What do I NEED for homeschooling?

Ever since the beginning of COVID I have had people asking me “What do I need in order to homeschool my kid(s)??”

The reality of that is that you don’t need much at all. You don’t need a fancy homeschool room or a collection of supplies. So, let’s talk about what you NEED to have or do, to be able to homeschool your kids.

First things first, go to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website to check out what your state REQUIRES you to do so that you can make sure you are doing things legally and won’t have to deal with the truant officer. This site will go over the steps you need to take, the records that you need to keep (if any), what curriculum requirements you have (if any), etc. It is a great resource to keep handy as you navigate your homeschooling adventure. When you click on your state on the map of the homepage, it will bring you to a page that gives you the overview of laws and requirements for your state, as well as different articles that pertain to your state that could be helpful depending on what you are looking for. You can also become a member for about $12 a month by clicking here.

Now that you have your state’s requirements in your hands, let’s talk about curriculum. Some states mandate what curriculum you use, what subjects you teach, etc. so make sure that you understand their curriculum requirements, as well. Virginia does not have any of those requirements, so I was able to choose whatever curriculum I wanted for the girls. We have used quite a few different curriculums and I have liked all of them, so far.

The first two and a half years (we took Autumn out half way through her 3rd grade year) we used Easy Peasy. This is a great curriculum because it is all planned out for you. You can print the pages you need for the year or you can buy the workbooks off amazon for $5-10 a piece. We printed all of her stuff out the first half year we homeschooled her. The next two full school years we bought the books off Amazon.

The following year we used Abeka for Autumn and BJU Press for Sophia. Both of these were great, as well. All planned out, lots of fun activities, but a little more pricey.

Last year, our fifth year homeschooling, we used LifePac. Again, this is a all planned out curriculum. Notice a pattern? Yeah, as a mom of three who is in college herself.. I need a curriculum that is fully planned out for me.

I wrote up a post about what we will be using next school year and you can find it here. Masterbooks is again, fully planned out, shocker right? We haven’t used this one before so I can’t tell you if I like it or not, but based off my flip throughs and YouTube videos that I have watched about it I am going to love it.

That’s another thing.. if you are confused about which curriculum to go with or want to “sample” it before you buy.. go to YouTube and search for homeschool curriculum reviews or flip throughs. There are TONS of videos on the different options that you have. The ones that I have listed and used myself are not all of what is out there. So go to YouTube to see what all is out there.

JOIN A FACEBOOK HOMESCHOOLING GROUP IN YOUR AREA!!! I cannot stress this enough! I am in a couple homeschooling groups on Facebook and there have been plenty of times where scrolling them, my questions are answered. In those groups you can find curriculum questions, general homeschool questions, etc. So make sure you join one or three!

Now that we have talked about the most important pieces of homeschooling let’s talk about supplies.

The supplies that you need will depend on what types of things you want to do in your homeschool and also on your curriculum. Do not feel as if you have to have all of the top of the line stuff you see in YouTube videos or on social media.

First let’s talk about the supplies that you will need to keep on hand.

  • Pencils
  • crayons/markers/colored pencils for art, crafts, etc.
  • notebooks – these are not necessary for our curriculum but I stock up on composition books. They’re cheap and don’t take up a lot of space.
  • Pens if you choose to let your kids use them for school, or for you to grade if you go that route.

My first two years of homeschooling this was all I had. Plus our curriculum, of course. Sure, you can get more than that but you do not need an entire room of supplies and fun stuff. I made the mistake of watching “Homeschool Room Tours” and “Homeschool Supply Hauls” on YouTube and felt like I was under prepared. That is not something that you need to have added to your shoulders as you are trying to navigate this new venture with your family. Get the basics and buy what you can/want through the year. That is how I do our school shopping because it can become expensive, depending on how many kids you have and what you want to have available to them.

There are so many extras that you can purchase for your homeschool year and below I will share some that we have bought over the years.

  • funky scissors (the ones that cut different patterns instead of the straight line)
  • flash cards
  • board games (focused on learning)
  • hands on manipulatives
  • classroom posters
  • dry erase board
  • wall calendar
  • writing supply caddy – pencil boxes are also very popular in the homeschool world, but I just bought a caddy from the Target dollar spot and it has been working amazing. I think we’ve had the same one for almost 3 years. It sits in our hutch and when it is time to start school I pull it out, sit it on the table, and the kids grab what they need. Once school is done, it goes right back in the hutch.
  • Speaking of the hutch.. this was also a purchase that I made for our homeschool. For the first few years we used whatever organizing shelves, bins, etc that we already had. I found our hutch on Facebook Marketplace and it has made organizing our curriculum and supplies so much easier and less cluttered.

As you can see those are not necessary but I wanted to get them so that we had more to work with than just our curriculum for the days that were off or when they need extra help understanding a lesson or just to help keep things more organized. There are many other supplies that you can purchase that could come in very handy like a printer, laminator, hole punch, binders, and other home office supplies that would benefit your homeschool.

Next I want to talk about a schedule. This is not a NEED, per se, because some parents go with the flow of real life and do not keep to a schedule or routine for their homeschooling. I am somewhere in the middle. I keep a schedule posted in our homeschool room to keep us on track and make sure that we are covering everything but I do not stick to the times 100%. I block out time for each subject but it almost never takes us that full block to finish the lesson, so once we are done we move right on. We also do not always start with the same subject each day. In that sense I am very go with the flow. Having this schedule posted has helped me a lot more than it has the kids. I work better with lists, so I see this as one of my many “to do” lists. If you need some help coming up with a schedule you can find many examples on google, and just use those to piece one together that fits you and your family.

A planner. This can be a homeschool specific planner like this one or a planner that you buy from the store. In the past I have used a teacher planner from Happy Planner that I purchased at Michaels, a regular vertical planner that is also from The Happy Planner, and a personalized one that a friend made me. They have all worked amazing allowing me to jot down what I need to to keep me on track for the week and mark important days. The curriculum that we chose (which you can read about here) is already laid out so I don’t have to write down a lot, but I do still like to keep a planner so that I know when each new lesson is starting, when we are doing tests, fun activities, etc. It allows me to be prepared for the week/month ahead so that we have what we may need extra for the lessons – especially for science experiments.

As you can see I did not add in every single supply you could ever buy because there is such a plethora of them out there. I wanted to make sure that I hit the basics and then add in what has helped ME personally. I am still getting into the groove of things, even though this will be our sixth year of homeschooling. I am always finding new things that I want to get or new ways to do things. It really is a never ending learning endeavor and you will find SO MUCH out there that will help provide your family with the best homeschool year.

In our new house, we got lucky enough to have an actual room to do our homeschooling in. We are very thankful for that. I have been spending the last few months setting it up and getting ready to start our school year. I have been enjoying watching “Classroom Setup” videos on YouTube to get ideas of different décor or learning supplies that will benefit our family. Like posters, for example. In our last house we did not have any learning posters on the wall. This year we will have some that all of my kids can use and benefit from.

You won’t get it all right the first year, and that’s okay! There will be hurdles. We have had hurdles every year. That’s okay, too! Your homeschool space doesn’t need to be perfect or IG ready. Make it what you can and focus on those babies education. That’s what matters.

I hope that this post has helped someone who is trying to prepare for your first.. or tenth year of homeschooling.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments or send me a message via the contact page.

As always, thank you so much for reading and being a part of my little corner of the internet. (:

Until next time..

xoxo

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