Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool

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Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool

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Here we are in September. Where did the summer go? If you are like me, you are just beginning a new homeschool year. We’ve looked at curriculum and learning spaces. We’ve visited routines and students in August. How about a look at supplies? The tools of the trade? Today is all about our Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool. This is a look at what we keep on hand to keep the working in progress.

Must Have Basic Homeschool Supplies

Do you have a favorite brand of pencil? Do you keep them common or does each student have their own?

  • Ticonderoga Pencils– I like American by Papermate as well, but the Ticonderoga cause the least angst among teachers and parents.
  • Mechanical Pencils– We have a large stash of the disposable Bic and Papermate brands.
  • Three Prong Folders– I like to keep a large stock of these for special notebooking projects and other time my kids want to bind their work. Cheap and easy to store, these are a long time favorite in our homeschool.
  • Pens– Half of our children are in high school. It’s time to use pens! Just the plain barrel sort from Papermate are what I have, but I like Bic as well. Oddly, I’m not as brand loyal on pens as other things in my life. (Coke is IT, friends)
  • Erasers– The white Staedtler brand are the best and this year we added pencil topper erasers made from the same polymer.
  • Scissors– The pointed Fiskar student scissors hold up really well. Rebecca upgraded to a larger pair of paper scissors this year and she loves them.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool

Must Have Paper Products for our Homeschool

Every homeschool needs paper. I like to buy mine from Staples. The writing paper is the smoothest around and they carry poster size in “bulk”.

  • Spiral Notebooks– both college and wide ruled. We use them mainly for Life of Fred math, but one never knows when it’s time to start planning the next project and a spiral notebook is the place to begin! I like the smooth writing surface on the Staples brand notebooks.
  • Loose Leaf Paper– We have stacks and stacks of the Staples brand. I stocked up last year during back to school time.
  • Engineering Paper– Ethan uses this for his math. He’s used it for years and I think Calculus is going to look pretty good on it this year! He’ll be the only writer around well versed in the use of engineering paper.
  • Poster Board– Plain white poster board is great for presentations and anything else you want on large sized card stock paper.
  • Butcher Paper– We’ve had a roll of butcher paper since our nearly 16yo was a toddler. Great for projects of all kinds, you cannot go wrong with this.
  • Watercolor Paper– Rebecca insisted I add this one to the list. It is essential for her projects.
  • Drawing Paper– I like a 50lb weight in this and the butcher paper just so it can handle wet and dry media.
  • Card Stock– plain white and colored are used all the time here.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool

Must Have Adhesives for a Project Based Homeschool

From time to time we need to stick things together. The right adhesive for the job depends on the job! You’ll always find these in our cabinet:

  • Glue Sticks– a perennial favorite of most households, these cut down on the mess. You have to apply plenty or things will come apart and though it’s fun to be prepared, these will dry up. So go easy on the purchasing in bulk!
  • Clear Glue– We use this in craft projects and Rebecca uses it in her flower pressing activities.
  • Glitter Glue– Every now and then it’s fun to have some bling when you stick things together. I like to use this as a glaze on the top for a hint of sparkle.
  • Double Sided Tape– Other than the cost, double sided tape is far superior to glue sticks. This is probably why our glue sticks last so long now.
  • Craft Glue– Stronger than most glues, you can hold items together longer, but it takes time to dry
  • Glue Gun– Rebecca is fond of her low temp glue gun. Even the dollar store variety will do. Just don’t forget to unplug it! The advantage of a glue gun is the instant hold. Can’t beat it!
  • Rubber Cement– This is an oldie but goodie. The hold is quick and there is little mess or bubbling.
  • ModPodge– Who doesn’t love this stuff? We often like to use this glaze on our finished projects for an extra layer and finished look.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool

Must Have Planning Tools for Our Homeschool

Many people have a favorite planning tool. Most folks fall into the category of having found the perfect planner or they are constantly on the search for one. Several years ago, I stopped chasing planners and I started using a plain paper notebook. The first year it was a plain store bought spiral. After that, I made my own using my favorite notebook paper and a Pro Click Binder.

  • Spiral Planner– Made by binding loose leaf paper with my ProClick Binder. In the front I have the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) for each student. I’m required to prepare one for NY State and it makes sense to remember our goals along the way. The open format of the blank notebook page makes it easy to jot notes and other information. I don’t have to worry about using too much space on any one day. It’s freeing!
  • Student Planners– Or, if you prefer, student assignment books. I’ve tried several formats for these as well including electronic ones. After being there and back again, I’m sticking with a hand written list. The time for maintenance on the online planners (and I’ve tried them all) is too great for me. I need to spend that time on working with my students.

Blog, She Wrote: How to Homeschool with a Kindle

Must Have Technology in Our Homeschool

It goes without saying that we take advantage of technology in our homeschool. Your list of “must haves” here may be different than ours, but these are items we make regular use of.

  • Printer– Now that our kids are older, we don’t actually use the printer as much as we did when we were printing handwriting practice and other notebooking doodads. However, we still use it frequently. Our current model is the Canon MX922.
  • Desktop Computers– Highly recommended still if you have a lot of people sharing a computer. If you only have one, make it one that will stand up to many users.
  • Laptops– We have two that the kids use which are older models and have a limited life expectancy. Multiple machines are important when you have four kids using them to write papers and do research. To be sure, we have a lot of books, but finding relevant information can be just a few clicks away using the internet.
  • LEGO Mindstorms– We are having trouble with our NXT brick, so we may have to upgrade to the EV3 but we remain hopeful that Dan can Frankestein several of the ones we have into one working brick. We use these for programming and engineering work.
  • Kindles– Both the eReader and tablet models. These are invaluable to our homeschool days. Click on the picture below to learn all the ways we make use of these during our school days.

Blog, She Wrote: Essential Elements of a Home Learning Environment

Must Have Storage for Homeschool Project Supplies

So, where does all this stuff go? We have a variety of places where we keep our many supplies.

  • Essential Elements of a Home Learning Environment– This is the perfect post to tell you where you’d find all these items in our homeschool.
  • School Cabinet {Supply Central}– A look inside our early American cabinet. The perfect home for many of these supplies.
  • Project Workspace– Each of our kids has his/her own project space and they keep supplies on hand their for the work they are doing. Some of the work requires more than just these basics sorts of supplies, but we keep everything available so it’s easy to work with when it’s time.

While these are many of the items we keep on hand for general school and project time, it does not include art supplies. Even before we knew for sure we had an artist in residence, we had a lot of art supplies. I think these deserve their own post.

What are your favorite supplies for homeschooling?

This post is part of iHN’s Resources for Homeschool Moms link up. Visit the link to learn about more resources from other bloggers.

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  1. Love your post!! Everything is wonderful and a huge help, even to those of us that have homeschooled for a long time.

    I’m also originally from NY-WNY though between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. I miss wings, bison chip dip, and roast beef of weck. And yes, even the Bills!

    1. Michelle thank you for commenting. I’m glad these ideas are helpful. I’ve been to the Buffalo area a few times though I’m from Maryland and live in central NY. : )

  2. I have also given up on planners but mostly because I make a detailed syllabus for each of my kids (and really for me, it’s my planner) and then I make them a check off list so they can keep up with what they have done that day. The computerized ones are nice however they mean I have to get onto a computer and when that happens I can lose a lot of time doing other things. My oldest however, really loves her A Plan in Place Planner and she transfers her work into it and has had really good success using it. Heather as always I really enjoyed your post!

    1. Thank you Kyle! I have searched the world over and come back again. I agree- time on the computer leads to more time on the computer. It also turns out, that no matter how simple I want to make the work, it is still work! I must come to terms with this part too! ha

  3. Heather!
    I have thought of you often. A friend pinned this post and I read the entire thing not realizing I was on your blog. Hope you are doing well. Can’t believe your kids are so grown up!

    1. Hey Gabby! I’m so glad you found me. Yeah…I can’t believe our kids are so grown either! ‘Hope you are well too- last time I saw you we were speaking at the LEAH Convention in Rochester. Good times!

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