Once you have your homeschool curriculum, there’s probably not a ton you NEED to buy right now. As you start your year, you’ll find those little things that are missing and you’ll notice systems that aren’t working. That’s what will direct you to buy what’s REALLY needed as you figure out your style of teaching and storing materials.
But I figured some of you might want visuals of supplies real homeschoolers use, especially for those who don’t have a designated homeschool room! I’m sharing tools we loved for kindergarten and nature study. If you were hoping to see our kindergarten homeschool curriculum, I have a whole post on that.
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Assign your homeschool supplies a place before you buy them
One thing I recommend doing before buying anything is to imagine a space in your home where your stuff can go.
We do most of our schoolwork on the living room floor, so I put all of our homeschool supplies in our living room. I’m at the point where if it doesn’t fit in my cube organizer or rolling cart, I need to hold off or add more storage.
We also keep a big bin of library books in our living room for easy access.
Consider where to hang a few posters
Also imagine where you might hang some posters. You don’t have to hang any, by the way! But I’ve found that my kids tend to learn a lot by casually looking at things without being told to, so I like to have them.
Tip: The Dollar Store has some great US and world maps.
While we didn’t officially do any history or geography, this was the first year my kids really benefited from our maps. We learned the names of the continents, plus it gave them context for what state we live in, where grandparents live across the country, how far away the ocean is that we drive to, and more.
Your first year homeschooling is really trial and error
When my oldest started kindergarten, I was pretty clueless as to what I should actually spend money on. Plus, the more you buy the more space you need to store it.
So we started the year with just our curriculum, art supplies, and a metal rolling cart. Thankfully, that was fine for kindergarten and preschool!
I bought things as needed, when something wasn’t working well. For example:
“I wish I had a better spot to put xyz.”
“Our marker and colored pencil setup is not working well.”
“I can’t use these nature print outs without a color printer.”
“We need a system for hanging new drawings and getting rid of old drawings.”
“Where can I put all these loose papers?”
My next project is to figure out a homeschool record keeping system I like, which I’ll need to buy a few things for. So if you aren’t sure if you need something, skip. You can always buy it later.
Ready to see?
Supply list for printing and creating homeschool curriculum
The curriculum we go with tells me what to teach, so I’m not really responsible to “create” curriculum. However, I love designing my own things to use, and I also like to print off other supplemental pieces that I find on Etsy. To that, I found I used:
- Color Printer
- Regular printing paper and cardstock
- Laminator (very optional but sooo nice!)
- Laminating pockets
- 3 Ring hole punch
- Stapler & scissors
- velcro dots (for printables I buy or have created)
My all time favorite color printer
Skip this if you already have a printer you love…
I wanted a color printer especially for our art and nature study.
I purchased the Epson inkjet color printer and love it! My version is the 3760. It connects to wireless and I can print from my phone, it can copy and scan, and it comes with ink bottles (which prints about 7,500 black and white and 6,000 color pages). You won’t deal with cartridges ever, just ink bottles so it’s way cheaper to refill. Say whaaaa?
Refill ink is SO cheap with my Epson (1 cent per page vs 20 cents per page if using color ink cartridges from other printers). So I paid more for the printer upfront, but it pays for itself soon enough, especially with how much I print in color.
If you don’t have a color printer or need a curriculum pack printed and bound, check out the Homeschool Printing Company. I use it for things I need printed and bound, and it’s WAY cheaper than Office Depot or UPS printing.
My laminating set up
You don’t NEED a laminator. But I really like mine for things I plan to use over and over. Here’s an example of how I used it to make some memory verse cards for our family.
You can find this sheet here on Etsy.
It took me a couple years to get a laminator, and I’m not sure why? They are not expensive…mine is in the $20 range and a pack of 100 plastic pockets is less than that! I really like my Amazon Basics laminator. I can now print off all the amazing nature study resources I bought, and laminate anything I want to use year after year using these laminating pouches.
Organizing and storing your homeschool supplies
Clutter is so real with homeschooling some days, and it’s easy to find yourself with all these materials and books without knowing where it’s “home” is.
It was easy to see we needed a spot for library books (sure they’re temporary but there’s always new batches), curriculum, paper, art supplies, and a way to display their artwork.
I now keep all our library books in their own bin…but lets be real. The kids love looking at them so daily they get spread over the floor and picked back up again.
Our books, curriculum, and art supplies get stored in the living room and our coat closet in a rolling metal cart and a cube organizer. The printer gets stored in my bedroom, cause I’m classy like that.
Organizing your homeschool life:
- Metal rolling cart
- Cube organizer shelf
- Portable file cabinet & hanging file folders
- 3 ring binders (if you have a plan for them)
- Dry erase pocket folders for organizing papers, or putting daily work in for each kid.
- Jars, buckets, or small containers for loose parts (like paperclips or beads)
- A planner, if it suits you
What I use my metal rolling cart for
I use my yellow rolling metal cart to store most of our curriculum and craft supplies in. I have organizers within that to separate loose item like glue sticks, tape, and markers. They also help separate daily school books from other fun items like Water Wow’s and coloring books.
It travels easily from room to room. It’s easy to put away (we store ours in our coat closet), and organizes most of my random
crap I mean supplies 😉 .
The downside to keeping all our school work together in the rolling cart is there’s just a lot of digging that goes on trying to find 1 particular workbook on the top shelf (because I have somehow stuffed it much fuller after the photo was taken… I know I know.
I am considering using a crate for each child, so that they can go to their crate to find just their books and pencils. But this works for now.
Using a cube shelf
If you already have a homeschool closet (or a bookshelf), you can skip the cube furniture and just buy a few bins to organize the shelf.
I wanted something cute in the living room because that’s we do our school. It had to hold everything my rolling card didn’t. Of course, we just have 2 kids doing any school, so we have less curriculum than many homeschoolers. Do you like?!
Things I keep in my organizer cubes:
- The Good And The Beautiful Math Boxes that don’t fit in our rolling cart.
- Supplies like a hole punch, brads, velcro dots, and geometric shapes.
- Our internet router, controllers, and endless cords to electronics
Similar cube shelf ideas on Amazon
Portable file cabinet for keeping homeschool records
Keeping records was far from my mind when we started out in kindergarten and what you keep will depend on your state laws and personal preferences.
Likely you’ll have samples of their work each year and legal homeschool documents that will need a safe spot.
Also kindergarten and early elementary years are going to provide some pretty sentimental pieces and you’ll probably keep a few from each kid each year. Think handwriting samples, art pieces, etc.
I’m working on starting a system for keeping records using a portable file box with hanging file folders. I’ll update this with pictures when I get ours set up.
School supplies for the kids
Whatever you like, organized somehow. Things I buy are:
- Colored pencils
- Watercolor paint & Tempura paint
- Markers (a few packs a year. I like the Dollar Store pack of 20, Crayola Color Tips, and glitter gel pens)
- Kid scissors (Dollar Store has them, or Amazon Prime)
- Glue sticks (One pack of 4 sticks has been plenty for the year, but we are not huge crafters).
- Clear tape (probably 10 a year with 2 kids?)
- Washi Tape is fun for kids to make colorful crafts (on their own) on cardboard or paper
- Plastic colored shapes (this is not for scheduled school, but they like to play and make all sorts of flowers and designs once in a while)
- Clipboards from the Dollar Store. We have one for each kid. They take these around everywhere to color on or take their work outside.
- Blank notebooks & white computer paper for drawing/painting/nature journaling.
- White mailing envelopes for sending letters to grandparents and cousins
- Small blank whiteboard & a lined whiteboard, both at the Dollar Store
- Deck of cards for playing math games, war, go fish, and more
Supplies for Nature Study
- A blank journal
- Watercolor paints and brushes or colored pencils
- Magnifying Glass
- A net for catching fish/bugs
- Nature books
We used Exploring Nature With Children in our homeschool co-op this year, and I’ll be digging in deeper every year after this. It’s a gem! The book comes as a PDF download that I printed and had bound. No pictures, just a few pages of print for each week. It includes books to rent from the library, poetry, explanations of that week’s topic, nature journaling help, and even craft ideas and extension for older kids.
Topics range from Tree Study, Blossoms, Bees, Ants, Pond Study, Winter Equinox, Moon, Butterflies, Caterpillars, and so much more.
There’s a recommended timeline but it’s easy to swap weeks and sometimes we skip if I’m just not feeling it. It’s zero pressure, and I am learning along with my kids because I knew so little about all the topics before this.
We are basically learning to stop and observe what is in our own backyard at different times of the year through a new lens of wonder.
Follow Lynn at Raising Little Shoots on Instagram to see how people are using her nature study!
Other supplies for homeschooling
A composition notebook for each kid, the kind with half a page to draw a picture and half to practice writing/copywork.
I let each kid pick out their own. When we used them, my 5 year old drew the picture on top, and I’d write down below whatever she told me the story was about.
My 6.5 year old used it differently. He would draw a picture and tell me what he wanted to write. I’d then write that 1-2 sentence piece on a Dollar store white board and he’d copy it into his notebook.
A portable speaker
I almost forgot to mention! This white Bose wireless bluetooth speaker was my Christmas present and we use it daily for homeschool!
My 6.5 year old son listens to free audiobooks through the library… it’s made our quiet time so much better (for both of us). It’s also easy to now play music from anywhere in the house or even outside!
Puzzles and games
The more my kids learn without being told they are learning, the better. Puzzles and games are perfect for this, and it’s something I’ll be seeking out more with my oldest.
In my cover photo, my son is building this world puzzle we use often, and it was a fun way to learn the continents and oceans without a formal curriculum.
We also like Memory Match, War, Go Fish, Trouble, and Sorry.
How we display art and drawings
I’m sure there’s a prettier way out there to display your kid’s art, but we use these clear hanging pockets also at the Dollar Store! Now she has to pick her favorites and she can swap them out as she likes.
We’ve tried hanging string and clothespins too, which was cute but the pages ended up all curling a lot.
This is a great alternative if you don’t get a laminator but want to write on paper sheets. Or make chore charts in these.
And that’s the end, my friend!
Hope you have a few good ideas for setting up your functional homeschool space. For more real life ideas, go like this Facebook page called Real Life Homeschool Spaces. It’s so helpful and will take away some of the pressure that’s often out there on Instagram to have a gorgeous space.
Functional first, pretty if you can. That’s my motto.
If you made it to here, and enjoyed this, would you take a second and share this post? I’d so appreciate it!