by Janny Jackson
Disclaimer: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You may read my full disclaimer here.
This post is jam packed full of links and PRACTICAL items that I use in my homeschool daily and/or weekly, and I am so excited to share these things with you. If you saw my post on Favorite Practical Homeschool Items you will recognize a couple of these items, because they are items that I love and use regularly. I am not one for having expensive and over the top unnecessary items. I also don’t care if what I have is ‘in’ or popular. These are the homeschool items that are the most used for us as a mom of three littles on one income.
These items are in no particular order, as far as favorites or pricing.
A reliable printer is a homeschool mom’s best friend. I have the Epson ET-2760 and I use it almost daily. It comes with ink that you load into the ink tanks, which is a very simple and quick process. I am not even exaggerating when I say that I used this printer for OVER two years, and printed over 3000 pages before I had to refill the ink. Don’t let the price scare you away, it more than pays for itself with as long as the ink lasts. It prints front and back, the color is vibrant, and it copies and scans. The ink is very affordable as well, for when you have to refill again in a couple years.
To go along with the printer, these are the paper products I use regularly.
28lb paper is the ONLY paper I use when I am printing our homeschool items that I need to last. It is thicker and more durable than regular printer paper, and still smooth enough to write on with no issues with smearing. I also don’t have any issues with double sided printing on this paper, as it is thick enough to where you can’t see through it when turning the page.
I also use cardstock regularly for printed pages that I want to last longer. When binding (scroll to see what I use to do this) a freshly printed unit study, cardstock can be used to laminate for the front and back pages to create covers. Cardstock can be used for posters that you want to hang on the wall, flash cards you want to print out yourself, and so much more.
I’ve had this Scotch thermal laminator for the entire length of our homeschooling journey and it hasn’t let me down. I’ve laminated many items using this and I have not had any issues with it failing in any way. I highly recommend having your own personal laminator. It protects papers that will be handled often from getting damaged.. don’t forget the laminator sheets!
Another loved item, similar to a laminator if that’s out of the budget, are sheet protectors. I go through hundreds of sheet protectors a year, that’s not an exaggeration. The biggest reason I use them is for the end of the year portfolios I create for my kids. Every sheet I put in the binder is put into a page protector first. It keeps it neat, protected, and cohesive, with no issues with turning pages or papers ripping and falling out. Page protectors are also great for worksheets that you want to reuse, you can even use a dry erase marker on the sheet protector. They are a very affordable option if a laminator is not in the budget and you are using pages often and want to keep them protected longer.
If you print out things in your homeschool often, you will want to have a small paper cutter as well. This one stores really well by not taking up a bunch of space, and allows you to cut through several sheets at a time to get nice neat lines without the hassle of having to use scissors.
Levenger Circa Desk Punch
Ok, I hate to brag, but I found this exact Levenger desk punch practically brand new at a thrift store for around $5. When I got home and researched how much it is brand new my mouth about hit the floor. Thrifting is so fun!
Anyway, this is what I use to bind any unit studies, or papers I need to keep together. It creates 11 open sides punches that you attach discs to.
I recently purchased these 1” binding discs. At first glance, they look really small. But once you start to use them you realize how many pieces of paper you can actually fit on them. This is a pretty affordable way to bind, and way more space saving than using a binder. I don’t know about you but I do not have the space, or the budget, for expensive coil or spiral binders. This has worked perfectly for me.
This is what it looks like put together! The rings make it really easy to tear out or add in any papers, and turning pages is just as easy as if it were binder rings. I’m really impressed with how this turned out!
Just buy all of them. Every single category of post its. You’ll find a reason to use them, trust me!
Of course I use a regular post it pad for little notes throughout the day, but these post it products have been the MVPs in my homeschool lately.
A friend of mine gave me some of these large Self Stick Wall Pad and I use them every single week. I use them more than I use my whiteboard! In my case, these are larger than my whiteboard, and I love that I can move them around the house to wherever we are homeschooling for the day instead of it being stationary on the wall like my whiteboard. I find these to be way more useful for me.
Here is an example of how I use the self stick paper pad. When I prepare for the week I use one sheet to write out what we will be learning about for our Geography lessons and attach it to the wall. Then when the kids need to copy the information I can move it to wherever they are sitting and they can work away. These are definitely more of a splurge, not a necessity, but a very handy splurge that I will continue to use in the season we are in.
These Post It paper tags are the MVP in my household. You will find them in every single school book we are currently using as page markers.
Just like this. These are so inexpensive, and if they fall off or get lost, replacing it isn’t a big deal at all. Eventually with us using them every day and with the kids constantly messing with them they do tend to lose their stickiness, but I have plenty around to replace them. I often have more than one in books, especially in my teacher’s manuals where I need to reference specific pages throughout the book.
The best part about these other than how cheap they are? They won’t damage your books!
I don’t even know how many times I’ve talked about this planner but I will continue to do so until I find something better, which I highly doubt will happen. Not only is it very affordable, but if you are like me you don’t care about having inspirational quotes or colorful pages or fancy binding. This planner does exactly what I need it to do. It has plenty of space for keeping track of what my kiddos are doing, as well as notes that I may need to take. It is very durable as well.
This is what it looks like on the inside. I write all of the subjects on the left hand side, each child is color coded with a different color pen, and group subjects are written in black. My notes are on the right hand side, and on the top I keep track of whos day it is to go first, and the number day of school it is. I like to keep track of our progress using a free printable 180 days of school chart that we color in each day we do school. It’s really fun to see our progress and help us to feel motivated and accomplished as the year goes on.
The only thing I add to it is a year-at-a -glance calendar at the beginning of the school year. This helps me to plan out the school year and get an idea of when we will start, end, and have breaks. I just search and find a free printable online to print out, then use double sided tape to attach it to the first page of the planner.
Mini White Boards
I use these mini dry erase boards every single day that we do schooling, and I have been since I bought them 4 years ago. I love the two pack, I use one for instruction and let my student use the other for practice. I could not find the exact pair I bought, but these are similar, and if they are anything like mine they will last a long time and be very useful to your homeschool.
Don’t forget to use good quality dry erase markers and eraser. No one likes streaks or marker that won’t erase. Invest in quality products for only a few dollars more and they will last a lot longer. I personally like the thin, fine tip dry erase markers for these small white boards.
A timer is an invaluable tool for any homeschool, but especially one with younger kids. We use it for timed reading, keeping time for breaks during the school day, and for helping us stay on track when it’s hard to stay focused (which happens a lot with a preschooler in the house).
Mounting Putty is perfect for you if you like to put things on the walls but don’t want to damage them. It works well on smooth or textured walls, and just a little bit goes a long way. I have used this for small posters, large maps, pictures, etc. And if your kids love to put signs on their doors or posters in their bedrooms, this is the perfect alternative to using thumb tacks or nails.
Bonus use- stick it to the back of picture frame corners once hung on the wall to keep them perfectly level. Even if you choose not to use this stuff for your homeschool, I am positive you can find use for it around your home.
Tri-Fold Poster Boards
You need these boards if you love doing projects or themed unit studies with your kiddos. I don’t have a link for you because these can be found at Dollar Tree for only $1.25 each! And while you’re there you can stock up on fun stickers and letters for your boards as well. These make it easy to display everything in one place without taking up wall space. It’s so fun to see how they come together as you go through your lessons.
Wooden Book Stand
This wooden book stand is another fun item to have for your homeschool, but not at all a necessity. I like to use it for displaying book pages while teaching, for example with geography or science.
The stand is also great for those of you who like to cook. Use it to stand your recipe book or iPad up while you’re cooking, so you don’t have to keep tapping the screen or dirty your pages up.
These scrapbook boxes have been one of the most practical and fun items to our homeschool this year! I use these to keep all of my son’s preschool items together in one place to make his daily lessons go smoothly without me having to search everywhere for the items we need for the day. These will work well for science units as well, especially if you need to gather a bunch of materials together.
They also stack together beautifully on a shelf all together. I keep all of my son’s preschool stuff together in my homeschool closet that I built when we first moved in.
Under Bed Storage Container
This is another one of the most used items in our homeschool and play space, a 28QT underbed storage box, and it has countless uses. From doing messy experiments with my toddler, like seen in the picture above, to playing with water and learning about measurements with my nine year old. If your kids like to play indoors, you need one of these. On rainy days it’s great for hands on fun with rainbow rice and kinetic sand.
Pinterest has tons of ideas to make hands on, mess-free indoor play fun with toddlers (the big kids like to join in too!) using an under the bed storage container. When not in use I clean it out and keep it in my garage until we are ready to use it again.
Ok, I know, this one is a bit out there. I would never say someone needed an iPad for homeschool. It is not a necessity. But if you happen to have one it can be quite useful.
We mostly homeschool at our dining room table. When a lesson calls for us to watch a video link I pull out my iPad to watch it at the table instead of having to move to the living room to use the tv. We also watch World Watch News at the start of our school day, every day, and we all really enjoy that. My kids also use it to play Night Zookeeper as an educational and fun school supplement. We even will watch animated read alouds on it if I don’t have the book we need to read on hand.
Another use for it, if you’re a creative, is to create your own posters, flash cards, worksheets etc. using different apps like Procreate or Canva. There are so many positive uses for an iPad in homeschool, and I believe it is a much more affordable option compared to another tv or a laptop.
Do you use any of these items in your homeschool? What did I miss that works well in your homeschool? Let me know below. And as always, thanks for being here!