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Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies
Kara and I were going to take the month of December off, to do all of the things Melissa suggested, and to work a little bit behind the scenes here at The Homeschool Sisters Podcast.
But, we received a question this week and, after chatting about it, it seemed like the time is NOW to answer it.
Because this is the time of year when we tend to acquire a lot of stuff and, unfortunately, a lot of the stuff isn’t necessarily helpful. And so if this post can help you politely suggest an alternative when your husband/mother/sister-in-law inquires, that’s wonderful! If not, just save it in your back pocket and use it as a wish list. Start small and go from there.
What Every Homeschool Mom REALLY Wants this Holiday Season
Dear Homeschool Sisters,
Hi! I’m a mom of a 2.5 year old. We have felt a calling for homeschooling and are slowly learning and preparing our world to better accommodate a future homeschool environment. This mostly consists of learning to take care of all those mom tasks without a “kid’s at school” break and picking good toys and tools that will last for many years to come. I’m an avid podcast listener and love the inspiration you give even though we are not officially to the homeschooling age. As the holiday season approaches I’d love to hear about tools you find beneficial as a parent/homeschool educator/mom. We’ve got some of the basic educational toys but I’m just wondering what might be good to put on my wish list for long term use (example laminator). Thanks for all your encouragement and inspiration. I find it so beneficial even during these younger years.
What we all *REALLY* Want
Now, let’s be honest here. This is what we REALLY want:
- Peace and quiet
- 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep
- A clean kitchen
- An empty laundry hamper
- A dinner fairy
- A fantastic, available, and affordable babysitter
- An amazing expense-free vacation in a tropical locale
This post will get you none of these things. I’m sorry. I wish I could.
(I can, however, offer you a delicious Adult Granola recipe before delving into the other things that every homeschooling mom wants.)
The only thing we *REALLY* Need
I truly believe that the only thing you need to homeschool is a library card. Honestly. Read everything, read everywhere, and talk about it. That’s an amazing education right there.
But… we all have a wish list, don’t we?
What homeschool mamas really want
Kara and I sat down (I wish I could say this happened in person, but alas…) and chatted about all of our favorite homeschool resources and tools, past and present. We are listing our favorites here today in hopes that it helps a fellow homeschool mama. When you are finished reading, we’d love to hear your absolute favorites. Let’s all help J grow her wish list!
Before I dive into the fun stuff, here are the basics:
FOR THE SCHOOL ROOM
Here is a smattering of some of the tools that have helped our families on this homeschool journey:
- An amazing globe or world map
- A hands-on calendar that teaches days of the week, months of the year, years, and seasons
- A top-rated microscope
- Electric Pencil Sharpener because you will lose all the pencils. And the ones that you have won’t have tips.
- As J alluded to in her question above, every homeschooler needsa laminator
- Binding machine to make all of those Brave Writer Lifestyle books we gush about!
- 3-Hole Punch and lots of binders. You will find an organizing system, and then you will change it. Rinse and repeat.
- Heavy Duty Stapler
- An awesome printer (and then try to find deals on ink cartridges because you’ll go through them at record speed!)
- Paper Cutter
- Learn to tell time clock for little ones. I put this clock in our kitchen and my kids learn to tell time without much effort!
- Durable book lights so your kids can burn the midnight oil with that gigantic stack of library books you lugged to the car!
- Sleep Clock so that mama can get [some] rest. I used these clocks to help my children stay in their rooms until a reasonable morning hour. These are also great for quiet times. Set it for 45-60 minutes and have everyone regroup with a book, puzzle, or single-player game.
Books for the Homeschool mom
It’s important for homeschool moms to engage in professional development. Yes, you can call it that, sisters! Here are some of our favorites:
- Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
- Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time
- Honey for a Child’s Heart
- How Children Fail (Classics in Child Development)
- How Children Learn (Classics in Child Development)
- Instead of Education: Ways to Help People do Things Better
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
- Learning All The Time
- Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
- Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
- Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
- Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling
- The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
- The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age
- The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
- Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life
You don’t need these gadgets, but gadgets are fun!
- A Magical Cooking Pot or a programmable crock pot because it can be tough to balance all the things and these items guarantee dinner on the table
- Bluetooth Wireless Headphones because you’re going to want to listen to your favorite podcast while folding the laundry!
- Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker to stream music, stories, podcasts, and more. So much learning can happen this way!
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones because a girl can dream.
Speaking of fun, did you know we now have a Zazzle store? We are filling it with homeschool apparel and gear… and we take requests! Here are two of our favorites, but be sure to check out the others and send us your wish list!
best educational toys
In my experience, kids can learn oodles and bunches with a cardboard box. You don’t have to spend a ton (one year I made a $5 Tinker Kit and my kids play with it all the time), but if Gram is asking what she can get the kids, here are some of our favorites:
- Wooden blocks
- Cash register and play money
- Play kitchen
- Dress up clothes
- Snap Circuits
- Wooden Marble Run
- Wooden planks
One of the many homeschooling perks is the ability to explore the arts. Here are a few of our favorite supplies:
Gameschooling totally counts as school, and the holidays are the perfect time to build that game closet. Games make perfect gifts!
Here are a few of our favorite tools for exploring nature with children:
- The Handbook of Nature Study
- Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World
- Portable microscope
- Nature journal
- Field guides
Sensory play for little ones
If you are homeschooling multiple ages, it can be challenging to teach with little ones underfoot. These can help:
Did you know you can support the homeschool sisters podcast without spending any extra?
Many listeners have asked how they can support The Homeschool Sisters Podcast. The answer is a simple one. Do you shop online? Click our link first. You won’t pay any extra, but a small percentage goes toward The Homeschool Sisters Podcast to help offset our expenses. Every little bit counts, and we are so grateful for your support!
Kara wrote a great post about how affiliate links work, and if you’d like to do your holiday shopping we have listed our affiliates here in one handy-dandy spot. We will be adding to them over time so be sure to check back!
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us: What is on your homeschool wish list? Share here!
A QUICK REMINDER…
This is our last post for 2016 but fear not- we will be back in 2017 with so many plans! In the meantime, send us your questions and your favorite holiday hacks.
Have a fantastic New Year!
BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE HOMESCHOOL SISTERS
Looking for more gift ideas?