Essential Reusable Homeschool Supplies

Buying homeschool supplies in bulk allows you to take advantage of the wholesale rates offered by vendors. There are always some things that you will need in the homeschool classroom irrespective of the grades your children are in. Here is a list of some common things that you could stock up on in bulk at the beginning of the school year. Thereby avoiding hassles of shopping in the middle of the school year for supplies, as well as making sure that you get a decent discounted price.

Stuff to write with: Pencils,sharpeners, erasers, pens, sketch pens, sharpies, fluorescent markers, markers and more. Getting packets of these items will definitely work out well for the long run. Plus they are an absolute no-brainer when it comes to stocking up the homeschool supplies.

Stuff to colour and craft with: Crayons, Oil pastels, scissors, glue, water colours, paints, brushes, construction paper, large sheets to draw on, hole punches, zig zag scissors, duct tape, transparent tape, masking tape. Actually there is no end to the amount of stuff that you can get for arts and crafts, so consider the activities that you plan to take on in the academic year before making your purchases.

Stuff to help you stay on track: Post its, sentence strips, lamination machine, white board, white board markers, white board dusters/ erasers, wooden clothes pins (yes they can come in really handy while organizing sheets of homework) and anything else specific that you may need to make it through with your sanity in the homeschool year.

Now that you have your list of homeschooling supplies ready, consider where you want to purchase them. While you are sure to have a local store who will give you a discount on the bulk order, it is a good idea to scout out the online places like or 4Knowledge-4fun in order to get the best possible price. If you are part of a homeschool coop, you may like to check if members are interested in combining their orders with yours to get a larger inventory to purchase. Usually the more people who club their orders, the better discounts you can expect.


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Where to look for Homeschool Help


There is a limit to how much you can teach your homeschool student as the grades progress. While teaching your own core subjects from school may not be an issue, some other courses that you child wants to take and you are not too knowledgeable about may prove to be one. In this case it would be a good idea to get in some extra help. Where would you look for help with homeschooling?

Homeschool Co-ops

Co-ops are a great place to trade your teaching skills with another parent’s. For example – You can teach all the kids history and the other parent can handle geometry. This helps you save money and still manages to meet the educational needs of your homeschool students.

Online schools

These are a good place to have your homeschool students interact with peers and teacher via the internet. You can sign them up for a specific subject that you find challenging to teach or simply pick up whatever the child finds interesting. Some of these courses may be free, while others may require you to buy a membership.

Educational video courses

Video is a tool that makes learning simple. When you tell someone about a topic, they may not register it as well as when you show someone a video describing the theory. There are a number of video channels available on popular video playing websites dedicated to different subjects. Finding them is as simple as entering a keyword in a search engine. Again a large number of these videos are available free.


The idea of hiring another person to come and teach your homeschooled child may not be very appealing to a homeschool parent. However if no other option is available this may be a somewhat costly, but viable means of ensuring that they gain the education that they are interested in.

Community courses

A large number of community centers have courses being offered through the year. Keep a look out for the types of courses that your hoemschool student would benefit from. You could get in touch with a really good teacher through these courses as well.

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Do Homeschool Students Self Advocate Better?

For a young child to speak out what he needs to say may be difficult at first because he does not have the vocabulary to speak up what he wishes to share. Later even as he builds up his words the parents continue to speak up on his behalf to teachers at school, at the doctor’s office, to sports coaches, and even to negotiate turns on the swing at the play ground with other kids.

While the parent does not mean to harm the child, indeed feels that he is protecting the child, this makes it difficult for the growing child to take responsibility of his feeling and express his own opinions. In homeschooling families, this may not happen quite as much. The primary reason for this is that in the home school classroom the child must speak up to his teacher / parent about his needs. This makes the child good at self advocacy as time and again the child is expected to share feelings, information and even general opinions about the situation that he is in.

The homeschool parent can also teach the child how to advocate better by asking him to be authentic and true to his inner feelings when describing what he feels. It is also a good idea to ensure that the homeschool student understands the difference between being aggressive and assertive when speaking about his wants and needs. This ensures that the child can tactfully and clearly explain his side of the story when speaking to people who don’t know him very well.

Most children are worried about how others perceive them. They want the adults in authority around them to like and approve of them. This can make a child hesitant to speak his mind. Since children learn best by imitating their parents, it is a good idea for the homeschooling parents to speak up honestly about their own needs when they talk to the children. As the children begin to understand that honesty is a good place to build trust for self advocacy, they will be able to share exactly how they feel in a diplomatic manner without hurting anyone else.


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Building an Optimistic Character for Your Homeschool Student

The purpose of education is to prepare children for adulthood. Optimism is the lever that helps us push ourselves into a positive future. So if you are homeschooling your children and want them to be happy and well adjusted adults, it would make sense to give them the tools that allow them to be optimistic and hopeful about what happens next in life. What better belief than this one -”Life is Good and More Good Things Will Occur in the Future.”

The 3 Good Things Exercise

It is possible to build up the belief that good things happen all the time if we use this simple exercise with the homeschool students. At the end of the day ask them to think of three good things that happened during the course of the day. Initially they may find it difficult to think of things to say. Here you need to guide them about not just the gifts or treats that they got, but also the positive experiences that they had, new and interesting things that they learnt, and a whole lot more count towards these three points.

Have them write down these three points in a journal. If they wish to, they can add more than three things, but minimum three must be jotted down. Now ask them to give gratitude for the good things happening. Explain that by being thankful they send out the vibrations for more good things to happen for them in the future. Now also have them analyse and explain why they think the three good things happened to them. Let them come up with reasons, chain of events, and other stuff that led to the occurrence of these three good things.

There are no right or wrong answers in this exercise. What they see as a good thing may or may not be considered as such by you. However the idea is to get them thinking about how small incidents in life affect them in a positive manner. This builds up their optimistic character. As with anything else in life, the more you practice the better you get at it. So if you can have your homeschool children practising optimism in smaller things every day, they are sure to continue to do it later on as well.

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Dual Enrollment for Homeschoolers in High School

While most states allow dual enrollment for homeschool students who are in high school, it is a good idea to check with your local homeschool support group about the legalities of such a move. In any case, even if the child may not be able to use the college classes as part of their homeschool curriculum, the fact remains that no knowledge gained is ever a waste of time. Here are some points to consider when dealing with dual enrollment.

Check for eligibility criteria

Each college has a different eligibility criteria that your home school teenager will have to meet if he hopes to take their classes. Its a good idea to ensure that you go through the general and specific criteria that your child may have to meet before taking on dual enrollment. For any questions get in touch with the college counsellors as well as the professor who will be teaching the class in question. This will allow you as the parent to have a clear view of what is expected of your child should he attend the class.

Level of difficulty

While your homeschooled high school student may seem to do very well in your classroom, you will have to get an idea of the level of teaching that he can expect to undergo in the college class. Sometimes the student is able to cope up with no problems at all, while at others it may seem that a bit of intervention at home may be required in addition to what the child is picking up in the college classroom to truly get the most out of the experience.

The company and new experiences

A high school junior studying in a class full of college students may find the transition a wee bit stressful.  Especially if the homeschool student is an introvert who is not too comfortable amidst the older and supposedly wiser students. It may be a good idea to ask the teacher in the class to assign a mentor to the child who will be able to officially help him out in the studies and may unofficially be able to keep an eye out for the youngster to ensure he stays out of trouble.

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Dual Enrolment for Homeschool Students

If you are teaching a teenager High School classes, there is a chance that he or she is interested in taking up subjects that you may not be too conversant with. Rather than getting your act together and studying up on a topic that may not interest you as much as it does your teenager, it may be a good idea to enrol your child in the local community college. Community colleges allow students to take college courses while still in high school which is termed as “Dual Enrolment”.

Is Dual Enrolment legally acceptable for homeschoolers?

Most states have their own laws and you will have to check the ones specific to your state. However in most states qualified high school students 16 years of age and older may enrol in one or two community college courses with ease. These will also count towards their homeschool class credits and are acceptable as transcripts for classes taken when they are finally ready to apply for regular college.

What courses can Homeschool Students apply for?

Depending on the community college course that are being run and the eligibility set by the teacher there are any number of courses that the homeschool students can apply for. Usually the most popular courses they take are related to science and maths, think classes like college algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus. Of course there are many other classes that a homeschool student may take on.

Pros and Cons of a Dual Enrolment

While some homeschool parents are happy at the thought of their high school teenager going out of the home for additional learning experiences and coming in contact with new teachers and peers, others think of it an expensive and overrated excuse to take courses outside the home. Depending on where you fit on that spectrum, you may want to carefully consider the pros and cons of having your child enrolled in two places before you begin to consider community college classes.

One thing is for sure, its an option that is well worth exploring for the future of your child, especially if he intends to step into regular college at a later date.

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Griffith Park Trip with my Family

A few weeks ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go to Los Angeles on a quick weekend trip to Griffith Observatory. Boy was I ever wrong…it wasn’t just a good idea, it was a FANTASTICALLY GREAT idea!

My family (all six of us) traveled about 4 hours to arrive at the beautiful observatory and got to experience not only the amazing exhibits showcased inside, but also a star gazing party was setting up on the front lawn area as we pulled up.

It was such a treat to see the planetarium shows inside, and it wasn’t until I was sitting there in the dark with my 5 year old (who was totally speechless with awe, which doesn’t happen often, and that was before the show started!), I remembered that it was always a dream of mine as a kid to be a planetarium show operator. I remember visiting a planetarium in 4th or 5th grade, sitting there in the dark just like my daughter was now, being completely “wow-ed” by the whole experience, and wanting to give that experience to others.

After the show, I went to the back of the room (where the operators were) and introduced mu kids to the technicians, who answered all our questions about the projectors and how everything worked. They even turned on all the lights and brought the main huge projector up from the floor (the one that looks like two giant spheres attached like an hourglass with lenses all over it).

Anyway, long story short – I got to share a magic moment with my family, relive a beautiful childhood memory, and realize that I really do have the best job in the entire world. I mean, not only do I do star shows for kids now across the world with the free classes I do through Supercharged Science (there’s an Astronomy & Spaceflight one coming up in December), but I also get to make a difference every day, and there’s nothing more amazing than that.

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Possible Approaches to Developing a Writing Voice for Your Homeschooler

Making up a story is easy when you are just speaking about it. However to describe things in a more academic setting requires considerable practice for your homeschool student to get it right. Here are some writing prompts that can be used to help your budding teenage writer.

Ask for a Story

When asked to tell a story encompassing all details of a given situation, your homeschool student will be forced to use the narrative style of writing. He can illustrate what us happening to different characters and encapsulate what he needs to describe in succinct statements. Have the student develop the situation, the story and the characters in an on going story through the week.

Describe an Object

From the coffee pot to a fountain in the park, pick up any object that is familiar to your homeschool student and ask him to describe it in a couple of sentences completely. This allows the homeschool student to pick up more adjectives to accurately describe the object as briefly as possible. Keep up the exercise with about five different objects in teh week.

Ask a Rhetoric Question

An open ended question is a good way for the student to try persuasive writing. Pick up a question which has no right or wrong answers and ask them to state their point of view with justifications. Have each opinion backed by a set of facts and figures where possible. Make them convince you that what side they picked is the right one.

Quote Someone

A popular quotation by someone famous can be a good starting point for a narrative. Ask the homeschool student to come up with a story on their own, full of characters, plot, etc., based on the quote that you have provided. This gives them creative expression within a limited frame work.

Action Plan for a Solution

Give the homeschool student a problem and make them describe it in an expository style. Then have them provide a solution to the problem they have described as an action plan that can be taken in the future. This will help develop lateral thinking as well.

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Help Your Homeschool Student with Different Types of Writing

While written expression usually focusses on finding the “voice” of the homeschool student, in high school the student must also learn the four different types of writing styles that are expected in different types of academic assignments. The four different styles of writing are Expository, Descriptive, Persuasive and Narrative. Let us take a more detailed look at each type and see where these are to be used.


This is a subject oriented writing type whose main purpose is to explain more details about the topic. It deals with presenting facts and figures, but does not allow the author to share his own opinions on them. it is logical and sequence based. This kind of writing is used in text books, how – to guides, news articles and


This deals with describing characters, situations, events, places and more in great detail. There are a large number of adjectives pointing out the special qualities of whatever is being described. It is often poetic and the author gets to visualize everything with all five senses in the writing. This kind of writing is used in poems, journal or diary entries, and descriptive phases in fiction books.


This tries to convince the reader that the point of view that the author is sharing with him is the correct one. The author is at liberty to share his personal opinions and views at great length and support it with whatever facts he can to justify his opinion. It is used in complaint letters, recommendation letters, advertisements and commercials, marketing pitches, cover letters, and newspaper editorial pieces.


This basically is about telling a story. The author may choose to tell the story as a narrator giving an over all view of what is happening with different characters in the tale or he may chose to describe what’s happening from the point of view of one of the characters in the story, also known as first person narrative. Used in novels, short stories, biographies, jokes and anecdotes and even in some poems.

Your high school student has to be taught how to write in each of these different styles in the home school classroom.

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Websites for Online Homeschooling

There are a number of websites on the net which allow children to explore their school curriculum online. Given here are the names of a couple such online websites which handle multiple subjects and can be used in conjunction with regular homeschooling classes for the students to get the maximum benefit.

Khan Academy (Multiple Subjects)

At this website math, biology, chemistry, physics, finance, and history are just a few of the choices the student has to study. It is well put together and includes not only texts to read but also multi media material such as short video clips explaining concepts, interactive quizzes to check the student’s knowledge level and retention skills, and a whole lot more. The material can be used very easily in addition to the regular textbooks that the student is using.

Time 4 learning (Multiple Subjects)

This is yet another multiple subject website, however unlike Khan Academy, it is not entirely free to access. There is a charge of $19.99 for the month for the first child on the site. Access to member restricted areas includes learning games to improve reading, math, science, and social studies skills.

Clickschooling (Multiple Subjects)

This is a website which is not restricted to traditional educational curriculum. It is very creative and allows you to plan a number of interesting activities for your homeschool class. You get ideas via email six times in the week, which you can use in your own class schedule. There are also virtual field trips possible on the website where the kids can take an online visit to places such as the Museum of London and a Kentucky farm where monks make fruitcakes.

Single subject websites can also be found in plenty to supplement online homeschooling classes. And while most of the sites do tend to have a paid section for members, they also tend to offer a couple of lessons in each grade for free so that the parents and homeschool students can try out the website. This trial makes it easier for the homeschool family to see if the website actually suits their academic needs. It can also be used as a free resource to supplement classroom teaching for homeschooling teachers.


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