Preparing to Homeschool: A Few Useful Items
By Tiffany Davis
The first year homeschooling with your children requires a lot of research. You must choose or create a curriculum, prepare your library, and set up workspaces. Every age group requires different items to complete the year. Some are basic and others are more specific. There are a few key items, however, that will save the day.
It will soon be apparent how many items are used for simple organization. Invest in some quality office supplies. Purchase a good quality three-hole punch that can handle large quantities of paper at once. A printer that produces both black and white and color copies will help with projects. If you have an ink-jet printer, it is time to convert to a laser printer. This will help when printing a high volume of papers. Be sure the printer also has the ability to make copies. A good stapler, paper cutter, and several flash drives will also come in handy.
Every family will have different computer needs. Once you decide on a curriculum, it will be easier to determine the necessity of a computer. If you plan to use an online curriculum, each child will probably need their own computer. If your curriculum is based mostly on books, your children may be able to take turns on the family computer. High school students will benefit from their own laptop. High school classes require a lot of research and writing. The portable concept of a laptop is useful for group meetings and working away from home.
Homeschool supplies will soon start to take over your home. The books are only part of this adventure. You will find yourself saying things you would normally throw away. Items like egg cartons and milk jars used for craft projects begin to pile up. Its a good idea to implement an organization for all the items you need and the ones you will save for future projects.
Start with some designated shelves for books. Rolling carts with drawers are great for separating items for different kids. They can also be color-coded for different subjects. A large basket or plastic tub can be placed near the trash can to hold items saved for crafts. Make sure kids know where everything goes at the end of the day for a quick transition to family time.
The beauty of homeschool is that children can work anywhere they feel comfortable. Many kids love to curl up on the couch for reading time. A formal workspace can be helpful, however, when you are trying to get into the learning mindset. A study or formal dining room can be set up as a school room. Desks or a large table can be placed in the room. It can be easier to teach multiple children of similar ages at a large table. Teenagers may prefer to have a desk in their bedroom for privacy. You will find out what works best for your family as you learn the work habits of each child.
Many parents do not give lab equipment a second thought until they are faced with experiments in their curriculum. Take a look at your curriculum before the school year starts so you can be prepared for science requirements. This will give you time to find a good homeschool supply store and prepare for the expense. At a minimum, you can expect to need a microscope, beakers, and a Bunsen burner. Accessories will include slides and test tubes. Be sure to also purchase protective eyewear. A lab coat or smock will protect skin and clothing from chemicals. It can be helpful to plan group labs with other parents and share the cost of equipment.
Homeschool preparation does not need to be overwhelming. Take the time to review your curriculum plans well before starting. Consider what you will need for each subject and where everything will be stored. Plan where your kids will be working so you can set up the area ahead of time. Add different items as needed to supplement your learning materials. You will have your own unique organization system that will work well for you and your children.