Monday, 10 April 2017

Useful home education supplies (you might be surprised)

When I think of what makes our days work, some things are obvious and others less so.
  • Large supply of pencils. We used to spend time every day playing Hunt the pencil. This is a game of dubious educational merit. Buying a large supply of pencils, every summer, has eliminated this. We just return pencils to their container when they are found.

  • Lining paper. Yes, the sort that is used for decorating. This has numerous uses: timelines, painting for younger children or at groups, brainstorming, tablecloth at Poetry Tea where it helps creativity.
    I use both sides of the paper and of course, it recycles. This post from Farmhouse Schoolhouse talks about assessing children's knowledge using similar large sheets of paper.

  • A phone. Not everyone will agree but I use my phone in morning time for music (Classics for Kids) and Bedtime Math. At other times, it is used to quickly look up topics. Yes, I know that there are problems with looking things up on the internet but it is very useful for quickly finding pictures of cocoa beans or the capital of French Guiana (Cayenne). The phone is also useful for taking quick pictures to document learning.
Making chocolates on a group trip
  • A white board. This is a recent addition, for us, but I wish that we had purchased this earlier. We use a magnetic board  with All about Spelling but also use it for vocabulary word, drawing, dictation, working out maths and so on.

  • Outside space. We are privileged to have a garden and several parks nearby but whilst all this isn't necessary, I would find it difficult to home educate without some outside space. We go outside for exercise, nature study, for poetry on sunny days, for picnics and discussion and to improve days that aren't going so well! Charlotte Mason talks about children spending hours outside-four to six hours a day on fine days from April to October. We don't usually get up to Charlotte Mason levels of outside time! However, UK government recommendations are at least an hour a day of aerobic exercise, for children, and it is certainly easier to do aerobic exercise outside. 
If you are a home educator, what are your top home education supplies?

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  1. I'm not sure we have anything too unusual:

    1) Bible, hymnbooks
    2) The kitchen, and all that is in it (weighing, measuring, baking, cooking, creating)
    3) The garden and all that is in it. Ornithology, entomology, gardening, growing, building shelters and 'boats', running, playing
    4) Books. Plenty of them
    5) Coloured pencils (I agree with you about the 'hunt the pencil game')
    6) Life and everything that goes with that - church life, market shopping, errands

    1. I love your last point. The longer that I home educate, the more difficult I find drawing a line between work and not work.

  2. Yes, we have a list too:
    A printer, the library, programs that limit screen use, and a place to put all the pens and pencils. :) And of course, outside space, just like you.
    It took us many years to realize the importance of having lots and lots of pens and pencils--that has saved us so much time.

    1. Yes, we have timers which turn off computers, too! We used to waste so much time, every morning, looking for the pencil which belonged to a specific child. I still can't quite believe how much time we save by having a generous supply!