Homeschooling is something a lot of families are choosing. There are over 2 million households in the United States that follow this version of education, which makes it quite a popular movement in the modern day and age! That means, more than ever, there are loads of resources out there you can look into to make sure you have the best homeschool out there.
After all, if you would like to homeschool your children, you have a big, new responsibility on your plate. You need to make sure your children are getting the finest education right at home. There may be days with lessons that sometimes you aren’t ready to give – but, with some essentials on hand, your whole heart and soul invested, you will be prepared for any homeschool day!
Here are just a few ways to properly stock up your homeschool classroom (or cupboard in the kitchen, or bookshelf in the living room). Your children are going to grow up with a non-traditional view of school, that will likely include non-traditional supplies as well. What are the essentials to stock?
The curriculum you rely on as a homeschool teacher is crucial to the way your days will go, for both your children and you. How they learn, how well they get on with the work you set before them, and what your teaching style is. So you need to be sure you have the right curriculum to follow, and that you are capable of following through with the lesson plans it sets you.
First of all, know the laws surrounding homeschool curricula in your area. They can vary from place to place, and you want to be sure your children are within the parameters and guidelines required. Some states require standardized tests at certain grade levels, others can require you to register your home as a private school only your children attend – the list goes on and on.
Then, it’s time to determine how your children learn best – their learning style. This will help determine what kind of lessons they are going to get the most out of. You get to decide the approach you take here, whether it be a holistic schooling environment or one that focuses on academics solely. If your kids have expressed an interest in learning as much as they can about a topic, a holistic approach would be well-suited for them! Nurture that curiosity!
If there are special interests in your family, pay attention to them. We use this throughout our homeschool for all ages to drive the skill-based subjects (need to learn about writing reports and term papers, use their love of airplanes – or whatever it is this month). This is delight-directed or interest-led – and makes homeschooling eaiser for all in my opinion.
Art and Craft Supplies
Not feeling the lesson plans for the day? Or need to catch up on some reading aloud due to too many days out of the house? These are the days we break out the drawing, art and craft supplies. While you are reading – or using Audible, your children can draw and create. You can require it to be related to the story – a map or a diorama, or just turn them loose to engage the right side of their brain.
No matter the ages or the subjects being studied, some basic art supplies are a must. Of course, you will have the usual pencils, pens, and notebooks or looseleaf papers. But look a little further when shopping school supplies. If your children are young and art is not a focus, crayons and colored pencils may suffice. Add some construction paper in various shades and plain white drawing paper (or a designated ream of printer paper) and you’ll be able to make it through the roughest homeschool day.
Next up comes the more practical side of teaching your kids from home; you’re going to need storage solutions to keep all of your educational materials safe and out of the way. And that means you’re going to need some boxes, both of a fabric kind and a plastic kind, to keep your items stacked up on shelves or in the garage.
Fabric boxes are best for softer items, like soft play toys for break times, or colouring items like activity books and the accompanying crayons, or the creations your kids come up with during technical lessons with clay or playdough. Or, they can be child designated boxes. Give them the space and tools and let them make it their own. This can make homeschool a lot more comfortable for them!
The plastic boxes are better suited for your items; the printed lesson plans, the pencils and pen packets that you’ve recently bought in bulk, and the various notebooks your children will be using in each different subject you set out. I have to keep the main stash of writing instruments separate from the children use daily. Somehow, without fail, all of their pens and pencils will go missing. Your “secret” stash will save the day.
Make it Fun!
School is often seen as not fun. When you think about the days you spent at school when you were young yourself, you might only remember a sparse few moments where you had some true fun. Maybe you had a funny teacher whose jokes you still find yourself quoting from time to time, or you had moments with your friends to keep things fun and interesting.
Which is why you should make a real effort to make sure your kids are having fun whilst they are being homeschooled! Not that having fun is the point, but if learning is enjoyable and looked forward to, it is much easier – things are actually learned and remembered. Of course, they need to sit up and pay attention every once in a while, but no child learns when a subject is boring! They start to fidget and talk over you, and their work suffers as a result.
So make sure you’re doing as many practical lessons as you are teaching theory. If your child is extroverted and craves interaction with peers, try getting your children involved in local clubs or other activities to give them time with other children. Homeschoolers have an advantage in making true friends by not being involved in a school system that keeps them together without choice. Field trips also provide fun learning experiences. Get together with other homeschoolers in your area and you’ve added some of that supposedly elusive “socialization” as well.
Libraries, Videos, and Hands-On
Falling under both curricula and make it fun, utilize a variety of resources. Libraries, videos, and hands-on tools suit many learning styles and subjects. Some might come with your curricula, others may already be found in your home.
My first recommendation for a new homeschooling family is to visit their library. If you don’t have a library card – get one! All the libraries in our area offer the ability to go online from home and put many titles on hold. This lets you plan for a unit study, or get a needed title for your literature curriculum. You can also find out your child’s interests by letting them peruse on their own.
Videos are a nice break from book work. You can find “how it’s made” videos on YouTube. Documentaries and history-inspired movies can make that subject come to life. It is much easier to understand a time period when you can immerse yourself in it. Science is another subject area we like to use videos to explore. And it can often be safer (or give your creative child new ideas – you know, “don’t try this at home”).
Manipulatives can illustrate concepts in a way that no textbook can. When your children are involved in the learning process, true learning happens. Utilize spaces beyond the homeschool room or dining room table. So much can be learned in the kitchen. Getting outside often, in your own backyard or at a park, are essential.
Shopping online cuts a lot of the effort out of properly stocking up your classroom, so make sure this is your first step. After all, there’s a lot of products out there with conflicting prices, and having to buy on brand items week after week to keep the school functioning can get very expensive. Online retailers often have the most competitive prices. At a minimum check pricing online before heading to the stores so you can compare.
Of course, if you leave an item in your basket for a day or two, there’s a good chance the company will send you a discount code to use! Check out lists like 50 essential items for teachers on Amazon if you are not sure where to start, or if you are looking for ways to fill in your desk organizer.
Ready to Homeschool?
Your homeschool classroom has a lot to offer, so long as you stock up properly and prepare accordingly! After all, there’s a lot your kids have to learn over the next few years, so you’re definitely going to want them to enjoy the experience whilst they’re at it.