Back to School Essentials? {5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement}

Back to school, the phrase alone reminds me of aisles of notebooks, pencil cases, paper, binders, crayons, felt markers…you get the idea.

Now that we homeschool there is no restriction on the supplies we use (for student or teacher) so I can decide what to spend our budget dollars on and what we can leave behind on those overstocked shelves.

The first items we no longer need are school uniforms and extra pairs of indoor shoes. Now we go for comfort, sweats and tees most days and who wears shoes in the house (not me).


Memories from a long-ago school uniform shopping trip

Next on the “we don’t need to buy it anymore” list are the extra boxes of kleenex, pencils, crayons, erasers, and scissors that went into the sharing for the classroom box. I could never understand why we ask children to share pencils all winter (read: cold and flu season) and then wonder why they keep bringing bugs home.

Lunches and snacks are easier at home too (even if you are packing them for a field trip). You don’t have to worry that someone will have something in their pack that your child will have a reaction too plus you can save money since you won’t be as tempted to buy those little individual packets of goldfish and ritz cracker.

So when the back to school sales come to our local stores I can shop to my heart’s content and choose the items we like to work with best.

I love fresh new notebooks and nice pens. I always have and find there is nothing like fresh supplies to get me motivated. I also read somewhere that children will have an easier time printing and writing if they use a pen or pencil that glides across their page (I’m picturing a figure skater right now). Another tip is to allow them to use a whiteboard and markers for their practice work (those certainly do slide nicely even if they can be a bit messy on the hands). We do this a lot, especially when we are out at a park or working in the car. You can take pictures of the work if it’s something you want to save.


Because we travel a lot there are additional resources that I make sure to have for our homeschool including annual memberships to local museums, science centers, and zoos. Many of these offer reciprocal benefits through the ASTC Travel Passport program or the North American Reciprocal Museum Association. There are others as well but we’ve had good luck with these ones.

I am a book person and think I will always be but I am coming around to using a Kindle for some of our reading. This does cut down on the amount of “stuff” we have to pack and can save some money too. You can often find the classics for free so if you tend toward a classical literary education, this can be very helpful.


We found a bunch of fun flash cards for both boys at the dollar store

Another favorite resource is the dollar store. I can find most of the items we need for art and science there at a price that doesn’t put my budget into tears. EJ loves taking his supply list and finding as many of the items as he can on his own (or with the help of a friendly staff member) and then we look at the list to see if substitutions can be made. It’s a good learning opportunity for him to help with managing the costs.

What are some of your favorite resources or money saving back to school tips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

I’d like you to meet some of the other members of the Review Crew, here are just a few of them:

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Betty @ Let’s Get Real
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

And you’ll find more Work it Wedensday posts on our Crew page and the links below.

1 thought on “Back to School Essentials? {5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement}”

  1. Dawn says:

    Zoo and museum memberships can be so beneficial and save a lot of money!

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