Back to Homeschool Challenge, Day 4: Homeschool Shopping List
I love this time of year… fresh pencils, new binders, and colorful fun writing journals. And apparently I’ve given my joy and excitement of office supplies to my kids. Today your challenge is two-fold… check to see what you need, but being careful not to OVERSHOP!!! This is a voice of experience saying this!! 🙂 One year we wound up with so many glue sticks we had to donate a huge bag of them in the spring!! The deals might be great, but they’re not useful if you wind up cluttering your closet and taking up precious space, right?!!!
So, create your own shopping list carefully and keep to the list!
Now that I said that, though, I find that there’s a better selection of journals at the beginning of the school year than at other times. My kids *love* their writing journals so I definitely stock up on plenty of those.
And each year I also stock up on supplies for our units. This year we’re starting back with a unit on electrical circuits so we bought everything from wire, bulbs, LED diodes, battery holders, tiny motors and other things for the projects we’ll be doing. 🙂 Fun!!
And I also invested in a spiral binder. We’ve had a comb binder for years, but I decided I really needed the heartier spiral binder for some of the packets the kids will be using. But let me be honest, I’ve been thinking hard about this for 2 years before finally making the purchase. (See the note above about not over shopping!!!) I haven’t yet used it, so I can’t recommend it one way or the other.
If you’re interested you can print out the Homeschool Supply List this also includes a Homeschool Science List I put together last year. This is free to download:
One of the best purchases I’ve made in the past year or so was a Spiral Coil Binding Machine. (affiliate links) I can’t tell you how much I love this!! I used it all last year. (I’ll try to remember to put in a picture of one of our packets with the slick spiral binding!)
I wound up getting small 8 mm coils and 3/4 inch coils. I also got the clear PVC Binding Covers, which are nice, thick clear plastic covers. I have used both — the 8 mm I use for about 20-30 sheets or so and the 3/4 inch coils I used for some huge packets of materials. Since I tend to print a lot, this machine has made things much more professional looking and helps with our organization! I had a comb binder before, but would never, ever go back after having used this!! 🙂
- I got the Scotch Laminator almost 10 years ago and it is still going strong!
Here are some of the Science Supplies we’ve acquired:
Disclosure: Please note that some of the clickable links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ~Liesl
I thought I would put together a list of science supplies that we have used over the years. We slowly have acquired these science materials. I would recommend only purchasing only what you need.
Things we acquired early on in our homeschooling journey:
- Microscope: We have a dissecting microscope that is comparable to this one- AmScope SE306R-P-LED Forward-Mounted Binocular Stereo Microscope. Our microscope has upper and lower illumination. We have loved that and used it extensively to study flatworms (Planaria) and so forth.
- Prepared slides: We have several sets of prepared slides. I have all three levels, but I would suggest you start with just one set and go from there. The photos on Amazon show what is displayed on each slide.
- Rock Kits — We bought a set of rock specimens, including igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks like this one: American Educational Classroom Collection of Rocks and Minerals. We have used this regularly through the years, so I’m glad we invested in a kit so the kids could really explore the rocks. Remember too that we have a free Rocks and Minerals packet and free sheets on the Three Types of Rocks. The kids also *loved* cracking open geodes (we liked larger ones better than the 1 inch rocks).
- We also got a really amazing fossil kit. The kids *love* exploring these and we have used this with our geologic timeline activities. I can’t remember where we got our, but it wasn’t at Amazon.
- Plastic test tube set. We’ve gotten so much use out of this inexpensive set of Test Tube Trays from Oriental Trading
- We had fun with live mealworms and watching their life cycle. See this post: Working with Mealworms.
- Kits: We’ve gotten a number of kits through the years. The kids absolutely loved creating their own solar system: 4M Solar System Planetarium. They also loved the Squishy Human Body and we use that almost every year. We also have done kits on DNA, Physics and others.
Now that the kids are older — we are slowly adding other science materials. These were some of the supplies we used for our Chemistry Unit last year: Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter
- Molecule Set: When the kids were younger, we made our own molecules (with foam or marshmallows) and used a cheap kit (not really recommended), but now that they’re older we invested in an actual plastic set made by Molymod – 52 atom parts if you are like us and have a number of kids you might be interested in the larger kit. This is the one we got: Molymod Chemistry Molecular Model, Teacher Set (111 atom parts)
- Glass Graduated cylinder/s
- Scale or balance that measures in grams. I decided to get a digital scale (the one I chose measures up to 11lbs and can weight in grams, oz, etc.). Many people get balances instead, but I decided on this because we have a math balance (from Right Start Math) which has been fine for showing things like Air Has Weight (an experiment we did in our weather unit) .
- Density cubes – These are for a unit on density… which you can do as young as 4th grade, but we’re doing later (Gr. 5 and 7) because I’ll have the kids do lots of math calculations. Volume=LxWxH ; equations. Density=mass/volume or D=M/V. We got a set that includes ironwood (a very dense wood)–similar to this one Deluxe Density Cube Set (Carolina is a very reputable science supply store), but this set of 10 would work well too: Density Cube Set. I saw cheap sets, but was worried when people said the dimensions of the cubes were off.
- Equal mass set: There are different options available. We got this one ETA hand2mind, Equal Mass Diverse Materials Set, (41785). I’ll come back to update this once we’ve done our experiments.
Are you getting ready for the new Homeschool Year? These posts might be helpful:
If you are still in the Planning Stages of your Homeschool Year, you might want to check out this free resource:
Homeschool Planning for Next Year (Free Planning Pages): Homeschool Vision Planner
I shared these free Homeschool Planning Pages that I use as I try to figure out our long-range homeschooling goals. This post shares share the process I go through as I plan out the next year… I shared the planning pages that I’ve been using the past few years. I like having colorful planning pages to work on. This isn’t really a weekly/monthly planner, but rather a homeschool vision planner. This 30+-page pdf is currently FREE to download! Let me know if it’s helpful! ~Liesl
You might also be interested in these FREE Homeschool Curriculum Resource Guides:
If you are looking for more practical homeschooling tips, you might be interested in our Homeschool Planning Series with tips on Creating Your Homeschool Curriculum. We have three (of four) free resource guides available for K-1, Grades 2-3 and Grades 4-5. (The Grade 6-8 Resource Guide is mostly finished. I hope to share that early this next Fall 2017.)
Creating a Homeschool Curriculum: Kindergarten, Grade 1 This FREE 50-page Resource Guide has been created to answer some basic questions: What subjects should I cover? Where do I start? How do I know what to teach. It offers topics, units and hands-on activity ideas that might appeal to your kids.
Creating a Homeschool Curriculum Grades 2-3 FREE 30-page Resource Guide
This guide is a starting point for choosing the material you might want to cover in your homeschool. What subjects, units and topics should you cover in Grades 2 and 3? Where do I start? This resource guide will offer suggestions on what topics and hands-on activities might be engaging for your kids at this age.
As many of you know, we started a Homeschool Den Chat FB group last January.We take a summer break, but so I’m not posting at we’ll resume regular posting toward the end of August. This is a closed FB group to share what’s working (and what’s not) in your homeschool. It’s a place to talk about the ups and downs of homeschool life.
• Share what’s working in your homeschool.
• Get inspiration from others!
• Talk about homeschool strategies that work.
• Learn from one another.
Find out more about the Homeschool Den Chat Group here.
See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts. You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group. Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. ~Liesl
I’ve chosen not to use pop-up boxes at this point, but you can click here to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! Newsletters will resume in the Fall.