Welcome to the first day of the winter blog hop brought to you by the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Today I would like to discuss what I consider essential supplies for our homeschool. What do I feel I need to be able to homeschool successfully on a limited income?
There are so many "things" out there that I would love to have. I try not to dwell on them and covet what my fellow homeschooling moms have for their children. Since we started home preschooling 5 years ago I have found that there are some things I just can't do without.
My computer with internet connection hooked up to a printer (with ink).
The computer has been the biggest help to me, but without the internet it wouldn't be nearly as helpful. Yes, the printer is somewhat separate, but what good would all the goodies I find online be if I couldn't print them out. How do I utilize the computer for our homeschool?
- There are many resources online for homeschoolers, some of them are even free. A while ago, I started a blog page for Free Resources. I do have to work on it some more, but there are many helpful sites for homeschoolers.
- I use Google Images to pull up coloring page images to print off for our lessons. The children love the coloring pages, mazes, dot-to-dots and color-by-number activities that I add to our day. However, I also shrink them down for our Letter of the Week lessons. The children have all colored and cut pictures to include in letter/sound books and collages.
- There are also many sites that have printables such as handwriting sheets, Do-a-Dot activities and cutting skills pages. Some are free, others do have to be paid for. As of now, I haven't used any resources that I have had to pay for, but if you are able to pay there are many that look wonderful. The other concern about some of the printables is that they will use a lot of ink. When ink is an issue I try to only print off pages that are black and white outline pages.
- We also use the computer to research the topic we are learning about. We have found some wonderful videos of animals to help the children really see what we are learning this past year.
- I am blessed to have a wonderful library system that has an extensive inter-library loan system. Unfortunately it is 20 minutes away, so I can't just run down there whenever I want. Thanks to the computer I can get on their system and put books on hold from any of the libraries in the system. When the books are available I will receive an email notification.
Of course, without printer paper the above would be useless. However, it isn't just printer paper that I have come to rely on. We also use:
- Cardstock- There are some printables that need to be on heavier paper, so I will use plain white cardstock. I also use it to make our word/picture flashcards and our picture cards to go along with our Letter of the Week.
- Construction paper- We may not always be able to get all the craft supplies I want, but there is no way I could do without construction paper. I use it for the above mentioned picture cards and for our letter/sound books and collages. We also need it for projects.
- Spiral notebooks- When notebooks are on sale at the beginning of the school year we stock up. The children will use them for coloring/doodling and journals. During school time we use them for our handwriting, spelling and Spanish. Of course, as they get older they will be using them for other subjects.
I have found a few important uses for File Folders
- File folders have been essential for keeping our curriculum organized. You don't even need a filing cabinet to file papers in. We have a box that is the perfect width to hold file folders lying on their sides for easy access of the contents.
- We have used file folders for lapbooks quite a few times. It is nice to have the colored folders to make a really nice presentation, but regular file folders can be used in a pinch.
- In addition to lapbooks, I have also created some fun file folder games for the children. You can Google "file folder games" for some great ideas, though I try to make my own to go easy on the printer ink. These are great for hands-on learning.
- As the children get older I will also be using file folders to keep our papers organized as we will have to report to the school district.
In addition to paper there are some essential supplies we need for crafts. And crafts are big in our house of hands-on learners.
- White glue and glue sticks
- Pencils (both #2 pencils and colored pencils, though we have been known to go without the colored pencils)
- Scotch tape
- Paint (water colors and tempera paint)
There are a few additional supplies that I need for myself in order to get lessons and crafts ready for the children
- My paper cutter
- A stapler
- Packaging Tape
- Clear Contact paper for "laminating"
Finally here is a list of things I like to have but we do without when money is tighter than usual. These things I try to buy when we get our tax refund, but I never can buy enough for a year and the children go through them fast.
- Craft Sticks
Though I may not have every thing I want or think I need, the Lord has made it possible for us to homeschool on our limited budget with the items listed in this post.
I invite you to stop back tomorrow as I discuss another important essential for homeschooling, Organization
As I mentioned, there are many more insightful posts to be found. Here is the link to the main post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog where you can find a list of everyone who is sharing. To get you started, I invite you to stop by these blogs:
Jenni @ Conversaving discusses A Prepared Heart
Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos discusses Planning
Beth @ Weavings discusses the importance of The Bible
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling discusses The Library
Karen @ My Harbor Lights discussed Community Service
Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings
Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy shares an essential science program
Tara @ This Sweet Life shares her ABC's of Homeschooling Essentials (A-G)