Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?
A choice selection of absolutely fabulous homeschool supplies and teaching materials, curated just for you. 😊 For general classroom and office supplies not listed below, try the universal Amazon Back-to-School store. (We are an Amazon affiliate so your purchases here earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you, and they help us keep going and growing. Thank you!.)
BOOKS, MAPS, & ALBUMS
The reference books we recommend to all homeschool families are described in detail on our special “Six Books for Every Homeschool” page. They are: a world atlas, a comprehensive dictionary, a world almanac for the current year, a bird guide, a history encyclopedia, and a guide to the night sky. We refer to them all regularly in our educational materials.
A globe to go along with your world atlas is also an essential teaching tool. For homeschool use we think inexpensive inflatable globes are best, such as the basic 12-inch Pangda political globe and the 16-inch Replogle topographical globe.
Wall maps are the best decoration for every homeschool classroom. (And student bedroom!) At a minimum you should try to get one of your city or town, one of your state, one the United States, and one of the world.
The Dover Thrift Editions are a great way to build up an affordable paperback library of classic literature in many different subject areas for your students. For poetry in particular, try Great Short Poems, 100 Best-Loved Poems, and 101 Great American Poems. They overlap a little bit but you can get all three for just $11.
A set of simple coin collecting albums is a wonderful educational gift. (The National Park Quarters series is a great place to start.) History, geography, economics, and art all combine into one comprehensive learning opportunity.
A beginner’s stamp album, or a blank stamp stock-book that will let you create your own album, combined with a couple of big packets of unsorted worldwide stamps or unsorted American stamps, can provide hours or maybe even years of educational entertainment in geography, history, art, and much more.
SCIENCE & NATURE SUPPLIES
Bird feeders should have a place in every homeschool. Several types are available: tube and hopper feeders that are favored by chickadees, finches, and sparrows; platform feeders that are favored by ground-loving birds such as cardinals; suet feeders that are favored by woodpeckers and nuthatches; and window feeders that are great for close-up views. Find one or two that fit your home setting and you will be rewarded with hours of educational entertainment.
Binoculars can be used for nature study, astronomy, sports, plane spotting, and much more. (But be sure Lesson #1 is “Don’t use them to watch the neighbors.”) Successful binocular use requires a degree of eye-hand coordination that small children may not yet have, so consider your first pair to be mom and dad’s binoculars which the little ones can try out from time to time. Beginners will do better with a lower magnification (7x or 8x rather than 10x). Choose an established brand and avoid cheap imports; with optical equipment you generally do get what you pay for. A good pair of binoculars will last for many years.
Science wall charts, like maps, are just the thing to decorate every homeschool classroom. Treat your students to (say) four different charts and put a different one up for study during each of the four terms of the homeschool year.
The AmScope line of student microscopes comes highly recommended by many homeschoolers. A variety of different models are available — look around and find one that meets your needs.
The Oxford Helix geometry set (compass, protractor, triangles, rule, stencil) has been a math-student favorite around the world for generations — and it’s great for artists too!
The Snap Circuits line of electronics kits are highly recommended for homeschool students interested in science, electronics, engineering, and more.
A planisphere or “star wheel” is an essential tool for teaching basic astronomy. The grandest planisphere is Ken Graun’s Guide to the Stars. It’s packed with information and can serve as a beginner’s astronomy text on its own.
Cuisenaire rods are an old favorite for teaching a variety of basic principles in mathematics and the metric system. (My own sense of how much a cubic centimeter is still comes from the remembered sensation of those little white cubes in my hand.)
CLASSROOM & OFFICE SUPPLIES
All kinds of general school supplies (pencils, paper, markers, index cards, folders, and much more) are available all year long at the Amazon Back-to-School store.
Post-It Arrows are ideal tools for teaching a hundred little lessons with maps in particular. “Pin me ten state capitals.” “Pin me five rivers in California.” “Pin me three big islands in the Mediterranean Sea.”
The best permanent pens for daily use and homeschool record keeping are the Signo Uni-Ball series. They’re pens for mom and dad and for high-schoolers rather than little kids – the ink is indelible!
Bookmark magnifier-rulers are good for use with maps and reference books, and even to carry around outside on field trips.
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