Suzanne and I are talking about back-to-school season in the latest episode of the podcast, so naturally school supplies came up. It seemed like the perfect time to share some of our favorite homeschool supplies. Share your faves in the comments!
Save the Dates
Want to make 2016 your most colorful homeschool year yet? Set aside a few hours to fill in your new calendar with all the things you really want to do — from the date the new dinosaur exhibition opens at your favorite science museum to Pi Day (3.14) to Banned Books Week (beginning Sept. 25 this year). Taking the time to fill in your calendar now will ensure that you don’t miss any must-do fun. And while any calendar will do the job, we think this paint-chip inspired version from Paper Source is pretty groovy.
The White Stuff
Turn any wall into a dry-erase board with Idea-Paint’s cool CreateWhite paint. One coat will transform your wall into a multifunctional surface for scribbling physics equations, library lists, and mind-mapping sessions.
The Key Master
There’s no more adorable way to remove the crumbs and dust cluttering your keyboard than this friendly-faced mini-Hoover.
Bite the Bullet
If planner shopping makes you feel a little like Goldilocks — this one’s too detailed, that one needs more space — you might just love the bullet journal method, which lets you transform a blank notebook into a totally personalized planner, organized by month and page number. I use mine for keeping up with assignments and field trips, plus menu planning, book lists, knitting projects, and pretty much everything else, but the method is endlessly customizable. I am loyal to my cheap Moleskine three-packs, but the Midori Traveler and Leuchtturm 1917 are totally splurge-worthy alternatives.
Suzanne’s homeschool binders are the stuff of legend at our home | school | life office. I may never be that organized, but if I am, you can bet it will be with my beloved Russell + Hazel binders—though I am also kind of in love with the idea of these totally recyclable Sustainable Earth binders.
Staplers stress me out, but reams of paper are kind of a given in our homeschool—so hooray for staple-free staplers, which have all the connecting paper power of a traditional stapler without the actual metal staples. The Kokuyo is my favorite if you just want to staple a few pages together.
I have raved often about Miller’s Notesketch pads, and I will likely continue to do so. I love that half the page is lined and the other page is blank—perfect doodling while writing or taking notes. We also like to start the year with a fresh supply of Bare Books and our favorite sketchbooks. (And, of course, the essential washi tape to decorate them!)
It might not look like your typical eraser, but the Kokuyo Mirikeshi Eraser is designed to neatly erase between notebook paper lines without leaving any trace of your revision.
Learning to Go
Our homeschool rarely stays in one place, which means lots of school stuff gets stuffed in bags and backpacks. I don’t worry about crumpled paper too much, but I do kind of love these flexible folders that keep pages crisp and neat while still allowing me to stuff them in my bag.
The Write Stuff
No homeschool supply list should ignore the perfect writing utensil. We are a house divided: Half of us swear by the Mirado Black Warrior pencils, the other half can’t write without a Dixon Ticonderoga. I use PaperMate felt tip pens to make notes and suggestions on stuff the kids ask me to read—and to color code my bullet journal. (I also recently picked up a pack of Muji gel pens, and they’re great for bullet journaling, too.)
Whether you want to color-code your flags (watermelon for reference, avocado for assignments) or just keep things interesting when you’re marking pages, these sorbet-hued paper flags are just the thing. Bonus: Little boxes let you write tiny notes to indicate why you flagged the page in the first place.
If you’re always surrounded by mountains of printouts, worksheets, and other papers, the PileSmart label clips can help you at least ensure that your paper mountains are organized ones. Color-code frequently used papers, and jot descriptions on the clip’s labels to keep up with what’s where.
Stick to the Plan
These sticky note planner pages are awesome for people who plan out a few weeks at a time, for kids who are working independently but need a little direction, and for weekly chore charts.
Parts of this were originally published in the winter 2015 issue of home | school | life, but we’ve updated and expanded it a bit since we’ve got school supplies on the brain this time of year.