I was inclined to name the post "Favorite Homeschool Tools" but somehow the word tools seemed too much like work. Don't get me wrong, homeschooling is work, hard work but it's also a great joy as well as making a big mess. 🙂
Stuff fits better.
So this is my list of what I consider necessary to my happy homeschool home.
A multi-event timer I have this one from Pampered Chef (that link leads to my neighbor's Pampered Chef page, she's great). This handy little device was inexpensive and keeps me on track throughout the day. I can set it for spelling tests or timed math drills, to keep track of computer time and many other things. It's got a magnet back as well as a little stand so when not in use I keep it right on the fridge. Truly a useful little gadget that I bought based upon Jen's recommendation a few years ago.
- Strathmore Visual Journal is also another must have around here. We use them as journals, art books, sketchbooks, and notebooks. They are a little pricey but the quality is excellent and the paper is wonderful to touch, accepting markers, pens, charcoals, and paints equally well. They make nice keepsakes when full. I always put one in each of the Easter baskets and everyone gets one in September.
- Bulldog clips. Isn't that a funny name? I use these things for everything. I clip papers together, I save places in our lesson planners and in my daily planner. I clip together holy cards to carry around (to remind me to pray for souls gone before us), I use them to hold up artwork (clipped to a string or even the window valances). In a pinch they can even work as chip bag closers. I buy colored ones sometimes just to be kicky :).
- A label maker. Now you know what kind of a geek I really am. I label everything. All the books, planners and notebooks, the book shelves (in the ongoing hope that someone will re-shelve an American history book on the shelf labeled as such and so on, it's not yet happened but I live in hope). I label toys, art supplies, and the children (just kidding). It's a fun little gadget that allows me the illusion of being organized.
- Amazon Prime. This is truly the homeschooling mother's best friend. For $99 a year I get free shipping on just about everything I order. I use this to my advantage on books, office supplies, grocery items, personal care items, medical supplies, decor and craft supplies and art supplies. I also make great use of the streaming movies in our homeschool, Mr. Rogers, Cyberchase, Mr. Wizard's World, Bill Nye, Popular Mechanics, Magic School bus, Liberty Kids, How It's Made, and Reading Rainbow all available for free or very low cost. I also use the Kindle Lending Library, Unlimited Kindle, Prime Music and Prime Photos. I can't imagine how we all did this before Prime changed everything.
I have a confession to make. I may be the last homeschool mama in America to not use a tablet or iPad for homeschooling. Erin has a tablet and so does Dave but I just use the Kindle to read and we all use the computer and laptops but we aren't really using apps for homeschooling. At least not yet. I would, someday, like to get an iPad and take advantage of some of the fun opportunities for learning there, but it's not in the cards yet. I am going against the tide here but I think competing with Minecraft and the WiiU is difficult enough.
What is your favorite homeschool gadget or supply?