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Whether you are new to teaching high school or have been there a while, you undoubtedly want your students to be prepared for the task before them. Having my third child enter high school this year means I’ve been thinking about this a while. I decided to come up with a list of Must Have Supplies for High School. I even polled my junior and senior to see what they thought. Here’s what we came up with!
Organizational Supplies for High School
Hopefully you’ve been working on giving your middle schooler more responsibility, but in high school that process steps up another notch or so depending on how old your student is. These supplies will help your high schooler stay organized and on top if his assignments.
- Student Planner– This is a calendar and planner that they keep. I give out assignments either by email or whiteboard or in the curriculum book and they keep track in their own planner. My students will also sit on Sunday night or Monday morning, look at their calendar and the schedule they’ve come up with for their class work and divide up the tasks and write them down. If my artsy teen can do this, any teen can do it! We like the Mead student planner. It’s simple and big. There are also many online schedulers available which allow you to email your student. I think there are pros and cons to this method. Whatever you choose, it must be sustainable!
- Dedicated Space– If you want your teen to study and work on his own, make sure she has a space for doing so away from younger siblings and general distractions. They’ll want to be around a lot, but when they need quiet, be sure they can find it.
- Time– You can’t buy this, but it must be fiercely guarded! Your high schooler will need large blocks of uninterrupted time for working. Also, be mindful of their work habits and try not to disturb them from the tasks at hand. Spontaneous trips and fun with the family is a good time, but remember that they are striving for good work habits. Sometimes we give mixed messages on this!
Technology Supplies for High School
It probably goes without saying that some technology is involved in teaching and doing high school. While they don’t have to be working on cutting edge tech stuff all the time, both of you will want to use technology to make your lives easier and to get ready for the next stage.
- Kindle or Tablet– This tool has been invaluable to all of our students but especially our high schoolers. Short stories and books are easy to access and get on their device and there’s less time invested in acquiring titles. You can access digital content on a Kindle along with online courses and videos. It’s portable and it’s cost efficient. For $49, you can enter the world of the tablet and have internet at your finger tips.
- Laptop– From the start your high school student must have access to a computer for doing research, writing, and any other online classes or activities. The first couple of years our kids share the desktops and a laptop. By the time they are upperclassmen, it’s better for them to have their own laptop. We work with our kids to help them save to by a laptop in a range that will allow them to have it into college. Getting it junior or senior year means they can work with Dan to learn how to maintain their own system. Learning to care for, organize, and keep up to date their own laptops is a skill they need when they leave home. Having their own machine means not having to share and using it when they need it. The older they get, the more they do on the computer with or without the internet.
- Graphic Calculator– High school math requires at a minimum a scientific calculator. Gone are the days of the four function calculator. Graphic calculators allow students to graph equations right there on the calculator. They store equations and have other uses. They are common for the “big tests” like the SAT and ACT. Smart phone apps are great for home use (and honestly run circles around the computers in a graphic calculator), but because they access the internet they are not permitted on the test. It’s important for your students to be familiar with their calculator and able to use it well. We like the Casio brand though you will mostly find the Texas Instruments brand which is much more expensive.
- You Tube– Yes, You Tube is a huge source of distraction for your teen, but it also provides lessons on a million different things so that they can learn new skills and reinforce others along with seeing things from a new perspective.
General Supplies for High School
So, what’s left? Here are a few general supplies that we find necessary for a good high school experience.
- Good Books– Not enough can be said about how reading and discussing good books can add to your high schooler’s experience. Do not underestimate the power of a book to foster discussion and common ground during the teen years. It doesn’t take special training or experience to have these discussions. Make sure to have a large home library on hand. Kindle books often have free classics in the public domain and they are downloaded quickly. You can’t beat that! If you haven’t subscribed and received your copy of How to Engage Your Teens with Books: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Reading with Teens, you can check it out here.
- Lab Equipment– Most science courses in high school have a lab component and you will need some equipment to make that happen. You don’t need to buy the world, but a few items which take your science out of the kitchen will be very helpful. Check here for a list of the common things to buy and where to get them.
- Academic Peer Group– If you can find a group of high schoolers for your student to get together with and exchange ideas, then I encourage you to do it. Our teens like to talk with other teens about books or other ideas without always having an adult’s opinion on the topic. Co-ops can fill this role or you can put together a group of students on your own. We’ve done this with a writer’s workshop.
More High School Organization from Blog, She Wrote
Need more ideas for supplies? These are items we like for project based homeschools.
- Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool– The list of things to have on hand if you want a project to reach its full potential.
- Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool– Art supplies of all sorts of media to include in your inventory. We love art!
- How to Homeschool with a Kindle– All things Kindle! Find out how we use this technological gem from books to tutorials and everything in between. Kindles have great features most users are unaware of. I explain those too.
As you can see, there isn’t much to it! Once you have these things in place, you are ready to take on high school. My motto is the simpler things are, the easier it is to maintain.