Your Home Is Already a Homeschooling Supply Warehouse!
Your Home Is Already a Homeschooling
By Linda Dobson
When life and learning co-mingle as they do in homeschooling, you begin to look at the world differently. You realize every moment holds the potential to be a learning moment, every experience is a deposit in a knowledge bank, and every “thing” can contribute to the education of your child.
To help you see resources through the eyes of a homeschooling parent – and to save you money! - I once questioned homeschooling moms of “early years” children: “What items do you have in your home which you consider invaluable for homeschooling?” I expected an array of answers and, boy, did I get it! Here, for maybe the first time in homeschooling history, homeschooling parents reveal to the world their most highly regarded resources. Now you, too, possess knowledge of the heretofore secret educational resources for early years children!
Household Items as Homeschooling Supplies Already On Hand
Money and coins
Piano and other musical instruments
DVD player and DVDs
CD player and CDs
Needle and thread, fabric
Box of “useful things” – string, paper clips, rubber bands…
Lots of assorted paper, for writing and creating
People as Homeschooling Aids Already On Hand
Children’s best friends
Interesting, creative people in the neighborhood
Pets, including dogs, cats, and horses (Give me some leeway here; our pets were always treated like people.)
Places as Homeschooling Aids Already On Hand
Backyard plants and dirt
Things You Thought Were Just Toys are
Homeschooling Aids Already On Hand
Yahtzee, Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Mancala, Life
Deck of cards
Shovels and pails
Stuffed animal collection
Wooden train set
Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars and toy construction vehicles
Additional Homeschooling Aids You Can Easily Make
Surprise! Your Home Is Already a Homeschooling Supply Warehouse!
Everyday household items sit waiting to be used in fun and creative ways. “Our finances aren’t tight, but I choose to not spend much money on homeschooling,” says Leslie. “We use real money, real clocks, and a real thermometer to learn about money, time and temperature. For math manipulatives we pull out checkers, poker chips, Matchbox crs, Legos, M&M, or whatever else my son wants to use.”
Looking for ways to expand the idea of “real” materials, Rachel thought a backyard garden would be a great resource. “It’s amazing what you can end up investigating after even only a fifteen-minute session out there,” she marvels. “We’ve learned how seeds germinate, figured out what’s eating the plants, performed experiments with light and water, and we get to eat fresh veggies, to boot!”
While Rachel and her son knew what their harvest results would be, other backyards yield surprises. Holly and her son were visiting her cousin’s farm, where they read that Civil War soldiers used pokeberry ink and feather quills to write letters from the battlefield. Holly says, “We brought home a handful of goose feathers from the farm into which we carved nibs. Then we picked pokeberries from our own backyard, crushed them, added a little water to make ink, and wrote with the results. It really worked!”
Many times the children themselves spot a great homeschooling resource that adults fail to notice. Her children are now teens, but Valerie still treasures the pots made from clay dug out of the local creek bank where her little boys spent long hours playing.
Celia’s six-year-old daughter has a knack for finding human resources. “She finds the ones I overlook. She’s the one who remembered her grandpa speaks French and could help out,” Celia says. “And she doesn’t mind questioning the lady in the grocery store line behind us.”
Get rid of the notion that you need to consider spending anywhere near the amount of money your local school district spends on each child each year. Consider the items you already have, and then supplement these with others to fill in gaps you discover.
Your pocketbook will thank you.