I thought it would be tons of fun to but together a list of my top 10 tools for a Homeschool Momma this holiday season. Some of these are tools I use almost every day and make my life easier. Some are things I would love to have and I dream they would make my life easier. Some are expensive, and others are free, but all are fantastic ideas if you are looking for an idea to treat a homeschooler you love (or, treat yourself!).
1. A Laminator: I don’t know what people do without laminators. They are pretty inexpensive, and so useful. I use mine all the time for things like our calender, word walls, and other printables. If you have a toddler or preschooler and are using anything like the letter of the week program, this makes it last so much longer. I am re-using things with Little Miss that I laminated for Mr. Man, so I am very happy with this investment.
2. A Pro-Click Binding Machine: This is one of those things I didn’t know I needed until I had one. A pro-click is basically a really fancy hole punch that does a long row of little holes- which you then bind with an easy to close biding. It’s not spiral, it’s individual rings on a spine, so it doesn’t twist or get messed up like other bindings do. Even better, I can open and close it with a click to get more papers in, or even reuse it when we are done. I use mine to re-bind Mr. Man’s workbooks on the opposite side or top to make them left-hand friendly. I also use it for all those PDF books, planners, and other goodies, saving space on my shelf and money on binders.
3. Espresso Machine: Most of you will probably think this is a joke, but I don’t know how I would teach without my yummy latte in the morning! This bad boy saves me money on Starbucks and makes me feel like I am treating myself to something special. Don’t judge!
4. A Good Camera: I love having a good camera. It’s fun to document all our adventures and the things we are learning. I love, love, love my DSLR and am so glad I have it to document my kiddo’s beautiful childhood. You may not need a DSLR, but I think every mom needs SOME kind of a camera. I also love this Intova waterproof video camera, and this pocket Nikon.
5. An iPad/Kindle Fire: I love my iPad for school. Educational Apps make learning easy and fun (I especially love Math facts apps). I use mine for digital teachers manuals to save a little money on printed curriculum. It’s also awesome for art (using the Art Authority App), for phonics, for music, for audio foreign language lessons, for reading, for audio books…. and so much more. Really it’s more of a question of what do I NOT use the iPad for.
6. Netflix or an Amazon Prime Subscription: It’s really nice having documentaries, classics, and other videos at my fingertips. I personally use Amazon Prime Instant Video but both services are really good. When we start a new unit study, I just run a search for the topic and cue up all sorts of fun videos to use along with our studies. Sign up for a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime here.
7. A copy of The Well Trained Mind: This is the one book I recommend to all homeschool moms. It’s such a good encouragement, and it gives me a solid idea of where I want to go with my child’s education, and how to get there. If I start feeling lost, I look back through my book and find new energy for homeschooling. You don’t have to be a Classical Homeschooler to get something out of this book, it’s just fabulously helpful every way around.
8. Zoo or Museum Passes: I would love passes to a zoo or museum. I will never forget the summer I spent at the San Diego Zoo painting, and I can’t wait until we are in an area where we can make the zoo a second home. Passes give Homeschool Mommas a get out of the house free card (literally) and offer tons of great educational opportunities.
9. A massage, facial, or mani-pedi: Offer to keep the kids, and send Momma off for some pampering. Most days, I can’t do ANYTHING without my crew of kiddos tagging along at my heels, and for a homeschooler, I don’t even have *that* many kids. Breaks are always welcome! Heck, I would take an hour to walk around the book store alone, or an hour to sit outside on the balcony with a book.
10. A Thank You note: If you’re looking for a free gift to give the homeschool Momma in your life, how about writing her a nice thank you note? I love what I do, but sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all the time, and energy and effort. Tell the Momma in your life that what she is doing matters, and you are grateful for her work to teach your children!
Or, Momma, treat yourself with a pat on the back. You’re doing good things. You’re kids are learning and growing, and you are helping them discover the beauty in the world. Be proud. Be kind to yourself this holiday season!