One question that I hear over and over in the homeschool community is, “What do you use for…?” Whether it’s a science unit, organizing homeschool space, creating art, or simply a way to make life run a little smoother, all of us parents who homeschool look to others for advice. When school spills over into home, lines of keeping things separate or special tend to become a little blurred.
I’ve complied a list of my own and my Facebook readers’ favorite things to simplify and organize homeschooling for first timers. (And those seasoned teaching parents too!) They are geared to younger and older children, and some are just for us. Each item, is personally owned and recommended by either myself or my readers. Some are meant to aid you in making a unit or study a little more special without a lot more time and money.
Click through to see our favorites!
14 Favorite Items to Organize and Energize Your Homeschool Space 1 of 15
Click through to see favorite items from homeschooling parents.
Mini Lazy Susan 2 of 15
Aren't these adorable? Fit all your child's little pieces that fall on the floor into these turntable style caddies. Easy organization and bright colors to match any homeschool room.
Kiwi Crate 3 of 15
I don't know who gets more excited over our monthly Kiwi Crate boxes my daughter or me. Designed for ages 3-7, these boxes are chock full of activities that tie in with the seasons and holidays. Add a second child for only $7.95. Each box includes 2 main activities (often with enough to make 2-3 of each) and 1-2 smaller activities for further learning.
Purchase on Kiwi Crate for $19 (use this referral link for 50% off your first box)
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel with Paper 4 of 15
Every child needs an easel. It keeps the mess off your table and in neatly organized spaces. Throw down a plastic mat for carpeted areas.
2013-2014 Family Homeschool Planner 5 of 15
I'm waiting on this to arrive (nothing like starting a bit late), but have heard so many rave reviews of this planner (like from Tiany of The Homeschool Lounge). I had to get it. Designed for a homeschool with up to 4 children, it features beautiful quotes, artwork, and scriptures along with weekly and monthly planners, meal planning, and lots of room for notes.
Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden 6 of 15
We hatched our butterflies earlier this summer and it was something my daughter still talks about. The kit is very simple to set up, the caterpillars are shipped in days, and it took about 4 days for the butterflies to hatch. Ties in nicely with a Very Hungry Caterpillar unit or any kind of science/nature study.
Kindle Paperwhite 7 of 15
I've yet to find a homeschool parent who tells me they hate to read. A Kindle changes your bookworm life. Download books instantly for both you and your kids, and with a Prime Membership you can even borrow some. I love how the Paperwhite easily reads outside.
Be sure to check out my recommendation for 9 Essential e-Books for Every Homeschool Family if you're looking for some amazingly inspiring reads.
Scotch Thermal Laminator Combo Pack 8 of 15
YOU MUST HAVE THIS. Seriously. I bought one when I taught kindergarten, and it's been my best homeschool purchase ever. I laminate everything my daughter's best artwork, homeschool schedules, games we print off online, and papers that I'd like to reuse again and again. It's so easy to use. There are newer models on Amazon, but this one is 5 years and counting for me.
ClosetMaid 9-Cube Organizer 9 of 15
An inexpensive way to store a lot of stuff. We use these (without bins) for books, puzzles, games, and all kinds of oddly shaped boxes that I don't want to trip over a thousand times. We've had Bella's for 4 years and moved 3 times with it.
Melissa and Doug See and Spell 10 of 15
These are perfect for the younger set. I swear Bella learned most of her letters because of this. I love that they are wooden and sturdy, and easy clean up.
My First Steps to Reading 11 of 15
If you have tiny ones at home, these are a must. My mother read them to us as children, I read them to my pre-kindergarten class, and then to Bella. She loves to sit and look at them in her room. Each one has a story that features a letter in the alphabet along with all the things that begin with that letter.
IKEA Children’s Kids Table & 2 Chairs Set 12 of 15
This IKEA table has served our daughter well over the years. Although ours is no longer a sparkling white, it's very easy to clean and care for.
BAZIC 3-Ring Pencil Pouch 13 of 15
Recommended by a homeschool mom, this is a great way to keep those tiny items your child uses constantly in one area. Pencils, erasers and more all fit and can be carried from room to room.
Boogie Board 8.5-Inch LCD Writing Tablet 14 of 15
I think this is pretty amazing, and the reader who recommended it says it saves her family a lot of wasted paper. From math to spelling, the Boogie Board is a low cost investment that is sure to make your kids actually want to do some of their work. From the site: "The Boogie Board tablet's pressure-sensitive LCD writing surface creates lines of different thickness based on how hard you push just like paper and pen!"
World MAP Kids Geography Educational Poster 15 of 15
A map is an essential part of our homeschool day. This laminated one that hangs is perfect for younger and older children. It has all kinds of pictures, like the Eight Wonders of the World, the Solar System, Cloud Formations and Varieties of Terrains.
Photo Credits: Amazon.com, PotteryBarnKids.com, KiwiCrate.com
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
MORE FROM DIANA:
- Is Play Therapy Right for your Child?
- 9 Essential e-Books for Every Homeschooling Family
- 14 Favorite Items to Organize and Energize Your Homeschool Space
- 14 Creative Chore Charts for Kids