Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Must Have Homeschool Items

I am late to the party, but I wanted to write this anyway!

1.  Binders.  Paper.  We have a binder for each subject.  Whether we notebook, write rough drafts take notes...it goes in the binder.  We can see our progress and how much work we did by looking through our binders.  It keeps everything neat and tidy.  My goal is for my girls to notebook each volume of Story of the World (we have completed the first two volumes) and have very personalized books on the history of the world.

2.  Hole Punch.  We print out photos of famous people or places for our binders, sometimes the girls type their notes or their papers, sometimes we print out interesting articles on our subject...we use the hole punch and they go in the binder to create a very personalized documentation of the subject.  Think: scrapbook of history or science.

3. Index cards.  As I teach the girls Latin and Greek roots, they write them on index cards, define and illustrate them; then they study them and every morning, I pull out a pile and quiz them.  We have index cards with states on one side and capitals on the other; we have index cards with countries on one side and capitals on the other; we have index cards with "cheat sheet" summaries of history and science chapters on them and I require the girls to memorize these, each morning they each pick one and we go over it again.

4.  Computers.  My girls make videos, PowerPoint presentations and type papers on the computer.

5.  Internet Connection.  We look up things we don't know.  We watch youtube videos about periods in history or science topics that we are studying.  We find books we would like to read.  We communicate with friends.  We learn from other homeschoolers.

6.  Library Cards.  We take out books that interest us, we look for books that help us dive deeper into what we are learning and we look for books to entertain us.  My girls easily read 2 or 3 chapter books a week and I can't afford to buy them all--so the library comes in very handy!

7.  Science Kits or Science Experiment Items.  When we made the decision to homeschool, I was petrified of teaching science because I didn't understand science.  Last year, we bought science kits instead of a curriculum and guess what?  When we did the experiments, I UNDERSTOOD science.  Now I LOVE Science...as long as we get to do experiments!  I recommend these kits for biology, these kits for chemistry, these kits for electricity, OR Janice Van Cleave's books :)

8.  Friends.  When we told the girls we were going to homeschool, they thought that they wouldn't have any  friends!  But that is not true. You can't raise kids in a vacuum!  Homeschoolers need to seek out friends.  We enjoy going on trips with friends, taking classes with friends, being in a book club with friends, camping with friends, making art with friends and just plain old hanging out with friends!

9.  Other Homeschool Moms.  Homeschooling is un-traditional and when you do something un-traditional, you need to have some friends who are doing it too, to help you keep the faith on those difficult days.  I count many women in the blog community as these kind of friends, as well as women in my local community who homeschool!

10.  Art Supplies.  Whether it's notebooking, decorating index cards to help us better remember what learned, trying to replicate an artist's work or learn a new technique or expressing ourselves in our art journals...good quality art materials are a MUST!