During the summer months, most moms start making their back-to-school supply list. Being that I love all things tech-related, I’d like to help you get your tech supplies list in order. Keep reading to learn my top tech supply suggestions, digital maintenance, and more!
Back-to-School Supply List: Tech for Mom
Just like the homeschooled kiddos, homeschooling moms need their own tech to make the days, weeks and months run a lot smoother. The supply suggestions below will help you do just that.
Most homeschooling moms agree that having a laptop (or desktop) computer is a must. It can be used for a number of things from looking up lesson plans, finding digital curriculum and resources, or for keeping up with records. As a veteran homeschooling mom, I also find myself doing just as much research as a high schooler and bookmarking pages to return to later. Overall, homeschool moms can use laptops for a number of reasons.
Even if a paper planner is your go-to choice for keeping your homeschool life penciled in one place, don’t disregard the digital planner just yet. It’s becoming one of the hottest and easiest ways to keep everything in one place all while saving printer ink and paper. In addition to these perks, digital planning allows you to:
- customize your planner however you want
- easily copy and paste activities and tasks
- use digital stickers, images, and other designs
- save money
If you’re wondering which digital homeschool planner will suit your needs best, check out this post.
From Paper to Digital Homeschool Plans
Tablets are similar to laptop computers; however, they’re much lighter and more portable. They are also relatively cheaper than their laptop counterpart. If you’re more of a web browser, then a tablet could be a better option for you. Not to mention, these are easy to give to your kids.
A printer is a MUST-HAVE for every homeschool. Even the most basic printer can get the job done but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar, you may want to give more thought to the type of printer you purchase. There are two primary types of printers to choose from: inkjet and laser. Cost aside, laser printers seem to be the best option because they are meant for printing high volumes. These are the ones you’ll see in most offices.
Other attributes to consider when purchasing a printer are:
- how many pages per cartridge you’ll get
- if it prints in black and white and color
- wireless (connects to WIFI)
- all-in-one (printer, scanner, fax machine)
- ink type (liquid, solid, toner, ribbon, etc.)
A laminator is said to be a homeschool mom’s second-best friend. If you’ve homeschooled any amount of time then this gadget has probably made your back-to-school supply list more than once. Between printing tons of printables and homeschooling multiple kids, making resources durable and reusable can save you lots of time and money. One of the best tips I’ve ever received was to laminate worksheets, put them in a binder, and keep it on hand when you need a time-filler. Laminators are also used to create durable flashcards, homeschool ID cards, dividers, and more!
Spiral Binding Machine
This is more on the high-cost end; however, if you like to use a digital curriculum that requires printing and binding, this will pay for itself within the first few months. There are several types of binding machines, coiling and combing being the most popular. Coil binders use spiral inserts that typically make flipping through a resource much easier. Comb-binding isn’t as smooth and has a bit of resistance because of its design.
This gadget comes in handy if you have plans of keeping things like binders, boxes, and bins organized and tucked on a shelf. Instead of having to go through each box, binder, or the like – you can conveniently place a label on the spine (or side). This will help you and your kids keep everything organized. You could even make it a chore and assign kids to make sure these spaces only have the supplies they’re supposed to have and notate when things get low.
Once you start racking up on the tech gadgets, having enough outlets can post a problem. Skip the “it’s MY turn to charge” arguments and invest in a charging station. These are typically compatible with a wide variety technological devices and offer enough ports to charge multiple things at once. Keep it in a central location and even consider using your label maker to name each port.
Beginner’s Guide to Using Technology in Your Homeschool
Student-Tech to Have for the New School Year
Coding, real-time learning, and media literacy have increased in homeschools, which calls for different types of technology to make it all work. Here’s a list of cost-efficient tech tools to consider adding to your homeschool this new year.
Computer (or Tablet)
Similar to the computer or tablet for mom and depending on your child’s age, you may want to consider getting them a computer of their own. For homeschoolers that do a lot of virtual learning, these can come in handy when it’s class time. They can also be used to complete assignments.
We love the Tanoshi Scholar Kids Computer (they also have a 2-in-1 version which is great for younger kids).
Looking to save bookshelf space? Kindles are the perfect substitute for having paperback books. You can store tons of books on your kid’s Kindle and they can easily access them. Whether they want to read the book or have it read to them, the Kindle is a flexible gadget that should be added to your back-to-school supply list.
From the Nintendo Wii to a PlayStation, gaming systems can be used to help teach kids valuable concepts, lessons, and skills. In this post I share how to use popular video games for homeschooling (and the benefits), and you can find some other fun ideas HERE.
Having a sound system to play a read-aloud story, music, or lesson can be much easier when you have a Bluetooth speaker. These are available in a variety of sizes and price points. You may find it necessary to have several so you can put one in different rooms in your home.
Cool Technology Gifts Any Teen Will Love
Tips for Organizing Your Back-to-School Supply List and Purchases
Organize all of your inventory
Before purchasing everything on your supply list, first take an inventory to see what you already have on hand. In some cases you may simply need to run an update, add apps, or upgrade the gadget altogether.
Need a digital homeschool inventory template?
Get your passwords set up
As you begin getting gadgets in order, take an extra few minutes to get all of your and your kid’s passwords set up. Write them down in a safe and central location or use a password system like Dashlane.
Organize your tech and school space
To prevent from buying double of something, get your tech and school space organized. Have dedicated storage solutions for housing all the electronics your family use for homeschooling. Establish rules to help keep everything in it’s proper place (and used in the right manner).
Set up your apps
If your gadget requires any application setup, be sure to get that done before school is set to start. As you’re setting them up, take the opportunity to talk to your kids about the app, how to use it, and so on.
Perform any necessary tech maintenance
Every so often, electronics need to be maintained, updated, and/or upgraded. The lack up keeping up with these can result in your systems running slow or not working at all. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of routinely checking for updates or using the automatic update function.
As each new school year approaches, summertime is the perfect time for making a back-to-school supply list and getting all things tech-related in order. Use the ideas and suggestions above to make sure you and your homeschoolers are ready to incorporate the gadgets you’ve chosen to use.