Regardless of your method, curriculum, or reasons for homeschooling, here are a few affordable (and free!) products that have not only brought ease but also elevated our homeschool experience. None of these recommendations are sponsored; I do not receive a commission for you clicking on any of the links below. What is posted is only a reflection of what has been helpful for us. So, as with any CVG post, use only what works for and applies to you and your family.
3-Hole Puncher. Want to put something in a binder, perhaps by season or subject? You can get a decent one for less than $30.
The Apache AL9W Personal Laminator. This cost less than $30 on Amazon and can handle 8.5x11 paper easily. 100 packs of sheets are available to the tune of $20. I use it to create dry erase and playdough mats and to make manipulatives, games, and flash cards much more durable.
The Fellowes Star + 150 Comb Binding Machine. For about $65, you can have a quality comb binder. While some things end up in a three-ring binder, other materials I like to use the comb binder for. I am also planning to use it for select e-books. I am homeschooling a pre-kindergartener, but I can see how this product has great longevity and far more usefelness as she grows. For a parent of an older child, this could be particularly beneficial for home-printed curriculum, nature study journals, reports and records. You will need to purchase comb binders and plastic covers separately, to the tune of $10-25 for a 100-pack. While they are expensive, bought in bulk they can last for a long time.
Please note, that in the case both the Apache and the Fellowes, these devices are for personal use. You can’t overdo it with churning out materials, and it requires patience to follow manufacturer’s guidelines. The quality of the product you will receive for a modest cost, however, makes following the proper maintenance and manufacturer’s recommendations well worth it. Added bonus of a personal device: neither the laminator nor the binding machine take up a lot of space.
Dollar Tree and Target’s Bullseye Playground. I get that these are not a tool, and at first glance, not necessarily in line with the message of minimalism. But hear me out--- in moderation and with intention, you can outfit your child’s homeschool experience (especially for grammar school and younger) with some wonderful educational products and unit supplements. I remember getting little pots with growing mediums and seeds for a $1 each at Target, and they played an invaluable role in our plant unit. Dollar Tree has had a lot of great basic supplies for crafts and manipulatives. Perfectly functional binders, just like the ones you will find in other stores, are a fraction of the cost here. If you share in my convictions about trying to buy as many “made in the USA” products as possible, you will find that if you look carefully, you can find some American-made goods at Dollar Tree.
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