We have now been in this “homeschool thing” for one full year and after a year of being in the full swing of things, there are some tools I have learnt that I can’t live without whereas there are other tools that I can do without. Let’s go through my top tools and check out my Amazon Storefront for our top homeschool books.
As a homeschooler, a printer is an absolute must-have. Not only a printer but ideally an HP Instant Ink enabled printer. At first glance, the Instant Ink plan might seem unnecessary but if you are a homeschooler who purchases digital print and digital text from online sources, you will find that a printer is priceless. In order to maximize my value, I usually opt for the highest business printing level which is approximately $23/month during two months of the year when I am planning and printing all my curriculum. This plan allows you to print 700 pages per month for one low cost of $23 and I am able to print all our textbooks for the year in that 1400 page allotment. Once I finish printing all of our books, I switch my plan to the lowest plan which is $4/month for up to 50 pages and this is usually enough to handle our random printing that happens in any given month. The HP Instant Ink plan counts the pages you print (including double sided pages) and sends you ink as your printer starts to run low on ink. It’s fantastic and cheaper than trying to refill ink yourself. The best part is that I am able to print all our pages at the best quality setting without worrying about ink usage because it’s all about the total pages printed and not about the amount of ink used. The printer I recommended here allows you to do automatic double sided printing which I believe is essential for book printing and homeschooling workbooks. HP Instant Ink enabled printers often come with an automatic 2-3 months of free printing and that includes the highest tier of 700 pages! (so you could print your first 2 months of prepping your yearly books for FREE), get an ADDITIONAL MONTH OF FREE PRINTING if you enter this code (y5dbnm) into the promotional code box when registering your printer.
One of our most used tools in our first year is our laminator. We have a basic and simple laminator but it allows us to do extraordinary things. In our Kindergarten year of learning, there was a lot of repetitive practice work and I immediately decided it would be more environmentally friendly to laminate the practice sheets hence transforming them into dry erase sheets. This can be especially useful when practicing handwriting and working with basic writing skills for elementary aged children.
We purchased our Daily Magenetic Calendar when my son turned two and we included it in his daily morning routine. This calendar served as a great tool for teaching him the days of the week, months of the year and the seasons. The repetition provided by setting up the calendar together daily creates a learning opportunity with minimal pressure.
Similar to the daily calendar, this monthly calendar allows you to involve your child in getting a monthly overview of the days ahead. We purchased this calendar and added it to our monthly routine when my son turned three and it was a wonderful addition to our routine. At the start of every month, my son and I sit down together and we reset our calendar and think about the events coming up in the month (I usually have my phone on hand with all our appointments and commitments), he places all the magnets in the right places and it is often the highlight of his day.
Sand Glass Timers
If your child(ren) is anything like mine, they have a special thing for being timed and “beating the clock”. During our first year of homeschool, I discovered these timers and they have helped us with breaking up our tasks and giving him something tangible to in charge of and keep an eye on for the task at hand.
An abacus is an invaluable tool in any young child’s learning of numbers and math. We purchased an abacus fairly early into our learning journey and it really came in handy for introducing math concepts such as addition, subtraction and grouping.
Can any kindergarten learning journey be complete without the use of dot markers? This is no different for a homeschool family. Dot markers are excellent for adding some creativity to your letter learning and practice. We found that many of the curriculum and worksheets we used involved the usage of dot markers so I highly suggest grabbing some. If you’re not interested in the full kit, you can optionally purchase single Bingo Daubers to serve the same purpose (the only issue you might run into is the ink bleed).
I cannot say enough great things about pattern blocks and the versatility they add to your homeschool day. We absolutely loved using pattern blocks in our daily learning and fun time. They are great for creating familiarity with shapes, colours and using shapes and colours to create imagery, letters and more. This specific set is great because it is self containing and comes with templates to create your own while being durable and environmentally friendly.
This is absolutely our favourite math manipulative set. We tried many sets and this was the best. It is durable, fun and engaging, This set includes muffins, dice and game suggestions; everything you need to bring math and numbers to life for your little one during your homeschool day.
Magnetic Push Pins
In our various books and curriculum used in our first year, a recurring activity type was counting with magnets and I had a very hard time finding magnets that were small and attractive for little ones. I stumbled upon these magnetic push pins in my online browsing and they were perfect. We used our magnetic push pins on baking sheets for counting and not only was it fun but it was a great interactive way to bring math to life.
We purchased this easel before making a decision to homeschool and at a low cost of $25 we have definitely got our money’s worth. My son is able to freely use all three sides of this easel. An easel with three sides? This easel has both a blackboard side to be used with chalk, a white board to be used with dry erase markers and of course the roll of paper that can be used with markers, pens or paint. This is a great tool to have on hand because it allows your child to freely practice their creativity or their writing as they feel the need to.
This wraps up my list of great and useful tools that have made our first year of homeschooling smooth and effective. I hope that you are able to find some tools in this list to ease yourself and your child into learning and making it fun and pressure-free.
Check out my Amazon storefront for our favourite homeschool books!!!
If you are interested in my favourite items of 2019, check them out here.