Thanks so much for helping me dream and make dreams manifest! Love to you all.
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!
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.
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!
DS: 18 DD: 15 DD: 8 11/10 4/11
DD: 3 8/11
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.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
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.
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.
scrapes of material.
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.