Gearing Up for Going Back to School
We are so spoiled with resources. It's such a blessing to be able to provide my kids with a customized education at home. I've been gathering supplies over the years that we've been homeschooling. It's easy for me to invest in my own children's education. I love them, and I'm going to be connected to these people for life.
While a great teacher can communicate truth with just a stick in the sand, it's really nice to have other supplies to deepen and enrich the student's education. The things that often fall off of the "must have" list typically fall into the STEAM category...that is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Here are some of favorite supplies we'll be using this year.
Back to School with Science
Microscopes are amazing tools for training observation and wonder as students look into the world of microorganisms. We are part of a homeschool group that provides these tools for our students to come together and experience. My son is especially excited about learning Biology this year and getting to dissect things.
You can't go anywhere these days without encountering technology. While I don't think technology should fully replace the teacher, it is a valuable asset that could easily get pushed aside due to insufficient funds. Every student should have access to a computer and learn the basics of typing and word processing. Beyond that, there are so many free resources on the internet that can expand a student's understanding of technology. Here are some of my favorites:
- Create a website for free with Wix
- Learn graphic design with Canva
- Develop stunning presentations with Prezi
- Practice coding with Khan Academy
You really can't learn everything from books and a good engineer will agree. While you can theoretically design amazing structures, it only matters if the idea actually works. This type of trial and error process can result in many failures before success comes. With the right kinds of supplies, you can equip a budding engineer with the patience to endure the refining process. Here are some options:
Don't Forget the Arts
I hear a lot about the importance of STEM learning, but often it's at the expense of the arts. My husband runs a music studio out of our home, and recently a group of moms were chatting about how great an investment it has been to equip their children with the gift of music. You never grow out of it.
A simple, yet brilliant piano curriculum is the Suzuki Piano book. It's very classical in how you work through learning the songs. It's a great entry into music for any budding musician.
The same applies for cultivating drawing skills. While there are people who have the gift of drawing and people who don't, learning to draw can be a powerful tool for cultivating observation skills. Don't let your kids get away with the excuse that they're not an artist. You don't even have to add in art as a separate subject. Integrate it with geography, history, or literature.
Math mainly just takes time. You need to do it every day. However there are so many great resources that help bring math to life.
- You can learn so much with counting bears
- For upper level math, you need a Graphing Calculator
- Geometry Set
- That's Math - recieve a text with a math problem
Box Tops for Education Gives Back
If you could help a school build their resources to not cut STEAM subjects, would you?
Box Tops for Education makes it easy to give back to schools on your everyday purchases. Simply look for the Box Tops label when you shop General Mills products at Walmart. Your school will receive $.10 for every box top you clip and send! In addition to the $0.10 per Box Tops, you earn 4 more ($.50!)
While we don't attend a public school, our local homeschool group is blessed with additional funds through Box Tops for Education. With these funds we can provide resources for homeschool families to pursue STEAM subjects.
Make sure to clip the box top as well as the additional bonus certificate that gets you four more box tops from the same purchase. I had to go hunt the box down in the recycle bin to clip the additional box tops! Don't throw money away!
If you don't have anyone in your local school, check with neighbors or relatives to see if you could save box tops for them. The money is out there! Let's support education so that the next generation can have the supplies they need to excel.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.
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