Homeschool Supply List

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So you’re going to homeschool!  What supplies should you have on hand? 

Here’s my list of what stocks my shelves.  And I’ll even tell you why I think these supplies are essential, or at least why I think they are fun extras.


  • Pens in blue and black  – Yes, I do need black and blue because blue is fun. And these erasable pens are amazing!
  • Colored pens – I like to write in my planner and in my kids’ planners in colored pens.  I also use these to grade.  Purple and orange corrective marks and more fun than red.
  • Colored highlighters – We use these to highlight key words as we read.  It’s great practice to teach kids to find the most important sentences and words in a reading.  And the colored ones are more fun than yellow!
  • Regular pencils – My kids love using regular pencils even though they are constantly breaking the lead.
  • Mechanical pencils – Mommy likes mechanical pencils because they are always, always sharp.
  • Pencil sharpener – I recommend having both an electric one and several tiny regular pencil sharpeners.  At any time lead will break in them and you’ll be unable to sharpen all of your broken pencils.  One can never have too many pencil sharpeners.
  • Erasers – I have my kids write in pencil so that they can erase their many mistakes.  I love being able to erase all the misspellings to help them correct their papers. And kneaded erasers are awesome for art and just about anything else.
  • Rulers – You never know when you need to draw a straight line or measure something.  Buy lots of them because they also double as sword fighting weapons and are easily broken.
  • Stapler – It’s important to staple paper together because it’s harder to lose a giant stapled stack than it is a single sheet.  Plus, the kids also enjoy writing their own books and stapling them together.
  • Kid scissors – No way are they using the parent scissors!  I want them to keep all 10 fingers.
  • Regular scissors – These are for mommy’s use only and are actually hidden in our homeschool room so that I’m the only one who can find them.  There is no torture worse than trying to fit your fingers into kid scissors.  Ouchie!
  • Glue sticks – These are for the days when you can’t take the mess of gluey puddles.  Be careful, they might double as chapstick for toddlers and you’ll wonder why your child is so strangely quiet.
  • Regular glue – It’s important to have glue for all those crafty projects that you don’t really enjoy doing but you feel obligated to create because of all the awesome people on Pinterest who make you feel guilty.  But buy the name brand kind.  That other stuff just doesn’t stick well!
  • Tape – Use this for all the pages that your children rip out of books.  A part of me dies each time my children tear a page in a book.  Thankfully it’s tape to the rescue.  Be sure to hide this supply well or your toddler will help to tape your books and then you’ll only be able to open up half the pages.
  • Paper clips – Again, you need to keep your papers together so you’re not losing them.  Paper clip them and then put them up high.

And of course you need some fun creative supplies!!

  • Crayons – Childhood isn’t complete without crayons.  And nothing is quite so wonderful as a brand new box of sharp, pointy crayons.
  • Markers – Buy washable and hide them up high.  These are for special projects with supervision. Get the fat kind and even the tiny ones for smaller projects.
  • Colored pencils – I recommend getting some regular pencils as well as the twistable ones – for the days that your pencil sharpeners are jammed.  We love to do art projects with colored pencils.
  • Copy paper – We use this to create our own notebook pages, for our drawing canvas, and to create our own little books.  This is our blank canvas and we go through lots and lots of paper each year.
  • Copy paper with 3 hole punch – I finally wised up and bought some pre-punched paper for our notebook pages.  It was such a pain to hunt down the 3 hole punch when we were done with our pages.
  • Notebook paper – This has lines on it and only slightly helps your child write in a straight line.  However, it does help with note taking and handwriting.
  • Construction paper – Ohh the projects you can do with simple construction paper!
  • Cardstock in both white and colors – This is for the projects that need to stick around longer than 5 seconds.  Get some thick cardstock!

And these are a few more essentials!

  • Sticky notes in all sizes – I use them to write myself notes when I randomly remember important events during a school day.  I keep a pack of every size and every color handy.
  • Post It Tabs – These make the very best book marks!! I use them in all of our books and in my teacher manuals.
  • Composition notebooks – These make great writing journals and are an easy way to ensure that your child’s papers stay in one place.
  • Student planners – At some point our children will have to learn to keep up with their own work so it’s best to start early and teach them how to use a calendar and checklist.
  • Year long calendar – I keep mine in a binder with our curricula plans for the year.  I keep track of our school days, holidays, and how we are doing on our lesson plans.
  • Binders in all sizes – I keep all of our papers in binders so that little hands don’t ruin them and they don’t get lost.  Nothing is worse than lose papers floating all around the room.  Buy some in all sizes.  I have one binder per subject per child.
  • Binder dividers – I like an organized notebook so I have colorful binder dividers in their notebooks to keep their work separate.
  • 3 Hole Punch – You need this to make sure that all of your pages can get into the notebook.  Buy more than one because you’ll never be able to find your hole punch when you need it most.
  • Sheet protectors – Some pages (like printable teacher’s manual pages), you’ll want to keep for several years.  Protect those papers with sheet protectors so they will last through more than one child.  Plus, they are fun to write on with wet erase markers.
  • Wet erase markers – You can write on sheet protectors and laminated pages with these markers.
  • Spiral notebooks – These are great for record keeping or taking notes or even using as a student planner.
  • Pocket Folders – Kids love creating their own little papers so I give mine their own folders to store their pages in.

Art Supplies!

  • Watercolor Paints – These are our favorite art supply and we use them almost daily!
  • Tempera Paints – Washable tempera paints are my second favorite art supply.  It’s amazing that my kids never tire of painting.
  • Brushes – Buy some sturdy brushes for your paints.  We like the ones that have plastic handles because they last longer.
  • Chalk Pastels – These are a fun and easy art supply that my kids find very fun.  They are amazed when they color on black paper.  Such pretty pictures!
  • Oil Pastels – These can be messy and can stain so keep them up high.  But we bring them out for special occasions and they are like amazingly dark and smooth crayons.
  • Watercolor paper – This is great for projects that you think you might want to keep for more than 1 day.  This paper is much thicker for holding paint and other mediums.  Buy a huge packet!
  • Modeling Clay – My kids love to work with clay while I read to them so we have it in all colors.

And some extras – including a few of my favorite things!

  • Index Cards – These are great for creating your own flashcards or making notes.
  • Personal white boards – I cannot live without our personal white boards.  Each child has his or her own board so they can do math, practice handwriting, or even write their spelling words.
  • Dry erase markers with erasers – I buy a set of multi-colored markers so that each child can choose his or her color for the day.
  • Laminator – I enjoy having my own laminator for small laminating projects.  It’s so much easier than dragging all my kids to the teacher store to use their giant machine.  This is not a necessity but I do find lots of things to laminate at my house!
  • Paper cutter – I print out lots of activity sets or flash cards for my kids so I appreciate having a paper cutter to make my job faster and easier.  I also love the straight lines!


So, those are the school supplies that sit on my shelves.  Do you have any essential or favorite school supplies?


More Reading

What If You’re Not Excited for Back to School

My Back to Homeschool Strategy

Beginning of the Year Traditions

How to Create a Homeschool Record Keeping Notebook 


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