Back to school sales are just around the corner. Today I’m breaking down the minimal homeschool supplies you really need AND how to not go overboard!
In today’s consumerist economy, it is easy to believe that in order to homeschool well, you have to have ALL the supplies, gadgets and tools out there. I’m here to tell you that, contrary to popular belief, you hardly need anything to homeschool well. Truly! A pupil to teach and a means by which to write will do just fine. At the very basic level, a stick and sand could very well suffice. That’s it. Seriously. Thus, I encourage you to keep this in perspective as you consider what to buy for your homeschool.
However, as prosperous as America and her citizens generally are, most of us don’t have to make do with primitive means of educating. Even those who have very little means have more than enough to obtain a good amount of supplies for home educating. Additionally, for those who find themselves in desperate times, there are plenty of ministries and organizations out there whose sole purpose is to supply children with supplies and an education. Hallelujah!
With this abundance of resources, the question then becomes, what should we buy? What do we need? Additionally, for those who prefer to live more simply and minimally, the question is not only what should I buy? But what should I buy at the minimum? What could I get along with without going over board?
Minimal Homeschool Supplies
I’m going to share with you the minimal homeschool supplies that I use on a regular basis as well as tips on how to contain the amount of supplies to just what you need. It is important to keep in mind though, that this list of supplies is what suits my particular family. You may need more or less of these items. It’s not necessarily about the amount you own but about what you need daily.
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These are the minimal homeschool supplies me and my kids reach for on a daily basis as we go through our homeschool day:
- Colored Pencils
- Glue Sticks
- Pencil Sharpener
- Eraser Caps
- Water Colors
- Tempura Paint
- Watercolor Paper
- Printer Paper
These are the homeschool supplies that we use regularly but are not absolutely necessary in my opinion, however they do make things a little more easy and or fun 😉
- Personal Whiteboard
- Dry Erase Markers
- Wet Erase Markers
- Window Markers
- ABC Magnets
- Demonstration Clock
- Craft Bucket*
Now these are the supplies that I use ALL THE TIME. Essential supplies in my opinion.
So we have all these markers and crayons and pencils…. how much of each do we really need? A good general rule of thumb is one 10-12 pack of crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc for each child. Then let them use them all up before you replace them. This helps them to use the materials wisely (ie. not break crayons) because they won’t be replaced until they’re all used up.
When I say ‘use them all up’ before you replace them, I literally mean use those supplies! So, we’re talking the markers are all dried out and the ink is all gone. The pencil is no longer long enough to hold properly and you’ve reached the end of the glue stick… seriously. So what’s the best way to ensure you and your kids use what ya got? Keep these supplies out and available and make do until you can’t make do any longer.
A trick to contain the amount of supplies is to dedicate a certain container to it’s storage. For example, I only have one cup for colored pencils. We only keep as many colored pencils as fit in that cup. Any extra supplies get’s stored away.
So how much do we store away? Well the same rule applies. We have a drawer for extra supplies. If it doesn’t fit in the drawer, we have too much. Usually I’ll buy just enough for the school year and let my kids know that once it’s gone, it’s gone. If they like to color a lot, they need to take proper care and make sure markers are closed properly, otherwise their coloring fun will come to an early end and they will have to wait for next year to get more supplies.
Now the best time to buy your school supplies is AFTER your local public school has started. At this point, stores start to discount the supplies so you can get more for less. Now just because you are saving money, doesn’t mean you should buy extra. So focus on what you need for only the current school year. It may take a year or two for you to know exactly how much you will use in a year as every family is different and every child is different. But another good rule of thumb is one ‘extra’ for each child. So one 10-12 pack of crayons per child and one backup per child. Or, one for each semester per child.
In conclusion, everyone’s needs are different. You might think a laminator is an essential teacher tool and you would be right. For you. I personally do not laminate enough to invest in one just yet. As I said already and cannot stress enough, the point to having minimal homeschool supplies is only having what YOU need and use on a regular basis. I hope the tips and tricks I outlined above help you keep things simple and minimal!