We talked on Monday about basic school supplies that you might want to purchase if you're new to homeschooling. Once again I want to stress that you ONLY need the basics: paper and pencils, pencil sharpener, crayons or colored pencils, glue and some scissors. About $5 worth at your local big box store. Of course, you'll want to add a Library card, and a Bible.
But, because I know you will wonder...
IF, and only if, you have more money to spend, there are a few extra school supplies that we have found really helpful over the years. Since we're about to begin our 14th year of home education, I've made a few trips to the local W-M store to purchase supplies amidst the other back-to-school shoppers. If you have a few minutes before you go shopping, and a decent internet connection, it could be worth checking the online ads for a few other stores: Staples, Kroger, Walgreens and CVS often have one page of "loss leaders" in their back-to-school ad that make it worth stopping there first. We've scored mechanical pencils (5 packs) for 99 cents, as well as post-it notes for Mama for 79 cents this way in the past. One year Staples had 10 pack cap erasers and rulers for 25 cents each. Like I said, if you have time... and if these stores are in your neighborhood!
OK, let's get to the lists shall we?
On average, we've spent about $20/year buying school supplies for both girls (elementary grades,) and about $15/year for each girl in the Middle School and High School years. As the Parent/Teacher, you'll probably want to throw a few things in the cart as well ~ just remember to stick to your budget! When you've used your allotment, you're done, no matter how cute that folder with the kittens on it is!
~A three hole punch (If you buy the nice $15 one you will probably only ever need one. If you go for the cheap $5 one, you'll need to replace it in a few years.)
~A small notebook for keeping in your purse (Believe it or not, not every location has a good internet signal to Google with, and sometimes those notes on your phone get forgotten...)
~A large notebook or three ring binder with filler paper (For all your notes, planning pages, and recording. This is the one you'll keep for years, so spend the extra dollar for the nicer one.)
~A pencil sharpener (Ta da! If it is yours, the children will have to practice their manners to get the use of it, and it is less likely to disappear!)
~Lots of Love
For the kiddos grades K-2:
(this is the full list, cut it down to fit your budget, start at the top and get what you can afford)
~Fishers child-sized scissors
~2 new boxes of crayons (give them the second box around New Year's)
~Primary grade lined paper
~A big pink or white eraser
~one bottle of Elmer's glue
~flexible or plastic ruler
~small to medium 3 ring binder or about 5 pocket folders
~small dry erase board w/ a fine-tipped marker
For those in grades 3-5:
~Wide ruled filler paper
~wide ruled notebooks (3-5 per child)
~medium sized 3 ring binder
~binder dividers w/ pockets
(if you didn't buy them Fiskars scissors already, get them some now.)
For grades 6-8:
~blue or black pens
~basic watercolors and white paper
~a package of assorted scrapbooking paper (instead of construction paper)
~Two medium sized 3-ring binders
~ lots of wide ruled filler paper
~wood or mechanical pencils
~student planner from the dollar store
~paper cutter (if Mom doesn't already have one)
~teen or adult sized Fiskars scissors
For your High Schoolers:
~a Basic student planner, or find a printable one for free online!
~10 Paper or Poly folders for reports
~Two 3-ring binders and dividers
~a better set of watercolors
~lots of spiral notebooks (like 10)
~filler paper (still wide ruled)
~a basic set of 5 or more drawing pencils (4B, 2B, HB, 2H, 4H) and a kneaded rubber eraser
~two white erasers, or several cap style ones for their pencils
Go have fun looking over school supplies, and remember, your student will want a new notebook or new crayons about New Year's. If you can manage to purchase a couple extras on sale, put them in a tote or in a basket on the shelf and save them for later. We have a shelf in a cabinet with the extras. Each year we evaluate what we have left and what we need to purchase.
Why do I recommend Fiskars scissors? They have the best blades! The pair I bought for Emily in 3rd grade (she is now a Senior) is still sharp. They're a bit small for her hands - LOL - so we put them in the sewing kit for snipping threads.
Once your children get to about Middle School age, they will appreciate having scrapbooking paper instead of construction paper for their projects. It has a better texture, and can also be used for report covers or binder dividers. We wait until there is a half-off sale at the local craft store so we can get two kinds - one thicker, usually with solid colors, and one of thinner paper with designs printed on it.
Do you want to know the secret to great paper projects? Get a bottle of Liquid Glass from Close to My Heart. My friend Bethany introduced us to it. It was designed as a scrapbooking embellishment to add 3D sparkle to projects, but it is THE BOMB for using as a glue! The girls use it almost every year for their 4-H posters, and we use it on all the Birthday cards we make.
Have a favorite school supply I didn't mention? Leave a comment and share it with us!
Come back on Monday to learn more about ways to choose curriculum . . . or to find out if you even need any!