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My FAVORITE Back-to-School Supplies for Homeschool Families

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Back-to-school supplies for homeschool families? Don’t we get to skip all the back-to-school madness?

Sure, yes, maybe.

But surely I’m not the only one who loves shopping for back-to-school supplies. Is there anything better than a stack of crisp notebooks and new pens? Am I the only one who gets excited by a neatly organized shelf full of fun books? Is there anyone else who loves looking at fresh crayons, before the paper is peeled off and the tips are worn down to nubs?


Looking for something in particular? Jump ahead:

How I Chose Our Back-to-School Supplies for Homeschool

Even if you’ve been homeschooling for awhile, or if you already have all your curriculum purchased, it can be fun to supplement your supplies with a few new items.

Buying new school supplies for your homeschool can be a fun tradition each homeschool year, and it can also help your kids build excitement for the upcoming year.

We’re lucky enough to have access to Amazon Prime here in Guatemala, so we’re able to get pretty much anything we could need or want.

As I compiled this list, I did try to keep in mind small homeschool spaces, limited budget, and portability. For example, as much as I’d love to have an entire house full of books, we’d quickly hit our shipping limit so that just doesn’t work.

With all that in mind, here are some supplies that have made our back-to-school season more fun.

Let’s Get Organized

Three-Ring Binders (One Per Kid, Per Year)

My kids each have a simple three-ring binder to collect all their special artwork for the year. I throw in some page protectors, print off some of my own homeschool binder printables, and BOOM — instant homeschool portfolio.

Planning Pad

I absolutely love my momAgenda Family Planner Pad. It goes on my fridge, and I’m able to pencil in any appointments for the week, the dinner menu, and notes about special events. They also have really cute school memory books and planning notebooks. Use this link to get an extra 15% off.

Plastic Folders

I have a plastic folder for each subject. Each folder holds materials for that subject.

For example, when it’s time to do math, I just grab the math folder and it has the small whiteboard, the dry-erase marker, the worksheets for that week, and the little manipulatives for the lesson all right there — no need to go searching around.

Every Sunday, I reload the folders if necessary so we’re all set for the week. It makes sitting down to do lessons so much easier. It’s worth getting the heavy-duty plastic folders so you can use these over and over for years.

Velcro Dots

laminated board with velcro dots attached to squares
Velcro Dots made it easy to create our Torchlight Emotions Badge Display

I only got these last year, but I honestly have no idea how I lived without them. I use velcro dots to make display boards for our Torchlight emotions and mindfulness badges, I use them for play-room labels, and I use them for our daily schedule chart.

Arrange Your Space

You’re going to need a place to put all those back-to-school supplies!

In addition to a large bookshelf that we inherited from another homeschool family that moved away, we have a cute little homeschool center set up in our dining room.

girl painting at white table in front of art supplies
Our homeschool station

The pegboard and the table and chairs are from Ikea. Both are SUPER affordable.

The wooden calendar is by Treasures from Jennifer, who has an Etsy shop. This is definitely a splurge item, but I LOVE IT. I get so many questions about this calendar on my social media — and it is every bit as gorgeous as it looks.

Get Crafty

Now for the fun stuff. I’m assuming you can get your own markers, paint, and pipe cleaners. But there are a few other craft items I like to have on hand for spontaneous dinosaur parties or to meet the need of a child with an urge to papier mache.

Here are some of my favorite art supplies for our homeschool year. Keep in mind that I have a pre-k student (and a toddler), so adjust accordingly for your family (obviously).

Wikki Stix

Have you tried Wikki Stix yet? They’re like sticky pipe cleaners, but they leave no residue and you can build things with them. The company also has learning kits for everything from letters and numbers to animal shapes. These are an awesome open-ended craft activity as well as a fine motor and literacy tool.

Googly eyes!

Googly eyes are must-have craft accessory in our house. They spice up everything from puppets to plesiosaurs.

Balloons and crepe paper by the bucketful

We throw a party at least once a week. No matter that only our cat attends, but my daughter still has a blast writing invitations, making cupcakes, choosing music, getting dressed up, and (best of all), putting up the decorations.

Having a bunch of balloons on hand makes it easy to throw a party together.

Similarly, crepe paper can instantly (and easily) make a room feel festive.

There are so many other creative uses for crepe paper:

  • to decorate airplanes made from enormous amazon boxes
  • to build a superhero obstacle course
  • to create your own silly outfits

Liquid Watercolors

We’ve had this pack of liquid watercolors for two years, and it’s still going strong. It is the perfect tool for color mixing experiments, water density experiments, and capillary action observations.

It washes easily and is non-toxic, and I love that it can be mixed in a million different ways depending on the project you’re developing. I grab these at least once a week whenever I stumble across a Pinterest project that we just have to try.


I end up using this a lot. From salt-dough ornaments to kindness rocks, it’s helpful to have a bottle of Mod-Podge at the ready.

So Much Cardstock

For most of our projects, the kids just use construction paper or the back of recycled printer paper. But I love to give them cardstock for their fancy party invitations. It just makes their work feel more important.

Sensory Play Materials

This Water Beads Kit has been a huge hit in our house

I am SO into sensory materials over here. It builds fine motor skills, develops creativity…and keeps my kids busy for hours.

Here are my favorites:

  • Floof! Light, airy, and very moldable, this is favorite in our house.
  • Kinetic sand is so much fun. I love how versatile it can be — add dinos, and you have a dino world. Add sea creatures, and it complements our coral reef study. It’s the perfect sensory toy.
  • Mad Mattr is the latest take on kinetic sand, and I honestly love it. The texture is slightly different, and it cleans up super easily.
  • Water Beads are SO much fun. As long as your kids are out of the mouthing phase, these make an incredible sensory play activity.
  • Air Dry Clay is amazing! I love this stuff for how light and moldable it is, but also because you can air-dry your kid’s creation for long-term play. I think this really helps kids feel pride in their creations, when they see them turned into durable play-things.
childs hand molding blue clay into dinosaurs
Air Dry Clay is my FAVORITE sensory material.
(Note the strategic use of googly eyes here as well.)

Done-For-You Kits

You can probably tell that I love setting up crafts, and I spend more time than I’d like to admit coming up with fun ideas.

blond girl using dino dig eggs

But for those days when I just don’t have any more brain space, it is SO helpful to have a few at-the-ready craft kits on hand that can double as learning activities.

Dino Dig Eggs

My love for dino dig eggs is eternal and undying. These keep my four-year-old busy for HOURS. Give ’em a plastic tray, a squirt bottle of water, and maybe a saucer of rock salt, and let them go nuts.

Sticker By Number

These Melissa & Doug Sticker-By-Number kits are awesome for fine motor practice and number sequencing. My kid loves them.

Bath Bomb Kit

I have purchased this bath bomb kit MULTIPLE times. I like that the essential oils are legit and all-natural. Plus, it’s a craft that actually gets consumed, so you don’t have to worry about storing it.

Best of all, it gives me an excuse to declare 10 am (or any time) as BATH TIME/SCIENCE TIME. Big sister is thrown in the bath with a homemade bath bomb (science!), as well as a few plastic figurines, and I get to nap on the bed just outside the bathroom.

Water Wow Pads

Water Wows are another lazy-day activity for me. They work great to keep kids busy while I’m making dinner, or for something to pack during plane travel. So many of the pads are educational, and they also develop pencil grip. Plus, no paint — LOVE THAT.

Busy Box Art Kits

I have bought a number of these ALEX Busy Box kits, and they are an amazing resource to have in your back pocket. They are perfect for when we’ve just moved in and have no art supplies on hand (everything is included in the box), and they make great play-date activities — no planning required.

Which back-to-school supplies will you stock up on for your homeschool?

Hit me up in the comments below with your favorite back-to-school supplies for homeschool — or anytime! These also make great birthday gifts for kids. I’d love to hear what you recommend, what you’ve tried, or even what flopped.

Here’s to a great new school year!

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