils are best for homeschooling and a pencil sharpener can keep them in good condition so kids don’t have to bear down too hard while they’re writing.
Running a successful homeschool isn’t just about what supplies you get for the children you’re teaching. It’s also important to make sure you have the essential tools that a teacher would need to be successful too. Making sure you have everything you need ahead of the school year can make lessons a lot less stressful for teachers and students.
How to Save Money on Essential Homeschooling Supplies
It might seem like there’s a lot of supplies you need to get together for a functioning homeschool, and it definitely isn’t cheap to buy them all at once. But there are a few ways you can help cut costs for supplying your homeschool without having to skimp on essential supplies. Follow these tips to get the most for your money when you’re buying homeschool supplies:
- See what you have at home. Just because you need school supplies doesn’t mean they have to be fresh supplies right off of the shelf. Checking around your household in your home office or junk drawers can usually help you find useful school supplies you didn’t even know you had stored away.
- Get a card at a discount bulk supply store. It costs around fifty dollars a year to get a subscription at a big box store like Sam’s or Costco, but buying school supplies in bulk at these stores can save you hundreds of dollars a year. This is an especially good option for teachers who are homeschooling larger groups of children.
- Take advantage of back-to-school supply sales. Every year around August and September, most stores will put school supplies on discount in an effort to cater to back-to-school students. Use these discounts to save money on supplies that would cost you more during other parts of the year.
- Try a supply swap with other homeschool parents. Checking around your local homeschooling network to see if anyone has extra supplies they’re willing to swap for your surplus can help everybody find the supplies they need for the cheapest cost.
- Look at thrift stores and garage sales. In many cases, excess school supplies that people buy to fulfill school shopping lists don’t get used. Sometimes these excess supplies end up at used item sales for a fraction of their original cost. Snap these deals up when you see them and stockpile supplies to get the most for your money.
- Go to the dollar store. The dollar store isn’t the place to get more expensive supplies like staplers or printers, but it’s the perfect place to stock up on simple school supplies such as lined paper, pencils, and folders. Check back with your local dollar store often to see if any school supplies show up.
- Go after loyalty discounts. Keeping up with certain brands and stores on social media and online mailing lists can give you access to additional coupons and discounts you wouldn’t otherwise get by just walking into a store.
- Do comparison shopping. It might be tempting to just buy all of your supplies at one place and at one time, but it’s rarely the cheapest way to stock your homeschool. Instead, you should pick and choose carefully where you buy your homeschooling supplies in order to get the most back for your money.
- Buy in bulk. With almost all products, it’s cheaper to buy items in bulk than it is to buy them individually packaged. With supplies like paper and writing utensils that you know you’re going to be going through quickly in school, stock up on large quantities at once to get the best price per unit for your supplies.
The number of school supplies needed to keep a homeschool running smoothly can be daunting for someone who has never established a homeschool program in their household before. But biding your time and stocking your supply cabinet a little bit at a time can help you save money and make the process a little less overwhelming.
School Supplies to Skip for Homeschooling
Along with all of the supplies you need to homeschool easily, there are also some supplies that you might not need as much of when you’re teaching your kids from home. Here are a few areas where you can afford to skimp on supplies for homeschool:
- Kid’s clothing: Homeschool kids don’t need a huge wardrobe since they won’t spend as much time going into public, and kids can learn just as well in their pajamas as they can in jeans. Reducing kid’s clothing for homeschooling can make laundry manageable and leave time for lessons.
- Lunchboxes: Since homeschool kids will eat their breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared at home, there’s no need to invest in a lunchbox or thermos for kids who are learning at the house. Parents can also save on the cost of school lunches as well since it’s much easier to serve leftovers or other budget-friendly lunches from home.
Skipping unnecessary supplies can help you save a little money. This is crucial since as a homeschool parent, you’ll have to purchase a lot more regular school supplies than the average public school parent.
Get the Right Supplies for a Head Start
You don’t need to have a huge amount of supplies on hand for homeschooling your children, but making sure you have the essentials can keep you from running out when you need them most. With the right homeschooling supplies, you can give your child an education that is just as diverse and fun as any kid could receive in a public school system.