Wonder what things would be helpful in your homeschool journey? No one wants to spend money on things they don’t need. Here are the top 10 things we use constantly in our homeschool, that I would not do without:
1. Proclick (affl.)- I would repurchase this thing in a heartbeat. In fact, I had misplaced it over the summer and was in a bit of a panic to find it. Luckily, it turned up. I use this All. The. Time. Here are a few of the ways I use it:
- All of my kid’s checklists are spiral-bound using this.
- If I have a resource that I can make multiple copies of, I always spiral bound them for my kids.
- At the end of the year, all of the papers they have written get compiled with a cute cover, and bound using this sweet tool.
- E-books I buy many times get printed and bound using this.
- Loose Piano music, loose maps, even Christmas cards can easily be bound together using a Proclick!
There are a lot of options to bind papers together. Why do I prefer the proclick? – because it easily snaps and un-snaps to add papers. Inevitably, you have to add something, remove or replace something, etc. I can easily do that with a Proclick. Other binders are much more complicated. (One downfall: The proclick spines can wear out if abused over time, so if it is a daily-use item that is being thrown around with stacks of books, it might need to be replaced at some point. Or I could get more delicate children…. Guess I will just order more spines….)
2. Plastic Tubs (affl.)- I wrote this post about my “circle of sanity”, and it all begins with plastic totes like these. Every kids has one, and so do I. I write their names in Sharpie on the outside. Everything goes in the box at the end of the day, and the house is back to tidy. Plus, we can easily grab our stuff if we need to be on-the-go. Kids have no excuses for not finding their books anymore!
3. This Amazing Pencil Sharpener. (affl.) Seriously – there isn’t one that is better. It is strange to love a pencil sharpener, but we have owned this since my 15 year old was in 1st grade, and it is a powerhorse!
4. A Thermal Laminator (affl.)- I’ve used this very basic model for over 10 years. In fact, I use this just as much as the Proclick. I take a regular piece of cardstock, laminate them, and viola! I have an instant cover and back for anything I bind with my Proclick – it makes everything more durable, and better presented. I also use it to laminate games that have cards that seem too flimsy (Clue for example), or chore checklists to post in a wet area like a bathroom. Once you have one, you wonder how you didn’t keep one on hand before.
5. A Laser Printer (affl.)- I know it is an expensive purchase, but one of the best things I did was buy a laser printer. I have a color HP, and it has been a workhorse for YEARS!!! Over time, the ink is much cheaper, and the print quality is much, much better. Make sure you get one that has an automatic duplexer (mine doesn’t – bummer!) I am saving up for one like this one – so printing is super-easy. I also use the copier and scanner quite frequently to duplicate pages for multiple kids, or to keep a fresh copy of something on my desktop to easily print over and over again without getting the book back out. While the toner can be expensive, it ends up being replaced much less often, and definitely saves you money over ink-jet!
6. This coffee maker. (affl.) I spent waaaay too many years drinking coffee that tasted burnt by mid morning trying to keep it hot. This coffee maker with a carafe keeps coffee warm all day without the burnt taste. It also duplicates as a hot chocolate or hot water carafe for get-togethers. Love it.
7. Sonos Player – (affl.) We have a handful of these in the house. They connect to your wi-fi, and can be controlled from a smart phone, computer, iPad, etc. They can be linked together, or you can choose one speaker to play. We play our memory work easily throughout the house on these speakers during the day. We love them. Some have Alexa built in, and others do not. I’m still on the fence on whether I want something “listening in” to our lives… We have them synced to our TV as well, for easy surround sound. We are a music-loving family. Having this system ends up causing spontaneous dance parties with kids, two-stepping with the hubs while the kids chuckle, or Italian music during a fancy dinner prep. Our Sonos Speakers simply add a lot of joy to our lives.
8. This Cozi App – We use this to keep track of everyone. Luckily, my daughter has taken over scheduling things on it for me. You list family members and anyone else you want to get a copy of your schedule. You can select which kid has which activity, and what kind of notification you want. I wake up to a daily email of our schedule, and on Sundays, I get an email with the week ahead. We use the free version. When we went on a quick trip and left the kids with family members, we added them to the app so they got the email reminders. Makes our lives with teenagers and lots of bodies much more organized, and reduces mis-communication.
9. These wireless earphones (affl.) – I started off buying a pair of these to use while I was running on the treadmill. My husband started borrowing them until I bought him his own set. Then, my daughter started stealing them for her online class, so we got her a pair. Then, the oldest boy….you get the picture. He just got his own pair for his birthday last week along with an mp3 player to listen to music while he mows the yard (it takes a while in the country). We all love these, and have not had any problems connecting them via bluetooth. We each have a different color so I don’t have to share ear wax with my kiddos. (yuck!!!) In addition, the earbuds have a built-in speaker, so you can easily be listening to a podcast and accept a phone call without having to change any settings. Love these and use multiple pairs daily.
10. Audible (affl.) – I finally decided to get a membership to Audible and love it. They release a handful of books each month and subscribers get to pick two of them for free. In addition, you get a credit to get a free audiobook each month. I just listened to a free book about the man responsible for getting man to the moon (“The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon”), which was phenomenal. I don’t have a ton of time these days to read physical books for fun, but I can easily listen to a chapter here or there while running kids to activities or heading to the grocery store. For so many years I had set aside non-fiction reading because I just didn’t have time for “entertainment” type reading. It has been so fun to add that back into my life. In addition, we listen to some of my two older kids’ Omnibus books together by audio book. It helps them get their reading done, and then all of us can interact with what they are learning. If you haven’t tried an Audible membership, you can try it for free.
BONUS: #11 (affl.) – Amazon Prime. We signed up for Amazon Prime 7 years ago. We live in a rural area, so getting to the store is difficult. Add to that the fact that I was always carting around kids, which ended up costing me more money (snacks), time, and patience. Now, I order so many things from Amazon it is crazy. It shows up to my door within two days and I save a lot of money. Not necessarily on the product, but on the fact that I am not in a physical store. I get exactly what I want and no more. No gas expense, no extra items. Added benefit – I get to read the reviews and make sure I am getting what I think I am. It has been a great decision for our family. It has simplified our lives, and saved us money. Try it free here!
So there you have it! The honest-to-goodness best things we use all the time in our house for homeschooling, and many other things! I hope you enjoy this list. What are the things you would never want to go without?