Real talk? Those supplies needed for homeschooling lists and back to school sales are probably costing you more money than you need to spend for homeschool and leaving you with a ton of school supplies that probably won’t even get used. We have the best homeschool supply list to help determine essential homeschool supplies.
What Supplies Do You Need 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 that are going to make your school year ah-ma-zing!
But, can I let you in on a little secret?
For home school (or school at home), the supplies for homeschooling 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.
Student Supplies for Homeschool and School at Home
- Notebooks / sketchbooks
- Folders / Binders
- Crayons / Colored Pencils
- Paints and paint brushes
- Glue / Glue Sticks
- Sticky Notes and/or 3×5 Cards
- Planner or Calendar
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 stores
- Drug stores
- Grocery stores
- Teaching and education stores
- Office supply stores
- Discount school supply stores (search online)
You can usually find a school supplies discount at any of those stores during back to school sales.
How can I get free homeschool supplies?
- Join free homeschool curriculum Facebook pages where people give away used homeschool curricula and supplies (or sell them for really cheap).
- 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.
- 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!
CHECK THIS OUT NEXT:
How To Organize Home School Supplies
If you’re new to homeschooling, this will help to know:
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. 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, etc. on the other side.
Caddy for school supplies also work 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.
One last thing before we answer, What supplies do I need for homeschooling?
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 space:
- With a classroom area
- At a table (like the dining room)
- 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!
Onto our list of school supplies!
OTHER SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR HOMESCHOOLING
What school supplies do you need for homeschooling?
So we told you the basic things, 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.
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:
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 that the entire family can use and everyone can see the schedule at a glance.
I asked the parents in our private homeschool group (come on over!) what supplies they use regularly.
Here are the school supplies they recommended:
- 3-ring hole punch
- Binder clips (not just for clipping paper, but for hanging things)
- Personal size whiteboard (for the kids)
- Electric pencil sharpener
- Dry erase boards for wall
- Plastic sleeves for copy work
- Periodic table of elements
- Historical timeline
- Dot markers
HOMESCHOOL SUPPLIES THAT DEPEND ON YOUR STUDIES / FAMILY NEEDS
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.
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.
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.)
- 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
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 Gameschooling movement using mostly games to learn because they’re so effective?
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), but this spelling game for kids REALLY helped. After that, it was like it just clicked for her!
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.
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 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.
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.)
We hoped this helped answer, What school supplies do I 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 supplies you need for homeschooling will vary based on your family’s specific needs.