When I first started homeschooling, I was unsure about how many supplies I would need to buy for my kids. I knew that I had been spending between $75 and $100 per child for the supplies on the teachers’ lists when they were in public school, but I didn’t know exactly what I would need for school at home. Three years later, I am pleasantly surprised by how long many of our school supplies have lasted. I would like to share with you a few tips that have saved me money on supplies over the years.
Dry erase markers can last a few years if you keep them capped tightly when not in use. I bought about a dozen dry erase markers and a white board when I started homeschooling three years ago. I like having lots of colors, and I try to rotate my markers at least once a month so I am not constantly using the same two or three. A few weeks ago, I had to throw away my first three dried out markers. They lasted over 2 ½ years with year round use.
Regular magic markers can last a very long time, too. We bought several packages when they were on sale when my twins were in pre-K. Six years later, about half of the markers are still usable. You definitely don’t need to buy new markers every year as long as they are capped and put away after use.
Teachers want you to buy new crayons for public school every year, but a sharpener can make your kids’ crayons last a lot longer than a year. Kids love lots of colors, so I bought each of my kids the larger packages of crayons with the colors they love and a nice quality manual sharpener to go with it. The sharpener built into the box is junk, but a good sharpener with a cup to collect the shavings will be used again and again and extend the life of a box of crayons well beyond a year. My daughter, who colors frequently, has used her 64 count box for over three years now.
Teachers at school seem to prefer glue sticks, which are a lot more expensive than white glue. That is probably because they are less messy than liquid glue and when you have 30 kids in a class, messes are a big concern. When you are homeschooling, you can give your students one-on-one attention and try projects with liquid glue, which is a much more versatile product than glue sticks and does not dry out as quickly.
You will likely find dozens and dozens of uses for construction paper. The price of construction paper can vary widely, so when you find a good sale, stock up. One helpful hint, though. Make sure you store your construction paper out of the sun, because bright light can cause it to fade.
Scissors, rulers and erasers
You might have noticed scissors, rulers and things like that are on the list of supplies to buy every year at school. At home, you can use these supplies almost indefinitely. My son has been using the same pink rubber eraser for four years, and he erases a lot. Less than 10 percent of the eraser is gone, so he should have it for a long time. Kids’ scissors won’t lose their edge before their little hands outgrow them, so don’t worry about buying them more than one pair for each stage. Likewise, their ruler should last them all through school as long as they don’t break it. I recommend the Flexi-Ruler, which is bendable, colorful and practically unbreakable.
More from Tavia:
Why public school parents should be friends with homeschoolers
How homeschooling saves taxpayers money
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