Favorite, Must-Have, Unusual Homeschool Supplies
Education,  Fun,  Motherhood and Parenting

My Favorite, Must-Have, Outside-the-Box Homeschool Supplies

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Homeschooling can be hard. The education thing? Sure. We’ve got that (Kinda. Sorta. Ahem). But people still need to eat. And those practical day-to-day realities? They can drive us bananas! Don’t worry: these outside-the-box (and outside-the-books) homeschool supplies can help.

Of course, it’s completely true that the only homeschool tool you absolutely need is a library card (or your own overstocked bookshelves), but most of us have lives that are a bit more complicated.

These are a few of my favorite things… tools that have made my homeschool life so much simpler:

Must Have Homeschool Supplies

{This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclaimer.}

Printer Ink Delivered to My Door

Has this ever happened to you? You try to print out a worksheet or planner page… only to realize you’re out of ink!! I never want to run out of printer ink again. 

Recently, I was printing out some memory work for morning time, and the pages started coming out blank. But because my HP Instant Ink subscription sends me ink cartridges before I run out (it’s magic, I tell you), I just popped the next cartridge out of the box and was back to business in no time! It’s one of my favorite tools ever!!

The other thing I love about my Instant Ink subscription? I can print high-quality color images of paintings for art study without worrying about the cost of the ink. A page-worth of Van Gogh is no extra charge. 😊

Want a free month of printing for yourself? Try the instant ink program here!

Best Pencil Sharpener Ever

This pencil sharpener is one of my all-time favorite homeschool supplies!

No, seriously. I am not even kidding. I was tired of pencils getting mangled. I was tired of having to sharpen the triangle-pencils or over-sized pencils for our preschoolers by hand. It was frustrating that my kids couldn’t sharpen pencils easily on their own without calling for help with a pencil jam! 

No more.

This pencil sharpener is fast, efficient, works with multiple sizes, and has made my life so much easier.

Mesh File Sorters for Bookshelf Organization

Wire mesh sorters, ostensibly for file storage, have become one of my absolute favorite sneaky homeschool tools!

Who else finds it terribly annoying to keep a row of 3-ring binders on a bookshelf? Because of the angles on a notebook it never really works properly, and it throws the whole shelf off. Things start falling over, falling out…so annoying!

File Sorters for Bookshelf Organization

Then there’s the shelf where I keep all my teacher answer keys- some are flimsy, they’re a mix of paperback and hardback, and I’m constantly taking several off the shelf at a time. This means the whole thing is a jumble and the flimsier books are always falling down or getting warped.

Wire mesh sorters to the rescue! I use 2 on a downstairs shelf to provide a perfect place for all 6 of our binders (where we keep our morning time materials, planning pages, and extraneous paperwork). I recently bought another one to use upstairs on my bedroom bookshelf for my teacher books. For the first time, I am not annoyed every single time I pull an answer key off the shelf! Woohoo!

Meal Planning on Autopilot

I don’t know why I had never considered incorporating my love of loop schedules into my meal planning. Well, not that I actually had found a way to meal plan that didn’t annoy me up until now, honestly. Deciding a month’s worth of meals ahead of time? Uh, no thank you.

Expanding on the practical wisdom I’ve come to expect from my friend Pam’s site, this course led me (and my tween daughter) through the steps necessary to get a loop schedule ready for our meal planning.

Meal Planning Loop Schedule

Our family has customized a weekly loop dinner schedule that takes into account our insane homeschool calendar. We’ve got a hospitality day, crockpot/instant pot day, taco-ish day, we’ll-be-home-and-can-use-stove day, snack-dinner day, etc. Minimizing decision fatigue makes me feel like a genius.

So far? Even though this year has been our craziest homeschool schedule yet, our dinners have been surprisingly non-stressful! This is due to meal planning on autopilot as well as…

Grocery Pickup

Yep. Grocery Pickup. That is FREE.

I know. I still can’t believe it.

I kinda want to kiss the grocery delivery person every time they come put the bags in my trunk. Do you think my husband would mind?

I never thought I’d say that Walmart has changed my life, but I think it’s true.

Grocery Pickup is amazing! You order fresh groceries (and diapers, and toilet paper, and shampoo), then you just show up in the parking lot and they load up your trunk.

Be still my heart.

If you’re looking for something you can decide to “not do” this year that will increase your joy, I’d definitely suggest looking into your local online grocery options.

Grocery store runs are never easy, but they can also be a schedule-burden for a homeschool family. Frankly, after educating {and keeping alive} 5 kids, I have no desire to walk thru the local grocery store. I want something nice to drink, a good book, and some time to gaze lovingly into my husband’s eyes. Or just, you know, to sleep.

Enter grocery pickup. You reserve your pickup time, drive up to a parking space, and your groceries will be carted out and loaded into your trunk…while the baby/toddler keeps napping in their car seat!

Out of town? Order online or on your phone app and the groceries will be ready for you on the day you return home! You’re going to have piles of laundry after that road trip, but wouldn’t it be nice to have milk for the fridge without any extra effort?

Have I mentioned that it is magical? Get $10 off your first order here

Better Binders from Staples

Are you tired of buying new 3-ring binders every year? The Better Binders are the first ones that have held up to enthusiastic use from my crazy crew for multiple years! We use these for our daily-use Morning Time notebooks, for example. We’re several years in and the binders are still going strong!

Bonus: here are a few of my other favorite things

What are some of your favorite (and maybe unusual) homeschool supplies?

Must Have Homeschool Supplies


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Amy Sloan and her husband, John, are second-generation homeschoolers by grace alone to 5 children ages 4, 7, 9, 12, and 14. Their educational philosophy is one of humility and doxology, and follows primarily a classical approach. Amy loves coffee, and starts getting nervous if the stack of to-be-read library books beside her bed is less than 2 feet tall. Get her started on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Homer, or Hamilton the Musical and it might be hard to get her to stop. Mostly, though, she gets really excited about the Gospel. The Sloan family adventures in North Carolina.

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