by Eaman Elhadri
~ Bismillah ~
Looking to buy products for your homeschool? You don’t need much.
You don’t typically need more than what you already have in your home! Read on…
I walked down the aisles of Target, lost in thought. My oldest, very young at the time, started to whine. I looked at the time. “Wow! An hour has past and I’m still in Target!”
I looked at my list which had three items: paper, crayons, and scissors…
…. Two hours later…
I checked out at the register, and bam! – a total of $123!! You can bet I didn’t just purchase three inexpensive items!
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You don’t need much to start homeschooling
Ahhh. The beginning days of homeschooling. The confusion. The overwhelm!
It’s common to think that purchasing everything under the sun is necessary when starting off homeschooling, but is that really true? If you’re wondering, “What products or supplies do I really need for homeschooling?” Read on….
There are tons of books and blogs written about minimalism and saving money by reducing purchases. I’ve read plenty, but unfortunately, I forgot all about minimalism in Target!
I know! I should blame Target’s logo! It is rather hypnotizing.
If you stare at it long enough, your mind begins to think, “Decor…notepads…accessories…shoes…yes! I need them all!”
I know, excuses, excuses! I can’t blame Target! What really ended up happening?
I didn’t go in with a plan (or self-control!). May Allah (AWJ) forgive me! Allahuma Ameen.
There’s your first tip mama! Go in with a plan! Especially at stores that offer everything under the sun!
What homeschooling products do I really need?
There are many options out there. From Target to Amazon, it can be rather overwhelming!
Everything looks shiny, new, and important, but everything certainly isn’t necessary! More “stuff” doesn’t equate to a smarter child or happier parents.
You are doing a great job, mama, and it isn’t because of what you buy! Focus on the needs of your family and start with the basics.
Why new homeschoolers fall into the trap of overspending
I fell into the trap of thinking that I needed many products for homeschooling, simply because I lacked experience. That, and the enticing call to buy all of the lovely products featured on social media (I’m looking at you Instagram).
Sometimes I’ll read about how a product changed someone’s homeschool for the better, and I assumed that would be the same for my family.
In the end, the product worked for them but didn’t benefit my family at all. I regret some (or most!) of the purchases that I’ve made in my first year!
Ultimately it’s best to start small.
Our favorite products for minimalist homeschooling
It’s important to note that starting small doesn’t mean that the cost will be small. You will need to purchase a few expensive products in the beginning if you don’t own them already.
These are only the products that will make a significant difference in your homeschool, inshAllah, which leads us to our first important product for homeschoolers:
Yes, a printer is expensive. Hear me out. The amount of printing in a homeschool is more in line with a small business.
Even if you have the best ink jet printer, it will probably not be adequate for your needs. A homeschool printer needs to be able to handle heavy printing. Think 500 page curriculum guides and beautiful printables!
Remember when we mentioned quality? Well this is something you don’t want to skimp on! Take our word for it, going to a print shop is tiring and will cost you more than the printer itself in the long run!
As homeschooling mamas, we are already juggling many roles. Who needs to add a Staples run to their errand list!?
HP Laser Jet Printer
We have had this printer for a long time. Read on for Pros and Cons:
Pro: Size. It’s small and lightweight. Easy access to the front and back.
Pro: Initial cost. $218 gets you the printer, and about 1600 pages printed out of the box or $0.14/per page.
Con: Plastic inside vs metal
Con: Refill consumables. The printer out of the box will get you about 1600 pages, at $0.14/page… If you buy a set of regular-yield (201″A”) replacement cartridges for about $320 (ignoring the cost of the printer), the subsequent pages are closer to $0.18/page. If you buy high-yield cartridges (i.e., 201″X”) for about $400 (ignoring the cost of the printer), the price is closer to the original $0.14/page.
2. Basic Supplies – Pens, pencils, erasers, etc.
Pretty self-explanatory! Purchase them. Watch them disappear.
Ask yourself, “What monster ate our school supplies?” Buy more. Repeat. 🙂
We’ve also purchased craft paper to protect surfaces and it doubles as something the kids can draw on.
Don’t forget the printer paper! We use this kind.
4.Books – Don’t skimp on this one!
First and foremost, head over to one of the best places for homeschoolers – the library!
If you’re looking to purchase books, first start off by purchasing Islamic children’s literature.
I am a firm believer in introducing children to great literature. Read ‘living books‘ and avoid books that are ‘dumbed down’ or that keep expectations of a child’s reading potential low.
Good literature will inspire as well as inform. Introduce your children to a great variety of reading material by visiting your local library and enjoying this special time together!
Looking for great book lists? Look no further than Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival! The Read Aloud Revival Book list is HUGE and it’s free!
Speaking of books, you’ll need a place to put them…
5. Book Shelves
This is something you need! Well, I suppose you can just lay around piles of books, but the piles will be a mile high!
That being said, be prepared to buy all.of.the.book.shelves. Not all…but a lot. 🙂
I have used regular bookshelves, however I’ve found that the Ikea Kallax series works best for us. The Kallax series comes in many different sizes and configurations, as well as several colors. You can add drawers, doors, bins, baskets, wheels, and even desk extensions to this series – the possibilities are endless!
It’s not solid wood, and not what I would consider ‘beautiful’, but it works! Function is top priority for our family. We have two white Ikea Kallax shelves, Alhemdulilah.
If you don’t have an Ikea in your area, Amazon sells an Ikea Kallax.
I’ve saved this for last because it’s probably something that you already own. I’ve used an old P.C. (for like forever!) that’s no longer on the market 🙂 up until now.
If you’re in the market and can’t wait until Black Friday, here are two for you to compare:
PC – Dell
I have a Dell PC and I’m pretty much used to it as I’ve used a PC my entire life!
If you have the money to invest, and you like all things fruit (aka apple), then by all means, checkout the Mac below.
Common Questions/FAQ About Homeschool Products/Supplies
What homeschool products/supplies do you use most often?
Mama – Laptop, pens, paper, printer, planner
Children- Pencils, books, paper
Can you homeschool for free?
No. Even the most frugal homeschoolers have to spend money homeschooling their children. Don’t try to do it for free.
A quality education doesn’t mean you have to go bankrupt, but it does require some investment. You will need to purchase resources, books, and pay for activities.
Which curriculum should I buy?
Let’s start off with the definition of curriculum. Curriculum is defined as:
The subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.Oxford
I prefer Sarah Mackenzie’s definition! –
Curriculum is something we “do”, not something we buy. It is the form and content of our children’s learning experiences. Singapore Math isn’t the curriculum. It’s just the book that I use to teach the actual curriculum, which is: math.Sarah Mackenzie
Curriculum is life. It cannot be contained within the pages of a book.Sarah Mackenzie
I will often use the term curriculum when speaking with homeschooling mamas because it’s commonly used to represent items purchased.
Is there anything you regret buying?
Every family is different with diverse needs, however, there are items that we thought would be great for learning, but only ended up causing mess and frustration. Alhemdulilah a8la kulee hal!
Regret #1 – Poor quality books
Purchase ‘Living Books’ instead of twaddle. According to Simply Charlotte Mason:
Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.”
Regret #2 -“Learning” Toys
I’m not saying to ban them all, but perhaps just keep one. And don’t buy anymore. 🙂 Learning toys can spur problem solving, social skills, and exercise.
It’s best to purchase quality, natural, open ended products that will last a lifetime and beyond, inshAllah.
Regret #3 – Items with too many parts
One part will disappear. The item won’t be used. Enough said.
The last thing you need to know about Homeschool Minimalism
If you aren’t sure about what to purchase, go home (or get off the internet 🙂 ) You can always reconsider. Practice the habit of ‘Sleeping on it’ to prevent overspending. In time, you may find that you truly don’t need the item after-all!
Stick to the basic necessities at first, but be willing to invest in quality products when necessary.
And most importantly, don’t forget that the best things in life are free. Can you buy truth?… Love?.. Happiness?
May Allah (AWJ) bless us all with what we need. And all the Muslims. Ameen.
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