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What Equipment do Homeschoolers Really Use?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am already joyfully dreaming up the details of how we will someday homeschool my 4 month old. Waldorf, Unschooling...I'm researching it all. A question for all you homeschooling families: what "stuff" have you found to be really useful? We don't have lots of income so I am planning to slowly assemble the things we need (partially as gifts from relatives) and possible additions to my wish list include an easel, a chalkboard, a Waldorf playstand, Waldorf silks and wooden toy items, art supplies (what kinds?!!), a magnifying glass, a microscvope, a telescope, a kid-sized work table/desk, outdoor play equipment, bookshelves, storage bins, a savings account for educational travel/camping trips(?)....help! What do you use on a typical day? Or, what would you just love to have if you could have anytthing in the whole world?
Thanks so much for helping me dream and make dreams manifest! Love to you all.
post #2 of 11
We haven't "officially" started any type of homeschooling, other than answering any questions we can, helping her to find the answers if we don't know them, and supplying her with plenty of time to pursue whatever activities she finds worthy. Dd is 4, and to be honest, I can't imagine things going much different than they are now... at least not for a few years.

So, in answer to your question about what we use.. Everything! and Nothing! We really haven't purchased anything special for homeschooling. We use what we have, what we get as gifts, what we purchase because it seems neat and useful in general, not just for homeschooling. We buy books, books on tape(her new favorite), art supplies (paint, paper, scissors, tape, crayons, etc.) as needed. Lately we're into crafts and things, making ornaments out of felt, gluing things together, etc.

Go with whatever you have for now, buy as you need, or maybe make a 'wish list' for family members to choose gifts from. I'm hesitant to go and purchase lots of things right now, because I feel like I'm not sure what direction this could take, and I don't want to end up with lots of money put into things we really don't need.

Enjoy your time with your new baby!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
oh, such great advice! thanks bergler! and merry holydays!
post #4 of 11
we mostly use the library, which has also been a guide to the books that we should purchase. 5yo dd loves maps and animals, so the national geographic children's atlas and dk/smithsonian animal book (giant full-color) were xmas presents. i asked grandma to get cuisinaire rods for her birthday.

as for waldorf playstands (also on my wish list), the latest martha stewart kids' mag has plans for a make-it-yourself hideaway using dowels, wood cube with drilled holes, and scrap fabric, which can be put together in any arrangement - fort, puppet theatre, etc, and then neatly stowed away when not in use. building this is our current ongoing homeschooling project-- dd is learning how to mark where the drill holes will go and how to sand wood. it may take months, but it will be cheaper and more portable than the playstands.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks for the great reply, erika--I would have never thought to check out Martha's mag, and that sounds like just what I want!Peace.
post #6 of 11
We use a LOT of art supplies. Make sure you stock up on paper when you find it cheap!

We use the computer to do research, we use the library a lot, we find things at the thrift store (Like books), we find things in the garden, and we have a membership to a local science museum that gets us into a bunch of other ones.

You don't need to spend a ton of money. Don't waste it on curriculum, especially at first. Find out what their interests are and follow them!

For instance, my DS is very interested in dogs right now, as we have a 6 months old puppy. We go to the local dog park and talk with the owners about what kind of dog they have. We read books and research where the breeds come from and what their history is. We look up on the map where they came from. We talk about dog care, we volunteer at the SPCA grooming and socializing cats, and we notice animals that don't seem to be well cared for, like a starving stray on our street a few weeks ago that we called Animal Control about. When you take a single female dog that is un-spayed, you can do a math project to find out how many dogs she will create in 5 years, if she has a litter a year and 1/2 are female and un-spayed. We read stories about dogs.

Anyhow, you get the picture. You can make any subject fit the reading, history, geography, math, etc subjects by delving into them!
post #7 of 11
We use mostly art supplies. Play-do, paint, crayons, markers, easel, chalkboard, paper on a roll, I found some big pencils and a good pencil sharpener handy (didn't hink about htins untill we lost our little one and all the leads had broken) We have counting bears which also put on plays and a big rolling stack of drawers to keep stuff tidy. We have a nook in the playroom that soon will have a reversible curtain on it. One side will be a play house with a window and the other side will be a puppet stage.

We have lots of play centers like art, kitchen and laundry, and cars and baby stuff. Mostly a collection of garage sell stuff. We are building a collection of nice toys and everytime we get a new one something old has to go.
post #8 of 11
We use tons of art supplies- keeping the scotch tape people in business,computer games(not too many) the fun ones- a couple of learning books,TONS of books from library, the Scholastic book clubs- for absolutely everything!Art,history,math english geography,mostly we learn about from reading just plain "entertaining " books, then our interest is piqued by something,and we're off to explore!Cool play things,like dress up, playacting stuff,legos Legos Legos Legos!Oh and check the incredible variety of fun and (ssshhh)educational board games-wow!
post #9 of 11
The Martha Stewart tip just made my day!

We use tons of art supplies, too -- both the cheapies and the really nice stuff (for instance, we have several sets of colored pencils ranging from Crayolas to Prismacolors; paper ranges from newsprint roll-ends to good quality bristol board). The library for books, videos, music, books on tape. A globe. Old film canisters, egg cartons, pony beads, pipe cleaners, index cards, construction paper, paper plates, stop watch, egg timer, rulers, poster board, etc. Educational games -- both storebought and homemade (I love Peggy Kaye's books on games for learning). Playmobil. Lots of blocks, from Legos to Patternblocks.

Kid sized tables, low hooks for clothes, anything that helps them do stuff themselves.

Mostly it doesn't matter so much what stuff you use as what your attitude is.
post #10 of 11
we get construction paper from Sam's. Chalk we found on sale at Toys r Us. We bought mondo bucket. The bigger chalks are easier for them to draw/write with they do not break as easy.

Art easle, we have one that has a dry ereas side and calk board. It is wooden (easy to move through doors) has large tray to hold paints and thing for rolled paper and a storage stop (which currently holds only chalk because we have a busy 16mth old). Also in general it is safer for your sanity to have paints put up were they have to be asked for, or you can get a heck of a mess. LOL Trust me I learned that one the hard way. Did you know you can use washable markers on dry ereas board. The colors are not as bright but the smell is better and easier to clean.

Sand box, one that has a cover on it to keep animals out.

Glue gun.

scrapes of material.
post #11 of 11
What do you already have? That's what you need!
We've been "officially" home educating for 7 years and I believe it takes no more than what you already have in your home or what you have access to in your community.
What does it take to live? What do you love? What are you interested in doing? I have wasted enough money on curriculum and things I thought we were "supposed" to have to find out I didn't need it at all.
Each child is his/her own person with their own likes and dislikes. Time will reveal that. Keep yourself busy doing things that interest you and share them with your child. Remember you are the ultimate example. Children naturally learn; it's just what they do.

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