What do I Really Need to Start Homeschooling?
Updated: Jul 28
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Luke 12:31
When we made the decision to homeschool, I thought I had to have a fully functional classroom to get started. We finished off a room in the basement with a full dry erase wall, put up world and US maps, made a reading nook and started buying a plethora of school supplies. We got everything set up and were so excited to get started! We used our little one room schoolhouse everyday…for a while. Then we slowly started moving school to different areas of the house until we were only going to the basement for PE and to get school supplies.
4 years after we remodeled our basement to be a homeschool room, it is now a home gym and multi-purpose room. Our homeschool is now based out of what we refer to as “The Homeschool Hutch” in our dining room. It holds our current curriculum and school supplies and we actually do school wherever we feel like it or in whatever room of the house best fits our needs for that day or subject.
My point with this story is this: You do not need to have a dedicated room in your house in order to homeschool. The only thing you really need is a little extra space in a closet or a corner of a room or on a bookshelf to have everything you need to get started.
Preparing your home to be a homeschool really doesn’t take any more than preparing your child to go to public school. It actually probably takes less…have you seen public school supply lists? 20 glue sticks for 1 kid?! I’m going to share with you what we keep in our “Homeschool Hutch” that pretty well takes care of all of our needs.
· Paper – we always have a good supply of lined filler paper on hand and we also have graph paper in case we need it for math. I like to stock up in August when it is all on sale for Back to School.
· Pens – we like to have all different colors of pens but mostly black, blue and red. IEW recommends using ink for writing so your student doesn’t spend extra time erasing so we always get a pack of nice pens for writing assignments. We really like these Pilot Acroball pens.
· Coloring supplies – since we are in middle school, we don’t buy crayons anymore but we have an abundance of markers, colored pencils, and highlighters. I might have a tiny problem with sharpies; we have 3 pencil boxes full of them!
· Glue – we use Elmer’s liquid glue and glue sticks for school and always have hot glue on hand for extra projects.
· Index cards – both my homeschooler and public schooler use tons of index cards to make flash cards for just about every subject so I like to stock up on these during back to school sales also. Last week, I bought 2400 index cards. Hopefully that will last through the school year.
· Scissors – we have several pairs of scissors lying around but we haven’t had to buy new ones for a couple years, just get whichever ones are age appropriate for your kids.
· Clip boards – I like to have a couple of these handy in case we want to take our work outside or on the go.
· Notebook(s) – we usually use a few 1 subject spiral notebooks but this year we needed a 3 subject one. I always just take a look at what we are doing for each subject and decide what kind of notebooks we need, if any.
· Math supplies – this will vary for every grade, we’re at the stage of needing rulers, protractors, compasses and graphing calculators.
· Art supplies – these will look different for every homeschool depending on the ages of your kids and what their interests are. We’ve accumulated quite a supply of art stuff over the years but the primary things that get used now are: sketch pads, dot journals, chalk pastels, water color pencils, and brush markers.
· All-in-one Printer and copy paper – we print a lot of stuff and make quite a few copies so a good, easy to use printer is a must, along with a few reams of copy paper. I usually get copy paper from Staples when they have Back to School sales.
· Cardstock – this is nice to have for special projects or to make learning aids but is definitely not a must.
· Pencil sharpener – we bought an old school Bostitch sharpener that attaches to the wall and I am so glad we did, it works so, so well. It is on the wall in the basement, you know, in that really nice school room we remodeled but never use any more. So I usually take a hand full of pencils down with me when I do laundry and sharpen them all at once.
· 3 Ring Binders – we sometimes use these for school subjects but I use them to organize our homeschool documentation every year. You can read my article Easy Binder Method for Homeschool Documentation for more information about how I stay organized.
· Sheet protectors – to use in your documentation binders and can also be used as dry erase over worksheets. Some homeschoolers say you need a laminator but I’ve had mine for almost 2 years and it’s still in the box.
· 3-hole punch – to keep everything organized in your binders. We currently use the same 3-hole punch that my husband had when I met him in college.
· Post-it Notes – I have these in different sizes and colors and use them to make notes in my curriculum, to lesson plan and to leave my student notes.
· White board or chalk board – We still have the full dry erase wall in the basement we use for special projects but on a day to day basis, we use a frame I got at Hobby Lobby and these awesome Chalk Markers. We also use a small, personal dry erase board for math so I can help explain anything that is giving us problems.
So that’s it, that’s all you really need to get started other than your curriculum (that’s a whole other blog post series). Honestly, if you have kids, you probably already have most of this stuff lying around your house. Just get it all rounded up and organized and you’re ready to go!
Did I miss anything? What is your must have homeschool supply?