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 3 – A Support Group

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When I started researching homeschooling, I looked at the internet (worldwide search), which directed me to HSLDA (national organization supporting homeschoolers legally in the US), which directed me to THEA (Tennessee Home Education Association – my state’s Christian homeschooling support group).

Which directed me to SMHEA (Smoky Mountains Home Education Association – our regional support group), which directed me to the EDGE (Empowering Disciples through Godly Education – a local co-op), which lead me to Sevier County Homeschooling Group – a support group for homeschoolers in my county.

EDGE homeschool co-op students in Seymour, TN

My children and other EDGE students on their first day of homeschool co-op, August 2012. My children were only two and four at the time – how time flies.

I attend the Sevier County Homeschoolers’ monthly Parent Support Night and it helps me so much. There’s something to be said about socialization, you know? I say that tongue-in-cheek, of course.

We bring some food, share a few things that happened in our homeschools, ask a few questions, get some answers, have a devotional, and win a door prize (or not). Good ol’ fellowship with like-minded moms while the kiddos are at home with their dads goes a looooong way.

These are my people. Homeschooling moms.

When I meet a homeschooling mom, we have an instant connection.

We get it.

We dig each other.

We know what it’s like to feel called.

We know how it feels to put our noses to the homeschooling grind every morning.

Homeschooling moms must have a support group to get started, to keep going and to successfully reach the finish line, a.k.a. graduation.

That’s why a support group is my #3 homeschooling essential. Check out some more essentials from my friends on the TOS Review 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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5 Days of Homeschool Essentials, Day 2 – A Library Card

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When I decided I was going to homeschool, I started doing more serious research. Until then, I had read some about what homeschooling is and how it can be done. But now that it was official and we were going to homeschool for sure, it was time to make a list of lists and get to reading all those books I had heard about.

Children's librarian plays dominoes with boy and girl

Ms. Ethel playing dominoes with my kids after Story Time

I decided to look into my local library‘s resources, although I did not think I would find anything there. After all, we live in an exemplary school system and a small town. Homeschoolers are scant to non-existent. Why would the library provide homeschooling books?

I sheepishly asked the librarian if they had a homeschooling section. She said, “Sure. Let me show you where it is.” She took me there and motioned to half a shelf of books, many of which were on my list.

My list, by the way, originated from a website run by the local homeschool support organization. Their motto was, “We have combed the shelves so you don’t have to.” Their list of seven homeschooling books represented the cream of the crop. Wonder of wonders, my library had most of them.

I was so excited, I was in tears. Tears of joy. My local library had most of the books to get me started on this journey. When I walked back to my seat at Story Time, another mom saw my armful of books and their titles. She leaned over and asked, “Are you going to homeschool?” I said, “Probably,” and waited for a gasp of horror.

She beamed and said, “We will, too.” I could not believe it. Now it was really hard to blink back the tears.

Coming to the library that morning, I thought I would not find much support. Not only did I find the homeschooling books I needed, I also found a kindred spirit in this other homeschooling mom.

I got books from the library for “Before Five in A Row” or for my reading list from “Books Children Love.” We get books the kids pick out every time we go there for Story Time. Last year, we saved $1,700 by using our local library instead of purchasing the books we read.

We attend Story Time regularly. Ms. Ethel, the children’s librarian, faithfully puts programs together which include reading, then a craft or a game. Summer Reading Programs provide great opportunities for learning, as well.

Need I say more? If the library cannot help you homeschool for free, it can definitely help you homeschool for less.

Check out more homeschooling essentials from some of my crew members:

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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