Now that the holidays are over, I start to get back into our routine. We took a good two weeks off for Christmas and I’m glad I did. I was woefully unprepared for the holidays this year! It felt like I was rushing to get everything done in a timely fashion, and it did come together, but it was very last minute.
New Year, New Homeschool
I always take a few days after a break and regroup. Where did we leave off? What do we need to refresh? What supplies am I running low on? That sort of thing. It doesn’t usually take very long, but I thought I’d share with you my must-have supplies that I always keep on hand.
Okay, there are two different kinds of whiteboards that I’m going to show you. The first is your general teacher’s whiteboard. I actually don’t hang this on the wall. I store it behind my couch and pull it out when needed. Why? Because I hate clutter and if I have all my homeschool items out and hanging up my house will feel cluttered to me.
I also like to sit on the floor while we do school so hanging it on the wall prevents that practice. I like to lean it against my couch or wall while we are together.
The second type of whiteboard is this one that is individual-sized. I love that one side has the handwriting lines so that we can practice in a fun way. My kids love the whiteboard and don’t put up a fight with handwriting. We use it on the spelling words to help them with placement and keeping letters together instead of some small and some large. My 6-year-old still has no concept that you can’t put letters anywhere on a page to create a word.
I also love that it comes in a pack of 12. I don’t know about you, but my kids can be hard on their supplies and so I have one for each of my children, even the toddler – they especially love coloring on their own instead of paper. It’s a novelty for them. I also have one for me simply because sometimes you don’t need a large whiteboard if you are teaching handwriting. Just sitting right next to them and showing them stroke by stroke with whiteboards side by side is enough.
The other side of the whiteboard is blank for any other need that you might have. Sometimes that is doodling and sometimes it’s school-related. We use these on the daily.
Okay, this one is pretty obvious since I also mentioned whiteboard. I’m actually a little picky about the markers. I love a very fine point, but some colors just don’t work very well on the whiteboard for a very fine point. A nice black and blue are great. For the kids, I started by getting the markers with the erasers on top, but after one use they all lost the eraser and that killed that dream! Now I just get these and give them each a small cloth to use as an eraser. It works better for my pocketbook. 🙂
One thing I do have on my walls is a map. Well, technically I have two maps on my wall. A US map and a world map. I’m not really opposed to things on my wall, but it can be SO MUCH with each different curriculum and their own hangables. I love these dry erase decals that you don’t need to put a hole in the wall for! They are also repositionable in case you want to change the room up a bit or perhaps it takes you 5 (or 10) minutes to get it straight. No judgment.
I use this for our scripture study, any curriculum that discusses a place in any way, or just in casual conversation. I love putting stickers on the places that we read about. For instance, when we read this cute book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, we mark each of the places that are talked about. I just use a bit of tape of the back of a piece of paper. I’ve found it comes off easier.
This is the one question that I get asked the most. What printer do you use and how much in ink do you use? The best investment I have ever made was the Epson EcoTank, hands down. Before I bought the Epson, I had an HP printer that was cheap. I’m talking the cheapest that you could get at Walmart. I liked it for the color printing and that it fit in my budget at the time.
For the record, I love PDF downloads for my curriculum. The problem was the ink for my printer did not love PDF’s. I would use up the ink within a two week period and I spent $50 to refill. There were some paychecks that I couldn’t afford ink and I would pick which of their studies I would not print. I hated it!
When I started looking into printers I decided I wanted one that would not break the bank with ink and would also print more than 150 pages before requiring more ink. That’s when I found the Epson EcoTank. I have had this printer for about a year and just now replaced the black ink for the first time after 5,000 pages printed.
What I love is that if one color needs replacing, I only have to replace that color, not an entire ink cartridge. Each color is around $13, so if you bought them all together it would be $52, but I haven’t actually bought anymore. My EcoTank came with two bottles of black ink and one bottle of each color.
This printer is also a wireless printer, prints double-sided, self cleans (one of my favorite features!), and have I mentioned it took a year and 5,000 pages before I had to replace ink?
Get it. Seriously, it will change your life.
This is a no brainer, but for some reason, it took me a good three years to invest in one. I think I thought it would be more expensive than it was. I originally had an electric one, but…kids. You know? They drive that pencil in harder than they need to and it burns the motor out.
I love this manual one that is nice and sturdy. We have a shelf unit in our garage that we attached it to. We can just open the door and sharpen a pencil. I like that it’s out of the way, but yet completely accessible.
Guys, I am addicted to these! I use them for everything. I tried bookmarks for all of one day before my toddler pulled them out of my book and I lost my place. Now, I attach these bad boys. Super easy. And since I have multiple kids in one curriculum book, it makes it easy to see where each are at.
Another one that I waited to buy and shouldn’t have! I used to spend so much time cutting. Or waiting for my kids to cut. There was one day that I stared at a stack of paper and thought, “nope”. I headed out to the store and bought this inexpensive cutter. This has changed my life. No joke.
I am a sucker for pens. So are my kids. We do have pencils, but pens are the instrument of choice here. On the plus side, it requires them to be more intentional about how they are writing. On the downside, if you have a perfectionist child who uses a pen there might be a meltdown or two with mistakes. Ask me how I know!
If you do go with pens, get colorful ones. They are so much fun!
I have spent my fair share of time at the print store laminating things and I can’t tell you how many times I would say, “someday I’ll have a laminator”. I use it a lot at the beginning of the year or whenever I regroup. It’s really handy to have on hand and not as expensive as you would imagine.
Every homeschool mom needs a treat at the end of the day (or middle, I don’t judge!). Keep these stashed away from the kids somewhere. Hide in a closet (not that I know what that’s like….) and treat yo self.
What are some things that are a must-have in your school?