August 11, 2014

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop ~Day 1: Homeschool Essentials

Happy Monday! Here we are in the middle of August and all around us we are seeing things devoted to school--from the incredibly addictive school supplies (who can resist 50 cent boxes of crayons?) to college dorm decor to seeing the big yellow bus go rolling by! But for some of us, we just wave to the school bus as it passes us by--because we are a homeschooling family. Well, it's time for US to start school too, and what better way to celebrate a start of a new year then with a...  
Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Over the next 5 days I will be sharing posts about things related to homeschooling--so make sure you check in every day! This week I'm going to be talking about Homeschool Essentials, Choosing a Curriculum, Lesson Planning, My Favorite Online Resources and My Favorite Homeschooling Blogs! I have had fun planning out these posts and hope you will join me each day!

What do you think of when you think of a school essential? I'm sure that good old supply list they give you each year (have you seen the size of it these days?!!) comes to mind and the staples that are on it every year. But what about Homeschool Essentials

1. New Supplies

Yes, even for homeschoolers, there is just something incredibly exciting about new school supplies! Did you know that I make a list for my own "students"? A lot of what I put on the list depends on our curriculum, for some curriculum requires specific supplies--subjects like Art, Science, History (for the maps and timelines), English and others. This is when having material lists in each curriculum are very useful! But after a few years I can usually guess what I'm going to need.

To be honest...I make a bigger deal about needing new supplies than necessary. Do they need a brand new package of crayons or coloring pencils? Well since we have a crayon jug and a crayon box and a recently purchased box of 94 Crayolas? Eh, probably not. Pencils? Well, I do only have about 50, and I might need more, right? So there are a FEW things I don't buy...but because I remember the thrill of new supplies for school each year and how much it really did make my first day of school better, it's a little splurge we indulge in each year anyway. Besides, I've learned from experience that we go through a lot of Crayons and pencils throughout the year. And glue. LOTS of glue. LOL.
The main thing each boy gets to choose is a new folder, a new binder and a pencil box. I take care of picking the supplies for everything else. But the joy they have in getting to pick whatever their heart desires for those three items is so worth it. They know that school is going to start soon when they get to pack up their pencil boxes to put on their desks and it brings a level of excitement to the house.

2. White Board

I was incredibly blessed when we started our journey into homeschooling. My husband was demolishing a school in Cincinnati for work during that time. If you know about demo work, the company doing the demo has rights to anything left behind--and in this school EVERYTHING was left behind. Imagine the thrill of excitement when I got the call from my husband that he was going to be able to outfit our "classroom" with real school stuff! We were blessed with desks, a filing cabinet, 2 bulletin boards, piles of paper, full size classroom maps, and my best friend---a full size white board.

Now for most families this would not be an essential, mostly because they would never have one. But for us, this white board has become an essential. We have really been using it the last year as our subjects got more challenging--especially in writing and English lessons. Being able to do work up on the white board has helped tremendously and I forsee us continuing to use it in the many years to come.

Want a white board, but know you aren't going to be able to get one? I ALSO consider the mini student white boards to be an essential. 

We use these for the many days when we are not in the classroom for work. I also enjoy using this for Baby Britches. The best thing about these is that you can usually find them at Target in their $1 bins! I just picked up this new one there a couple weeks ago. We use these just as much as we use the big board.

3. Pinterest

Pinterest is a teacher's best friend. With a simple keyword search, you can pull up a plethora of things from ideas to printables to clip art---and a LOT of it is free! I have used Pinterest countless time to help me find ideas for crafts, to find themed worksheets, to find free fonts I can use, to find free clip art that's school related. 
Follow Lisa @ Farm Fresh's board Homeschooling: Science on Pinterest.

I have made boards for each subject in homeschooling from planning and organization to art to Charlotte Mason to Preschool to History. This allows me to separate out the gems I find to places where I can pull them up easily. 

Seriously. If you haven't been using Pinterest for homeschooling, you are missing out on a great tool that will save you a lot of time and frustration! I'd love for you to follow me on Pinterest so I can help you make connections with great homeschooling resources and ideas.

4. Homeschool Planner (or planning sheets)

This essential is new for me. I spent my first 2 years of homeschooling without one but last year I decided to try out using one for the whole year. You can read about what I used and how it worked for me and it worked VERY well. But this year I am going with something else to assist me. 

Hey Mama! Physical Schoolhouse Planner $23 (US)
This is my planner for this year. It is spiral bound and beautiful! It has blank calendars, blank weekly sheets, a place for curriculum lists, attendance, and more. I am looking forward to using this to try to stay on top of not just school, but of blogging too. I plan on using this in conjunction with my lesson planning forms--I will be going into that more in another post this week.

I have discovered I am FAR more organized using a planning sheet of some kind. It gives me a "routine" to follow and a way to keep myself accountable for what I have planned. There are tons of free forms out there and yes, even free full planners if you don't have the funds to invest in one like this.

5. Homeschooling Friends

This is perhaps one of the most important essentials for me. I could not homeschool without my fellow homeschooling friends. They support me and help me out when I'm ready to throw in the towel. They know what it's like to swim upstream in the educational world. We share ideas and resources. We share sales and big curriculum finds. Having an incredible network of friends carries me through the days when I'm THIS close to wishing the big yellow bus will stop at my house to pick up two crazy monkeys. 

There are far more things that I could list as homeschooling essentials, but these five are at the top of my list this year. I will be diving more into aspects of this list as the week continues, especially into curriculum and lesson planning, so please make sure you check back in with me!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
There are 50+ bloggers more bloggers in this blog hop---here are a few to to get you started! I've seen some of what is being blogged about and it's going to be a great week!

Marcy @ Ben and Me
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
And don't forget about the INCREDIBLE (and I do mean that in every sense of the word) giveaway that is going on this week--there are two HUGE prizes that are sure to bless two homeschool families for the new school year. You can get the details about the giveaway--and get entered to win here:
Back to Homeschool Giveaway

I hope to see you at the same place and same time tomorrow as I share with you some of my personal favorite homeschooling resources--most of which are FREE!
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1 comment:

Gena at said...

I love how you included friends! What a great homeschool essential! A supportive husband is an essential for me as well