This September will be the start of our 4th year of homeschooling which is pretty crazy! As I always say to people, the fact we have done it from day one means we don’t know any different and home educating is just part of our life now. I don’t ever really feel like there is a line that separates the two, they are intertwined.
I thought I would put together a list of the things we use to aid our home educating lives, I wouldn’t say any of them are essential as you can home educate with nothing, equally you can go all out and end up buying every single thing that you would find in a school. I think once you get into a swing of home educating and know how your kids learn / what their interests are then you will get a better idea of the things you need. Obviously it all depends on how much space you have too, our house is pretty small so we can’t just fill it with lots of things whereas if you had a room dedicated to learning then you could obviously keep more in there.
A Laminator – These aren’t very eco-friendly but they really do work well in protecting important sheets of paper that would otherwise get ripped and need to be printed out lots of times. We have the times tables laminated and a few other things. I’m not sure I would buy one now as I am more conscious of the plastic we bring into the house but they can definitely be useful.
National Trust Membership – I wouldn’t say this is an essential as if money is tight then it’s not worth it and it also depends on where you live as to whether you would use it enough. We had one for years when we were up in Somerset but got rid of it last year as we just weren’t using it where we currently live. They do home educating memberships which are cheaper but our full family membership was only about £10 which does work out really good value. National Trust properties are great for education, fun, and just somewhere nice to meet friends in the week.
A Workspace – This can either be the dining room table or a desk if you have space for one. Ikea have little coffee tables for £5 which work really well as desks for kids.
Facebook – I know more and more people are trying to stop using Facebook but for me it’s been one of the most essential things for home education. Every area has a group and it’s where you find out about everything going on in your area, nearly everything we’ve done / do has been found out about on there so even if you keep a very basic profile and don’t use it for any other reason it’s worth having. There are also all the big home ed groups where you can find answers to any questions you have.
Workbooks – You can find these in most supermarkets and shops these days, we don’t have set times for doing work but I always have these out so that if they want to do some work they can.
Twinkl Membership / Printer – Twinkl is a really great online resource centre, they have worksheets on basically any topic out there and even schools use it so you can follow the curriculum and see what kids are learning in school at that age. If you have Twinkl then you will also need a printer to print off all the sheets, we have this ecotank printer.
Library Card – Going to the library is great, it’s free and there are so many books in there for kids to learn from.
Craft Materials – Obviously this depends on whether your kids enjoy crafting or not but we always have a big box of materials available for the kids to use. The Range, The Works and Poundland are our favourite places to get supplies, all really good value too.
Ring Binders – A great place to store worksheets or art work.
Boxes – We have ones that go under our sofa and it’s a good place for the kids to store colouring books / pictures etc without it taking over the house!
Notebooks – For practicing writing or drawing.
A Blackboard – We have a blackboard up in our kitchen and it’s useful for so many things, if you are homeschooling in a more structured way then you could use it for a weekly lesson plan or you could use it for a rough guide on activities such as cooking on a Monday, crafts on a Tuesday etc or if you are completely unstructured then you could use it for either drawing or for a chores rota to encourage the kids to do jobs around the house. Or you could use it for a weekly meal plan.. so many uses! Teacherboards have a large range of blackboards, as well as whiteboards and every other type of noticeboard you might need. I love their rainbow coloured felt boards, if we had a playroom then I would definitely put some of those up!
I hope this list has helped in some way, as I said at the top you can homeschool with as little or as much as your space / budget will allow but these are our essentials.