School supplies aren’t just for kids who go to school. I mean, you do write with pencils and paper in your homeschool, right? Whether it’s the first of the school year, or you’re needing to spice up your homeschool supplies, I’ve got a must-have list that will make your homeschooling year a breeze.
Two homeschool supply pro-tips
Before we get to the list, here are two pro-tips to remember when thinking about homeschool supplies.
#1 Take advantage of sales on electronics, printers, and other items that aren’t typically seen as “classroom supplies.”
If you’re like us, you use at least one of these electronics everyday. From tablets to the printer to the laminator, it seems like someone always needs a plug. And if one of these electronics isn’t working, it can cause some real frustrations to our school day.
Yes, they can be pricey, but if you shop around a bit, you’ll most likely find a sale on one of these items. Plan ahead for popular sale days like Black Friday or “back to school” promos.
Printer – We use our printer for everything from curriculum sheets to papers to projects. It seems like there’s literally always something to be printed. And it can be super frustrating not to have a dependable printer. Which is why I love these two homeschool powerhouses. Both have cheap generic ink options that work very well AND have long-lasting quality: Brother color printer and a black and white laser printer.
Pencil sharpener – I’ve got some pencil sharpener stories. Sharpeners that chew up pencils for breakfast. Sharpeners that jam. Sharpeners that decide they’d rather be a paper weight after 5 uses. But FINALLY after a long, 3 year search, I found a 4-kid-tested pencil sharpener that doesn’t eat pencils and is super affordable. Here’s to a year of sharpened pencils.
Laminator – Not a necessity, but definitely a joy of our homeschool. This Scotch laminator is the perfect complement to a homeschool. (It’s generally half off around back-to-school time, too!)
A few other things you might consider are technology needs like an ipad or computer. Apple participates in the tax free weekends AND they offer an educator’s discount which is available to homeschool families. Also, don’t forget shoes, clothes, backpacks, and water bottles that you might use for co-ops or sports. And hit up the college dorm aisles for inexpensive storage solutions for your school room.
#2 The second trick is to buy as much as you might need for the whole year.
Don’t be skimpy. If a box of crayons is on sale for $.50, stock up. It might cost $2.34 in a few weeks. I could think of a lot of ways I’d rather spend that money and I know you can too. Since I don’t want to be caught without, I tend to overestimate new items. I’ve pretty much got it down to a science! There is rarely any waste because we can always use any extras the next year.
OK, now with those pro-tips secure in your homeschool supply repertoire, let’s get to the list.
My Annual Homeschool Supplies Shopping List
Ticonderoga pencils – Yes, I am a brand snob on this one. Once I switched to these pencils and stopped buying the cheap versions, I always found that at the end of the year we STILL had pencils. They weren’t all broken or missing erasers anymore. I promise, you won’t go back to other brands. I buy 8 or so boxes of 30 to cover all 4 kids.
Glue sticks – We generally need 5 per elementary student, 20-30 for a kindergartner or preschooler.
Mini white boards – Teachers have been using chalk boards for centuries because they work. While white boards are a little more modern, they are equally useful. They keep little hands busy, which is always a plus. But perhaps their largest benefit is that they save money. There is no need for a worksheet when you have a white board. I save the paper for things that I need to document and use the white board for practice. This class pack is a great deal!
Scissors – buy 2 pairs of the appropriate size for each kid every year. Since they are cheap, I don’t fret if they get lost, rusted, or damaged throughout the school year.
Bottles of glue – We buy about 5 bottles per year for the whole family.
Binders – I buy 1.5 inch binders for each child.
Computer paper – We can easily go through 10 packs of this a year. I find that it goes on sale at Wal-mart often enough that I don’t need to buy that many at a time.
Wooden rulers – 1 per student. I buy wooden only because the plastic ones usually don’t have all of the measurements on them.
Big pink erasers – 3 or 4 per student. Don’t waste your time on pencil erasers. Go big. This way you can save pencils even when the eraser runs out and you can erase with less likelihood of ruining the page.
Crayons – 5 boxes per elementary student, 10 boxes for kindergartner or preschooler. You want to buy enough of these during the sales. They are significantly cheaper. And you can always save what you don’t use for next year.
Colored pencils – 4-5 packs per student or 1-2 mega packs. I really prefer that my kids use these over crayons and markers when they are notebooking. The pencils are much neater and don’t bleed.
Sharpie markers and highlighters – The truth is, these are kinda for me, but if they’re on sale, does anyone ever have enough?
Composition notebooks – We use 2 of these per year, per student. When in doubt, buy more. We use these for our morning devotions in the morning, as well as math practice.
Post-it notes – My kids use these to mark their places in books and/or write me a note about their work.
Toddler box items – I don’t have a toddler anymore, but when I did I would stock up on things to occupy my toddler while the older kids did their school work. You could pick up some inexpensive puzzles, play dough, or other appropriate activities and put them in his/her own special box, only available to him at school time.
Homeschool Planning Boot Camp
If you’d like a bit more help planning your homeschool year, you might want to check out my free Homeschool Planning Boot Camp! In 5 days you could have your entire year planned and ready to go! Click the image below for all the details.
What would you add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know!
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.