Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 10 "Must Have" Homeschool Items

The following items are in no particular order except for God and the Bible ... that will remain first forever and always.

1.) Faith and Trust in God
I must trust our Heavenly Father and have faith in Him at all times. The Bible is our ultimate homeschool resource.  The choice to homeschool was answered after many days and nights praying upon the subject.  I feel I am doing what is best for Alyssa and that God guided in this direction for a reason.

2.) Computer with Internet Access
Our computer has become an absolute essential homeschool item used on a daily basis.  Alyssa uses the computer for researching topics of interest such as birds, animals, holidays, etc.  She also has several interactive, online learning programs for both reading and math.  I use the computer and Pinterest for researching homeschool ideas.  Google books is a great resource to find FREE e-books worth reading aloud to your children or books for your free reading time. Internet access and the computer has given me the opportunity to read many outstanding blogs written by amazing women that I follow ... stalk on a regular basis.  These virtual friends help support our homeschool.  I also wouldn't be able to access Amazon or Ebay for reasonably priced homeschool items without a computer readily available.  

3.) Camera
I love photographing our homeschool journey and teaching ideas. We also use the camera to record field trip events that we want to remember and cherish forever.  We have several cameras in the house and Alyssa has shown quite an interest in photographing the many things that God has created.

4.) Xyron Creative Station
Many people mention their laminator.  I love my Xyron and was very thankful when I received it as a Christmas gift one year.  It is capable of laminating, making stickers, and magnetic sheets without heat.  If there is an item that we plan on using for more than one lesson - we laminate it for durability.  I changed Alyssa's All About Spelling progress chart into sticker pieces so that she can work on fine motor skills.  We cut out each lesson completed and she peels off the sticker backing to cover the lesson number once completed.

5.) MP 610 Printer/Scanner/Copier
We received this free years ago with purchase of our computer.  I use my copier for printing or making copies of homeschool assignments and activities every single day.  It is very convenient not having to run into town or to the library just to print or make copies of a single item.  I recently found our ink extremely cheap on Amazon - this was after a recommendation I read by a fellow blogger!!!  I receive two of each color for the price that I would have spent on one cartridge.  We tend to go through ink in this house so every penny saved helps.  A stash of card stock and regular paper must also be on hand!  

6.) Library
We are members of three libraries which helps us gain access to a variety of resources.  Our local library provides services such as ILL and Mango Languages that we utilizes as often as possible.  These two resources are free to us.  We are limited to ten ILL items per card per month.  But, we make it work since each family member has a library card.  We are allowed 12 books out per card and 50 on another card for a different library.  Alyssa and I love reading and researching to gain knowledge from books so this is a definite must have for our homeschooling needs.  Mango Languages gives us access to studies several languages at once.  There are so many languages to choose from and we haven't done much with this yet, but plan on taking advantage of this resource in the near future to study spanish and greek.  I may even take on a third language myself while reviewing spanish.  Our library is also known for hosting an awesome reading program.  Last year, Alyssa was blessed and won a bike for her reading accomplishments.  The best thing about it was that most of the books read were ones she read independently rather than ones I read aloud so the accomplishment meant more to her in the end.  We also participate in story time as often as possible. Alyssa has enjoyed reading to Bailey the dog when free Saturday mornings allow for this to occur.            

7.) Magnetic Board and Dry Erase Markers
We use our magnetic board at least three times a week for All About Spelling lessons - we BOTH love this curriculum and will continue using it.  I just purchased Level 2 today.  We also use the dry erase board for phonics, spelling, writing, math, and science lessons.  I purchase dry eraser makers in a variety of colors.  We use the colors to show spelling rules, phonogram sounds, etc.  I have also been know to write Alyssa's morning message on the dry erase board.  I believe we bought our magnetic board at Walmart.  I also have a handful of mini dry erase boards that my husband asked either Lowe's or Home Depot to cut into pieces from refrigerator backing.  Each child in my class had a board.    

8.) Workbox System
Alyssa's workbox system keeps our day running smoothly.   There are 12 boxes full of curriculum lessons.  I use the last one for specials such as PE, Music, and Art.  We have been more organized in regards to what is accomplished on a daily basis using this system. We tend to get more done in less time which is an added bonus. This system holds Alyssa and I both accountable for what we do in a day. There are many ways to use this system with larger families so research it and see how you can make it work for you ... that is if it sounds like something you are interested in trying.

9.) Sheet Protectors
I use heavy duty sheet protectors for printable math games and curriculum workbook pages including Math U See, Horizons, and Explode the Code.  I am not sure whether we will have another child so I want to protect the pages in hopes to reuse them later.  Sheet protectors are very handy!

10.) Calendar
Alyssa and I LOVE our calendar time.  We do calendar time in both spanish and english just at different times of the day.  She learns so many math concepts in a single sitting.  She keeps a math binder to record her daily activities.  I used to do this in my 2nd grade classroom and it works wonders.  LOVE LOVE IT!!!!!  I hope to post more on this later.     

What do you feel is your ultimate, favorite resource needed for a successful homeschool year?

I am linking this post up at Many Little Blessing's Top Ten Tuesday which is coordinated with iHomeschool Networks 10 in 10 Blog Hop.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

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