There are some school supplies you may find useful no matter what curriculum you use.
In math, we like using an abacus for counting.
A globe or atlas. How cool is it to look up locations of stories you read, world events you discuss or even the location of animal habitats?! (My husband prefers Google Earth...much more techie. Whatever appeals to you!)
Pencils, more than you ever think you’ll use.
More paper for drawing and writing than you think you’ll ever use. My kids like tracing paper too, it bothers them when they can’t accurately draw an animal or something like that. For young children, you’ll want the kindergarten lined writing pads. For middles, wide ruled lined paper and college ruled for older kids.
Colored pencils for mapwork, illustrating stories, and embellishing school work.
Magnifying glass for science or art appreciation. That one you get away with putting in a child’s Christmas stocking or Easter basket, they’re fun.
A good pencil sharpener. Electric is great but the cheap ones last less than a year. At first I assumed that was just us, but when I asked around, I was relieved to learn we are not the only ones who can’t keep a pencil sharpener working for long. The Panasonic we picked up at Costco has been going strong for two years now. :)
When you homeschool, learning just becomes part of the fabric of your family. My older kids study Latin and they will often discuss it and work on something together. This spring we had Lydia baptized in the extraordinary form, the Latin Rite, and we wanted to print little programs so our friends and family could follow in the Latin. The copy of the rite that we had was for a baby boy, so it was in the masculine. The older boys helped us convert the text to the feminine. They used their Latin for an important family project and it was a natural outgrowth of their studies.
We find nature study, God’s creation, always fascinating. All kinds of family projects lend themselves to science studies. We’ve had chickens and a goat, planted gardens... that’s all learning. We combine the hands-on parts with books and maybe some charting, or writing and illustrating what they’ve learned.
Learning and growing in the faith becomes a beautiful, natural part of family learning. In the morning you read a Saint Joan of Arc story, in the afternoon, you find them burning someone at the stake.
Laura Berquist recommends having young children make their own bible story book. You read a Bible story, your child tells it back to you (often called narrating), you type their words and they illustrate it or color a coloring page. At the end of the year, it’s quite an impressive body of work. And they know the stories well.
History is probably our favorite subject. The possibilities for good books, field trips and hands-on learning are endless. This year we will be studying modern history and my husband’s family gave us a family pass to Greenfield Village for Christmas. Perfect! Museum guides enjoy homeschooled students because they are genuinely interested in history and enjoy learning from knowledgeable history buffs .
Keeping them somewhat organized and a list of what you have, helps you remember to pull them out and use them. It’s worth the effort. I’ve noticed that using their hands and brain together really helps the children retain what they’re learning.
(part 4 tomorrow)