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Our Favorite Homeschool Tools!

My sister-in-law texted me the other day to ask about what kind of laminator I used and if I liked it. I LOVE my laminator so I was happy to tell her all about it. That got me thinking of some of the other tools I use that help make homeschooling so much easier. So I decided to write a blog post about them to share with all of you. I texted some of my homeschooling friends and family to see what tools they like and my phone lit up with all kinds of ideas! So many, in fact, that I hope I can fit them all in this post!

Now before you read these and get overwhelmed by how many awesome tools are out there, please know that you do NOT have to have all these tools to successfully homeschool! If you are just getting started with homeschooling, start small. Start with what you already have, use recycled materials (i.e. Velveeta cheese box = pencil holder), shop thrift stores or garage sales. You can purchase some of the following tools and add to your collection over time. Set a budget for your homeschooling purchases each year and save up for the bigger items you want to purchase.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission. I only link to items I recommend. Thanks for your support!

Organizational Tools

  • Book Bins - we just started using these book bins this past year and we love them! We used to have all our books mixed together on one shelf and we could never find what we needed when we needed it. Now each kid gets their own bin and can easily find their books. This saves us so much time!

  • Pencil Boxes - I grabbed these handy little pencil boxes at our local dollar store (which has since gone out of business - cue the crying face emoji!). I love that each kid gets their own unique color so we know whose is whose and they fit in the front of their book bins which also helps keep us organized.

  • Book Organizer with Drawers - I looked for a long time to find something that would hold my books in place on my table until I found this. I absolutely love it! The one I purchased is out of stock but I've linked to one just like it with a few extras. This one is a little pricey so if you have a handy hubby maybe he could make something similar for you? It's hard to tell from my picture but it has wooden dividers that slide so if you only have a few books they will still stand up. This is nice if you don't have enough bookshelf space and need something for a tabletop to be able to grab and go as you teach.

  • Laminator - like I said earlier, I LOVE my laminator. It's so quick and easy to use! All you have to do it plug it in, turn it on, and wait 5 minutes for it to heat up. It fits an 8 ½ by 11 inch paper which is perfect for what we need. I laminate all kinds of papers so we can use them for years and not have to re-purchase or print them. I especially love it for our writing centers that we can write on and wipe off and use again and again.

  • Laminating Sheets - the above laminator comes with a starter pack of laminating sheets of various sizes but I found this pack of 200 sheets that are all 8 ½ by 11" (the biggest size you can use) for a fraction of the price of the name brand and they work great with this laminator!

  • Plastic Page Protectors or Sheet Protector Pockets - if you don't want to purchase a laminator, page protectors can also work great to help preserve papers. One friend uses them to put papers in for her children to use dry erase markers so she can use the worksheets over again without having to purchase another workbook or print off a zillion pages. She attaches a dry-erase marker on a string so they never lose their marker.

  • Jumbo Paper Clips - this one is from a friend who says she uses these to help keep kids places in their workbooks and in her daily planner. I used these for my planner when I was in the classroom too and they were super helpful.

  • Whiteboard - I know a lot of homeschool moms who love using a whiteboard. Here's what one mom said, "I LOVE having a whiteboard!!! It's great for writing what your day consists of, any important times, writing out a big list of assigned chores for spring cleaning (the kids will sign their initials next to the chores that they want to complete then erase them when they are done). We write out our Bible study answers for the younger kids to copy and our Bible memory verse so we can review it throughout the week. So many uses!" Side Note: Make sure you get a magnetic one for even more uses! Here are some magnetic dry erase markers with built in erasers you can get to go along with it.

  • Timer - if you have any kiddos who lack focus you may want to invest in one of these awesome timers! This one is great for visual learners because they can literally see the time disappearing and it helps them gage how much time they have for a specific task. I used to use these with my special education students and found them super helpful.

  • Pencil Sharpener - we have gone through our fair share of pencil sharpeners and we finally found one that has been working great. My kids sharpen a lot of pencils including colored pencils and we haven't had any problems with this electric sharpener (we've had it for about a year now). Note: I couldn't find the exact one I have one Amazon as the one I bought plugs in and this one is battery operated.

  • 3 Hole Punch - I love this 3 hole punch because it has a lever to give you more leverage when applying pressure. It's a lot easier for the kids to use on their own and it comes in so handy for punching holes in papers to put in binders. I also like to use a single hole punch for when we want to put index cards on a ring and for other small projects.

  • Label Maker - We love this simple label maker to label all our things! You can purchase different color sticker rolls to print the labels on. We label all our school bins and kitchen baking supplies.

Science Tools

  • Magnifying Glasses - my kids love to take these outside to explore God's beautiful creation! It's also fun to use these for reading to make the words extra large if they are too small for some kids. Also great for getting out splinters. Also fun for pretending to be detectives and solving logic puzzles.

  • Balance Scale - this is great for comparing weights and volumes. We use it for science and math. I like this one because you can measure liquids with it and it even has volume measurement labels on the sides of the containers and lids so you don't spill them. I like this set of weights to measure how heavy different objects are. You can use the balance scale for math to help teach about algebraic equations too.

  • Digital Microscope - my sister told me about this one and it's so cool! She said her kids are having a blast with this microscope and learning so much. It's a little pricey but you can do so many things with it including study your findings on the computer! It's an LCD digital microscope with a huge screen so you can easily see cells without having to look through the tiny eye hole of most microscopes. You can even take pictures and videos with it!

  • Dissection Kits - if you want a memorable and hands-on way for your children to learn anatomy, this is it! If however that grosses you out or you don't want to deal with the mess then just get a book or video. ;)

Math Tools

  • Graphing Calculator - as your children get older you will want to make sure you have a good calculator to use. You will need a scientific one with graphing features for 8th grade algebra. Disclaimer: I have linked to one that seems affordable but you may want to do a little more research or talk to a math teacher before purchasing as it's been a while since I taught 8th grade algebra (yes I taught that too but only to help out for one semester while our math teacher was on maternity leave).

  • Flexible Ruler - not only can rulers be used to measure centimeters and inches but they are also a great tool to have handy for art lessons when you need a straight edge to draw with. We like these flexible ones so that the littles don't break them. They're also great for measuring round objects and can double as a fidget tool!

  • Protractor & Compass - a protractor and compass are must have tools for teaching geometry. You can use them to draw perfect circles and measure angles. I do not own this set (yet) but the compass looks really durable. You DO NOT want to buy a plastic compass because they are junk! The pencil will just slip through when you apply any pressure (trust me I know from my classroom experience) so be sure to get a stainless steel one that is durable like the one in this set. (P.S. If you know of a plastic one that actually works feel free to share in the comments!)

  • Meter Stick or Yard Stick - these come in handy when you need to measure longer distances or for some science activities. If you're wondering what the difference is, there are three feet in a yard so a yard stick is 36" long while a meter stick is 39.5" long.

  • Tape Measure - make sure to get one with 1/16th of an inch measurements and teach your children the proper way to use it. Here's a great video to teach your children about tape measures.

  • Counters - it can be helpful to have some kind of counting manipulative for teaching math to younger students. You can use Unifix cubes (see below) for this as well or really any small objects such as milk jug lids, blocks, or paper clips.

  • Pattern Blocks (Tangrams) - pattern blocks are so much fun! You can purchase cards to go with them or download some free ones to try here. Pattern blocks are great for learning geometry, symmetry, fractions, sequencing, and more.

  • Unifix Cubes - these are a great simple tool you can use for counters when solving math problems. For example, you can connect three pink cubes and two blue cubes to show that 3 + 2 = 5. They are also great for learning about and practicing patterns.

  • Flash Cards - simple addition and subtraction flash cards can be helpful for mastering math facts.

  • Multiplication Songs - these are my all time favorite multiplication songs! They are super catchy and easy to remember and I love that they are all about Bible heroes.

There are so many more tools I could write about but I think that's enough for one post! I hope you have enjoyed reading about our favorite homeschool tools. Do you have a favorite homeschool tool that is not on our list? Please drop a note in the comments below to let us know about it!

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