As a homeschooling mom there are certain things in my life that I couldn’t live without! (Well, maybe I could if I had to, but I definitely don’t want to)
1. Coffee maker
I love my Keurig! If you are a coffee drinker
make sure you have a coffee maker that you love. I am the only one in my house that drinks coffee so it is pretty much the one thing in the house that I use for me. Every morning I look forward to a cup of coffee to start of my day. Sitting down (or getting up and down and reheating it 4 time) and drinking my cup of coffee helps me gather my thoughts and get organized before our school day begins.
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Now I know that it is possible to function and homeschool my kids without technology, however, the amount of free online resources makes homeschooling a lot easier! Although I love using my computer and tablet for my kids, I also love using them just for me. It is relaxing for me at night, after the kids go to bed, to scroll through Facebook, read blogs, and search pinterest.com. Last year my husband bought me an amazon Fire tablet. These little inexpensive tablets are great for so many things. They may not have the processing speed or resolution of an iPad, but it does everything you could possibly need. I can stream a show I like on netflix or amazon prime while I fold laundry if I have the chance. I can use it to read books, play games, plan menus, scroll pinterest.com or shop!
A good pair of earbuds is a necessity for me. If I am using my tablet or computer to preview a video or resource I want to use for homeschool, I definitely need earbuds. If I start a video without them in, my kids will hear that I’m watching a video and come running to see what it is! Having a pair of earbuds ready when I need them helps me get planning done faster, and sometimes gives me a few minutes of “peace and quiet” that every mom needs. Also, you can grab a few minutes of “quiet” and listen to some music to drown out an episode of paw patrol or team umizoomi that you’ve already seen 100 times. Lastly they come in very handy for me to quietly stream a show every now and then.
I put off buying a laminator for a while. I really thought it was something that I really didn’t need and wouldn’t use much. One day I found one on sale and finally just bought it. Now, I don’t know why I put it off so long. I use it more than I ever thought I would. I laminate pages I want the kids to reuse and pages for daily work in their notebooks. Dry erase or wet erase markers work wonderfully on them. I save having to reprint things (or use page protectors that wear out and sometimes the pages fall out) and my kids would rather use markers than pencils any day!
5. Pencil Sharpener
When I started homeschooling my oldest son we only had little handheld pencil sharpeners that get pencil shavings everywhere and take forever. My kids, unfortunately, love these cute little pencil sharpeners. (I definitely don’t!) One of the first things I realized I missed from my classroom, was a good pencil sharpener. One of my first things on my school supply list that year was a pencil sharpener. I knew I didn’t want to keep standing over a trash can sharpening pencils for my kids or, worse, keep cleaning up the pencil shaving mess when they decided to sharpen their pencil themselves. I found an electric pencil sharpener that was relatively inexpensive (about $10). It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done! I can’t imagine life without it now!
6. A library card
The public library is a homeschooling mom’s best friend! I think everyone should be taking advantage of all the services local libraries offer! You will never run out of books for your kids to read and you can find resources about almost any topic you are going to teach. Many public libraries also have curriculum kits and teaching resources you can check out! If you’ve never checked out your local library and applied for a card definitely put it on your to-do list!
7. A Homeschool Notebook
I do a lot of my planning on my computer and tablet but I still would be lost without my homeschooling notebook. Get a 3 ring binder, as big as you think you need, (I use a 1.5 inch), and use it to keep all of your homeschool information, attendance, plans, goals, and schedules in. I bought some dividers and I create a separate section for each thing. I also added some folders so I could keep work I printed off for the kids that I will use during the week. My homeschool notebook keeps me organized and gives me a place to keep all the records and information I need.
8. A calendar or planner
Every mom needs to keep a calendar of some sort. You can use a calendar on the wall, your phone or tablet, a nice colorful designer planner, or just some printed pages put in your homeschool notebook. Between the doctor and dentist appointments, church activities, co-op meetings, gathering with friends, and sports, if I don’t write everything down it’s easy to let things slip! Having a calendar that I keep everything on helps me not over schedule myself! (I do like to be home with my kids to actually homeschool them as much as possible!) If we are not careful we can get so busy getting our kids involved in everything that we don’t have enough time to keep up with our regular homeschool schedule.
9. Books!! (For you and the kids!)
One of my goals for my kids is they will grow up loving to read! At our house we have tons of books. Not just textbooks, but picture books, non-fiction informational books, chapter books, and other resource books. I love books for myself as well!! My husband and I grab books for us to read on our treasure hunting trips (thrift stores and books sales) just as often as we do for the kids! I believe it’s important for the kids to see my husband and I reading as well. They need to see that reading will always be a part of their life and that it is also fun and enjoyable. I always try to make time for reading! Nothing is more relaxing after a long day than curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book.
Here are some of my favorite books I’ve read:
10. Storage (Shelves, boxes, etc.)
Every homeschool family needs some sort of storage system. I use a variety of things, plastic bins and crates from the dollar tree, bookshelves, pencil boxes, and magazine holders. Find things for storage that works for you. For me, I want to be able to keep my kids books and my resource books organized and easy to get to. Also I want my materials put away as much as possible. It is not always clean and neat but without some sort of storage and organization our homeschooling stuff would take over the house!
11. Dry erase boards and markers or crayons
Dry erase boards are another tool we use almost everyday! The kids can use them to practice writing, work out math problems, or just draw. They add a little bit of fun for the kids, and its one less thing we use paper for. You can find small individual dry erase boards very cheap at the dollar tree, target or wal-mart. My kids especially like the Crayola dry erase boards that are black on one side, white on the other with the neon dry erase crayons or pencils. Go ahead and make sure you have at least one board per child. Your kids will like having their own to use. Then they won’t have to wait on their brother or sister to get done to be able to use a dry erase board.
12. A lot of Patience
Last but definitely not least I think the main thing every homeschooling mom needs is a lot of patience! Some days can be really hard and tiring. Keep asking God for patience to do what you need and know that not every day will be hard! When you have a hard day and you feel like your patience is out running out, take a second to remember why you are doing this, and how much you love your family! If we do everything out of love for God and our family then our patience will never truly run out. For God says, “Love is patient….” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
What are your favorite “tools” that you need everyday? I would love to hear about them! Comment below if you have somethings that you makes your homeschool day easier and that you wouldn’t want to have to live without!