Back-to-school Supply List for Homeschoolers

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back to school supplies

Everyone has seen the lists at the stores telling us what back-to-school supplies are needed for particular schools in the area. Each school has a separate list for each grade level and teacher. But, what about homeschoolers? Don’t we need school supplies too? There’s no official list for us.

So, I have put together a basic list of what most homeschoolers need for back-to-school time to restock our supply closets. This encompasses K-12, so some things may not yet be needed for your Kindergartner, while your 12th grade student may have outgrown other items listed. And, this list does not include curriculum that you choose to use. That’s an entirely separate issue.

Still, here’s your basic back-to-school supply list for homeschoolers:

Glue sticks (just get a ton of these on sale, you’ll use them up)

White school glue (gel glue is great for less mess)


Pencils (#2 are best and the only kind accepted when taking standardized tests)

Erasers (big pink erasers are great)

Colored pencils (Buy on sale, but don’t go cheap. They’ll break & fall apart)

Crayons (Buy on sale, but don’t go cheap.)

Markers – washable preferred

Writing tablets (Lined & dotted for early grades)

Notebook paper (Wide-lined for approx. 2nd grade-5th grade & college or narrow lined for older grades)

Spiral notebooks

Composition notebooks (great for narrations or notebooking – 1 per subject per child)

File folders (plain manila folders for lapbooks – pocket folders for other work)

3-ring binders (to bring information together-1 per subject per child)

Ruler (with inch & centimeter measures. Make sure it has a good straight edge)


Scissors (start early grades with Fiskars or similar safety scissors, move up to pointed ones. Fiskars is great for left or right-handers)

White copy paper (great to use even if not making copies)

Cardstock paper (white and/or a variety of colors)use for things like flash cards, etc.

Index cards (great for making flashcards)

Compass (for older grades)

Protractor (for older grades)

For art and/or special projects:

Playdough (or clay)

Washable tempera paint (variety of color or at least the 3 primary: red-blue-yellow)

Paint brushes

Paper plates and/or egg cartons (to pour glue, etc. onto)

Q-Tips (to spread glue & paints)

Craft sticks

Gum erasers

Colored paper

Oversized paper

Poster board

Sketch pads

For setting up the classroom:

Pencil sharpener (an electric one is great as it is used frequently)








Baby wipes

Paper towels

Magazines (to cut pictures out)

Paint shirts (oversized t-shirts work great)

Bookshelves (or tubs or other means of storing books & supplies)



Calculator (optional)

Computer + software (optional)

Copier (optional, but great to reproduce copy permission-given pages)

Tape and/or CD Player (optional)

Miscellaneous items that help keep things tidy & portable:

Backpacks (to tote learning materials)

Pencil boxes (one for each child)

Crates or totes for each child’s books

Even homeschoolers can put backpacks to good use. Don’t think that because your child schools at home, they won’t need a backpack. They come in very handy for toting along school work when one sibling is along for the ride and waiting for another sibling in dance lesson, soccer practice, etc.

Pencil boxes or zip pouches are a great portable way of keeping all the needed writing/erasing items in one place ready for use. It’s very challenging to arrive somewhere all ready to teach, and your child doesn’t have a pencil. And, make sure you bring a small manual pencil sharpener, just in case.

Lastly, it’s a great idea to separate each child’s books into their own crate or carry-box of some sort. Some families use plastic milk crates. Others, may have some Rubbermaid-type of container or a large plastic beach tote with a handle. The Dollar Tree has some great plastic beach totes that easily hold most if not all of your child’s school workbooks & pencil box. They come in a variety of colors, so you can choose a different color for each child. Of course, if you have several children, you may have to overlap and identify same-colored totes with a special ribbon or something. When it’s time for school, they can easily grab their tote and get to work.


Posted on Jul 21, 2010
Posted on Aug 6, 2009