Once you’ve made the decision to homeschool your child, you can begin the exciting process of getting all your supplies together. There’s a whole world of homeschooling equipment out there, so if you’re not sure where to start, why not tackle the essentials first?
Carve out a space in your home for a work surface and chairs, and then you can think about kitting out your makeshift classroom. In this guide, we’ll go through the most useful homeschool supplies for both student and teacher, as well as where to find free resources.
Technology and Software
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If you’re working on a tight budget, and don’t have access to technology and software, homeschooling can be done primarily using books and textbooks. This being said – technology does offer an undoubted advantage when it comes to homeschooling, as your child can make the most of online lessons, join a virtual homeschool group and more. Here are few key bits of tech we recommend:
- Reliable Wi-Fi connection
- Access to the internet via a PC, laptop or tablet
- Software suite such as Microsoft Office or Google Docs, for putting together presentations, essays and spreadsheets
- Set of headphones
- Small projector
- Digital camera for creative projects, or documenting milestones
- Digital curriculum or courses, such as the OHS course packs
Supplies for Homeschool Students
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While there are some items which you’ll both be using, splitting your homeschool supplies into student and teacher columns might help. You could even let your child choose some of their own equipment, which might make them feel a little more excited about getting started!
Stationery for children. It’s easy to go overboard on stationery, so here’s a quick list of the staples for any homeschool student:
- Writing pens and pencils
- Coloured pens and pencils
- Rulers and erasers
- Scissors and glue sticks
- Coloured paints
- Exercise books (plain, ruled and graph paper)
- Sketch pads
- A3 coloured paper
- Sticky notes
Organisational supplies. Colourful organisational supplies can motivate your children to stay on top of their work, and keep their homeschool space neat and tidy. It’s worth investing in dividers, as well as ring binders for different subjects, a stapler and a holepunch, and plastic boxes for storing equipment too.
For the wall. Decorating your makeshift classroom might help your children to get in the zone, and it’s also a great way of incorporating visual aids into your teaching. You could put a map of the world up, or a wall calendar for marking dates and deadlines; you could also display helpful infographics for grammar techniques, or timelines for history.
Books. Whichever curriculum you choose, it’s likely that your child will need both textbooks and fiction books to support it. OHS course packs come with a set of lessons and self-assessment tests; some may have a supporting CD-ROM, but others may require additional textbooks.
Supplies for Homeschool Teachers
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As well as picking up the supplies for your child, it’s worth thinking about whether there are any essentials you need as a homeschool teacher, that could make your life easier. Here are a few bits of kit you might want to consider:
- Coloured biros for marking
- Whiteboard pens and eraser
- Flipchart and marker pens
- Stickers in different colours to reward good work
- Lesson planner
- Teaching diary or journal, to record progress
- Box files for teaching materials
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In the UK, the government doesn’t offer financial support to parents who homeschool, so it’s important to know how and where you can access free and low-cost supplies for education at home.
Local libraries. There’s no better resource for free homeschooling materials than your local library. Not only can you find all manner of fiction, non-fiction and textbooks there, but most council libraries also have a range of sheet music, audiobooks and DVDs to take out, as well as computer and printing facilities.
Podcasts and radio shows. There’s a whole host of educational podcasts out there, covering subjects like history, geography and literature, as well as sport and politics – there are even specialist shows dedicated to homeschool children and parents. These are generally available to stream or download for free, from platforms like Spotify, A-Cast and Apple Podcasts.
The BBC. Another excellent free resource, the BBC produces many educational television shows – like nature documentaries – but also offers a lot of content on its website. BBC Bitesize offers revision guides, tests and exercises in almost every subject imaginable, for children in primary and secondary age groups, with a vast array of GCSE support.
Local food banks. If you need a hand getting set up with basic stationery – like notebooks, pens and colouring pencils, you can often find these at your local food bank.
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What do I need to homeschool my child?
When you’re getting ready to homeschool, it’s best to start with the essentials, and build out from there. You’ll need basic stationery, a work surface and chairs, a Wi-Fi connection and a PC or laptop/tablet, and most importantly, your curriculum, and accompanying learning materials.
What’s the best online homeschool programme?
Oxford Home Schooling offers a wide selection of homeschool programmes for different age groups, including Key Stage 3, GCSE and A Level. You’ll find courses in all the core subjects – such as English, maths and the sciences – as well as others such as Spanish, Psychology and Economics.
How can I get free homeschool supplies?
There are plenty of free homeschooling resources out there if you’re working to a budget. Local libraries are well-stocked, not only with books and textbooks, but also with DVDs, music and audiobooks. You can also use YouTube lessons, podcasts and documentaries for learning materials, and for basic stationery supplies, try visiting your local food bank.
Can I pull my child out of school to homeschool?
Yes, in the UK you’re permitted to take your child out of state or private school and homeschool them instead, as long as you can provide a full-time education for them at home. You’ll need to inform the school they’re currently attending before you make this decision.
If you are thinking about homeschooling, see our list of courses from Key Stage 3 right up to A Level Home Education.