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Homeschooling: What to Buy, What not to Buy

Jul 28, 2020 | Homeschool | 0 comments

It’s back to school time!  That means it is also back-to-school shopping time. If you’re a new homeschooling mom, you might be wondering,  “What do I really need to homeschool successfully, and what can I save money on and not buy?”

School Supplies To Buy

Over the years I’ve learned which back-to-school items were the most useful and which ones just sat in my closet, never to be used. In this post, I’ll share my do’s and don’ts when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

  1. Folders: We use them to store completed projects and essays. We only get 1-2 per kid.
  2. Notebooks. Each kid gets one notebook per subject (history, science, elective, etc.). Before buying notebooks be sure to check your curriculum. Some curriculums come with a coursebook or workbook so that you don’t need a notebook for that subject (i.e. Language Arts and Math from The Good and The Beautiful). We have only used about 2-3 per kid per year.
  3. Dry erase markers:  We use these for whiteboard work with the younger ones who are practicing handwriting, math, etc. Stock up on these now, such a great price!
  4. Dry Erase Calendar: I love having a dry erase calendar to write out what subjects we are studying that day as well as what due dates are approaching. It’s a great visual reminder for me as well as the kids to have.
  5. Markers: We buy crayons, colored pencils, and markers, but over the years I’ve found that I go through markers the most out of anything. Our Walmart has a bulk section of school supplies where you can get markers, crayons, glue sticks, and more in bulk. Check yours as these might be a great option for saving money. Just be sure to do the math because I found it was cheaper to buy individual boxes of markers than in bulk, but on the flip side it was cheaper to buy glue sticks in bulk rather than individually.
  6. Highlighters and pencils. Pencils are a given. But I’ve found that I’ve used highlighters more homeschooling than in public schooling. They are great for kids to highlight text in their textbooks, highlight due dates, and taking notes.
  7. Scissors: we use these all the time in our house for school assignments, crafts among other things. These seem to disappear quickly so it’s good to have a few in your house.
  8. Planners: we use an academic planner, but there are other good options out there. The kids track their assignments and plan out what units they need to complete each day. Having it all in one planner is super helpful!

Don’t forget Post-it notes, erasers, and sketch pads (if you’re doing art).

what to buy for school

What NOT to buy:

  1. Decorations: They’re super cute and super tempting, but don’t fall for it!  I’ve purchased them before and never used them. With homeschooling, kids won’t necessarily stay in the “classroom” that you set up the decorations in. For example, our kids work in the kitchen, in my bedroom, office, and anywhere else you can think of.
  2. Construction paper: I have found no use for them for children 4th grade and up
  3. Pencil pouches: You don’t need a new fancy one each year. If your old one works, re-use it.
  4. Personal individual pencil sharpeners. They’re not necessary and most of the time get lost. Buy one good mechanical one that can be placed in a central location and shared by everyone.
  5. Backpack, lunch pail, water bottles, personalized items
  6. Loose paper: We prefer to use the notebook since keeps it everything together.
  7. Binders:  Many curriculums have consumable items (workbooks, coursebooks, etc.) that come bound already and make a binder useless. Where they would be useful is if you get a curriculum that doesn’t come bound. Then get a binder to keep all that work together.

When SETTING up your workspace or classroom there are some items you may want to add to your list!

back to school supplies markers glue pens pencils organizer bin

  1. Printer – We use a toner printer because we PRINT a lot of pages; coloring, design, many pages.
  2. Lesson Planner / Teacher Planner – There are great planners everywhere, organizing your GOALS for homeschool as well as what lessons your children have accomplished will help you feel like you’re progressing as a teacher!
  3. Bookshelf / Book storage – Make space for all the supplies & books. I use a basic bookshelf to help me see everything we own & use. Doesn’t have to be fancy.
  4. Folder Organizers / File Cabinet – Your children will be writing papers, creating beautiful art, and giving you tons of paperwork to organize.
  5. Map – I love a good map. I love to talk about the world. We cover many subjects that use a map…this is one of those FUN things you get to buy!

And BONUS items if your kids are taking classes that might need these things:

  • sketch pads
  • science kits subscriptions
  • binders
  • art supplies: scissors, watercolor paint, chalk, etc.

I hope this list was helpful to you. What school items have you found most useful in your homeschool? 

CHECK out our free printable Back to School HOMESCHOOL Shopping List & don’t forget to share this with your friends!

Back to school supplies list printable


Are you NEW to homeschooling this year? I’d love to help out however we can, please comment down below other questions you might have especially if you are a first-time homeschooler! 

If you haven’t yet, check out my tips on how to transition from public school to homeschooling. And keep your eye on this page as well as @TheNowMom and @rachbennett on Instagram for more tips. 



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rach and jase cut

Rachel is a vlogger and stay-at-home mom! When she's not filming fun videos for the "Ohana Adventure" and the "Rach Bennett" channels, she is sharing amazing lifestyle, travel, parenting, and homeschool tips here on the blog.

Jase is an entrepreneur, surfer, skater, fisherman, and the best dad ever! When he’s not creating silly Reels (@jasebennett), you can find him sharing adventures on the blog & great entrepreneurial tips on his podcast: The Decode.


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