The new school year is right around the corner! Whether you are a traditional homeschooling parent or are plunging into remote instruction for your kids for the first time this fall, having a space in your home that is inviting and can inspire learning

With major decisions to make about what curriculum to choose, how to set up your homeschool schedule (hint: download our FREE printable Homeschool Planning Templates), and what type of yearly calendar you’ll follow, the importance of creating a homeschooling classroom can often be overlooked.

For more details about setting up your space and planning/organizing for your homeschool year, visit our page and listen to our podcast episode devoted to Planning Your Homeschool Year>>

The good news is that you don’t need an entire homeschool room or even a large space in order to create a great learning environment. If you have a spare room, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s completely okay, too.

You can even make a room multi-purpose. Do you have a playroom? Take that space and make it multi-use by turning into a homeschooling room, too. Do you have a formal dining area that doesn’t get used? Converting it to a homeschooling area may be just the perfect way to use it!

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

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BTDT Homeschool Podcat
Create an Inviting Space

Feel free to turn the area (or areas) where your learn-at-home adventures occur into an organized, beautiful space.

Although not essential, a lot of homeschoolers find it important (and fun!) for them to create a color scheme. Go with your kids to the paint store and look at color ideas together. Involve them! If they are anything like my kids, they will definitely have some color preferences. Just the act or redoing a room is a learning experience!

Peek into Nicole and Maria’s Homeschool Spaces Over the Years:

Your homeschool room is your education hub, which means you can keep all books, supplies, arts, crafts, and other activities organized in one place. Be sure to teach your children to clean up after themselves. When they finish a project or activity, be sure it is clear to them where everything goes to make cleaning up easier for them and help you keep your sanity!

School Year Planner
Free Planning Templates

Top 25 Homeschool Essentials

With over 30 years of homeschooling experience, we’ve definitely made some bloopers when it comes to building the ideal learning environment for our families. We’ve bought things that were a waste of money (and space). There are also a lot of things we wish we incorporated early on which would have made our lives so much easier.

View our complete Amazon wish list:

Here are our TOP 25 Homeschool Essentials for you to kick off your school year that you may want to incorporate or keep on hand or in your homeschool space:

1. Desk/Table

Some kids very much need a workspace to function- so consider if you need a dedicated space for a desk or table that you can spread out on for bigger activities.  For many, that may also be your kitchen or dining room table.  If your table is doing double function, I recommend having a space nearby for stashing stuff so that your homeschool supplies don’t take over your space.

2. Maps & Posters

Include a world map, a variety of historical maps, specific country, state, or city map – depending on what you’re studying this year. Framing your map will make it look more attractive on your walls and we’ve also used a wet erase marker on our glass framed maps as reference points.

This is one of our favorite Maps to see all those details:
Laminated Giant Map of the World (46 x 80)

Scrunch Maps are also really popular with homeschoolers:
Waypoint Geographic World Scrunch is easy to store with storage bag (24″ H x 36″ W)

3. Globe

A globe is an indispensable homeschool essential that you will use more often than you think.  So many subjects have ties into geography and you will find yourself reaching for it several times a day. Since I’ve graduated high school, we’ve lost a planet and gained an ocean so be sure to find an up to date globe!

13″ World Globe with Stand, 720° Swivels in All Directions with Stainless Steel Stand

4. Bookshelves

Every homeschool space must have bookshelves. Whether they are used to store art supplies, books, games or other learning materials, shelves are essential to homeschooling organization.

Bookshelves are an important part of your homeschool space. Organize everything here. Everything should have a home.

5. Storage

Classroom space of any size needs plenty of storage. Rolling carts for supplies, workboxes, built-in cabinets and drawers, or cubby spaces with removable drawers. Baskets and buckets are great for being able to tote your work to other rooms.

Rolling Storage Cart and Organizer with 12 Drawers

6. Math Manipulatives

Linking cubes, counting bears, games, dice, rulers, compasses, locks, bears, anything really could work as a manipulative. I love this math set with tons of options for supporting our lessons.

131 PCS Base Ten Blocks for Math – Place Value Blocks, Plastic Base 10 Math Manipulatives

Also, consider have math games on hand when you need a break from your curriculum:

7. Magnetic White Board and Calendar

The calendar board is perfect for everyone to see what’s going on at a glance. Thie large board comes in handy when you are trying to explain a lesson, or your kid want to make silly drawings for you to find!

Dry Erase Calendar Whiteboard Set of 3 Magnetic Calendars for Fridge: Monthly, Weekly Organizer & Daily

8. Timeline

There are so many benefits of using a timeline in your homeschool. It is a powerful tool that can make our lives a lot easier and make history more fun for our kids. If you don’t have the space for an entire timeline wall, many homeschoolers opt to use a Book of Centuries which is a portable timeline you can store on your bookshelf. It can help them visualize how history connects together. Learn more about Timelines and Book of Centuries

Maria’s Homemade Timeline:

9. School Supplies

We always like to keep these necessary supplies accessible. Pencils, tape, sharpie, highlighters, scissors, clipboard, and paper (printer/construction/cardstock/photo)

10. Library Card

Whether it’s getting new books to read, resources for a research paper, or literature for read aloud time – the library is the place to be! You can even get free books, media, and resources right to your Kindle for FREE!

Kindle Fire is a favorite for downloading free books from the library.

Top 50 Books for New Readers

11. Printer

I use my printer every single day. Having a good printer is a must for me and the Cannon Pixma is one has been really good to us. I even use it to print photos – our first day of school phots goes in the book right after I take it! I save a ton of money on ink by buying the generic version and it lasts forever.

Canon Pixma MG3620 Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer with Mobile and Tablet Printing. A cost-effective reliable printer we have used and been very happy with

12. Laptop / Computer / Tablet

Even if you are not doing school online, we live in a technology age and having access to it is essential. You can research a topic, put books on hold at the library, download resources, supplement your instruction with a video, teach software and computer skills, and typing. Technology is an essential part of our world.

The HP Stream 11 is a solid cost-effective laptop running Window 11

13. Laminator

Although not essential for some, we use our laminator all the time! For student and teach IDs, special documents, reusable worksheets (use with a wet erase marker!), weekly meal plan, and more! One year, my kids made an elaborate boardgame and laminated all the pieces and it has stood the test of time.

The Scotch Thermal Laminator, 2 Roller System is a great cost-effective choice for everyday or occasional use.

14. Wet Erase Markers

There is all this talk about dry erase markers, but I find them incredibly difficult to wipe off laminated sheets or pockets. I prefer wet-erase markers that way, I can wipe them off completely clean with a damp cloth.

15. Electric Pencil Sharpener

You won’t regret getting one of these. From regular #2 pencils to colored map pencils, a Bostitch electric pencil sharpener will save hours of your life (and sanity!)

16. Art Supplies

We always like to have accessible items to inspire art projects and creativity. Art supplies like different mediums, beads, playdough, colored pens and pencils, markers, crayons, paints, collage supplies, glue, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, tape, or any other supplies for specific projects complement your studies.

17. Art Cart

We love our art cart! Another thing we use every single day. You can use it as a portable art creation station or fill it with your kid’s favorite art and craft supplies or use it as a morning cart with your start of the day activities read-alouds and more. I like to rotate things in and out of the cart regularly and the kids are always excited to see what’s in the cart every morning.

3-Tier Rolling Utility Cart with Hanging Cups & Hooks

18. School Activity / Art Display

Both you and your kid are going to want to see their work recognized and cherished, so you will need this homeschool essential. As you dig into your homeschool year, you will quickly find that you are producing a lot of assignments and projects could take over your house. Display the current creations and replace when new ones are created (psssst…keep a bin in a closet or the garage and toss them after display and go through the tub at the end of the year).

Kids Artwork Picture Frame with hinge to easily change display

19. Science Tools / Activities

Science tools like saved nature items, resources guides, microscopes, items for experiments and STEM learning. 

100X-2000X Professional Biological Microscope Kit with Slides

There are a lot of ideas and supply suggestions in our Hands-On Science page with several FREE activities you can use in your homeschool:

20. School Supply Organizer

As you start to gather all of your school supplies, you are going to need a functional place to store and use them.

Desktop Storage Caddy

21. Bluetooth Speaker

Whether it’s playing music, listening to an audio lesson, or listening to your literature book while you multi-task and tend to the baby or prep dinner, having a speaker to play from your phone is very handy.

Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker is a favorite that packs a lot of punch without the high price tag

22. Headphones

Sometimes, you are working with one child, and another is working independently. They may have an online math or forgein language lesson or want to listen to music that may disrupt another activity in the same space. Also, some children focus better and not be distracted while you are teaching or attending to another kid if they are listening to music. I am always surprised how my kids can listen to loud music and focus BETTER!

These Sony MDR-ZX310AP ZX Series Wired On Ear Headphones were recommended by my daughter’s music appreciation professor because they are high on quality sound but for a fraction of others like them.

23. Accessible Outlets and Chargers

This 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub, IVETTO Data USB Hub Splitter has allowed us to charge everyone’s device at the same time at our designated “charging station”

Make sure you have plenty of places to plug things in, maybe a charging station set up so that if you are using a device, it is not dead on arrival.  Nothing is worse than sitting down for an online resource and find out the battery is out.

24. Comfy Seating

Whether or not you have room space, consider a cozy corner for reading.  Maybe some fun/comfy seating, or a large fluffy rug.

Our Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair was a favorite with not only my kids but all their friends when they came over too!

Bean Bag Chairs are always a cozy reading spot for kids.

25. Curriculum that fits your family

For most homeschool families, solid curriculum is one of most important homeschool essentials. It’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” for every homeschool and I would caution you if someone is promising the “perfect” curriculum. You have to consider your children – how do they learn best? What is your homeschool Philosophy? What about your own personality/teaching style? We will be reviewing secular curriculum and give you some jumping off points at a later date so stay tuned! But for now, once you narrow down after answering these questions, start doing research.

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