Setting The Stage For Learning
It’s back to school season. This year it looks a little different. I have noticed less advertisements for supplies though we know we should probably be getting prepared somehow. So just what does a family need to homeschool? As a homeschooling mom of 19 years, I can give you some hints as to what has worked for us and it may just surprise you. HINT: We don’t duplicate a classroom.
To start off let’s just think about what the purpose of school is. To educate our children and prepare them for life as future adults. Considering the wide range of careers that exist and the rapidity in which our world changes there are several ways to approach education.
Just because we were sent to school and it looked a certain way, does not mean that our experience was the best and only way to achieve a true education. In fact, as an adult, when I desire to learn something, to be educated on a matter, I approach it completely different than my school years.
Let’s think of homeschooling and education as creating a thirst for knowledge. In addition, let’s train our children to seek out and utilize whatever necessary tools that they need to accomplish their own goals and dreams. If we do that, our children’s educational experience will have an attraction like never before.
School Supplies By Level
Just a quick note to say, “Who cares what grade your child is in each subject?” If he were to start taking art lessons, skiing lessons or piano lessons he would not come into a class labeled by his age would he? No! He would be evaluated for what he knows and the instruction would start from there because the teachers of those disciplines know that the purpose is to acquire mastery, not simply keeping them with others their own age.
- Playdough, dry rice, water
- Measuring cups, spoons, straws
- Crayons, colored pencils, paint
- Blank paper (both white and multi-color construction paper)
- Things to count (beans, m&m’s, noodles,socks, beads, stickers, etc)
- Tape, glue of all sorts, scissors, consumable construction items
- Audio books/kids podcasts (Kids learn so much if they are listening WHILE they do something like art or movement)
- Picture books of your choice
- Flash cards with letter sounds (they could even be homemade)
- You do not “need” a full curriculum. Live life with your children, encourage them to be active learners in the world around them.
- For more ideas, check out my post about this specific age group here.
- Paper (lined, blank and construction paper)
- Writing supplies (pencils, colored pencils, pens)
- White board and dry-erase markers
- Craft supplies (See above list. No need to end creative play at kindergarten. Keep learning through art)
- Books (both challenging and simple reads)
- Audio books/podcasts (for use while doing art or playing Legos)
- Flash cards (of any subject to be used for fact memorization)
- Curriculum at level (Language arts, Math, Science & History is enough though you could add more if you are eager)
- Creating a desire to learn and a fascination for discovery is so much more important at this age than checking off the box of getting a lesson “done” in a book.
- My list for elementary age homeschoolers could be repeated here. For the sake of time, I will just make some additions for Jr High.
- Student planner. I like A Plan In Place (affiliate link) This is a good time for your student to start tracking assignments and progress if you have not done that yet.
- Some sort of computer option for lessons to be typed out (though some parents still like to see them handwritten at this age)
- Start preparing for a more rigorous education in years to come but please know, jr. high courses do not need to go on a transcript.
- Curriculum for core subjects (at their level, not necessarily according to their age)
- Curriculum for additional subjects like foreign language, speech, composition, etc. But don’t forget that real life learning such as cooking, auto care, home care, babysitting and sports do not need a specific curriculum. (But they are still part of their education)
- Now it counts. You will be entering these courses on your child’s transcripts. And yes, homeschool transcripts are valid too!
- Gather basic supplies similar to those in previous lists.
- 3 ring binder to start record keeping or use the pages in the high school planner from A Plan In Place (affiliate link).
- Start pages for academic accomplishments. (you can use a piece of notebook paper and a pen) Some things you may want to include are curriculum used, additional reading, field trips, clubs, community service and employment.
- For more help in navigating the high school years, make sure you check out resources by HSLDA and Lee Binz.
What You Don’t Need
This actually may be more important than the lists of what you do need. Education isn’t about school, it’s about learning. Often when beginning homeschool, it takes some time to forget about the way we were taught and embrace the way that our children learn. When we do, amazing things happen.
So some things that you really don’t need? Let’s start with desks. You can learn on the couch, the floor, the car or in a tree. Wherever the intake of information is happening, that is school. No need for a lunch box or trendy clothes. There may not be school photos but you will make even nicer ones that reflect this year that is as unique as your child. You don’t even need a dedicated school room! Just get started right where you are.
Though you may be used to a traditional supply list for back to school, this will be different. Skip the backpack, 10 gluesticks, 3 boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer and whatever else a classroom would have requested. Homeschooling can be accomplished with normal household supplies. You are going to love this!
You CAN do this!
God knew you would have children at this time in history. These things are not a surprise to Him! Embrace this opportunity to grow in your relationship with your children and lean into God.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7