Friday, January 24, 2014

Homeschooling Essentials—My Favorite Tools

(Contains affiliate links.) 

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Over the years, I’ve discovered a lot of great toys—I mean tools!-- that help make homeschooling easier, more organized, or just more enjoyable. Here are some of my favorites.

Laser Printer

I love love love my laser printer. I purchased my first one seven years ago when I published my first edition of Super Star Speech. I printed everything at home and sold it in 3-ring binders. I have since moved on to professionally printed spiral bound books, but my first Samsung laser printer was a workhorse, printing many thousands of pages before it died last year. Now I have the Brother HL2280DW—it’s wireless and it makes copies! The great thing about laser printers is how inexpensive pages are to print—just a fraction of the cost of inkjet printers. I currently pay $18 for a generic toner cartridge that will print over 2000 pages. At that cost (and because I get most of my paper free with Staples rebates), I don’t mind printing anything for homeschooling like I used to. And did I mention that it is fast!

Black and white laser printers are priced similarly to color ink jet printers, but the toner is so much cheaper to print with than ink-jet ink, that the savings really add up. I still have my ink-jet printer for the occasional color printing need, but find that black and white is really fine 95% of the time.   Brother Printer Wireless Monochrome Printer, Dark Grey (HL2280DW)

 

ProClick Binding Machine

This has been a lot of fun, and useful, too. I have so many resources in PDF format that need to be printed out for use. Some resources are only available that way, and others are much cheaper to purchase in an e-book format. Initially, I kept these printed pages in 3 ring binders. That worked fine, but binders take up a lot of shelf space. With my ProClick, I can punch holes for spiral binding my own books, then just twist the coil into the holes in just seconds. The ProClick only punches about 5 sheets at a time, so it’s not super fast, but I love the finished result. With a laminated cover, my printed books look quite professionally done.   GBC ProClick P50 Desktop Binding Machine (2515650)

 

Laminator

Another fun tool! I’ve laminated all the games and game cards for my homemade games (Super Star Games). We’ve made bookmarks, laminated worksheets for use with dry erase markers, and made covers for the notebooks that I spiral bind with my ProClick.

Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System (TL901)

 

This is a planner that I put together using my printer, ProClick and laminator. (The cover is laminated scrapbooking paper.)

P1030768

 

Workboxes

We use a ten-drawer cart for our workboxes. Initially, I found that this system helped us organize our day better and kept Emily on track with her assignments. Now, we use the cart to organize books by subject. With a drawer for each subject, Emily always knows where to find her books, notebooks, and project materials (assuming things were put away properly!)

Advantus 10-Drawer Rolling Organizer, 37.6 x 13 x 15.4 Inches, Multi-Colored (AVT34004)

 

What are your favorite homeschool tools?

 

Read more about “Homeschooling Essentials” this week at the following blogs, or click on the banner below!

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

Jennifer @ Royal Little Lambs

Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life

Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler

Laura @ Four Little Pengins

Dinah @ The Traveling Classroom

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool

Erin @ Water on the Floor

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my pro-click binder, and my laminator!

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  2. Great tools! I love having a printer too, but probably need a new one. I DONT love having to pay for ink. :/ I haven't ever had or used a laminator, and fear that I'd either not ever use one or that I'd come up with stuff JUST to use the laminator... and not ever use the items. LOL That's a cute planner though!

    For us, notebooks (binders), and spiral bound notebooks are our friends. Great post, thanks for sharing!

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