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

Favorite, Must-Have, Unusual Homeschool Supplies

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.

Plus, don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!

You may also enjoy:
10 Ways to Organize Your Homeschool Space
Start the Homeschool Year Strong: 9 Strategies for Successful Homeschooling
Five Ways to Love Your Home School in a Small Space

Must Have Homeschool Supplies

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

Printer Ink Delivered to My Door Makes Printing Homeschool Memory Work Easy

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 for All Ages in Our Homeschool!

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 Homeschool 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 Keeps Hungry Homeschool Hobbits Fed

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.

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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 Makes Homeschooling Mama Smile

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?

We actually took our love for grocery pickup up a notch and joined Walmart+, which offers the additional benefit of FREE DELIVERY. My milk shows up on my porch… it’s kind of magical.

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

10 ways to organize your homeschool space brandi jordan guest post

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

Even though it feels like summer just started, a new homeschool year will be upon us in no time! Have you started planning and prepping yet? Preparing for a new homeschool year is an exciting time, but it can also create feelings of overwhelm and stress! What curriculum should we use next year? What supplies do we need? And how are we going to pay for it all?

Many homeschoolers live on one income and have to stick to a strict budget that doesn’t always allow for much wiggle room. That’s why I’ve teamed up with a group of amazing homeschool bloggers to make getting ready for your new school year just a little bit easier and hopefully a little less stressful for you. Our hope is that we can bless a few homeschool families (although we wish we could bless many more) and ease a little of that financial burden and help you check some extra things off your homeschool wish list this year.

Three people will win a $250 gift card to either Rainbow Resource Center or – two great places to shop for homeschool curriculum and resources, with the best prices around!!

To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Now I know this is quite a few entries, but each of these bloggers has generously chipped in their own money to make this giveaway possible, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries. And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!

Giveaway ends July 21, 2023 at 11:59pm ET.  Must be at least 18 years of age.  Must be a resident of U.S. or Canada to enter.  Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form). a Rafflecopter giveaway
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14 thoughts on “My Favorite, Must-Have, Outside-the-Box Homeschool Supplies”

  1. Our pencil sharpener seems to be on its last legs…love having a recommendation for a new one that will be even more helpful! Thank you 😊

  2. I definitely have fallen in like with Walmart grocery pick up. It has saved so much time and sanity not being in the grocery store with 4 kiddos!

  3. 1. Investing in a good laser printer. It is a big upfront cost but I have saved so much in the long run by not having to send things off to printed. Plus I tend to print in bulk in the summer then mid semester then Xmas, etc and my inkjet ink would dry up in between those breaks.

    2. Audible membership. We are in the car a lot and this has allowed us to check the school box on many days when not much else would have been accomplished.

    3. Timers. I don’t know why these are amazing but they are. Knowing you only have X minutes of work to do really improves attitudes and motivation! Even for mamas!!

  4. I definitely love to utilize grocery pick up from time to time too! On the topic of meal planning the whisk app has been nice because it creates a grocery list as you add recipes to your meal plan, and it even has a plethora of recipes on it to chose from. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on there you can port recipes in as well. Having everything I need to do in my own planner, plus the kids having their own student planners has been a huge help as well.

  5. These ideas sound amazing, especially the grocery pickup for us expecting a baby 2 months into our first homeschool year.

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