Home Schooling Resources In Your Own Home

Learn how to build a home schooling resources. Home schooling tips for managing and storing supplies, and keeping purchase costs at a minimum.

While homeschooling typically has no "disadvantages" for those committed to its success, lack of space and funds can make it difficult to organize an effective learning resource center. Many homeschoolers live on one primary source of income, and government funding is, by and large, reserved for the public school system. Being frugal is essential, and with a little creativity you can build a highly effective resource center in your home.

The first thing you must decide is where your resource center will be located. If you have a spare room to dedicate solely to homeschooling, you are fortunate. But for those who don't, consider turning a guest bedroom into a dual purpose room. It might even be beneficial to transform your den or screened in porch into a learning center. The idea is to get all your learning materials organized in a central location.

Irregardless of which room you decide on, it should be designated as your learning area. This doesn't mean you will limit class time or even study time to this room, alone. It simply means that all learning tools will be kept and organized in this area of your home. Once you get a handle on all the books, paper, notebooks, staplers, glue and glitter, your entire home will be more conducive to learning. While part of the beauty of homeschooling is not having to operate on a rigid structure, nothing is more frustrating than to spend twenty minutes looking for a ruler!

The most important items to any resource center are books. Public libraries are unquestionably an asset to the homeschooling family, but access isn't always convenient, so keeping a variety of quality books in your home's resource center is a huge benefit. Buying new textbooks and "real" books could easily drain the family budget unnecessarily. Homeschoolers hold open houses and book fairs all across the nation where used textbooks, workbooks and real books are bought, sold and exchanged. Contact a local support group to find out what activities are going on in your area. Also, don't forget to check with your local library for purchasing books. Many of them sell used books and books on tape for very reasonable prices or donations.

Other items you should plan on adding to a home resource center, include:

Measuring devices. Tape measures, rulers, and yard sticks. These can often be acquired from relatives who have extras, and some companies, such as insurance companies and banks, offer these as promotional materials.

Book shelves. This can be a great school project! Many stores throw away old display shelves or pallets that are perfectly usable as they stand or for the materials.

Maps and a globe. Check with travel agents and the Chamber of Commerce for free maps.

Pencils, pens, paper and notebooks. Watch for clearance sales on essential supplies after the back-to-school rush is over. Often, you can find real bargains, so stock up when the price is right.

Art supplies. Some of the restaurants offer a small pack of crayons and coloring books to their small patrons. Save these for art projects. Butcher paper makes excellent drawing and painting paper. Save old newspapers for drop cloths during finger painting. Be sure to include construction paper in your art section, and save scrap pieces for other projects that need colored "sprinkles."

Calculator, protractor, compass. Calculators are also often given as free promotional materials by some companies. Be sure to ask your bank, insurance agent, car dealership, and other businesses where you have an association for any items they offer that might be of use.

Video Library. Look for blank tapes on sale, and prerecorded tapes at video stores, thrift stores and yard sales.

Computer and Internet service. To some, this may seem a frivolous item where expenses could be cut. I strongly encourage you to provide your kids with an Internet-ready computer. They are no longer the wave of the future, computer skills are absolutely essential to future career goals. There are many good safe-surfing products on the market to help parents keep the Internet safe for their kids.

Microscope and Telescope. You may find these at yard sales or thrift stores, but if not, don't skimp. Buy science equipment that will encourage them to explore, examine and investigate their world. I also recommend a quality chemistry set for older students.

Learning games. Board games that teach are a fun change of pace from routine lesson plans.

Thrift stores and yard sales can be a Homeschoolers' Heaven when it comes to piecing together a resource center. Holding your own yard sale is one way to help finance new and upgraded supplies.

Also, use the amazing resources on the Internet. Many companies provide complete lesson plans, instructional materials, videos, and product samples to schools and educators for free or for the costs of shipping.

And lastly, tell friends and family you are building a learning resource center for your kids. You may be surprised how many useful items they will be glad to get off their hands. One man's trash is another man's treasure!

A home resource center encourages kids to stay active with their education. It doesn't have to rival a NASA fully equipped lab or a professional art studio to be an effective asset in helping home taught students explore their learning options. A little creative and frugal thinking can go a long way in building a resource center where everyone benefits.

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