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We are all working hard to provide the best education for our kids while spending the least amount of money. And if you are anything like me, the lure of the office supply aisle at the store is almost too much to handle. So, where do we spend our hard-earned money for our homeschool supplies? What is the best bang for our buck? What is actually an asset to our school day and what is a distraction or waste of money?

  1. Old-fashioned, high-quality, wall-hanging pencil sharpener. With this old-school gadget, it can’t be lost in the pencil box, desk drawer or school closet and it’s very unlikely to break. They are easy to clean and easy to use. My 21st-century kids were enthralled when we first hung ours in the kitchen . . . in fact, they spent most of the day sharpening every one of the thousand colored pencils they own!
  1. High- quality pencils. Try to distract your kids from the cartoon covered pencils, if you can. The plastic coatings can get stuck in your sharpeners and the points break way too easily. Get a few dozen pencils for each child, unless you want to take frequent trips to the store.
  1. Coloring supplies. Whether you are a color pencil lover, marker fanatic or classic crayon color-er, money spent on these are wise.
  1. Daily/weekly planner. Depending on the age of your kids of course, purchase or design a planner to fit their needs. Get something that’s easy to use and durable.
  1. For math, art, science and just about all other subjects, a ruler is nice to have. If you are up for spending the big bucks, grab one of those nice metal ones and it will last forever, as long as it isn’t lost. A sturdy plastic one will do just fine, too.
  1. White board. I found a white board is indispensable. I have a large 2’x3’ one hanging on my wall for our spelling curriculum and an 8”x11” one for each child. We use them for quick math facts practice, spelling words practice and demonstrating loads of other ideas. This is an upfront purchase, but it helps keep the paper waste down. You’ll also need markers to go with that board.
  1. Paper and notebooks. You’ll need paper, whether that’s loose-leaf or bound in a spiral notebook. Depending on your needs, stock up!
  1. Printer Ink. It’s expensive, but in our schoolhouse, it is a necessity. We try to be as conservative as possible, but we still use it.
  1. Stickers, labels, washi tape. It’s a splurge, but fun things like this make our days more fun, help label books for each child and act as activities for the toddler hanging around. Ask grandparents/aunts/uncles to keep all those silly stickers they get in the mail. You can find many uses for those babies.
  1. Hole puncher. I just replaced my 20 year old hole puncher from college and the new one punches like a ninja! Why didn’t I replace that thing YEARS ago? As for schooling, we hole punch all sorts of things to keep in our binders. I make sure to get the hole puncher that allows for the holes to be moved around so we can make holes to fit both our regular size binders and the cute 8.5×5 ones.

So, how does my list compare to yours? Is there something I forgot or something you would scratch from my list? I love hearing how other families make this homeschooling task work for them!

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Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.

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