The flyers have started arriving in the mail. The emails are pouring in, and it seems every advertisement you see is geared towards one topic: Back To School. Are we ready? Probably not! But should we get started anyway? YES! You don’t want to be left in the dust having to pay full (outrageously, usually) priced supplies.
And if you’re new to homeschooling you might be feeling even more overwhelmed than most parents right now. It’s hard for those first few years! What do you actually need? What will you use? What is worth stocking up on?! UGH! As a homeschool mom going into her 5th year of this homeschool lifestyle I want to share what supplies I get every year, where I buy them, and I’m even taking the extra step of dividing my list into things I seriously feel I can’t homeschool without, and things that are just really nice and helpful to have around during our homeschool year.
My back to school must-haves
Ticonderoga Pencils: Even if you have a public schooled child, I highly recommend these pencils! I’m not the biggest fan of the erasers on them, but cap erasers are cheap. These are amazing pencils! I’ve tried other brands and have issues with sharpening, writing, lead breaking, the pencil itself breaking with little effort. These are non-negotiable in my house. And if you can buy them in bulk, they will last you quite a while! You can buy a pack of 96 from Sam’s Club, for $9.96! Pretty cost-effective for some of the best pencils you can get. Even Teachers recommend them.
Copy paper: Or as my kids see it, drawing paper. We copy most of our worksheets (my little trick to getting more use out of my curriculum is copying the worksheets. I direct every parent who wants help with their kids learning to Pinterest where there’s every single kind of printable you can imagine. It’s like running through a field of daisies, except its printables… It also can be pretty cheap. You don’t need the highest quality, thickest resume paper you can find to print out a worksheet that your kid is going to scribble on. This case of paper lasts me around a year and a half, even with two kids who love to grab handfuls to draw on and a third kid who seems to think printer ink grows on trees and goes on printing sprees whenever.
Notebooks: These can be used for journals, answering questions, working out math problems taking notes more drawing paper. The best price you’ll probably find will be at Walmart for a basic, one subject notebook.
Crayons and markers: Even your older kids may have a use for this if making maps, or posters, or using adult coloring books. You littles need them for something to write in their journal with! Do yourself a favor and just buy the Crayola brand while it’s on sale and forget the headache you’ll get from using any other brand!
My Favorite Extra Supplies
Expo markers: I hardly use the whiteboard for our homeschool. But my kids have an old whiteboard that they love playing school with (yes, even homeschoolers play school) or just draw on. It’s also nice to have handy when you need to quickly show something small (b has a belly d has a diaper), we also like to write out simple sentences when we have a new reader in the house for extra practice, and even copy work now and then. I like these for a variety of colors, they are thick which is great for smaller hands and it’s a decent price.
Whiteout tape: I’ll admit, I use this more for my planners than I do in homeschooling. But I always seem to buy them around this time. My kids also steal them now and then because they think it’s fun to use. You guessed it, I get them from Sam’s Club because I can get a bunch so I can always find one when I need it!
Pilot G2 Pens: The gel pens are also amazing to have! These are cheap enough to keep a couple in your purse, the junk drawer and wherever else you might squirrel away a pen. I prefer the .5 size because it’s super fine, it’s great for my happy planners, and these last quite a while!
A pencil sharpener: I swear I’m not being sponsored by Sam’s for this post. I just genuinely love shopping there for office supplies! We bought a sharpener similar to this one years ago, it still works really well, and it helps my Ticonderoga pencils last me even longer since it sharpens so nicely!
Hp Printer: I found this printer at Walmart for $40! It’s wireless too, so it’s compatible with a hp instant ink subscription. I have had my printer for 5 years now, it was $100 when I bought it, and it still works great, even with the huge printing marathons I take to get weeks ahead in planning for homeschool. There are many plans to choose from starting at $5/month for 100 pages of printing. The printer has to be connected to the internet and hp detects how many pages you’ve printed and what your ink levels are at, they’ll automatically send you one WEEKS before you even need it so that you are ready to go. On the months that I manage to not print a single page, I’m not charged! You can also change your plan at any time. You don’t print a single page during the summer? Turn it off, or downsize to $5 a month, or leave it be since you won’t even be charged if you don’t print. Planning a huge printing extravaganza? Beef it up to whichever plan works for that month and print away babe! This has been one of my favorite things and its so cheap I can’t justify NOT having this!
Highlighters: Depending on what grade your child is in, or how intensive their work is, highlighters might be helpful. If they are taking notes, or they own the book they are working from and you don’t mind them marking it up this can help with retaining the important information. Highlighters won’t be helpful in lower grades unless you find you need them for yourself. I have recently fallen in love with Mildliners, they are a good marker and highlighter combination. Really though, any highlighter at any price will be fine.
Laminator: Are you even a homeschooler if you don’t at least talk about laminators? I haven’t taken the plunge and bought one of these yet, but they are raved and discussed often enough that I feel a back to school list isn’t complete unless I say that you might want to at least consider buying one of these babies. 🙂
When you’re first starting out with your homeschool adventure, it can be kind of intimidating looking at the back to school supplies, wondering what you will actually need. It doesn’t have to be expensive! And especially when you remove the peer pressure found in public school, you’ll find you can really save a lot! Some supplies are worth the extra price (seriously, back away from the off-brand crayons) and most supplies are offered at fairly cheap prices. Start watching the sales now, and be on the lookout for deals, make a list and keep it on your phone, in your planner, or just put post-it notes in your wallet, to help you keep track of what you need and what you buy. Before you know it, you’ll be so excited for back to school supplies, this will be one of your favorite times of the year!
Happy school year friends!