Homeschool Helpers: Our Favorite Day-to-Day Resources

We use lots of different resources in our homeschool, but there are some resources that show up at our table nearly every day.  Some of these resources are things I use with one child while working with my other, some are items used for reinforcing what we’re learning, and some are things that show up simply when we need a break from the pens and paper.  All of them, however, are things that make homeschool life flow more smoothly for us.

Homeschool Helpers - Our Favorite Day -to-Day Resources

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I’m sure this list of favorite resources looks different from family to family, but these are the things that make our homeschool world go round.

Our Favorite Day-to-Day Resources

Art Supplies

My kiddos love art and art supplies make a daily appearance in our homeschool.  Here are a few of our art favorites:

Multipurpose Paper – We buy special paper for art projects from time to time, but we use multi media paper  most frequently.  It’s exactly what it sounds like and usually gets the job done for our projects.

Pastels – We’ve got a good set of oil pastels that we use fairly often, but our chalk pastels get tons of use.  In fact, we probably use chalk pastels more than any other medium.  Because we go through pastels so quickly, we don’t spend tons of money on them.  We’ve found this set of 48 Simply Art Pastels to be an incredible value and we’ve never found the need to switch to another brand.

Homeschool Helpers - Favorite Day to Day Resources

Sharpies – I’m often surprised by how often we use Sharpies throughout the day.  We use them in lots of ways, but they definitely count as art supplies!

Pencils – The Boy loves having a good pencil set around.

Paints – We use our share of acrylic paints, but we always have tempera paints and watercolors on hand too.

Legos

Lego bricks aren’t just for fun; they can prove useful in almost every area of homeschool.  For example, The Boy builds historical scenes and science models with Legos and Prissy uses Legos to build letters, shapes, and numbers, among other things.   We’ve also used the bricks as math manipulatives before.  A box of Lego bricks is worth the investment!

Homeschool Helpers - Favorite Day to Day Resources

  Kindle Fire

There was a day when I would have laughed if you said we would use a Kindle every day in our homeschool, but not so much now.  I can honestly say that we use our Kindles every day and use it for many things throughout the course of a homeschool week.

We certainly use it for reading, but it’s so much more than an e-Reader.   On most days, Prissy starts her homeschool day on a Kindle Fire.  She spends time on one of many educational apps working on handwriting, early reading skills, and much more while I get her brother started on his independent work for the day.

Homeschool Helpers - Day to Day Favorite Resources
Our Kindle Fire comes in handy for lots of things. Art for Kids Hub is just one of them!

We use our Kindles for watching videos on a daily basis.  Some of those videos are art tutorials, some are YouTube videos to demonstrate a point from something we’re learning, and some of those videos go along with curriculum we’re using.

We also use it to access Amazon’s huge Prime Music library.  It’s perfect for streaming classical music in the background while homeschool is happening, but it’s also great for impromptu dance sessions.  (Trust me, sometimes you’ve got to get up and move in between subjects!)

These are just a few of the ways we put our Kindles to work on a daily basis, but there are certainly more!  I never thought I’d become so dependent on a device like that, but it’s truly a homeschool lifesaver!

Books

It’s no surprise that there are several books that make the cut for our favorite day to day resources, right?  We use lots of books in our homeschool, but there are some that we use more than we ever dreamed.  Here are the ones that can be found on our table at any given time:

Draw Write Now – These books are great for incorporating art, handwriting, and copywork into other subjects like history and science.  We don’t use these books as much as we used to because The Boy has worked through them already, but we still break them out a good bit.  I’m also quite sure that even if they do sit on the shelf for a while, I’ll use them all over again when Prissy gets older.

Draw & Write Through History – This series is similar to the Draw Write Now series, but only focuses on history and is geared toward older kids.  We tend to spend more time in these books now and are loving the depth of the information and the drawings.

Magic Tree House Series & Fact Trackers – The Magic Tree House series has been a well-loved supplement in our homeschool for years.  These fantastical, adventure-based books are written for readers ages 6-9, but my nine year-old isn’t even close to outgrowing them.  From a homeschool perspective, I love that I can weave these books into our lesson plans.  Since The Boy loves them and often reads them on his own, these books are an easy way to reinforce science and history topics.

Homeschool Helpers - Our Favorite Day to Day Resources

We’ve always got at least one of these books on the table because of his monthly CurrClick Magic Tree House Club meeting, but the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker books are often on the table, too.  These are the non-fiction companions to the original series and present lots of great topical information in a kid-friendly way. We love, love, love Magic Tree House!

Home Learning Year by Year – This book has been my go-to homeschool resource from the very beginning.  I love that Rebecca Rupp’s guide gives suggestions for what to cover for every grade level and that the suggestions aren’t intimidating.  If there’s one book I recommend for every homeschool family — regardless of method preferences, curriculum, experience with homeschooling — it’s this one.  You need a copy of Home Learning Year by Year on your shelf!

Reference books –  There are several of these that we use frequently, but they don’t make the day-to-day cut.  These are the two reference books that we go back to over and over again.  We’ve certainly got our money out of them!

  • We’ve been using Roger Priddy’s My Picture Atlas in our homeschool for years and still pull it out at least once a week.  We love the bright maps, the way it’s organized, and the information given about every state and country.
  • Even though it’s much easier to Google or Bing a definition, we still use a physical dictionary in our homeschool.  It’s important to teach dictionary skills regardless of the technology that’s available to us!  This Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary is our favorite.

Puzzles & Games

Puzzles and games serve a few different purposes in our homeschool.  I use some puzzles solely for keeping Prissy busy while I work one-on-one with The Boy, but puzzles have educational benefits, too.  We like using puzzles just for the sake of logic, but word puzzles  help us take puzzle time to the next level.  These are so good for letter and word recognition!  She doesn’t get all of the puzzle action, though.  The Boy enjoys Ravensburger’s puzzle line, but the globe puzzle is his absolute favorite!

Homeschool Helpers - Favorite Day to Day Resources
We’ve also found games like Bananagrams, Pairsinpears, Dominoes, and Yahtzee to be lots of fun in our homeschool.  Sometimes you’ve got to shut the books, put away the pens, and just have fun together, but the great thing about these games is that you can sneak in some learning time while you’re playing!  The kids don’t have to know about any of that, though!

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Do you have a list of favorite day-to-day homeschool resources? I’d love to hear your favorites and see if I need to add them to our homeschool shelves!

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