When one thinks of school supplies, list of crayons, notebooks and binders immediately cross the mind. The list of supplies for a home school family goes beyond the basics though. Before a supply list is made the family must decide what type of education they are going to provide their child. Will it be classical, Montessori style or do they plan to unschool? Once a teaching style is established, at the top of any homeschool supply list should be a copy of the state laws regarding home education for the family to refer to when needed. This also lays the foundation for the rest of the supplies. If you reside in a heavily regulated state you may be required to teach a certain curriculum, keep attendance or a portfolio.
Homeschoolers need a curriculum or a curriculum plan. You can find many free resources to teach children with without ever turning the page of a teacher’s manual or workbook, but it takes time and research. Most opt for a packaged curriculum, or individual pieces of curriculum from different home school suppliers. Once a curriculum is chosen, you can focus on the basic items to have on hand while educating your child.
The basics of course are a dictionary and thesaurus leveled to your child’s ability. Additionally a white board or chalkboard works well helping a child to visualize. For those that wish to spend a little extra money, word walls or phonics pocket charts are a great tool for the home schoolroom. Lastly, books, language arts are not complete without books. If you do not have a nice collection at home, be sure to have a library card or access to a book rental program.
An older homeschooler may succeed just fine with a textbook and instruction from mom or dad, but having manipulatives on hand for a younger child can prove invaluable. The basics are pattern blocks, teaching clock, abacus, attribute blocks and base ten blocks. There are many more manipulatives used in teaching math, but a homeschooler can get by with these five to begin with.
No one expects a home school family to have a fully stocked lab at home; in fact, many homeschoolers opt to participate in science classes at co-ops rather than buying the supplies. For those venturing into science at home there are basic supplies to have on hand though. The items bought are going to depend on the age of child(ren) though a microscope, magnifying glass, graduated cylinders, magnets and scale are universally used. Parents often find it easier to stock up on science supplies for the home schoolroom by purchasing science kits one at a time to add to their materials.
From citizenship, geography to the history of the Aztecs home educators holds the responsibility of teaching many facts to their child in the social studies department. There are really only two basic supplies you need though beyond your curriculum, a map (doubles sided of the world and U.S.) and a globe. To help your child along with their studies you may also wish to acquire a compass.
A basic art kit is required to teach your child art at home. Start small with oil pastels, watercolors, colored pencils and a sketchpad or two. Additional materials such as paint, sculpting supplies and craft materials can be purchased as needed.
Music instruction differs among home school families. While some opt for a composer study and piano lessons, another may choose to focus concepts such as rhythm and beat. Depending on your choice, having a few child-sized instruments such as a tambourine, harmonica and recorder as a part of your supplies may be necessary.
A home school family could certainly get away without any technology supplies though there are some that prove very useful. The basics of course are a computer and calculator. Homeschoolers may find though that having a notepad computer (able to write by hand into OneNote) or a homemade interactive whiteboard indispensable as they can easily erase the need and waste of vast amounts of paper.
So what supplies does a homeschooler need? Well, really it all depends on the family and the educational choices they have made along with the budget they have to spend.