What do you need to homeschool? Well, you already know you need books, curriculum, and basics like pens, paper, art supplies, etc. That part is pretty easy to figure out. (for the most part, anyway) The real question isn’t “What do you need to homeschool?” It’s actually, “What else do I need to homeschool?”
What You Need to Homeschool When Using a Formal Curriculum
If you plan to utilize a formal curriculum, then there will be suggested resources and you can customize it from there.Although textbooks will probably form the basis of what you’ll need, I prefer to think of these as a launching pad or starting point.
Some ways you could customize your pre-packaged curriculum might be using additional videos, incorporating an art project, taking a field trip or finding literature that ties together nicely with whatever you are studying.
What You Need to Homeschool When Planning Your Own Curriculum
It becomes trickier when you use a more open-ended approach. Here you may want to get materials as they are needed. I mean, there’s really no point in stocking up on materials about eagles if your child would rather study penguins.
I also liked to keep plenty of textbooks on hand when I planned my own curriculum. We utilized them as a point of reference, though and didn’t just follow the textbook. If we were studying penguins, we’d take a look in one of our text books to see if they had any information about penguins.
Other Homeschool Supply Considerations
Whether you are going the formal curriculum route or creating your own, it’s important to take your child’s learning style into consideration when deciding what else you need to round out your child’s learning experience. For example, for the visual learner watching a video on a topic can be an effective tool, while the auditory learner might get more out of listening to a podcast. Tactile kinesthetic learners may be more interested in making a clay model.
One thing I consider a “must-Have” is a computer or better yet a laptop computer as it’s portable. You can download lots of materials, from unit studies, to worksheets, to software. The internet can be your very best friend if you’re planning your own curriculum!
Where to Get What You Need to Homeschool
Although you can find a wealth of materials available to be purchased online through educational websites or home schooling sites, don’t feel you need to buy everything.
You may want to make it a rule of thumb to only buy materials that will be used over and over, like reference books and computers. Try to borrow, or get for free, those resources that you may only need for a specific unit or for a short time.
Don’t forget to use your local library as a resource. More and more, libraries are becoming multi-media resource centers. Besides regular books, they often have videos, audio books for use on e-readers, books on tape, and even software programs to lend out.
If there is a homeschooling group in your area, get involved. Often resources can be shared among the group, so the cost can be split. I’ve found that most people are completely willing to lend you something to use. A lot of homeschool groups also hold used book sales, which can save you a TON of money.
The great thing about homeschooling is that you can do things your way–the way that works best for your children. Don’t let check lists get in your way or overwhelm you when it comes to supplies and resources. The longer you homeschooling, the more you’ll get a better feel for what your children will and will not to respond to and identifying the “extras” will get easier as you go along.