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The Top Essential Homeschooling Must-Haves

written by: Alicia • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/4/2012

Homeschooling families need a little more than just a certain curriculum. Other supplies should be obtained to use throughout the school year. A few of them are essential for students to grow and learn properly.

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    Over the course of my homeschooling career I have found that there are just a few things my daughter and I can't live without. I feel very strongly that homeschooling families should consider each of these items and add them to their homeschooling classroom.

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    Globe

    We use the globe almost daily in History class. Globes cost around $100, but we found one at a thrift shop for $3. Geography is a big part of History from Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. I can't imagine not having it available. Maps are great, but there is nothing that can replace seeing the world in the actual shape it was created.

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    Index Cards

    We use index cards for so many things. We use 20 per week for spelling words, one per week for the Bible verse, and several per week for vocabulary words that go with the week's lessons. My daughter can use them to study and I can use them to quiz her. They are a life saver.

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    Cork Board

    Cork boards are great for displaying my daughter's A+ papers and her artwork. They also serve as a place to post reminders to study for certain tests as well as her practice schedules for soccer and softball. There are many uses for the cork board. Even if you don't want to use it to display papers or schedules, you should get one to have your student decorate for the season or upcoming holiday.

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    Desk

    My daughter has a real school desk. It is not necessary that your child have a real school desk, but you should provide your child with some kind of work station (desk) that is their very own and designated for the purpose of school work. This keeps their attention on schooling when they are in the desk. We got our school desk across the street at a yard sale for $5. You can always put out an ad in the paper asking for one.

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    Fake Money

    You can purchase fake money at the dollar store. We use this all the time in Math class. Just about every grade has a section for Math. Each year builds on a child's understanding of money. First, they learn what each coin is and then how much each coin is worth. They then move on to counting money. Eventually they are adding, subtracting, and even multiplying with the money. Buy the money one time and you will use it for years.

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    Popsicle Sticks

    We use these for a variety of reasons; sometimes for arts and crafts, but mainly we create stick characters out of them. If we are learning about the community in History we may create different people in the community and have each one stand up and talk about their jobs and why they are important to the community. If we are talking about a certain president, we will make a stick figure president and have the him talk about what he was most known for. You get the idea. We have also used the popsicle sticks when doing some basic counting in math.

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    Skittles

    You can also use M & M's for this. In younger years the candy works well for teaching addition and subtraction. In the older years they work great for teaching fractions. You count the total number of skittles as the whole. Count how many red there are and put that number above the total number of skittles and you have the fraction for how many red skittles are in a skittles bag. In high school you can use the skittles for statistics and probability, such as, what are the chances that your skittles bag will contain 10 yellow skittles?

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    Computer

    There are so many places you can go online to print out work-pages if you need them. The Internet also provides a way for my daughter to do research without having to make a trip to the library all the time. For example, the other day she needed to know our state flower. She also had to list other states and their flowers. Instead of taking 45 minutes to go to the library do the research and travel back home she got the answers in a total of five minutes. There are also websites such as FunBrain.com that students can use to practice Math skills and more.

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    Electric Pencil Sharpener

    The pencils break several times per day and it is a big pain to stop to sharpen the pencils. Plus they always make a mess with their shavings. We love our electric pencil sharpener and can get 10 pencils sharpened in the time it takes to do one manually. We got ours for free from my sister. Just keep your eye open for a good deal.

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    Regular Supplies

    • Extra paper
    • Notebooks
    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Crayons
    • Rulers
    • Calculator
    • Markers
    • Erasers
    • Compass
    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Construction paper