School supply shopping is one of our children’s favorite activities to prepare for the new school year. When they were younger, it was a highlight and helped them build anticipation and excitement about school starting. They couldn’t wait to use their new supplies.
Honestly, I love school supply shopping day as well. I get a such a thrill when I shop for school supplies, books, and curriculum. For me, it’s like Christmas!!!!
Many people ask me what types of supplies we use in our homeschool and how we keep them organized. That really depends on what types of curriculum you choose and the ages of your children, but I thought I’d share some of the supplies we’ve used over the years.
Supplies for the Children
Crayons-Jumbo crayons are great or preschool hands, but I find it’s not long before they outgrow them and prefer the skinnier version. Nothing beats the nostalgia of a trusty 64 count with the built in sharpener, and these are washable!
Colored pencils-The smaller packs of colored pencils are fine for the younger ages. For older children, especially those interested in sketching, the larger and more artistic packs are a better buy.
Markers-I know most parents don’t want their younger children to have markers simply because of the mess they make, but if you can monitor them the jumbo washable ones are good. The fine lines work well for older children to use for project displays, artwork, etc.
Personalized decals-Children love to see their names on their school supplies so personalized decals are a must. You can order these in large sheets and can even request custom sizes for names/monograms and for subjects, and can also choose color and font. You may think you don’t need that in a homeschool setting with a limited amount of students, but you actually do. Since buying in bulk is economical, many of the supplies are going to look alike unless you label them with each child’s name. It is also another way to get them excited about decorating and preparing for school, also to motivate them during the school day.
Glue-We use glue sticks and liquid glue. I try to buy it in bulk size because you need it for many different ages and subjects. I don’t bother with buying the refill bottle unless we are making slime. I know it cuts down on waste to refill the smaller bottles of glue, but the spouts get clogged and as the kids try to unclog them they end up breaking them. Maybe you’ll have an easier time with that as it does save money and the environment.
Construction paper-Construction paper is a must for every age for lapbooks, crafting, projects, greeting cards, etc.
Handwriting paper-We use handwriting paper for practicing handwriting letters, numbers, spelling, Bible memory verses, and cursive handwriting.
Scissors-Safety scissors are best for younger children, and you should ALWAYS supervise little ones with them. Don’t just rely on the fact that they are “safety” scissors. Children can be unpredictable at times and always need supervision with items that can be potentially dangerous. As they get older and you detect maturity level, then you can graduate to sharper and more pointed types of scissors. We use scissors for art projects, lapbooking and notebooking.
Loose-leaf Notebook Paper The quantity of packs I purchase depends on whether or various subjects have consumable workbooks or if we will write on notebook paper and not write in the workbook or text. When he children are younger we purchase wide ruled. As their handwriting progresses, we purchase college ruled.
Pencils-My children prefer mechanical pencils like these. However, mechanical pencils aren’t the best to use in my opinion. When children are little, they tend to use different types of pressure when learning to write so they can break the lead easily. A good old fashioned sharpened wooden pencil like Ticonderoga No. 2 and an old fashioned sharpener is good for younger ages. You don’t have to worry about whether or not the mechanical pencil lead is No. 2, too.
Paint-We like to use acrylic paint. It’s not necessarily washable if spilled on fabric, but it does clean off most surfaces easily and can be used to tackle multiple types art projects like paper, pottery, wood, canvas, and more.
Art Paper– There’s no substitute for large rolls of butcher paper that you can customize in different sizes, or roll across the kitchen table, etc. You can use it for drawing, coloring, painting, finger painting, as a tablecloth or mat for clay and play-doh.
Binders–Depending on how you will organize your curriculum, binders that zip are wonderful! You can organize with dividers. We used so we could put consumable workbooks in the pockets for each subject and many come with pockets for their pencils.
Supplies for the Parents
Copier/printer-This is a must-have! I print and/or copy every single day for our homeschool. I use it to fax homeschool paperwork as well. Here are my choices for paper and toner cartridges
Binders-I use regular 3 inch binders and the same types of dividers for myself as I do for the children. I keep my notes in the hole punched portion. I put answer keys and/or worksheet printables in the pockets for each subject.
Laminator-Laminating worksheets makes them reusable which eliminates waste. You can laminate handwriting worksheets, math drills, alphabet sheets, any types of activities that your child will need to practice repeatedly. You can laminate all sorts of art projects, calendar items, anything you want to keep and reuse. Laminating helps make items more permanent and reinforces items to keep them from wearing or tearing during the school year. You’ll need laminating sheets as well.
Cork Board-We use these to display graded papers and reminder notes.
Pins,Clips, etc.-You’ll need these for clipping papers, pinning to the cork board.
Chalkboard-We don’t have a spare room in our home that we can use as a formal classroom. Most of our work is done at our kitchen table or in our family room. We painted and framed chalkboard on our wall in the kitchen. We use it for school, loving notes to each other, Bible verses, holiday decorative pictures, etc. Some families prefer to use a white board and dry erase markers but I find the markers don’t last long and the board takes more time to clean than a traditional chalkboard, and it doesn’t fit into the decor as well if you need to incorporate it into your home like we did.
Calendar-When our children were younger, we had one of these cute pocket calendars. You can change them for each month and they include weather cards. This helps children study the seasons, weather, months and days.
Grading Supplies-I use stickers,stamps and stamp pads, and even just writing encouraging notes to grade papers. I prefer using the stamps because of course they are reusable. However, you can usually get a bigger variety of fun messages and pictures with stickers.
Shoe Boxes-Plastic shoe boxes with lids are a great way to store each child’s supplies, parent supplies, or art and school supplies. They are stackable so you can utilize vertical space in cabinets or shelves. You can get custom organizational labels here.
Revolving Organizer-I just love a carousel organizer! With an abundance of compartments, all of our supplies can stay organized. Since it spins, everything is right at your fingertips. This particular organizer is a very pretty white.
Basket-Baskets are a practical staple for organizing supplies, too. Depending on your need, you may want to get these as well. I use them when we decide to hold school in the backyard or when we do some school work in the car on a long trip. I just toss a few of the things I need in a basket instead of trying to bring the carousel, stacks of books and papers, etc. They are also prettier than the plastic storage boxes for utilizing on the tops of desks or open shelving.
In/Out Pockets-We didn’t use these pockets as much when our children were small, but have definitely enjoyed having them as they have gotten older. As they get older, they become more independent in their learning. These pockets have helped them remember to turn work in as it is completed, and when I’m finished grading I can return it. None of us has to interrupt each other to ask for it when we are ready. These pockets hang on the back or front of a door. We don’t have much wall space in our office/music room. It’s a very small room so these pockets are perfect for hanging on the front of our cabinet doors. You can use the links above for custom decals to label them.
I think I’ve thought of every school supply we’ve used over our 15 years of homeschooling, but again it all depends on your activities, needs, and your curriculum. Let me know if you have questions about supplies. I’ve created a free downloadable homeschool supplies shopping list for you below.
If you’re a homeschooler, do you have any homeschool supplies you can’t live without?
Jesus follower since 1987, wife since 1993, mommy since 1996, working from home since 1998, homeschooling my 4 blessings since 2003 (two of whom have graduated and are currently in college). This is my calling: to encourage, coach, and mentor women, helping them find balance in their lives as they depend on The Lord–to cheer them on and lift them up on their quest for rubies amidst the ruckus and struggle of day-to-day living. I am a Trim Healthy Mama, encourager, lifestyle blogger, organizer, time manager, and wellness enthusiast (currently healing from hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue), and life coach. I am also a small business owner of two businesses: www.ruckusandrubies.com and www.etsy.com/shop/treasuredsparrow.