What supplies do you need to have on hand to homeschool?
This post includes a free printable list of basic homeschooling supplies and science materials that you might want to have on hand. This list covers everything from office supplies & art materials to math manipulatives and science materials we have used in our homeschool through the years.
Obviously, the first starting point is access to books and curriculum. No matter what style of homeschooling you opt for (and there are many), you’ll need a budget for books, textbooks and/or curriculum as well as access to your local library! Ditto on having some sort of device (tablet, laptop) and internet access. 🙂
Click here for the FREE Printable:
Homeschool Supply Basics
Basics: These are basic office supplies our homeschool family always has on hand. I would keep this list in mind if you see sales, but don’t feel you have to run out and get everything mentioned below!! The links below are affiliate links.
3×5 cards, book rings (for making flashcards stacks – we have the 1-inch and 2-inch set.) File folders (especially if you plan to make lapbooks like the Oregon Trail lapbook example below). Tape & tape dispenser, clear packing tape.
Date Stamp: I’ve found I really like having the kids date their writing and other work. It helps me remember when we’ve had a break or helps me quickly flip back to see when we covered a certain subject. It’s one of those things I’m not sure I would have purchased if I had not read about it, but I’m SO glad we have one! This is the one we got and I would get it again: Trodat Economy Self-Inking Date Stamp
When the kids were younger, I absolutely loved our workboxes! They help keep me organized. I like the bright colors and I have one subject for each color. The kids each have their own set. 🙂 10-Drawer Mobile Organizer, Assorted Colors While I couldn’t have lived without these when the kids were in preschool and elementary, now that the kids are in middle school and high school, I am slowly getting rid of the ones we purchased; we just don’t use them anymore.
Homeschool Supply Beneficial Extras
More expensive basics: These are things I have used extensively in our homeschool, but may be something you wait and see if you will use.
Printer, ink, (We have a Canon Laser Printer (this model, but that was purchased 2 years ago) and the quality of the images is fabulous. I love that I can make photocopies too. The ink sure adds up!), card stock paper
Laminator (for making re-usable math or spelling games, for foreign language bingo games, etc.). We have a Scotch laminator and it has held up for 10 years, laminating pouches, dry erase markers (for writing on the laminating sheets – they wipe off with a tissue)… great for playing bingo (which we have played for spelling review, foreign language vocabularly practice, geography terms, and more!)
We once had a comb binder, but those don’t hold up well. I recommend investing in a spiral binding machine instead.
I use mine *all* the time for making booklets and curriculum packets like the ones on the above. We have a TruBind machine & it works like a hole punch. I hand-twist the coils in place using (mostly) small (8mm) and medium (14mm) (I also have large coils (20mm), but don’t use them as often. The sizes are what I purchased, but just take that as a general guideline.) For some things, I also have clear plastic cover sheets (I have the heavier 10mil sheets, but there are thinner/cheaper cover sheets available) and back cover sheets.
Homeschool Supply Math Supplies
Math Manipulatives and Supplies
Dice for math games like this free math board game (for any math fact practice), 1-inch wooden cubes (for playing math games), tokens (or mini-erasers) for counting/addition/subtraction & playing bingo games, place value cards (for ages 4-7) protractor, balance scale (we used this for science experiments too)
Homeschool Art Supplies
Construction paper, oil pastels, paint, crayons & markers, brads, project bricks (for making history projects like a pyramid or Stonehenge), Popsicle sticks or tongue depressor sticks,
craft foam sheets (for making pin-maps) and straight pins (From our US states and capitals unit)
Even though I’m sharing these very long lists now, I would recommend only purchasing only what you need and acquiring things as you need them. It’s easy to plan… but often times when push comes to shove we don’t get to the unit or activity we originally planned!! 🙂
Here’s a glimpse at our general homeschool supply list.
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 really nice quality one that a friend passed on to us. It is a dissecting microscope like this one.) We used it when we did our cell unit and our scientific classification & taxonomy unit (below we were studying planaria under a microscope in our taxonomy unit. As you can see below, ours has a frosted plate allows light to pass through from below with transparent specimens or slides). You will want one that lights up from the top and the bottom (upper and lower illumination).
- 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).
- 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 have used ours SO much over the years! Grab the free chemistry experiment packet (for around Grade 2) here.
- 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. See our free Solar System Packet here.
They also loved the Squishy Human Body and we use that almost every year. We also have done kits on DNA, Physics and others. See our Human Body BUNDLE here.Owl Pellet Dissecting – When you do a unit on animals or on the skeletal system, this is a fabulous activity for younger kids! We always get the jumbo owl pellets and they always have a TON of bones! Grab our free owl packet here.
As the kids got older we slowly added other science materials
- 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 once they were 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). (I suggest you get this less expensive molecule kit below instead!) We used this kit ALL the time over the years… from botany to chemistry… (The building molecules activity cards you see below are in the properties of matter packet – pages 72-84.)
Update: When I did my conference session about homeschool chemistry last year, I purchased this Molecule Model Set so people attending my chemistry workshop could all build molecules. It is a fraction of the price of the original set I purchased (above) and works just as well (in my opinion).
- 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 balance scale which has been fine for showing things like Air Has Weight (see the picture above in the math area where we did an experiment we did in our weather unit).
- Density cubes – These are for a unit on density (which we covered when we did a unit on the Properties of Matter)… 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).
- Electricity & Circuits Materials: This particular unit has you working with a number of supplies to build circuits, squishy circuits, talk about conduction and more. If you are interested in those materials, visit this post: Electricity and Circuits Unit
Again, click on the link below to download the FREE Printable:
Here are links to some of the packets mentioned above. Plus, you may want to visit Our Store to see what else we have available.
Long A Sound Word Sort, Games (like bingo!) and Activities
Free Math Board Games
Writing Workshop (and the Timer) Plus, this video post explains how/why we used a timer in our Writing Workshop and why that model transformed our writing time from a drag to one of the favorite parts of our day!
One math supply I suggested above was a protractor. You can grab our FREE Complementary & Supplementary Angles packet here:
This is included in our Chemistry BUNDLE
Some booklets (included in our unit studies) that are pictured withthe laminator include:
- Muscular System
- Skeletal System
- Electricity and Circuits
- Dinosaur Unit
- The Five Senses
- Types of Clouds
- Water Cycle
- The First 20 Elements (of the Periodic Table
- USA States & Capitals
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.
Again, you can click here to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter!
Happy Homeschooling, everyone!! ~Liesl
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.