Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What You Need: My Top 5 Homeschool Supply List

Now that we are into year two for homeschooling, I've been able to see what supplies we really use! I made some mistakes, so learn from me and don't waste your money :)


Loving my vintage yellow sharpener, it works like a charm :)

Forget those plastic cheapies in the school supply aisle! You'll need a heavy duty pencil sharpener like the ones that mount to the wall or an electric sharpener.

We have a Panasonic electric sharpener but I know other homeschoolers that love the wall-mounted type. These are essential not only for sharpening #2 writing pencils but also colored pencils for science, geography, book club, and art!

Sharpening pencils has never been so much fun! Never a dull pencil again.


Try different brands of markers to see which ones you like best.
Quartet and Expo are my favorites.

Our dry erase boards get lots of use. They are awesome for demonstrating how to do math problems, for spelling lists, for making character diagrams for our literature books, and for so much more.

Instead of big ones, my favorite are the inexpensive dollar bin boards. Because they are small, they fit into our curriculum crate with no problems. If space isn't an issue for you or you have a dedicated room for homeschooling, having a larger one is nice.

If you buy the fine tipped markers, you can dual purpose them for tear sheets. Just slip your workbook pages in a plastic sleeve and let your kids use dry erase markers instead of pencils. Then you can reuse your workbook pages :)  Cost savings, cha-ching!


Spelling composition book and Writing  journal book

Composition books are one of my addictions. If your child is older, the wide and college ruled ones are available for just a dollar at the dollar stores.

Madeline still uses the primary ruled, and they have so many uses! One of the benefits of using these books is you see the progress through the semester. It's amazing to look at Madeline's writing book and see the difference! Cutting and pasting writing prompts to the top of your writing journal saves time, too.

Plus, you never have to worry about losing something important because everything is all in one place.


Our trusty plastic aqua clipboard

Homeschoolers can work anywhere! Madeline's favorite places work through lessons is outside, on the bed, or on the couch. Our trusty blue clipboard has worked more than 2 years and is still going strong!

Cheap, cardboard clipboards get so much use that they usually come apart. Or get stained. And then your papers get stained...and gross. Because that cardboard absorbs everything. Just don't do it! Get a good quality, portable work surface.


Tried to refill my inkjet cartridges with these. Not good results.

It seems like an indulgence, I know! But my inkjet printer was a major expenditure due to the ink. Haven't you noticed how cheap inkjet printers are? That's because manufacturers make money on the ink, not the printer.

With homeschooling, we used more than one inkjet cartridge a month and usually 2-3 color ones! Printing color pictures really burned though our colored ink cartridges.

And yes, I did try those refill bottles that you use to inject replacement ink into your own cartridges. I found they did not work well with my Dell inkjet at all!

All my copies had vertical lines running through them so they were hard to read. No matter what I tried or how many times the printer was 'aligned', the lines stayed.

Inkjet v. Laser Cost Comparison

Inkjet Cartridges
Per month/ Black [2 x $15= 30] + Color [2 x $25 = $50] = $80 
Multiply by 12 months = $960 a year

Laser Cartridges
Total per year/ Black $80 + Color $150 = $230 

Annual Laser Printer Ink Savings
$730 per year {$960 - $230}

It's amazing how ink cartridges fool you. It's not so bad, right? Just $20 here and $20 there. Well, all those $20 cartridges really add up over a year! The savings in ink has paid for my printer and then some.

Don't faint, but the same laser cartridges from last year are STILL going strong. I am willing to bet no one with an inkjet printer gets more than 12 months from the same black and color cartridges!!!! 

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