There are so many options when it comes to homeschooling. Maybe this list of the best homeschool supplies will help check a few things off your list.
As moms we have million things we worry about everyday. Do we have the right diapers? When are they supposed to start on real food? Is my toddler potty trained at the right age? Then if you decide to start homeschooling you have a million more questions. What curriculum should I buy? Is there a cheaper way to print? Do I need a lesson planner? What is the best way to buy math flash cards? What are the best homeschool supplies? It seems never ending.
The thing is, there are so many different options. There are hundreds of different printers. Every store seems to have their own math flash cards, or should you just make them yourself? I am here to help. These are what I consider to be the best homeschool supplies for our family.
I think at the top of every best homeschool supplies list needs to be a homeschool planner. There are a lot of different routes you can take for this. I am a big fan of A Well Planned Day planners. Fairly inexpensive but works really well for our family. If you are more of a DIYer I have just the thing for you. Years ago I discovered Tina’s dynamic homeschool plus. She has some amazing FREE printables. There is even a step by step guide to download and print off all the pages you need. If you get a good printer and laminator I highly recommend going this route. She makes it pretty easy for you.
The amount of different printers on the market is ridiculous. Different brands, different styles, duplex printing, scanning, and so much more. Not to mention the price of those little ink cartridges will practically bankrupt you if you print more than 10 pages a week. If you have more than 2 kids, you will probably print more than 10 pages a week.
I did a lot of research before buying a printer. I knew that I would be printing out our homeschool curriculum myself. So I wanted to make sure I got a good one. After extensive research, I decided on the Epson EcoTank 2760. I have printed well over 3000 pages of full color and still have over half of my ink that came with the printer left. It does not take ink cartridges. You take a bottle and pour ink into a tank on the front of the printer.
This printer has saved me so much money. This model also has automatic duplex printing, meaning it automatically prints on both sides of the paper. Very much needed when you are printing out homeschool curriculum for 3 kids. The refill ink for this printer is not very expensive either, under $75 (at the time of posting) for all the colors and they last for so long!
For all that printing you need paper right. Well I struggled to find a good deal on printer/copy paper. There was no way I was paying some of those prices for blank paper. It was so frustrating when all I could find around me is $7-$8 a ream. I knew there had to be a better way.
I was able to find the Pen+Gear copy paper for under $30 for a 10 ream case from Walmart. At the time I couldn’t find any decent prices on Amazon. I have since found an 8 ream case of the Amazon Basics brand paper for under $30. Its is still not as good of a deal as Walmart, but they will ship it to your home for free with Prime. We were actually super lucky and found a case of paper that had a broken box for half price. I don’t know about you, but I can make due without the box for 50% off!
I am a total office supply nerd so I HAD to have a laminator. It actually come in very handy since we print all of our curriculm here at home. We are able to print the covers on card stock and laminate them so they last longer. We have laminated number charts, sentence structyre charts, calender charts, you name it, we lamintaed it. Not having to reprint the days of the week chart over and over again is great. It also makes it less likly to be distroyed of one of the 4 children under under 2 gets ahold of it.
Again, there are many options for laminators and laminating sheets. I have an older version on this Scotch Thermal Laminator. I have had it for going on 8 years, and even though it is slightly broken (kids ya’ll) it still works great for us. It is not a bad price at all (at the time of posting it is under $25) and it has held up great for me. And let me tell you, this thing gets used!!
For laminating sheets I like to buy this 200 pack from Amazon. They are good quality and super inexpensive. I don’t feel bad about laminating everything I can get my hands on when they cost under $0.09 each. There are a lot of different options and I have tried more expensive brands, but honestly I couldn’t really tell a difference.
Flash cards are something I probably do not use as often as many do. I have a really nice set of math flash cards that we never use. Also math is something that the kids do struggle with; maybe that is why. I guess we will start using them more often and see if that helps. We had to buy a set for them to review in the evenings when they were in public school. Since we had 3 kids in different classes I needed a multi pack. This pack that had addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division works really well for us.
Since the babies are not yet beg enough to worry about learning their colors and numbers, I don’t have any flash cards for that. Though when the older kids were learning those things we practiced them during clean up. Having them bring me something blue or a circle really helped them catch on.
We do not currently use any sight word flash cards. If we do need them I will just make some up every week for their current words. We do make flash cards for vocabulary words. That is just a plain index card with the word on one side and the definition on the other. Nothing fancy and I stock up on index cards during back to school sales. I also pick them up on Amazon when I run out though out the year. These cost quite a bit more than the $0.50 for a 100 pack I can get during back to school sales, but I will grab them if I must. You can also find them for pretty cheap at the Dollar Tree or Dollar General. Those are always good places to check out.
I didn’t like the idea of the kids having tablets at first, but in the end we decided to give in and let them put them on their Christmas lists. My amazing sister in law was able to get each of the big kids one during Amazons Black Friday sale. These Kindle Fire tablets are what the kids have, each in their own color. I did put a few games on them like Minecraft and a few others for them. One game that the kids really enjoy is Prodigy Math. This was something they had played in public school and they really enjoy it. It is a free app, or it can be used on your browser for free as well.
We also got the twins kindle paperwhites for Christmas. We have kindle unlimited, so I love being able to download books for them and they can read to their hearts content. Prior to having kindle unlimited we often, and still do, used the Libby app to download books from our library. I love using this app because I have access to millions of books and audio books for FREE. I don’t know about you, but I am all about free stuff.
To TRY to keep some sort of organization with the kids having electronics we also purchased this charging station. It can hold up to 6 devices at once so it really is a great place to have the kids put their tablets at bed time. I have to be honest, I forget way too many times to have them put them up, but I try.
Pens, pencils, and more
When it comes time for school I always hear “I can’t find a pencil” or “There are no sharpened pencils”. That lasted about a week and then this mama went shopping. None of our pencils are sharpened? How about this electric pencil sharpener that now lives on top of the homeschool station? Can’t find a pencil? How about this box of 150 pre-sharpened pencils? You can’t find a notebook to write in? Well mama got 100 notebooks for $0.17 each during the Walmart back to school sale, I’ll get you one from my closet. I have no time or energy for silly excuses not to do your work.
For the last half of the school year I bought this 6 pack of dry erase boards and erasers to keep in the homeschool station. These come in so handy for doing math problems or doing their sentence diagramming. Along with an 80 pack of black dry erase markers we have no reason we can’t do our work. I think buying these items in bulk really makes them hit on the best homeschool supplies list. Being able to know you have everything you need to finish your homeschool day makes everything go so much smoother.
My best homeschool supplies tip
When July and August roll around, there are almost always huge sales on back to school supplies. Plan accordingly. I do not buy crayons or markers any other time of year. The price is way to high for me! I make sure I get 10-15 packs for the year. I do the same for glue, erasers, notebooks, and index cards. If I have to buy any of these things later on in the year I try to always go to Dollar Tree first and then Dollar General. Amazon and Walmart are my last choices. I will see if we can make do with what we have or do without if I cannot find a good deal. This mama is on a budget and I just can’t afford to pay $3.50 a box or crayons that is $0.50 in August.
Also, if you can’t get the “best” homeschool supplies, just make sure you get decent quality. The crayons at the Dollar Tree are crap. Sorry, but they are horrible. I can color better with a candle. So if you can’t find Crayola for decent price look at Rose Art or CraZart. Those are both decent brands. Not as good as good ol’ Crayola, but they work well.
I hope this list of the best homeschool supplies has been helpful. It has some of our favorite items. If you have any you think needs to be on the list of the best, let me know in the comments