Over the last six years of being a homeschooling mom, I’ve noticed that there are certain things that I need to have a successful (read: sane) year. I know what it’s like to want *and buy* all the things and end up with a bunch of items that aren’t needed or useful, that take up precious space in my home, and have the nerve to require me to organize them every year. Humph! As someone who has been there and done that with lots of homeschooling resources, supplies, and overall “must haves” I wanted to share my actual must haves that are practical, simple, and often times FREE!
May this list release you from the bonds of constantly perusing the dollar stores (and Target Dollar Spot — I see you!), the pull of homeschooling buy/sell Facebook groups, and anything else that clouds your vision of an intentional, open-ended, and flowing homeschool. Let it encourage you and give insight into ways to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sweetie) and bless you with a clean desk, money in the bank, true must-haves, plus a surplus of sanity for so long as you shall live. And amen.
These are in no particular order, and each has a little piece of my homeschooling heart equally. Enjoy!
- Wireless, color printer with duplex capability I started my homeschooling journey with an all-in-one printer and thought it would cut it. After all, how much double-sided printing would I be doing? Chile… I found out quickly just how much I needed a duplexing printer that I used when I worked in corporate America. I purchased this one in 2016 and have been very pleased. It checks off all of my needs for printing small and large quantities.
- Large white board If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my 24″ H x 36″ W white board consistently being put to work year after year. I purchased it from Costco, and it helps keep me and my boys focused and on task every day. I’ll be writing a post all about how we’re using it this summer, so stay tuned.
- Library card If I had a number one on my list, this would be it. Having a library card has literally saved me thousands of dollars, been the vehicle that made my oldest son become a voracious reader, and (this is my favorite point) has helped keep my home clear of excess, once-read (or not – being honest here!) books. We visit the library at least once a week, and the kids actually look forward to it. Go, Mom! I used to post our library hauls here, but now share them over on Instagram in my stories.
- Dedicated homeschool space If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably noticed that we change where we homeschool within our house quite frequently. I italicized within our home because we do a lot of learning on-the-go too, but I digress. So far, we’ve gone from learning at the dining room table, to having a small homeschool space in one of our back room, to having a homeschool maker space in that same room (that didn’t last long,) to now having a small, minimalist homeschool space in the basement. Having a dedicated homeschool space means that all things homeschool is in that space. If I can’t find a home for it within the confines of that space, then it has to go. Plus, I find that we all work better when everything we need is within reach. Our space is not elaborate or large by any means, but it works for us.
- Electronic pencil sharpener I thought we could get away with cheap, manual pencil sharpeners because who needs an electronic pencil sharpener? Well, these homeschoolers do! This sharpener is easy for all ages to use and gives you a sharp point every single time. It’s definitely a must-have for us!
- Kindle Fire Tablet (Kid’s Edition) We’ve struggled with screen time and appropriate content in the past, and still do to a certain degree, but I still think each child having a tablet has helped our homeschool a ton. My daughter’s (age 3) keeps her busy while I’m working with her brothers, and I let the boys watch theirs during any breaks we take, such as when I put little sister down for her nap. My boys need to do something SEPARATE while they wait for me to come back, and letting them use their tablets is a great option. They can get a bit rambunctious otherwise, if ya know what I mean. They can access mostly educational, absolutely age-appropriate content via the Freetime app, which makes controlling content way easier. Lastly, they learn A LOT from what they find on their tablets, which keeps me on my toes! Here’s the Kindle they have.
- Amazon Prime I’m going to be honest and tell y’all the truth. Amazon Prime is LIFE. It is Bae. It is EVERYTHING. Dramatic, much? Yep! I simply cannot live… I mean homeschool without Amazon Prime. Whatever I need, it has. It doesn’t get better than that. Two-day shipping, Prime Videos, and Subscribe and Save…. listen. Amazon Prime: You’re simply the best! *in my Tina Turner voice*
- A good rhythm In my early days, I was all about scheduling our day down to the minute. Because I was still trying to replicate compulsory school, I thought that strict scheduling had to be done at home. WRONG! Over the years, I’ve learned that rhythm is more important than following a schedule. Here’s looking at you, Waldorf pedagogy. 😉 For us, rhythm means having an ebb and flow to our day that lets us check off whatever needs to be done as well as allows time for play and rest. I still have a schedule posted on our white board, but it’s more of a goal than a requirement.
- Time off As much as I love intentional, academic learning with my children, I love breaks from it as well. I don’t think rest is valued enough in our society, especially not in the academic world, and I think that’s a grave mistake. Ironically, rest actually aids in the retention of whatever they’re learning, so taking intentional time off is nurturing and necessary. I don’t schedule our breaks anymore. We take them when we need to, when our bodies and minds need a good rest, then flow right back into structured learning pretty easily.
- The book, Simplicity Parenting I literally re-read this book every year. It’s not a homeschooling book, but since I believe that homeschooling is simply an extension of parenting, this book always brings me back to the basics of how I can be a better mom therefore be a better teacher. It reaffirms my minimalistic approach to homeschooling (& life really) and replenishes my “why” for homeschooling, which is definitely a must-have.
There you have it, friends. My list is as minimal and eclectic as my homeschooling, and that’s the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it. Uh huh uh huh.
Do you and I share any of these must-haves? What are your must-haves? Share with me below in the comments!
Note: If you purchase any items through my affiliate links, I’ll receive a small portion of the sale, however, it won’t cost you anything extra. Thank you!