July 28, 2010

Our Top 10 Most Valuable Homeschooling Tools


Having the right tools for any job, makes that job - not only possible - but easier, quicker and usually better.  This is true of my husband’s job as the breadwinner, my job as a homemaker and my job as a homeschooling teacher. 

Regardless of what changes in our curriculum, I’ve found that these are our tried-and-true, top 10 most valuable homeschooling tools and how we use them:

  1. Wall Pockets – These are our version/adaptation of workboxes.  They take up next to no space and work perfectly for us.  They hold paper, workbooks, library books and even our dry erase boards.
  2. Learning Box (Brain Box) – I purchased these boxes for my children’s spelling cards.  Soon I realized I could utilize that extra space with memory helps for other areas of study.  Our boxes now contain things we are learning or have learned that we want to retain.  We have cards on famous artists & their works, the months of the year (because we needed some more practice), math facts and other memory card games & reminders.
  3. Dry Erase Boards–  These smaller-sized dry erase white boards are perfect for our daily spelling (AAS) and also for cursive handwriting practice.  Before we used these, I had tons of papers lying around at the end of the day which were crammed into the recycle bin. – No more!  My children prefer to write on them because they “feel” different than writing on paper.  I agree. Now we only write on paper if the assignment is something we want to save.  Did you know you can buy washable dry erase markers? ☺
  4. Chalkboard – This is one of my favorite finds.  I found this beauty at a school flea market for $12.  We use our chalkboard often.  I use it when I teach, and the kids use it for Math and other things.
  5. Library card & online request – Since our library has gone “online”,  I have found it so easy to request the books we want.   Any time, day or night, I can search for the books I want and then submit a request.  Usually within a day or two, I receive am email telling me they are ready for pick up.  I ♥ it!
  6. Computer -  This one is obvious.  The amount of knowledge accessible is amazing.  I love that I can do a quick search by subject matter and get all the info I need from the comfort of my own home and even in my PJs.  What’s not to love about that?   From all my favorite blog reads, to curriculum reviews, Paperback Swap, my Netflix queue, and Amazon.com – I am good!
  7. Kitchen recipe book holder – This one might seem odd, but I tell you, my kitchen recipe book holder is HEAVY.  It can hold any book upright.  It can also hold up large art pieces, workbooks, notebooks, posters, foam board, our large dry erase board and even a bulletin board without tipping.  We use it regularly which is why I’m going to have to invest in another one. I’m certain that my cookbook (that I purchased this for) is missing it.
  8. Timers -  Doesn’t every home have one? or three?  We love our timers!  We use them to limit screen time in our home and sometimes to limit school work.  Sound strange?   Limiting school work time can really help on those grouchy days when kids need to know there is an end in sight.  I’ll tell my kids that they don’t have to finish an assignment; they only need to work on it for so many minutes.  They often finish the assignment anyway, but are more cooperative knowing it will be a temporary thing.  We also use our timers for games and for the children to time themselves on tasks to see if they can beat their previous records.
  9. Schedule – Since we have used our flexible schedule, we are getting much more accomplished in less time and everyone is happier. It’s amazing to me to see how much more free time we have by using our schedule.
  10. Laminating machine Laminating the world one paper at a time - that’s my motto! LOL!  I do love to laminate all sorts of stuff.  I am certain I am not alone here. ☺

These tools have all proven useful to our family and I’d hate to be without any of them.

I have recently acquired a new homeschooling tool – A spiral binding machine! ☺  This will definitely be on our top list for next year.  I’ve used it three times so far and love it!

What are your most valued tools of the trade?

*This post was originally written for and posted at The Homeschool Classroom.


  1. Dana,

    I loved reading about your "Top Ten." I'm inspired! :-)


  2. Thanks Rachel! I love hearing about what tools of the trade others use as well. ☺

  3. thanks for these wonderful tips! where did you find the dry-erase board that resembles writing paper? what a novel idea! :)

  4. Hi DAY - The dry-erase board was purchased at Staples they are nice and durable. I saw that Walmart has some in their back to school stuff, but they are not near the same quality.

  5. What a great list! I absolutely love my laminator, too. And I love that motto! We just purchased those little marker boards at Staples for this year. We were going to be using them for handwriting practice, but I think I'll add the Spelling idea. We just have too many papers all the time. It would be a nice change and I'm sure my boys would love it as well!

    Thanks for all the great ideas!


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