If you homeschool boys, you might find that a school supplies list geared specifically for them works wonders.
At least that’s what I found…
As nerdy as it may sound, I have always gotten this immense enjoyment out of purchasing office supplies. As a young student, I remember getting ridiculously excited when the time came to go back to school shopping.
What can I say – fruit scented markers and neon Post-it notes were my jam.
And don’t even get me started on my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper or Pop Out Pencil Case.
So, when the time came to organize our homeschool area and stock it with supplies, my inner nerd re-emerged ready for action.
To the supply store!
Convincing myself that we needed all these completely unnecessary items, I filled my cart and swiped my card. Take all my money, Office Depot!
Let the learning begin!
As time went on and we really began diving into our school year, I found that the perfectly organized supply cart would receive very little attention on the days where I felt like the boys learned the most. The lessons that were sticking with them had little, if anything, to do with the 120-count box of crayons or the glitter glue.
What was the problem with these kids?! Did they not understand that there were 15 variations of purple crayon in that box?
Nine times out of ten I would spend the afternoon recapping the markers that had been used that day to build a giant sword to defeat the enemy, instead of used to color worksheets. So many countless hours gathering up post-its that had been used to make comic books.
They aren’t using these school supplies “correctly” I would think in my frustrated mom mind.
After taking a step back and reevaluating the situation, I reached a conclusion:
My sons didn’t really need a traditional classroom setting with all the stereotypical necessities on a “back to school” list…and that’s okay!
I also realized that it was quite possible my younger self had been so enamored with the idea of whimsical office supplies because it was, literally, one of the most interesting things about my learning experience in a public-school setting. It added some color and vibrancy to my overall tiresome, repetitive school day.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a handful of amazing teachers whom I still look back on fondly as the primary influencers in my early education. They made learning fun and engaging.
But upon re-examining the classroom experience now, through the eyes of my children, I have gained some important insights:
1. Children don’t need overpriced stationery or fancy pencils to create and learn.
2. My boys might not have the same supply interest (or needs) as I did as a school girl.
School Supplies List | 10 “Must Have” School Supplies To Engage Homeschool Boys
School Supplies List Item 1: Playdough
A timeless classic. Who doesn’t get a little lost reminiscing in their own childhood when they take that first whiff of fresh Play-Doh?
We love starting our day with some imaginative play, building and creating. It’s a nice way to get everyone calm and focused.
We make pretend food, money, letters, people. You name it, they create it!
We have even found great printable place mats online with numbers and letters on them that we incorporate into our activities. Just laminate them and enjoy again and again!
School Supplies List Item 2: Blocks
One of the best solid investments you can make for your homeschool classroom is a nice set of sturdy wooden blocks.
We use blocks to explain so many different concepts. They provide a nice visualization for mathematics.
We sort them by size, group them by fives or tens, add or subtract with them.
(The options for using blocks in learning go on and on!)
School Supplies List Item 3: Rope/String
I’m pretty sure if my boys could only receive string for Christmas, they would be totally cool with it.
String, yarn, rope – whatever we choose to use, it never ceases to amaze me the creative ideas they come up with.
We use it to measure items around the house (height and circumference), learn to tie knots, and make pulley systems. They have even used it to make zip lines around the house for their action figures. Talk about constructive play!
School Supplies List Item 4: Cardboard/Paper
There is nothing cooler than a slew of cardboard boxes to young, curious little boys.
We make robots, build cities and trains, make news reports and play newscaster inside the “tv” they create.
School Supplies List Item 5: Glue/Tape
Odds are if you are raising all boys you are used to sticky stuff at this point.
What’s one more thing??
Since I’m fond of keeping my sons’ hands free of staples for now, we opt for glue or tape. We run out of more Scotch tape in this house than a gift-wrapping factory. But, who am I to stifle the imaginations of these budding engineers and architects?
School Supplies List Item 6: Small round objects
Marbles, pompoms, beads, even small beans or candy pieces—my boys become fixated with small round objects. They are excellent to use as manipulatives when illustrating hands-on concepts with mathematics. Sorting, counting, adding and subtracting.
There are so many awesome ways to incorporate these simple but effective manipulatives into your daily learning to engage your children.
School Supplies List Item 7: Puzzles
Just like playdough, puzzles are a wonderful way to reel everyone in and get them ready to start the day.
They allow children to improve their hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and cognitive development.
They are also a great learning tool to encourage cooperative play with multiple children.
School Supplies List Item 8: Tools
Whether they are plastic imitations or the real deal, tool set for young children are invaluable.
Give a little boy a screwdriver, screws, tape measure, and hammer (*shudder*) and watch them come to life taking things apart and putting them back together.
Children learn by doing, so tools are a great way to get children interested in learning how things work as well as improving their motor skills.
School Supplies List Item 9: Dirt
So simple and no need to pay for shipping and handling!
Give them a shovel and the freedom to explore.
We plant seeds, dig holes to make secret tunnels to faraway places (or Grandma’s house according to my four-year old), search for bugs, learn about rocks.
Boys love to investigate and playing in the dirt increases happiness, strengthens the immunes system, and inspires learning. So let them enjoy some good clean (dirty) fun!
School Supplies List Item 10: Water
On the opposite end of the spectrum, keep them clean and inspire learning with water!
We explore so many concepts in science and math through water play. Will objects sink or float? How does water change the size and weight of certain objects? How can we control the flow of water?
Trying to teach your little one to recognize their letters? Grab a paintbrush and a bowl of water and let them “paint” their letters and numbers on the sidewalk.
Few children can resist the allure of water. It’s fun to play with and easy to get mesmerized by…so let them play!
*Educator Tip: Make their exploration more entertaining by heading to the dollar store and picking up some ladles, funnels, straws, colanders, or basters and watch their brains start creating!
Is your homeschooling specific to boys? What school supplies to you find work best for them?
Contributor Samantha Lee is a homeschooling mom and blogger in the Pittsburgh area. As a wife, homeschooling parent, and freelancer, she aspires to grow academically, faithfully, and wholly everyday. Follow her on Facebook!