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Homeschooling: What to Buy, What not to Buy
Homeschool, The Now Mom

Homeschooling: What to Buy, What not to Buy 

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?”

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.



What to buy from YOUR local store:

  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 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, to highlight due dates, and taking notes. 

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



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!

  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!

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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  1. Nichole

    I was wondering where do you get your homeschool curriculum for more than one child?

    1. Rachel Bennett

      I buy my curriculum on various websites. I’ll be doing a homeschool haul soon, keep watching!

      Lots of homeschool curriculum sites have options for families and ages and grades.

  2. Loïs van der Vlist

    We are thinking about home schooling we dont really know if it’s good for the kids because they love to have there friends at school. How are you guys dealing with this problem?

    1. Rachel Bennett

      Yes friends are a hard balance for kids, and leaving their friends will make it difficult for kids to want to homeschool. We try to encourage their school work to get done by midday or early afternoon, so the children still have enough time to hang out with their friends afterschool. The education was the big decision for us, were our kids receiving what they needed from public school? Was the atmosphere for learning what we wanted for our children? These were questions that helped us make this decision. Every family is different and we always want to encourage families to do what is best for them.
      good luck in your decision

  3. Elizabeth

    What certain curriculums do you have for the teenagers in high school?

  4. Sean Guymon

    Do you have any tips for when you want to homeschool your kid, but you have to worry about going to work as well? It would be better homeschooling him than him being at a public school, learning wise.

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