Homeschooling requires some expenditures each year – the amount you spend and the items you feel are a priority are going to be as unique as you are. Learning more about what you need – or must have – and what items you simply want can help you prioritize your purchases and avoid blowing your budget on pieces you don’t really need.
These items are the must-haves of homeschooling – while you can function without these, it will be more difficult. Many of these are big ticket items, but they only need to be purchased once.
- Computer: Since many independently published and free curriculum items are only available online, a computer is essential. A laptop can help you school on the go, but a desktop will get the job done, too.
- Printer: The ability to print out school work pages, reference materials and other sheets makes it easy to provide your children with consumable pages to work on. Some of the most popular books and systems come complete with consumables on CD-ROM – making a printer a must.
- Planner: Whether you do your planning online or on paper, some kind of planning book is essential. Not only will it help you organize your homeschooling time, it can also be used to meet your homeschooling requirements in some states.
- Basic office and art supplies: Homeschooling families go through a higher than usual amount of paper, pencils, crayons and other basic school supplies. Stocking up on these items in advance makes it easy to offer your kids the items they need to complete projects and assigned tasks.
Items that would enrich your week and give you a way to learn outside of the home can complement your school curriculum and allow your kids to have some time with their peers as well. While these items are not true needs, most homeschool moms would appreciate them.
- Museum, zoo or other memberships: Organizations and attractions that offer an annual pass offer many benefits beyond the initial savings.
- Co-Ops and classes: While not an essential, the chance to join a co-op gives you the chance to interact with other moms; it also allows your kids to learn something new. Co-Ops and clubs vary tremendously – some are just like school and highly structured, while others are more social and less structured. Depending on your needs and your child’s learning style, a class outside the home is a great addition to your program.
- Laminator: Lamination can cut down on wear and tear on paper items you use frequently – from file folder games to maps and worksheets. It can also turn a regular worksheet into a reusable learning tool. Laminators are very useful, but they can be expensive – and you need to consider both your initial purchase cost and the cost of consumable pages.
Would be Nice
These items are a little more expensive and represent a luxury purchase for many homeschooling families. None of them are essential to learning, but each adds an element of interest to your homeschool program.
- Foreign language programs: The big package deals can run over $500, so while they are a great way to learn a new language, they may be out of reach for some families. If your child is not sure about learning a language, you may be able to get some materials from your local library to start before you take the plunge and buy a large package program.
- Tech toys: From 3D printers to iPads, these items are not essential to your child’s learning but they offer many benefits. You may be able to access some of the newest high tech items at your local library and try before you buy.
- Fancy homeschooling room: Your child needs space to grow and learn – but not a Pinterest-worthy homeschool room. Focus on building a truly comfortable and workable location first – and worry about the décor later.