Now that you have decided that you are going to homeschool your children, you are going to need a classroom, or at least, a reasonable area. I don’t want to suggest that you use the spare bedroom or empty out the garage. Most folks use the kitchen or dining room table as a desk for both the teacher and their children. What I do suggest is that you get some sort of portable wagon so that you can store your often use materials in one place.
Space is usually at a premium in the homeschool classroom so you will need something convenient and easily portable. When you are ready to set up your materials for the day it will be a lot easier if you have everything in one place. When school is over you can put everything back in the cart and move it out of the kitchen.
You probably won’t want your company sitting in the middle of your classroom. You’ll also need a portable whiteboard to illustrate lessons and demonstrate demonstrate difficult concepts. Personally, I would not recommend a blackboard. The chalk dust is too messy for your house. A whiteboard is much cleaner and easier to use. You can get a small folding white board at any good stationary store.
First of all forget lunch boxes and backpacks. That is unless you plan on going on spending a lot of your time on field trips with your children, and you probably won’t even need the backpacks.
Here is a checklist, in no particular order, of some of the things you may need on your “first day” of homeschool. I know you may have most of them around the house somewhere, but get them all in one place so you won’t have to interrupt your lessons to go find them.
- A waste basket, cheap enough and you can always hide your mistakes 🙂
- Separate work tables for you and your children. This is the ideal but you can just use your kitchen table.
- A file cabinet – you will need to keep records, file lesson plans, test papers, your curriculum, report cards and health records. You will also need a bookcase.
- A computer with DSL internet access or a dial up connection if DSL is not available in your area.
- Have a wall calendar to schedule your monthly activities, holiday events, and group activities with your homeschool association and other homeschool parents..
- Pens, pencils, and erasers.
- Children in grades 4th thru 8th will need composition notebooks and spiral notebooks or a three ring binder. Get some pocket folders, too.
- Elmer’s glue, crayons and colored pencils.
- Organizers, such as small bins for crayons, rubber bands, and paperclips for separating everything and keeping things handy and in order.
- Get a milk crate for each of your homeschoolers so they will have their own space to store their schoolwork.
- Two highlighters, one light and one dark
- Index cards, and a 12 inch ruler.
- A good handheld pencil sharpener with two different size holes. You will be using it all the time.
- Wide leaf loose-leaf paper for writing lesson materials and compositions.
- You should have your own homeschool stationary. Select a name for your school such as “Smithfield School”, “Homeschool Preperatory School”, or use your own name or street name with “academy” or “preparatory school” tacked onto the end. Use your imagination and let the kids help, too.
Once you have your school name, you can make your own homeschool letterhead on your word processor. Then save it to your hard drive so you can use it on all of your correspondence. Put it on your letterhead and make identification cards for your kids. Do a good job in preparing these items and include photographs for a photo id.. You will want them to look their best, so get some help from family and friends if you need it. Buy some laminating materials and laminate your ID cards with your homeschooler’s photo to give them some legitimacy. Don’t forget to make one for yourself. They may need identification cards for admittance to school basketball and soccer games, maybe even the library. Many of the school supply stores you shop will ask you for a schoool ID for store discounts and freebies.
Most major stationary stores have special deals for teachers, usually in August at the end of the Summer vacation.
Staple’s Teacher Appreciation Day is an annual event. that can save you some money. They also have a teacher’s Awards program that will give you up to 5% off on purchases and free delivery. This can be a good savings and the free delivery is certainly a benefit to save you time.
These are recommended items you should consider having. If you live in a log cabin as Abe Lincoln did then you may have to make do with what you have. But Abe did OK didn’t he?
Lincoln was one of the original homeschoolers.
Jack Finnigan is a part-time writer-publisher and Webmaster at http://www.best-homeschool-resources.com providing important homeschooling advice, tips and focused information for homeschool curriculum that can really help parents improve their homeschoolers.