5 Days of Homeschool Essentials, Day 5 – Craft Materials

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(This post on craft materials as homeschooling essentials contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.)

Even high school students need poster board, right? And some fancy-schmancy markers? But when you homeschool elementary and preschool kids, like I do, craft materials become an essential. I would even put this before a few others I have mentioned. So last, but not least, here’s my #5 homeschooling essential: craft materials.

A simple Google search will reveal all sorts of ideas for crafts. For those of us who are craft-challenged, a curriculum like Home Art Studio will be worth every penny. Some of the projects you see here came from their DVD. I plan to do a full review on this curriculum in February.

Children mix red and yellow paint to obtain orange.

My kids mixed red and yellow to make orange, then painted small paper plates orange. They were so proud of their creations.

Small children love crafts and they develop so many skills through cutting and pasting, threading and buttoning, matching and measuring. Crafts are the perfect activity during which they have fun and learn at the same time, without realizing they are doing so.

Happy Sun - a simple craft project

Crafts don’t have to be difficult: paint a whole paper orange, let it dry, draw a circle, cut it out. Also, cut out triangles and mount on blue construction paper. Add details like eyes, mouth and clouds.

Your craft cabinet should contain inexpensive items (Dollar Stores come to mind) like:

  • scissors
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • scrap paper in different colors
  • card stock
  • crayons
  • markers
  • paint (different types)
  • brushes (different sizes)
  • stickers
  • play dough
Purple play dough flower, with stem and leaves

My daughter and I made purple play dough. It’s her favorite color. Then, we cut it out with our flower shape. We rolled the stem. For the leaves, we flattened bits of play dough.

Simple household items you already have will come in handy, like:

  • egg cartons (make sure they are clean)
  • paper plates
  • scotch tape
  • a stapler
  • cereal boxes
  • yarn
  • a hole puncher
  • brown paper bags
  • raffia
  • manila folders
Hand prints in primary colors

Another simple project: kids love tracing their own hands. Then, have them paint them.

Here’s my suggestion: bite the bullet and invest in the ultimate Crayola Play Doh set. Then, the only thing you need to do is make your own play dough every six months. It’s certainly cheaper than buying it. Bonus: you appear even bigger and wiser to your children for producing play dough right in your kitchen. By the way, they will love to help you measure and knead.

Need a simple play dough recipe? Here it is:

1 cup flour

1/2 c salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

food coloring

Cook in saucepan over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and becomes like play dough in consistency. Knead until cool. It will stay soft in airtight container. No need to refrigerate.

For more essentials, check out these blogs from my friends at the TOS Review Crew below:

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Julie @ Nurturing Learning

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures

DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor

Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Nicole @ Journey to Excellence

Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool

Meg @ Adventures with Jude

Sarah @ Delivering Grace
5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

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5 Days of Homeschool Essentials, Day 4 – An Internet Connection

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The internet has changed our lives so much, I don’t know how we managed before it. I know people who homeschool without internet at home. It is possible. After all, pioneering homeschoolers of the 80s and 90s all managed without it.

My children coloring a page as they follow instructions from Kinderbach.com - our piano curriculum online

My children coloring a page as they follow instructions from Kinderbach.com – our piano curriculum online

However, the internet makes it so easy for me to teach. Here are some ways in which the internet plays an essential role in my homeschool:

  • researching homeschooling in general and curriculum in particular
  • inspiration from other blogging, homeschooling moms
  • finding the best deals on curriculum
  • downloading free printables
  • science4us.com, mangolanguages.com, kinderbach.com, k5learning.com – all these curricula, which we currently use, are online. I will be writing reviews on all of them in a few weeks, by the way.
  • finding about the weather, which can change our plans for the (following) day. Who has time for the TV news to get to the weather forecast? We live in a mountain town, with steep neighborhood streets. Our driveway is at an incline, too. Not bad, compared to other homes around our town, but enough to make it dangerous to walk to the mailbox when it freezes over. Even getting two inches of snow means we are snowed in.
  • Amazon Prime, baby! Love it, love it, love it.
  • Google Translate – sometimes I draw a blank when my kids ask me for a word in French or Romanian or Spanish. Then, I tell them, “Let’s look it up!” Bonus: they learn the process of getting information.
  • blogging – the multitude of opportunities for dialogue and sponsorship a blogging, homeschooling mom exposes herself to is astounding.
  • Code.org – if you want your children to learn how to program a computer, you’ve got it made with this site.
  • The Khan Academy – my children are too young for it still, but we look forward to diving into this free resource for math, science, history, economics, with subjects being added regularly.

To see what my fellow crew members see as a homeschooling essential today, please click on their websites below:

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Julie @ Nurturing Learning

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures

DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor

Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Nicole @ Journey to Excellence

Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool

Meg @ Adventures with Jude

Sarah @ Delivering Grace

 

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

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5 Days of Homeschool Essentials, Day 1 – A Supportive Spouse

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What essentials do you need to homeschool your children successfully? A master’s in education? Classroom experience? Lots of money? None of the above, in my book.

Here’s my list of homeschool essentials:

1. A supportive spouse

2. A library card

3. A support group

4. An internet connection

5. Craft materials

Let’s talk about the first one: a supportive spouse.

God worked a miracle in my heart to help me embrace homeschooling. Then, I found myself desiring something that my husband did not approve of.

Stack of rocks balancing

A supportive husband provides the balance needed in the homeschooling process.

My husband and I are best friends. We talk about everything. We agree on everything.

To say it was hard while we wanted different things for our children would be a huge understatement. Thankfully, it only happened for a couple of months.

Did we talk about having children in pre-marital counseling? Yes. Did we discuss how we were going to educate them? Sure. But I wasn’t a mom. I did not know that, one day, I would feel I could not breathe if my children spent seven hours away from me, five days a week.

Having children changed my perspective on homeschooling.

Well, God changed my husband’s heart, too. He agreed to homeschool and here we are.

What a team we make, the two of us! I have always been into Humanities, while he is a computer geek and a scientist at heart. Combining our forces, we love guiding our children’s education, talking about developments and making decisions as we see fit. We joke that he is the principal of the school, but he really fulfills that role.

A supportive spouse can

  • counsel
  • congratulate
  • pick up the slack
  • endure till the end
  • keep you sane
  • teach a subject you don’t like
  • read to the kids
  • drive them to co-op
  • listen
  • laugh
  • pray
  • brag
  • love
  • accept
  • forgive
  • encourage
  • etc etc etc

I personally know some homeschooling mothers who are either single or whose husbands barely tolerate homeschooling. These moms have done an amazing job without a supportive spouse. They prove it can be done even without a supportive spouse, but they tell me how difficult it is.

For me, a supportive husband represents the #1 homeschooling essential.

For more interpretations of the homeschool essentials, check out these great blog posts from my friends on the Crew.

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Julie @ Nurturing Learning

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures

DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor

Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Nicole @ Journey to Excellence

Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool

Meg @ Adventures with Jude

Sarah @ Delivering Grace

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

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