Thinking of supplies needed for homeschooling and wondering what do I need to buy for homeschooling? We have the best homeschool supply lists and what homeschool materials you really need without wasting money during back to school sales. Here’s the homeschool stuff you need, back to school lists of supplies, and homeschooling essentials.
Best Supplies Needed For Homeschooling Or Schooling At Home
It’s easy during those back to school sales and discounts on school supplies to get all excited and load up on alllll the things and homeschool school supplies that are going to make your school year ah-ma-zing (especially for new homeschoolers). If you’re wondering what school supplies do kids need most, here’s a good starting list.
What supplies do you need for homeschool?
Best Student Supplies for Homeschool and School at Home:
- Paper / construction paper
- Art paper roll
- Composition Notebooks (1 subject notebooks) / sketchbooks (standard school supplies) *see note below
- Folders / File Folders / Binders (different colors)
- Pencils (Ticonderoga No 2!) – you’ll need lots of pencils!
- Crayons / Colored Pencils
- Paints and paint brushes (including watercolor paints and tempera paints)
- Glue Bottles / Glue Sticks
- Tape (and even more tape!)
- Math manipulatives (hands-on activities) and math games like these
- Sticky Notes (Post-it notes) and/or 3×5 Cards
- Paint and paint brushes
- Planner or Calendar (depending on age of child, but especially for middle school / older kids and homeschool supplies for high school) – there are many homeschool planner and student planners online
- Reference books / homeschool books
- Educational games
- Library card!
Don’t miss our full homeschool supplies list below. We’ll have further discussion on what supplies do you need for homeschooling and the most useful things for homeschooling — from must have homeschool supplies, free school supplies for homeschool, to a homeschooling supply wish list that may differ from public school supplies lists!
Can I let you in on a little secret?
For home school (or school at home), the homeschool supplies for kindergarten or your school supplies list for 6th grade will only vary a little from your school supplies list 8th grade (or any other grades).
(I’m not talking homeschool curriculum, just strictly school supplies here.)
And, you don’t need all those shiny things to start homeschooling (or part-time school from home).
What you do need are real homeschooling supplies that will do the job. This starts with the common school supplies for students and a simple homeschool checklist — supplies for homeschool preschool, homeschool must haves for 1st grade, all the way through homeschooling supplies for high school!
Also, there is no one best homeschool supplies shopping list, everyone’s must-have school supplies for homeschoolers list will vary!
Back-to-School Supplies That Are a Waste of Money For Homeschoolers
- Cheap pencils – trust me from personal experience, just go with the good pencils from the beginning (you know about the “official” pencil for homeschoolers, right?). Skip the sales on this one and invest in good materials.
- Folders or binders – honestly, we used to buy tons of new folders and binders each year, but in recent years we’ve started recycling them and it’s been just fine.
- New lunch bag – unless you do a lot of outside the home classes and extra activities.
- New water bottle – it seems like every year kids want the latest and greatest cool water bottle trend. Don’t fall for it. The water bottles you currently have are probably just fine.
- Back to school clothes – outside of a few items that they’ve outgrown, there’s no need to do an entire back to school wardrobe refresh for your kids. Stick with one or two important or fun items (sneakers or a funny t-shirt) and call it a day.
- Composition books or notebooks – I’m not saying you don’t need paper, but I’m saying understand how your child best learns. For example, my daughter uses sketchbooks because she draws and also does visual note taking, so all those notebooks I bought were a waste of money in our house. (Also, if your kids have a tablet, they may find that taking notes on there is easier!)
- Calculator – if your kid has a phone, they already have the calculator they need. However, if you have a child doing advance math or science, they may need a scientific calculator. Otherwise, skip them.
- Highlighters – unless your kids are older and / or do a lot of textbook readings, highlighters are probably a waste of money for kids. (However, I do use them, so you may find as a homeschool parent you’ll use them.)
- Expensive Curriculum – if you’re new to homeschooling, skip the expensive curriculum for the first year. Get your feet wet for a few months before buying the best homeschool curriculum for your family.
What’s on your list of back to school items you don’t actually need? Let me know and I’ll add them to this list!
Let’s get to what do you need for homeschooling (be sure to read through all of this before making your homeschool shopping list!)…
Looking for kindergarten homeschool supplies or preschooling supplies?
Don’t forget! You also need homeschool teacher supplies and homeschool classroom supplies, so you need a list for you in addition to the homeschool students supply list.
Teacher Supplies for Homeschooling (Ultimate Homeschool Supply List for Homeschooling Moms and Dads)
There will be some overlap with student supplies and teacher supplies for homeschooling, but as the educator, you may also need specific supplies.
What do I need for homeschooling? (What are the best homeschool supplies for homeschool moms and dads?)
Make sure to treat yourself to your own homeschool teaching supplies that only you are allowed to use!
(Trust me on this! As the homeschooling parent, you’ll need an exclusive homeschool supply list! Don’t be embarrassed to create your own teacher wish list!)
Parent homeschooling supplies and best things to have for homeschool:
- Teacher only pens, pencils, markers, and highlighters
- Sharpie markers (I use Sharpies all the time!)
- Pencil sharpener
- Desk carousel
- Paper pads (lined, graph, and colored construction paper)
- Sticky notes
- Teacher scissors (for your desk only!)
- Tape and tape dispenser (that no one else uses!) – you will need so much more tape than you ever thought you would need, so buy it when you see deals!
- Chalkboard and chalk or white board with dry erase markers (if you have to choose, go with the dry erase board for homeschool)
- Bins or file boxes (aka: teacher organization bins)
- Stapler and staples (that no one else uses!)
- Laminator *see full explanation and discussion below on whether you need a laminator for homeschooling – other homeschool parent input
Remember, your homeschooling must haves may vary from this supply list. And, they will definitely vary by grade level. Younger kids school supplies will be different than school supplies for high school students and lesson plans needs. Use this as a starting point and tailor it to your homeschool lists needs. Make your own ultimate teacher supply list for home school!
You may or may not need a backpack as party of your home school supplies…
Do I need a backpack for homeschooling?
You may think that you don’t need home school backpacks for your kids, but I encourage you to still buy backpacks for school! You’ll probably spend a portion of your homeschooling outside of the home and you will put backpacks to good use! (We’ve gone through so many backpacks!)
Use homeschool backpacks for:
- Library visits (!!!)
- Studying at other locations
- Nature walks
- Park time
- Overnight bag/slumber parties
- Extracurriculars (like sports when they need to carry gear or change clothes)
Want a fun first day of school activity for kids? Make a back to school cone for new home school supplies!
Where to get homeschool supplies?
You can get homeschool supplies anywhere you buy regular supplies for school. You don’t necessarily need special homeschool resources or homeschool stores, unless you are looking specifically for a homeschooling curriculum. Everything else can be bought online or through regular retail stores.
Places to get homeschool supplies:
- Online stores
- Regular retail stores
- Dollar store / discount stores
- Thrift stores
- Drug stores
- Grocery stores
- Homeschool supplies store / homeschool store (search: homeschooling store near me)
- Teaching and education stores
- Office supply stores (in the office supplies section like paper clips, pens, mechanical pencils, etc. for your standard office supplies list)
- Discount school supply stores (search online)
You can usually find a school supplies discount at any of those stores during back to school sales.
TIP: Before you head out, make your homeschool shopping list so that you don’t get tricked into buying things just because you see supplies on sale! This will help keep you on task for just the homeschool supplies needed. Follow that homeschooling checklist to save money on school supplies for your back to homeschool supply list.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY SITE! THEY HAVE HUNDREDS OF GREAT TEACHER SUPPLIES, SUPPLIES FOR CLASSROOM, AND HOMESCHOOLING SUPPLIES, MANY EVEN $10 AND UNDER (AND ALWAYS RUN GREAT BACK TO SCHOOL DEALS!)
How can I get free homeschool supplies?
Your homeschooling supplies list doesn’t have to break the bank! There are ways to get super cheap and even free supplies for school!
How To Get Homeschool Supplies For Free:
- Join free homeschool curriculum Facebook pages where people give away used homeschool curricula and supplies (or sell them for really cheap — tons of free art supplies for homeschoolers!).
- Keep an eye on local parenting social media pages and groups, which often list things for free just to get rid of them. (I saw a super nice desk for free not long ago!)
- Follow Facebook Marketplace for your area. (It’s like a local online yard sale!) People post things for sale, but there are also a great deal free (usable!) items on there, too.
- Join your local city’s Facebook FREE giveaways page. (If your area has one.) It’s where people give away stuff for free that they no longer want.
- Visit garage sales and yard sales on the last day. Many people are willing to give things away super cheap (a box full of learning toys) or even free (“Here! Take this box of crayons and pencils!”) just so that don’t have to deal with it.”
- Check with your local library. Libraries are starting to offer a great deal of free homeschooling resources and maybe evens some free homeschooling supplies / school supply items! (I often see libraries give away pre packaged art projects to do at home. Our library has a table that they change out the student projects regularly!) So, renew that library card if it has expired!
- Search online for things like free homeschool supplies by mail. Some companies offer free supplies for teachers and homeschooling.
If you have any other tips for free supplies for homeschooling, let us know and we’ll add it to our list!
How To Organize Home School Supplies
Essential Homeschool Supply Tips
If you’re new to homeschooling, this will help to know as your assembling a great list of things you need to home school.
The beginning of the school year can be exciting, whether you’re a new homeschooling mom or a you’ve homeschooled for years.
All the new school supplies and all the optimism that comes with a fun new homeschooling schedule makes you feel refreshed for the entire school year to come.
Your kids are going to move all around your house (and even use outside) for learning — even if you have a homeschool classroom or designated learning area.
Because learning at home takes place all over, it’s helpful to have a school supply caddy to organize school supplies for homeschool.
Kids can carry the caddy to where they are working – be it on their bed, at the kitchen table, or on the balcony or back patio – and have everything they need at their fingertips.
(This will also help provide storage for homeschool supplies and help keep things tidy around the house.)
A supply caddy that has a large opening on one side of the handle and then smaller compartments on the other side works best. Then, your homeschooler has space to carry a notebook, sketchpad, and books on the big side and a place for their pencils, crayons, glue, tempera paint, etc. on the other side (for creative projects).
A caddy, sometimes called art caddy, for school supplies also works well if you have multiple homeschoolers. Each student gets their own supply caddy (of a different color) and they’re responsible for only using their supplies, keeping track of them, reloading the supplies, and then storing them when not in use.
It’s a perfect way to organize each student’s school supplies for homeschooling and keep your learning space clutter free!
ROLLING CART FOR SUPPLIES
If you have room to push it away in a corner, you may want to consider a rolling cart like this (and then you can just pull it up to the dining room table whenever you need schooling supplies!).
Carts and caddies will help you create an organized and super flexible learning environment for school books and supply items, especially if you don’t have a dedicated space.
One last thing before we answer what supplies do I need for homeschooling in more detail…
Homeschool Classroom: What should I put in my homeschool room?
This isn’t really a school supply, but I did want to mention it here since I get the question about homeschool classrooms or how to homeschool in small spaces if you don’t have room for school supplies.
You do not necessarily need a homeschool classroom for homeschooling / schooling at home.
You can create a designated homeschool space:
- With a classroom area
- At a table (like the dining room table or kitchen table)
- In a kids’ bedroom
- With a lap desk or a simple clipboard (so they can move all around!)
- In a closest (for real)
So, don’t let lack of space for school supplies and studying worry you!
You’ll also find that older children tend to move around and school in different areas. Let them take their home schooling supplies along and “school” wherever they’re comfortable!
Onto our list of school supplies!
OTHER SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR HOMESCHOOLING
What school supplies do you need for homeschooling?
So we told you the homeschool essential supplies, but what supplies are needed for homeschooling in addition to that list?
In addition to the basic supplies we mentioned (above) here are the other items that will help with homeschooling / schooling at home.
We’ve divided them into required homeschool supplies vs. school supplies specific to your needs vs. cool supplies for school that you can take or leave.
ESSENTIAL HOMESCHOOL SUPPLIES
So you have the basic school supplies (listed at the top of the post) and a supply caddy (to hold and organize supplies).
Here are other things you’ll definitely need to start homeschooling (or continue home school / school at home):
1. Student Laptop or Desktop Computer
Is it possible to homeschool without a computer or internet?
BUT, if you have internet, I highly recommended getting your kids a laptop or computer for homeschool, especially if you’re doing any kind of distance learning or online classes.
(It’s on our homeschool must haves for homeschooling list!)
There’s a wealth of resources for online homeschool now and you don’t want to miss out on them.
(Plus, your kids definitely need to have keyboarding/typing skills in today’s world. You want them to be able to practice that!)
So, what is the best laptop for homeschool or best computer for homeschool?
If you need help, we’ve created a complete guide to homeschool computers (and how to choose the best ones and what to stay away from if you’re doing online classes).
CHECK OUT THE GUIDE HERE: Laptop vs Desktop: Which Is Best for Home School?
2. Map or Globe
Maps and globes are school supplies that we’ve consistently used every year since we started, so definitely add at least one of those to your list.
It’s one of the things that you buy that you will use for YEARS (and there aren’t a lot of things that fall into that category). You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
We have a smaller world globe, a decorative metal U.S. wall map on our wall (that is still functional), and a write on/wipe off map that can be rolled up when not in use.
We use all of them regularly.
(There’s also this cool scratch off world map that it’s my list. I think it will be awesome to scratch off each country as we learn about them!)
If my daughter were younger, I would DEFINITELY get this globe. Such a great idea for interactive learning in the 4-10 age range and supplies for kindergarten homeschool.
3. Planner or Calendar
You’ll definitely want to get a planner or calendar as part of your homeschooling supply purchase.
You can find free printable calendars online, use an app on your phone, or grab one of the popular planners that includes calendars and space for course, class, and schedule planning.
If your homeschoolers are older (like ages 10+), consider getting them their own student planner.
My daughter has used one for the last couple of years and it’s really helped give her autonomy and ownership of her studies. (And, she’s had a lot of fun with the stickers and space for journaling in it, too!)
You may also want to get a wall calendar like this (or even a white boards) that the entire family can use and everyone can see the schedule at a glance.
Additional Recommended Essential Homeschool Supplies
I asked the parents in our private homeschool group (come on over!) what supplies they use regularly and not just cool ones, but the right homeschool supplies!
Here are the school supplies they recommended for homeschool supplies you must have…
What supplies do you need to homeschool?
- 3-ring hole punch
- Binder clips (not just for clipping paper, but for hanging things)
- 3-ring binders
- Personal size whiteboard (good idea for the kids, especially if you get a magnetic whiteboard to use magnet learning) – I honestly think these are a better choice than huge chalkboards. Kids can take them all over the house to work on different things at different times. (Plus, you don’t need extra wall space for them like with chalk boards.)
- Electric pencil sharpener
- Dry erase boards for wall
- Plastic sleeves for copy work (these will become one of your favorite things because you can use them as write on / wipe off for worksheets and not have to print worksheets over and over!)
- Periodic table of elements
- Historical timeline
- Dot markers / A-dot marker set
- Science kits with all the supplies included (we get these instead of a bunch of different homeschool science supplies)
HOMESCHOOL SUPPLIES THAT DEPEND ON YOUR STUDIES / FAMILY NEEDS
Remember, the things you need for homeschooling will differ from another family’s homeschooling essentials. Base your supply list on your family need / educational goals!
TIP: Don’t go overboard on supply items for your first year. You’ll do a lot of adapting and changing during your first year of homeschooling and you don’t want to be stuck with a ton of expensive homeschool curriculum and supplies. Get the right supplies, not a lot of them! Also, what you needed last year may be different for this year! Take a look at your needs vs wants from the past year and create your school supply checklist from that.
These may also be homeschool necessities in your family, depending on your years of homeschooling:
If you have to choose between either a laptop/computer or a student tablet for homeschool, always go with the laptop or computer for students because some classes may be hard to participate in on a tablet.
However, if you are able to get a laptop and a tablet, do it!
My daughter uses her laptop and tablet equally, just for different things during school time including online learning, classes, Procreate for art projects, and more.
Best Deal on Tablets Today!
I went back and forth between listing a printer as an essential homeschool supply or not.
Some families use printers A LOT. Others, don’t use printers at all.
So, whether or not to get a printers will depend on:
- Ages and stages of kids (I found that I printed a lot more when my daughter was younger for copy work, worksheets, etc., so we need a really good printer then)
- If you’re using a curriculum or course that requires it
- If you/your kids are more visual and need a lot of visual prompts
- Do you need to retain copies of work for state reporting
- Do you need a wireless printer
No matter, you will need a way to print on occasion, but the local library may suffice for that.
If you get a printer, be sure to add extra printer cartridges!
I happen to think that a microscope is an ESSENTIAL on the home school supply list, but I (sadly) recognize that not everyone feels that way.
Microscopes are great for homeschool STEM studies and are cool enough that they encourage learning. (My kid is constantly bringing in gross stuff to look at under her microscope.)
If you have littles, I would start with a (SUPER cheap) portable pocket microscope that you can even use on nature walks (!) or a starter microscope like this that will get kids accustomed to the concept and using a micro scope.
As your kids age, you’ll want to consider a better microscope.
I’ve written an entire guide about microscopes to help you make the best decision (without wasting money!).
4. Fun Learning Games
I honestly think that learning games are essential, but I put them in this section because some people aren’t game families.
(How dare you.)
Did you know there’s an entire Game schooling movement using mostly games to learn because they’re so effective and it’s such a fun way to learn?
(And, the best part? It’s a great way to add in regular family time!)
Games are great to learn with because if your kid is having trouble with a topic/subject it takes the focus off of the learning aspect and puts it on the fun aspect (where they don’t even realize they’re learning!).
For example, my kid really struggled with spelling (for a couple of different reasons) and was NOT successful with spelling tests as part of her school work.
This spelling game for kids REALLY helped. After that, it was like it just clicked for her!
You can even create file folder games that kids can pick and play alone for specific course subjects. (Folders are for way more than just loose papers! Use them for games, lapbooks, daily schedules and more!))
Also, for kindergarten homeschool and preschool homeschool, learning games can also help with fine motor skills!
Need game ideas? Check out our 58 Best Board Games List Recommended By Parents
COOL HOMESCHOOL SUPPLIES TO HAVE (BUT AREN’T REQUIRED)
1. Projector for Homeschool
Most homeschoolers won’t need a home projector. However, it can come in handy, especially if you’re homeschooling multiple kids or host group meet-ups or homeschool co-op classes.
Projector ideas include:
- Demonstrating a concept to the group from your computer
- Using it as an interactive whiteboard
- Watching documentaries for class or movies with the family “theater” style
- Creating a gaming lounge for your kids and their friends
- Share interactive picture books and videos
- Use it for learning games and quizzes
- Show PowerPoints or other multi-media presentations
I have called Osmo ONE OF THE BEST LEARNING TOOLS WE’VE EVER PURCHASED. (And, I stand behind it, even years later!)
If you’re not familiar, Osmo is a learning game system that you use with a tablet or phone. It covers subjects like math, reading, art, music and more in really fun and creative ways.
You can read my full review on the Osmo system, but if you have kids in the 5-12 age range, consider it.
I honestly think it’s one of the best elementary school learning tools.
A telescope is another great learning tool for home learning. If you have a kid that’s really into science or planets and galaxies, you should definitely consider a telescope.
A word of warning: trying to find a telescope for your kid can be confusing and overwhelming.
Do you need a refractor or reflector telescope?
How do you know?
If this is on your school supply list, you might want to check out our STUDENT TELESCOPE FOR SCHOOL GUIDE.
3. Laminator for Homeschool
Many homeschool parents will argue that laminator is must-have homeschooling equipment and this should go on the ESSENTIAL homeschool supply list.
In case you don’t know, a laminator places a protective film over documents, papers, and worksheets.
Some home school parents swear by their laminator. Ask in any homeschool families group and a laminator will be on the list!
I happen to think it depends on how much you laminate. We laminate a few things throughout the year and use these self-sealing laminating pouches and it works just fine. We buy one pack and it lasts a couple of years.
Laminating machines are relatively inexpensive. You can find some for less than the cost of those self-sealing laminating pouches! (But, you still need to buy the laminating film for each laminating machine.)
We hoped this helped answer what school supplies do I need for homeschooling and helped to better understand what you need for homeschooling.
If you’re new to homeschooling or school at home, start with the basic list of school supplies, school for a couple of months and then see what you need to add so you don’t waste money! The materials for homeschooling will vary based on your family’s specific needs.
MORE AWESOME HOMESCHOOLING RESOURCES: How To Set Up A Homeschool Room (including answering Do I need a dedicated homeschool room? and more homeschool organization tips)
We hope this helped you figure out you homeschool must have supplies, homeschooling products, and homeschool accessories for back to school, as well as give you some ideas for fun school supplies!