Favorite Homeschool Supplies

One of the questions I get the most from new homeschool moms is what are my favorite supplies for homeschooling. In the beginning I had SO many things because I thought I needed all the things. But after two years of homeschooling I’ve narrowed down the list quite a bit. There are so many beautiful supplies out there. It’s hard to decide which ones to use. It took us a bit of trial and error to find our favorites.

Good Pencils and Pencil Sharpener

When we started homeschool in Kindergarten I thought it would be fun for my girls to pick out cute pencils with designs on them. I thought it would make everything more fun. Yes they were cute. But they got annoying very quickly because every time they would be sharpened the design coating would peel off leaving a jagged edge and making it uncomfortable to write with. So I quickly got rid of those and bought just regular #2 pencils. I love the USA Gold brand. They sharpen nicely and don’t break easily.

For a pencil sharpener I used just a hand one at first. That didn’t last long. It took forever to sharpen the amount of pencils and colored pencils we use daily. I purchased an X-ACTO brand sharpener from Amazon. I love this sharpener because it automatically stops when the pencil is finished being sharpened. So you don’t have to worry about your young child over sharpening.

Crayons

I have always used and loved Crayola brand crayons. I buy the 96 count so there are a lot of color choices.

Colored Pencils

We have a combination of colored pencil brands, Crayola and Faber Castell. I find that some of the more expensive brands’ lead tend to break easily when sharpened.

Markers

We love and use Crayola brand markers. I buy the 40 count fine line and broad line markers.

Paint Sticks

My girls love to paint, but I don’t love the mess I have to clean up afterwards. I was thrilled when I found these paint sticks! They go on smooth and dry quickly.

Scissors, Glue, Tape, Stapler, and Ruler

We have a few pair of scissors in our homeschool room that I’ve bought over the years. But the one the girls fight over is a pointed Fiskars brand.

We have always used Elmer’s white glue and glue sticks. We have two tubes of white glue and probably a dozen glue sticks.

We use tape for a lot of things. I use Scotch tape and this tape dispenser.

In Kindergarten Emma made a lot of tiny books. So a stapler was an easy choice to bind them together. We use this stapler.

I love this wooden ruler to keep in our desk drawer. We actually used this quite a bit when learning about measurements.

Polymer Clay

We love, love, LOVE polymer clay! It’s a great alternative to playdough. And it doesn’t dry out until you bake it! We’ve used it for creating letters, structures with toothpicks, animal life cycles, color mixing, and so many other things. We love Sculpey brand.

Construction Paper

We use this every single day. I like to buy this big set of colored paper and a big set of white paper.

Dry Erase Boards and Markers

I absolutely love these magnetic dry erase boards from Lakeshore Learning. We use the blank side for math and drawing and the lined side for writing and spelling. I love this set of dry erase markers.

Chalkboards and Chalk

This is just another alternative to the dry erase boards. We use them for writing, spelling, math, and drawing. We primarily use Crayola chalk and these slate chalk pencils. I also love these colored chalk pencils and this chalk marker.

These are just the basic supplies we use everyday. Obviously we use our curriculum and anything that it requires. And lots and lots of books. Chapter books, picture books, guide books, and reference books. There are also some other resources we use for math, science, art, and language arts listed in this blog post. Hopefully this list wasn’t too basic! But sometimes that’s all you need! Let me know if you have any questions. And share some of your favorite supplies you use everyday!

Favorite Homeschool Resources

When we started homeschooling two years ago I had know idea what I was doing. I was completely overwhelmed by all of the amazing and beautiful resources available. I was following a lot of wonderful homeschooling accounts on Instagram and kept seeing so many resources I thought I needed. But we are a one income family and I don’t have the extra money to spend on alllllll the things. So I’ve had to be very mindful about the things I buy for our homeschool learning. I have two criteria that I follow every time I want something. The first one, can I use this more than once? And the other, can it be used in other ways? If I can say yes to both of those it’s in the running for me to purchase. I also consider if I really need it right now or if I can wait to purchase at a later time. Especially if it’s an expensive item. I usually save anything that is fairly expensive for Christmas or birthdays.

I thought I would share some of my favorite homeschool resources that we use everyday and that can be used in multiple ways. I’ve broken them down into subject categories but most of these items can be used for multiple subjects.

Math

One of my absolute favorite math resources is the hundred frame board from Treasures From Jennifer. This piece is worth every penny! There are so many ways to use it! And many different “coins” available for purchase to use with the board. The board comes with your choice of 100 wooden or colored felt balls.

There are also numbers, letters, fractions, multiplication, and math symbol coins to go with the board. I keep all of our coins in old candle jars that I’ve cleaned out. Mason jars work great for storing too! I like clear jars so I can easily see what’s in each one.

Hundred Frame Board and Coins

We have used it with number coins to practice counting, skip counting, counting by 2s, 5s, & 10s.

Hundred Frame BoardHundred Frame Board

We have used number coins and math symbols to practice inequalities, addition, and subtraction.

Hundred Frame Board

We have used the colored felt balls to practice patterns.

Hundred Frame Board

We have used the letter coins for spelling and practicing vowels and consonants.

Hundred Frame Board

There’s just so many uses for it! We use it almost daily. My girls love it!

Another great resources for math is manipulatives. Some of the one we have and use are pattern blocks, cuisenaire rods, and some 1″ colored cubes. We keep our manipulatives in a three tiered tray for easy access and transport. Pattern blocks are great for working on fractions, angles, transformations, patterning, symmetry, and measurement. Cuisenaire rods are great for teaching mathematical relationships. And the unit blocks are perfect for counting, addition, and subtraction.

Math Manipulatives

Language Arts

For language arts we love these Montessori letters! We aren’t exclusively a Montessori homeschool but I love incorporating some of the concepts into our learning. When I was teaching my oldest phonics and spelling the different colored vowels really seemed to help her. She loves to use them for spelling when she doesn’t feel like writing.

Montessori Letters

We also love this reversible alphabet board from Treasures From Jennifer. This has helped my youngest daughter so much with her writing!

Alphabet Board

We also love the chalkboards from Chalkfull of Design. We have the alphabet trace and erase and the step 2 lined chalkboards. We’ve used the lined chalkboard for spelling, labeling, and even math equations.

Lined Chalkboard

Nature Studies

For nature studies the best resources are the things found on nature walks. We collect so many acorns, pinecones, seeds, sticks, rocks, anything! We keep them in an old Melissa and Doug wooden cars tray and some tiny glass jars found at Hobby Lobby. We use these treasures for math, art, and loose parts play.

Nature Treasures

We also use this wooden shadowbox with a glass top from Hobby Lobby for our rock collection. We use our rock collection for math, counting, measuring, weighing, and so much more.

img_6339

Art

One of our favorite subjects is definitely art. My girls could do some type of art all day everyday. But I couldn’t stand to watch another 57 pieces of paper end up in the trash everyday. So I wanted to find materials they could use over and over again. One of our favorites is chalkboards. These small slate boards are perfect for drawing! We use slate chalk pencils, colored chalk pencils, and regular chalk. The girls love them!

Slate Chalkboards

Another wonderful material is polymer clay. We use this All. The. Time! I love polymer clay because it never dries out until you bake it! So your child can work on a project for days and weeks and not worry about it getting dried out. It’s very easy to mold and mix. It comes in every single color of the rainbow. We usually get Sculpey brand clay from one of the craft stores and use their 40% off coupon. So it’s very affordable. We keep our clay in one of these divided trays. It’s perfect for separating the colors and tools. We also use a large mason jar for white clay.

img_6341

We have used this clay to make a frog and butterfly life cycle, clay planets, constellations using clay and toothpicks, small vegetables, beads for necklaces, and ornaments at Christmas time. The possibilities are endless!!

 

There are so many more wonderful homeschool resources available to add to your curriculum and learning. These are just some of our favorites that we use everyday in multiple ways. I hope this has helped! Please let me know if you have any questions!

Favorite Homeschool Resources

Homeschool Organization

One of my favorite things is organizing. I love having a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I also like to make things pretty. If something has to be kept out I want it to least look nice. Our homeschool room is directly off of our entryway. We have no door to the room. It’s just an open den space. It’s fairly small as well. It doesn’t have a closet so I don’t really have a space to store things that aren’t as visually appealing. I needed lots of storage and a place to put things. I knew from the beginning I wanted bookcases. I ended up buying two large bookcases from Ikea. They are the LIATORP bookcases in white. I absolutely love them! They are very well made and sturdy for all of our books and supplies.

With His Grace Homeschool Room

I knew I didn’t want to fill them with just books, I wanted to also incorporate our homeschool supplies and resources. My favorite place to shop for storage and organization is Hobby Lobby. I am always able to find the perfect storage solution there. And it’s always pretty! Most of my decorative storage is from there. I would call my decorating style modern farmhouse. I love wood, galvanized metal, and clean lines. I was able to find so many things that fit my style and function needed.

Homeschool Organization edit

For art supplies I like to use something that is open and can be transported to desk to table to outside if needed. My favorite crayon storage is this chicken wire bucket planter. I have the crayons separated by color. It’s lightweight enough for my girls to carry around the house wherever needed.

chicken wire bucket planter

I also love this old wooden toolbox for markers. I actually found this many years ago at a local antique shop.

I found a similar, yet smaller one from Hobby Lobby. I use these shorter silver buckets for broad markers and taller silver vases for thin markers. I have organized them by color to make it easier to find.

 

For colored pencils, scissors, pencils, and other everyday use supplies I love this FINTORP utensil holder from Ikea. The rail can fit up to five small buckets. This is a perfect solution to install over a desk so the materials are readily available at all times.

For math manipulatives I knew I wanted something that could be transported easily to the desks or floor.  I found this perfect galvanized metal three tiered stand.

galvanized metal three tiered stand

The top tier has cuisenaire rods, the middle has colored unit blocks, and the bottom has colored pattern blocks.

One of my favorite multi purpose boxes is this wooden shadow box with a glass top.

wood shadow box with glass top

We have two of these. One is used for our rock collection. The other one holds various wooden loose parts, perfect for invitations to play. You must be careful with this box though, as the lid is glass. We had ours on the floor and it was accidentally stepped on. The glass broke so I just removed the top with a small screwdriver.

Another great storage item is baskets. We use baskets for a variety of organizational needs. I love this rectangle wire basket set!

brown rectangle wire basket set

We use ours for bigger rocks. It’s also great for storing small blocks or other manipulatives.

For curriculum and book storage I love this 6 cube shelf from Target.

cube organizer

On the bottom I have shelf inserts to make them half the size. Each small drawer holds a different subject: Bible studies, math, language arts, science, and 2 art. The fabric bins have various books or resources pertaining to that subject. Unfortunately I don’t think they sell the shelf inserts or half sized fabric bins anymore.

I use magazine holders I found from Target for curriculum. Both of my girls have their own. It holds the teachers manual, workbooks, and any other resources they use everyday. I love the look and weight of these holders.

magazine file

I also use a file box for loose paper and worksheets. I have separated them by weeks. It makes it so easy to open to the current week and pull out anything needed.

file box

Another wonderful storage solution is a 3 tiered cart. I’m sure most of you have seen these at many different stores. I’ve seen them IKEA, Michael’s, and Amazon. I purchased mine from Michael’s during a sale.

cart

We use this cart for many things. Right now the top tier is holding some various art supplies in mason jars. The middle tier has some STEM resources. And the bottom is holding the girls’ new curriculum for next year. I’m sure once the school year starts I’ll be updating the contents of the cart.

There are SO many uses for this! Last year I used it as a set up for invitations to play and learn. I would change the contents depending on what we were learning at the time.

I also store chalk, chalk pencils, rulers, thumb tacks, paper clips, small clothes pins, and other various supplies in our desk drawers.

Our desks are Threshold brand from Target.

campaign desk

Our chairs are also Threshold brand from Target. I love these chairs! They are a distressed white and super easy to clean! I actually have these chairs in my kitchen as well. I have 4 chairs around my table but it can be extended to seat 6. I thought it would be easier to have the same chairs so I can just bring them into the kitchen when we have company over instead of storing some extra chairs in the basement.

litchfield dining chairs

These are just some of the storage solutions we have and use, but I also found a lot of other beautiful options from Hobby Lobby depending on your needs.

Homeschool Organization from Hobby Lobby

 

  1. Galvanized Metal Planter
  2. Small Gray Wood Crate With Dividers
  3. 6-Compartment Wood Basket
  4. Round Galvanized Metal Divided Container
  5. Olive Bucket Rotating Caddy
  6. Rustic Metal Planter
  7. Galvanized Metal Caddy
  8. Wood Display With Dividers

All of these would be perfect for pencils, markers, scissors, crayons, glue sticks, etc. And they’re all 50% right now! I hope you are able to find some pretty homeschool storage solutions to fit your needs! Let me know if you have any questions about anything!

Handmade Paper

The Spring session for Tinkergarten is coming to an end. (insert sad face) I always like to give pictures of our explorers as a end of the season gift. Last Fall I created stick picture frames for their photos. This season at Tinkergarten we made seed bombs using paper pulp, seeds, and flower petals. The paper pulp reminded me of when I had made paper in the past. So I decided to make some handmade paper for picture frames. Making paper is such a fun and easy handicraft and I was excited to make some again. I didn’t haveĀ a mold (frame with a screen attached) and deckle (cover frame) so I searched our scrap wood and found some perfect boards for creating them. (You can also use old picture frames) I had my husband make me 2 8×10 wooden frames. He used staples and wood glue to hold it all together. I went to Home Depot and bought a roll of window screen.

Here’s what you’ll need to create the mold:

IMG_0890 1

To create the mold I measured a piece of screen and cut to fit. I attached the screen using staples. It’s important to start in the middle on one side, then in the middle on the opposite side. You want to make sure the screen is super tight. Otherwise you might have sagging in the middle. Next staple the side starting in the middle again. Then the middle on the opposite side. Once you get the middle stapled on each side staple the middle between the staple and the outer edges.

After stapling the sides place duct tape over the screen and frame. Don’t go past the inside frame. The duct tape will help smooth the cut wire so you won’t get a bunch of paper pulp stuck in between. Also the wire is super sharp so be careful!

Once the mold is finished you can add the deckle on top. This will not be attached in any way. You’ll just hold the deckle on top of the mold when you’re sifting the paper pulp. Here’s what it will look like:

Now you’ve made a mold and deckle! Yay! On to the paper pulp! You can use any kind of paper you have on hand. I used a combination of drawing paper, printer paper, and watercolor paper. I chose to use all white, but you can also use colors too! Thankfully I have a paper shredder so I just put the paper through that. You can also tear or cut the paper into small squares. Once you’ve shredded the paper, it’s easier to have the paper soak for a few hours if you can. I didn’t have the time to soak for this tutorial though. All you need to make the pulp is a blender or food processor, shredded paper, and water. I typically just eyeball the amount of water used. The pulp should be the consistency of chunky applesauce? Yeah that sounds about right. It’s okay if you have some chunks of paper in the pulp! It will just add more texture. Of course if you want a smooth paper you probably need to keep blending and adding more water.

After making the pulp transfer it to a large enough container to fit your mold and deckle. Once you pour your pulp in add a lot of water too. You need enough to be able to submerge the mold and deckle and have a couple of inches on top of that. After adding the pulp and water you may add flower petals, leaves, grass, etc. For this tutorial I picked some of our pretty wildflowers that are growing in our backyard. Now it’s time to make paper! Start by holding the deckle on top of the mold and insert it into the water at an angle. Gently move the mold and deckle side to side and front to back to get and even distribution of pulp on the screen. Then slowly lift it out of the water and let the water drip out. At this point you can tilt it to get more water out.

Now take the deckle off of the mold and flip the mold paper side down onto a towel. It’s important to place it on a flat surface otherwise the paper will be embossed with any unevenness. (When I made the first batch of paper I placed a towel on my outdoor table with slats so I had some paper with lines on it.) For this tutorial I placed an old mdf board on the table first then a large towel over it. Once you flip the mold onto the towel begin to squeeze the water out. I use my hands first to get the majority out. Then a sponge and a microfiber cloth. It’s best to use one of those large sponges typically used for grouting tile but I didn’t have one so I just used a kitchen sponge.

After getting most of the water out, carefully remove the mold from the paper. The paper should stay on the towel. If it sticks to the mold it might still be too wet. Place the mold back down and press a towel down to get more water out. Once the mold is off lay a dry microfiber cloth over the paper and roll out even more water using a rolling pin.

Now just let the paper dry! You can make more sheets and create a little assembly line too! For this tutorial I just made 3 pages. After the paper has dried some and can be easily picked up without tearing, remove the towel from underneath and let the paper sit out overnight to dry.

You just made paper! And I’m sure it’s pretty! There are so many ways to create different types of paper depending on the paper you use and add ins. You can also add food coloring to make colored paper! I plan on making a lot of different types. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the paper! Let me know if you have any questions! And show me your paper too! Use the hashtag #whghandmadepaper so I can see all of your lovely creations!

IMG_0928