January 23, 2014

Five Days of Homeschooling Essentials: Print Me Baby, One More Time!

When I started out homeschooling back in 2010 we had the printer that had been in our office since 2003. That's a long time for a personal office printer! And then one sad sad day--after a big round of printing, it died a terrible death. And I panicked! Homeschooling with out a printer?!! For me that was IMPOSSIBLE!!!

The printer is one of my top homeschooling essentials! I can't homeschool without it!

#4 Printer
Okay. So maybe I am exaggerating a teensy bit. I mean, printers haven't been around for very long in the grand scheme of the world's existence. And generations of teachers have been homeschooling with out them. But that was then...now with the beauty and glory of the mighty internet (another homeschooling essential!) a printer is pretty much a must-have.

Here are just a few ways that I am using my printer this year:
*Online Curriculum requiring printouts
*Unit appropriate printables
*Lesson planning forms
*Lapbook sheets
*Blog Forms
*Copies of narrations and dictations
*Calendar cards
*Blank handwriting sheets
*Graph paper
*Scanning in Artwork so I don't have to keep the originals

This only scratches the surface of the things that come off my printer each year for homeschooling but give you a good idea on how it's being used.

As I said in my introduction, my first printer died shortly after we started homeschooling. So when I went to purchase a new one, here is the list I used for finding "the perfect printer".

1. Wireless!
Our other printer was not wireless so we were having to print it all off our desktop computer. We now own two laptops and needed to be able to print from any room. A wireless printer does that.

2. Collapsible
Our first printer took up a lot room, even when it wasn't in use. I wanted one that I could fold down during the times I wasn't using it.

3. Print-Scan-Copy
I loved the PSC characteristics of the last printer and wanted that again. 

4. Back Paper Feed
My other printer fed paper through the front and that not only took longer for printing, but smeared ink, had a lot more paper jams and didn't work with cardstock very well. I needed one that fed paper in from the back this time around.

5. Not an Ink Hog
My last printer was very good with ink. I needed that again as my printing was increasing and I didn't want to spend a small fortune replacing ink cartridges!

These were the five things I needed in a new printer and we found one that met all of them! Ironically it was just a "next generation" of the one that had died. But it had been an HP and we've always had great experiences with HP products so it was fine to go that direction again.

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Here is the printer that I went with:
I love this printer. It's everything I wanted it to be. And it really doesn't suck ink. I have it set for a default to always print black. I go through WAYYYYY less ink this way. Especially on color. 

Since I purchased this one back in 2010, they've actually come out with a few more HP All-In-One models. I'm sure that when this one dies (but not anytime soon please!) I will still go with another HP PSC model because I've had such success. I highly recommend them.

As for ink--I buy mine refurbished. I have not had more than 2 cartridges ever be duds and had excellent service. I buy through a few sellers on ebay. I can get it for a fraction of the cost of new--sometimes almost half. So I stock up every year and get a years worth of ink at the beginning of every school year. Another nice thing about this model of HP is that I can opt to get the XL versions of the ink which have more than the standard amount of ink in them. 
homeschooling essentials printer
What's left from my order at the beginning of last year...almost time to re-order!
So I get my ink refurbished...but what about paper?? When it comes to paper for my printer--I go bulk! I buy a box with about 8 reams of printer paper at Costco Wholesale. You can get it at Sam's Club too, I think. It only costs me about $23 for the 8 reams. That is an incredible price when you figure a ream of good quality at Walmart can run you about $4 each.

Here are some of the printers that a couple of my homeschooling friends use in their classroom:

Linda says: We have the Kodak ESP 7250. We love it, because it's a printer/copier/scanner/fax (if it is hooked up). Also because, and this is the big one, it prints photos wonderfully, It has a separate tray for 4x6/5x7 prints. I usually get ink at Staples and the costs run about Color $19.99/ Black $12.99 or Combo for $30.00 (roughly).

Amber says: I have a Canon PSC. Can't remember the model. We love it! I can get ink pretty low at refill places. I think it's about $8 or $9 for refills at Costco.

Julie says: I love my Brother HL-2140. The toner lasts and lasts and refills cost $50 for the name brand, but in over a year, we only had to replace it once! The pages are crisp and professional and no jams! She's old faithful!

Yes, with the wonder of modern technology, laptops, online curriculum, and the big beautiful internet, my print is most definitely a primary homeschool essential!

So I've chatted about my homeschooling essentials of love, my laminator, flexibility and my printer...I have just one final essential to share with you this week. And this one is possibly one of the absolute most important--so make sure you pop in tomorrow as I conclude this series! And don't forget about the GIVEAWAY going on now thru January 28th!!

Do you have a printer you love?

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials
Head on over to our anchor post to see the full list of participants in this week's blog series...or if the thought of 80+ blogs is overwhelming...here is a great group of nine to get started with!

Make sure you get entered in our giveaway for this week--we've got a iPad mini up for grabs which is a great prize and a homeschooling essential for many! You can get entered to win, and because I am one of the co-hosts for the giveaway all of my Facebook fans and email subscribers get free entries (one for each!)! Deadline to enter is midnight January 28th, so don't wait!

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