Homeschooling Logo

10 Homeschool Necessities - Bizarre, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

September 12, 2023
Homeschooling Blogs

* This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. *

Did you like this article? If so, please help by sharing it!

If you’re new to homeschooling, you’re probably wondering what the real homeschool essentials are.

The first time I walked into a homeschooling convention, I almost had a panic attack. I’d been planning to homeschool for a while so I had already researched and purchased our curriculum. After walking the aisles for a few minutes, though, I was certain I’d made a huge mistake and was ready to send it all back.

Thankfully, I had a friend who had homeschooled for several years who was able to talk me down. 

Despite what homeschool conventions, Pinterest, and other homeschooling parents might have you believe, you don’t need everything under the sun to homeschool successfully. In fact, it could be argued that all you really need is a library card.

10 Homeschool Essentials - school items including clock, book, color pencils, and apple

While I don’t think you have to have the latest curriculum with all the bells and whistles (but those can be fun!), there are a few things that I consider homeschool essentials.  Here are my top ten.

My Top Ten Homeschool Essentials

1. Kids

Let’s face it, y’all. They may drive you batty some days, but kids are pretty important to this whole homeschooling thing. Without kids (or grandkids), who are you going to homeschool? You could homeschool the neighbors’ kids, I suppose, but that’s really tutoring and not quite the same thing. (Plus, you’re a stronger person than I am if you’re willing to homeschool the neighbors’ kids.)

Kids are the only universal essential for your homeschool classroom. Beyond that, one homeschooling parent’s essentials are another’s don’t bother. So, take the rest of this list with a grain of salt. However, after many years of homeschooling, the other nine items on this list make up my personal homeschool essentials, and what I’d tell another mom were must-haves.

homeschool essentials - girl writing on paper

2. Dry-Erase Board (Preferably Magnetic)

I remember talking to my step-sister, a homeschool mom, just before I started homeschooling my oldest. (Like, it was so long ago, I probably sent her the question by carrier pigeon on a papyrus scroll.) I mentioned that I’d like to have a dry-erase board, but noted that it probably wasn’t necessary. 

She assured me that it was.

She was right.

Now, I don’t sit and lecture my kids all day, but we’ve used our magnetic dry-erase board for Bible, history, math, science lessons, and more. My drawing skills are stellar, y’all. (That’s sarcasm in case you weren’t sure.)

Because it’s magnetic, we also used our board for spelling with our All About Spelling alphabet tiles.

Even if you’re only homeschooling one child, a personal-sized dry-erase board has so many uses. You can use it for:

  • Figuring out math problems
  • Drawing illustrations for science or history
  • Telling a story (Hey, stick figures are awesome!)
  • Playing Hangman for spelling practice
  • Doing language arts together instead of using a worksheet
  • Writing practice for littles

My youngest two kids are less than two years apart, so we loved doing our Easy Grammar lessons together on the dry-erase board instead of them each doing separate worksheets. It’s the same concept, but somehow more hands-on and fun on the dry-erase board.

3. CD Player

A what?? Libraries and curriculum vendors are valuable resources for homeschoolers, and, well, you may just have to dust off your ancient CD player (says the lady who actually owned 8-track tapes {gasp}) to make use of all they have to offer.  

homeschool essentials - kid listening to music on headphones

We’ve used our CD player to:

  • Practice foreign languages using a curriculum that includes CDs
  • Sing along and learn facts such as multiplication, states and capitals, and the Preamble to the Constitution (Schoolhouse Rock anyone?)
  • Listen to classical music while studying composers
  • Listen to music from various countries while studying the country
  • Listen to lessons on CD 

Being able to listen to audiobook CDs like those Apologia offers is a lifesaver for my kids with dyslexia

4. Access to Great Books 

Whether your books come from the library or Amazon (love me some Amazon Prime!) or you download them to your Kindle, access to great books is a homeschool essential whose universality is right up there with kids. 

Historical fiction and engaging biographies are our favorite ways to study history, and The Magic School Bus makes an awesome jumping-off point for elementary science.

It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, I fully believe that if all you had was a library card or access to a digital library, you could homeschool successfully.

Whether you’re reading classics, modern favorites, or introducing your little ones to bigger concepts using non-fiction picture books, reading great books opens the door to limitless knowledge.

Also, for what it’s worth, those nonfiction picture books can be a great resource for older kids or even you, the homeschooling parent, too. They tend to boil information down to the most important facts which can make it easier to grasp concepts or remember details.  

5. Good Electric Pencil Sharpener (and Ticonderoga Pencils)

I thought maybe I was crazy when I excitedly shared a photo of my new pencil sharpener on Instagram last year – until so many of my homeschool mom followers enthusiastically responded with their shared love of a great pencil sharpener.

And Ticonderoga pencils? I would happily be their homeschool mom spokesperson. They sharpen evenly and write so smoothly. Don’t make fun of me for having a favorite pencil brand when I know you have a favorite spatula. 

Hey, when your kids are forever losing their pencils, it’s nice to have a big box of Ticonderoga pencils and a good electric pencil sharpener in your school room – even if your school room happens to be your dining room.

Yes, there is a pencil sharpener in my dining room.

Between you and me, we know those lost pencils are sometimes just a ploy to put off getting started. The joke’s on you, kid! I have boxes stashed everywhere!

10 Essentials for Your Homeschool Classroom

6. An Excellent Planning System 

If you’re crazy forgetful like me, you need a good planning system in place. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a spiral notebook, a special mom binder, online, or even my personal favorite, a customized A Plan in Place planner. You just need something convenient that you’ll use consistently.

I used to tell people that if I didn’t have them written down, I’d forget even the basics like math and reading. Unfortunately, I wasn’t exaggerating by much. So, even if you’re not a detailed planner, just having a basic outline of your day jotted down somewhere can be a lifesaver.

Plus, it makes a great place for writing down what you did accomplish after it’s completed and keeping a list of books read and resources used.

7. Engaging Resources

If you’re bored, your kids are going to be bored. If your kids are bored, they’re not going to be getting as much out of school as they could be. That doesn’t mean that you have to become their entertainment coordinator, but I like to use fun stuff to keep my kids (and myself) as engaged as possible. 

For example, even my 8th grader (at the time) much preferred the hands-on Pin-It Maps to the blank outline maps in her workbook. Or CTC Math. As a matter of fact, we have a whole list of our favorite homeschool resources.

8. Laptop, Computer, or Tablet with Internet Access

If you use online courses, you’ll definitely need a computer with internet access. Even if you’re not taking online classes, you’re probably going to want to use the internet for some things. 

I don’t like the kids to spend too much time online during the school day because it’s easy to get distracted, but we’ve used our laptops for:

  • Watching YouTube videos related to our topics of study
  • Searching to find out how to do something or for research on a school-related topic
  • Online dyslexia therapy
  • Looking up definitions
  • Playing online review games like Quizlet 

9. Storage Solutions

Homeschooling often means lots of stuff – books, art supplies, math manipulatives, supplies for science labs, etc. It doesn’t matter if you have a dedicated schoolroom or not; you’re going to need places to store your homeschool supplies.

10 Homeschool Essentials - organized cupboards

Why, yes, we do have a bookshelf in our dining room. I also make effective use of my China hutch and a vintage potato bin my grandfather built decades ago. A rolling utility cart is an excellent addition to most homeschool classrooms, and you can’t go wrong with some great plastic storage containers.

10. Reliable Printer

I have had a printer since we began homeschooling and I honestly can’t imagine home-educating without one. I use my printer for printing:

  • The kids’ assignment sheets
  • Pages from digital curriculum
  • Written assignments that the kids typed on their laptops
  • Recipes to add to my meal plan (Yes, that’s school related. Hello? The kitchen is our cafeteria.)
  • Printable maps
  • Activity pages

Over the years, we’ve upgraded our printers a few times. These days I would not buy a printer that didn’t have the following features:

  • Flatbed printer/copier/scanner
  • Wireless printing capabilities
  • Auto-duplex
  • Black and color printing

I’m probably spoiled, but that auto-duplex feature is such a time- and sanity-saver!

I know I’ve probably left some things out that you would consider essential or included some things that you don’t. However, overall I think you’ll find these homeschool essentials pretty accurate no matter your students’ ages (mine are teens) or your homeschool style. 

What must-have items would you add to the list?

You Might Also Like…

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

Did you like this article? If so, please help by sharing it!

Related Posts


Octavia Spencer joins a celebrated cast in this wonderfully moving film. Frank Adler, a single man (Chris Evans), is dedicated...

Read more