Friday, February 11, 2011

10 Days of Getting Started: Supply Central, What's Essential?



Good morning from Denver! I'm sorry this is posting later than usual this morning, but I didn't get a chance to schedule this before I left and finding internet access has not been easy! I hope you all get a chance to read this today if I've missed your normal blog browsing time of the day!

First, thank you for your opinions on what to hear in regard to curriculum. I will do my best to share with you most of the "big players" and I will share in depth how we do unit studies. Next week! Today is all about supplies! What supplies are essential and what supplies are not so essential, but a whole lot of fun! I'll also share some of my favorite places to purchase homeschool supplies.

The homeschooling world is full of attractive supplies that may or may not be necessary for your school. I've noticed over the last several years that publishers and sellers of educational products of all kinds are attempting to tap into the homeschool market as it is clearly an emerging on that is largely wide open. Keep in mind that many of these companies are not necessarily homeschool friendly. They simply have a product they think you need! Be discerning in what you choose and make sure that anything you purchase is in line with your vision for your school and makes sense for the kinds of learners you have at home.

Here's a list of the things I would make sure and start with:
  • pencils- I like regular number 2s, but we have branched out into Bic mechanicals which do not require sharpening! 
  • great pencil sharpener- great sharpeners are trial and error though I like Boston brand electric sharpeners, but I always have a Fiskars tiny hand sharpener with two sized holes for things like our Prismacolor pencils
  • dictionary- We have a Websters' College Dictionary and Webster's New World Student Dictionary which is for roughly middle school age. I wouldn't go any younger than that if you are using a dictionary with a reader. They will quickly out grow a dictionary that is too juvenile.
  • table- I like having a table for us all to work at rather than desks. I'll explain more about why when I do some chatting about unit studies. For now, suffice it to say, that our homeschool is just as much about the relationship between my kids as anything else and doing work separately all the time is not in line with our vision. Make sure it's a table that even young children can sit at comfortably either with a simple booster or a shorter table!
  • coloring supplies- crayons, markers, colored pencils. Make sure you don't skimp on these. Go for Crayola over the dollar store brands! There is nothing more frustrating for kids than making an effort on their work only discover mostly waxy crayons or markers which run out easily or colored pencils that are faded. I like the nicer brand art supplies too, but I'll mention those in a moment.
  • Books! There is nothing better for your homeschool than a print rich environment! I cannot emphasize this enough. You are looking for the good books here- Little House (even for boys), classics, EB White books- the works. If you need help with a homeschool library book list, let me know! I search for books at thrift shops, second hand stores and I hit our library book sale twice or three times a year. If find it much easier to have the good books on hand and our kids visit them over and over. Some of our best homeschool experiences have happened because we have a lot of books in our home (I place them strategically too and I can talk about that!)
  • Atlases- We LOVE atlases at my house. We have many. We like the National Geographic Young Explorer atlases, but we have others as well like the Scholastic World Atlas I once found for $1 at a warehouse sale. My kids love to pour through atlases just to read and discover.
  • Maps! Large wall maps are wonderful to record our educational travels and for quick reference on a location. We have two large laminated maps on the wall in our school area along with maps the kids have chosen for their rooms. Gotta love that! We also have a map that I rotate which sits under the vinyl covering on our school table- so it's a table top map!
  • Writing Paper- writing paper appropriate for your student is a must! I use StartWrite (see link in my right hand side bar for the moment!) pages for my kids. I make notebooks for writing for them or use them individually, but the emerging writers always have paper at hand.
  • Computer- although you can do without it depending on the age of your child, a computer is invaluable in doing research and homeschoolers have their favorite sites and software they use a lot of times. I can share with you our favorites another time.
  • Reference Books- I have a shelf where we have only reference books like Usborne or Eyewitness Books on various subjects or one volume encyclopedias. We have the atlases and dictionaries on this shelf too. It's the go to place for looking things up!
I think that's a good start! I'm about out of blogging time for today (gasp!) so I'm going to split this post and add the icing on the cake sort of supplies tomorrow (or next time) along with places to buy them. Seems maybe I could use 12 or more days for Getting Started! Maybe I'll blog through the weekend to add in your requests! If you'll read, I'll blog! Is that against the rules?

So stay tuned for more Getting Started in the days to come. I hope this series has been helpful as you begin your journey!

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Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th! We love these ladies and we know you do too.

10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori |  Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool |  Delightful Learning

8 comments:

TN Quiltbug said...

No, not against MY rules, anyway! Appreciate your post today! Would definately read if you post throughtout the weekend! :)

Heather said...

Thank you Quiltbug! I will post! As long as there is internet in my world!

I'm not fancy enough to having 3G in my life....

Karen said...

Thank you for this post! I would love to hear more about where you go for used books and the sales you attend. I'm up in Estes, and I frequent our library's used book sales, but I'd love to know more about homeschool sales in the Denver area!

karenbasel at yahoo dot com

Kadence and Adam. . . and Mommy said...

I'll read! I'll read! :)

Thank you for all the tips. We've been schooling at home for a few years now and never get tired of hearing new/different ways of doing things.

BTW Think it's awesome you are in Denver. . . I am in CO Springs.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. Thanks! I think I have already fallen victim into buying from non-homeschooler publishers. We went broke- literally. I was frustrated because homeschooling was meant to be family friendly. We are newbies and this is our second term homeschooling.
Anyhow, I just saw an advert by Math on the Level on your site, and have been saving to buy the curriculum. Have you personally seen it yourself, and if so, would you recommend it?
Sara

Emily S. said...

Thank you for this! I just added a few of the reference books you listed to my Amazon wishlist. Maybe I can get an atlas for Valentine's Day! I would love it!

EM said...

I'll read! I'll read!! But I understand the difficulties of coping without 3G. Ghastly! Hope to see you on Saturday, but if not I'll be reading your post on Monday. I'm so thankful for your insight.

Cami said...

I would love to get your list of library essentials. I decided long ago to do homeschool, and want to build up my supplies and library before it's time to start (due with twins in April). Thanks for such wonderful posts and tips! Keep 'em coming!