Whether or not you are new to homeschooling, back to school time is always overwhelming. Adding to the madness is the short season of back to school supplies sales. Instead of buying everything you think your children may need, you can save money and overwhelm by following these simple tips. You will only buy the things you truly need when you follow these easy rules.
Inventory What You Already Have on Hand
First things first. You want to go through any supplies your kids have and make a list. This will make it so much easier to you determine the things they’re going to need. As you go through the list of things they’ll need, you can compare it to your list of things they have and mark off anything you don’t need. This can save you a lot of money and a lot of headaches. Don’t forget to check backpacks, junk drawers, desks and other places that supplies like to hide. I personally store extra supplies in my basement on our coupon shelves, yes I am a couponer!
Check Your Curriculum for the Upcoming Year and Shop Accordingly
Another simple tip is to go through the curriculum you’ll be teaching from and make a list of needed supplies. Some curriculum such as Christian Kids Explore Titles include supply lists you can refer to. This step takes a little time but its worth it. You don’t want to find out you don’t have what you need a day in advance, some supplies are trickier to find than others. I usually take about a week to do this, working through each list for each subject, until I have a complete list.
Shop During the Back To School Season
It is important to me to shop for my supplies during back to school season because it means I can save so much money. Supplies are marked down drastically and the prices will go back up in no time. The last thing you want is to run out of supplies and have to pay full price later on in the year. Shopping the sales means I have more money in my budget for other things later on down the road.
Don’t Forget the Organizational Tools
When you homeschool, you need more than just back to school supplies – you also need organizational tools. This allows you to organize all the material you use for teaching. One of my favorites is our workboxes, a rolling cart that has bins for each subject and it’s been my favorite tool to have on hand. We also have a cube organizer with cubes that I purchased at Ikea. You can get these cube organizers from Amazon, Walmart, and Target as well and they are another great addition to a homeschooling house. I love these shelves for storage because it keeps my home organized and prevents my homeschool supplies from taking over our home. Bookshelves are another necessity, I recently upgraded ours but to start out we used a simple sling bookshelf, the link is the exact one we used and it held up for over a year and I was very happy with it, we simply had too many books for it to handle!
Ask Other Homeschoolers What They Recommend
If you’re unsure of where to begin, you can find a number of great homeschool groups online where you can ask for recommendations on what their favorite supplies are. I’d recommend specifying based on the ages of your children and maybe mention the curriculum you plan to use. I’d also recommend reaching out to local homeschool friends.
Our favorite supplies include:
Kwik Stix– These are solid tempera paint sticks that are so easy to use that I even my toddler is able to use them! Plus they are super fun, dry fast and clean up easily.
Washable Window Markers– We have a kinesthetic learner in my house and he loves to write his sight words on the windows. This has made things so much fun for him when it comes to language arts!
RCA Viking Pro– This is an excellent economical alternative to a laptop. We bought ours for the new school year and it has functioned really well so far. While it’s technically a tablet that only lends to its benefits in my opinion. It allows my son to use it as a touchscreen as well as using the trackpad. It has 32 GB of storage on the tablet but we were able to use a 128 GB micro SD card to expand storage space. It is on the small side, a benefit for us but perhaps a con for others. The one major problem has been that it doesn’t have adobe flash which means he can’t play “Teach Your Monster To Read”, otherwise it was an excellent purchase for us!
Host a Curriculum and Supplies Swap
If you are part of a local homeschool group, now might be the perfect time to host a curriculum and supplies swap with the others members. It’s a great way to clean out what you don’t need and swap for something you do. The great part of a homeschool group is that someone may need the supplies you have outgrown, while someone else might have outgrown the supplies you need!
There you have it. Shopping for back to school supplies for homeschool is much easier than you might think. These tips will allow you to get the supplies your kids will actually need without overspending on items they don’t need. Plus, you’ll get all the organizational tools you need for keeping your home tidy! Nothing is more relaxing to me than organizing my homeschool supplies- I know that’s totally lame, I’ll own it!
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