If you were a public school teacher at one point, volunteer at a public school, know a public school teacher, or read the news then you will likely be aware that those folks deal with some unenviable stuff on a regular basis.
They also (dependent on location) have access to super cool tools. I remember a Teacher Work Room brimming with huge rolls of bulletin board paper, a dusty old comb binding machine, a pair of well-loved scantron machines, an industrial sized shredder, a high capacity electric hole puncher, die cutters that could produce half a class worth of geometric nets in a single pull of a handle, a big paper cutter, drawers that were periodically filled with packs of larger-than-letter-size fade resistant construction paper, a huuugge laminating machine, and a copier that pumped out double sided awesomeness faster than I can talk. And I can talk faster than the average human. Much faster.
Now that I’m homeschooling I miss some of those pieces of equipment. That’s why I hunted down the following essential homeschool tools.
#1 Paper Cutter
“Why do I need a paper cutter”, you ask? Well, for the same reasons that state-employed people do–it saves time. That and it reduces stress from trying to cut straight lines with scissors.
Here’s the one that I use:
It’s a little small but it stores like a champ aaaaannnd you can get it for much less money than that website says! Just search for coupons on their site.
If you need that money for workbooks or are hesitant to have a cutter in your house, you can go print or copy some things at FedEx office then use their cutters. It’s best to not overuse theirs though.
#2 Crayon Sharpener
Crayon sharpeners are important because crayons start costing when you use them frequently and it is a known fact that kiddos prefer sharp crayons, often shunning well loved crayons.
So here’s the deal, those little plastic bits in the back of large crayon boxes are the worst. One of my friends recommended this beast:
The key thing is to sharpen small batches of frozen classic (not washable) crayons and to insert them straight. Then you get these amazingly sharp like-new crayons. I can’t remember where I got that tip from so I really hope that someone will drop me a comment with a link so I can give credit.
#3 Bone Folder
I like my fingernails like they are, not torn up. dry fingertips also make origami less fun than it should be. Enter the bone folder! It stands in for your fingers when making super crisp folds when creating mini book and can be used to score cardstock before folding paper models.
Here’s one (not the one I use which seems to be discontinued):
#4 Tablet/Phone Stand
I’ll be honest. This purchase was one born of laziness and a dislike of hand fatigue. Aching hands when holding a device take away from the enjoyment of science videos and reading apps.
Mine is integrated into a Kindle case but many others are available:
Say you need one right now…you can use two 2 by 2 Duplos and a small plate into a stand. This can be turned into a building challenge but that’s a topic for another post.
#5 File Cabinet
Lesson materials need to be organized into categories and stored neatly. It’s a basic fact of life. A file cabinet is great for this. A small file cabinet with colored hanging file folders is even better. Another great thing to keep in the file cabinet? Kiddo portfolios to demonstrate competency, track progress, and show that you are legitimately teaching.
Here’s the one we have (ours is white):
The IKEA Erik on casters is so much less imposing and expensive than the alternative. The fact that it can be rolled out so I can clean behind it makes it one of my favorite IKEA purchases.
I loaded my file cabinet with some bright, happy Smead hanging files (I believe that they are USA made by a woman-owned company).
You can save a penny by dropping those folders into your Amazon cart and checking back periodically for price changes. They sometimes drop in price for a day or so.
If you need a gasketed hang file for garage storage/archive look at The Container Store. If you join their POP! program you can get coupons every so often.
I like this gasketed box:
#6 Sticky Page Pointers
They aren’t just for notaries and lawyers anymore!
These pointers are so versatile and so cheap! I find that they make it easy to find where we left off in workbooks/texts, they make it possible to mark workbook pages by day assigned (ex pink are to be done on Monday, yellow on Tuesday, orange Wednesday…), and they help keep track of what line the kiddo is on during copying work/difficult oral reading passages.
I use (ones very similar to) these:
Hope that this list of homeschool tools helps make life easier for you!
**I won’t get a single penny from you clicking on these links. Just enjoy!