So last time we discussed all the smaller equipment you might need for your homeschool classroom. This time I thought we should discuss all the big homeschool equipment you should consider having. Every classroom needs some actual equipment to use. Each families needs are different, so remember these are my top 10 picks for classroom equipment must haves. Get what works for you.
1. Color Laser Printer
I know what you’re thinking. A color laser printer is a need? Yes, in my home it is. Just about every project we do requires printing. Many of these projects (Homeschool in the Woods for instance) require color printing. It is much more cost effective to print on a laser printer than an inkjet. It also doesn’t bleed or smear on the page and the toner lasts way longer than ink. I usually go through a set of cartridges a year. It costs more upfront but in the long run I save money.
If color is not in your budget, a basic black and white laser printer will work too. I used one for years. No matter which one you get, make sure they have Bluetooth printing. One that prints from your phone or your tablet is what I use. There are so many times when I am looking up something on my device and I end up wanting it for school. This feature makes it so easy to print. No running to my desktop. Just click, print and it’s done.
2. The Laminator & Sheets
Okay so this is a biggie. Every classroom needs a laminator. You will be amazed at how often you use it. I use it constantly for things like chore charts, cheat sheets, speed math and so much more. I recommend an inexpensive one that has a high and low setting. Sometimes it’s a thickness setting. You can go with a nicer model, but really it’s not necessary unless you are doing tons of laminating in different sizes.
Some of the models come as multi-tasking devices. They come as 3 in 1 laminators and have things like paper cutters and corner rounders built in. Don’t forget to pick up laminating sheets as well. The standard thickness will work for most jobs.
3. Google or Alexa Device
I use my smart device all the time in the classroom. If I need to know how much the earth weighs, I don’t have to reach for an encyclopedia. I just ask Google or Alexa. I can play classical music for my music appreciation classes and it can read us stories and facts.
When in comes to smart devices, my choice is google device for the classroom. Google device wins hands down over Alexa for information because it uses google for its search engine. So if you are choosing one, go Google . However, if Alexa is on sale the least expensive model will do for a small classroom. The speaker range is good and it will work for most things.
4. CD Player
I know what you’re going to ask? Why have both a smart device and a CD player??? Well, the reason is because a lot of curriculums use either a CD, USB, or MP3/4’s for their audio tracks. I have found that there really isn’t a standard system for what companies use. I prefer to have a multitasking device. That way, I always have what I need. So when you go looking for a CD player, make sure it can play CD’s, USB’s and has Bluetooth.
5. Electric Tracing Light Board
This electric tracing light board is another great inexpensive tool for the classroom. It’s amazing for teaching art lessons and science class. The board plugs into the wall and lights up. You put whatever you are tracing on it and you can easily trace everything from leaves to portraits. It’s thin, lightweight and portable. To be able to use it on the go, make sure to get one that plugs into the wall.
Every classroom, no matter the age, needs a microscope. Nothing is cooler than collecting specimens wherever you are and making slides out of them. We have studied everything from bugs to Aloe Vera cuttings. Nature class just isn’t the same without one.
The good news is a really good microscope doesn’t have to cost a ton. They have come down in price a lot over the years. When thinking of what to buy, consider that it’s a piece of equipment that will be used for many years. We get lots of use out of ours, so durability is a must. I highly recommend one that runs on both batteries and a plug in model. It allows you to take it outside and study things like snowflakes in the winter. You can even take it on outdoor adventures. Another great feature of ours is that it allows you to attach a smartphone to it and take pictures of what you are studying. Be sure that is has a secondary light that shines down on your specimens. This allows you to insert larger items like giant bugs into it. So cool!
We store all of our larger specimens in Petri dishes or glass jars. But, you can buy pre-made slides or just make your own.
No classroom is complete without a map or globe of some sort. This is a long term, budget friendly purchase that helps with everything from geography to art or even history. I really like globes as they show what our earth looks like better than flat maps. I particularly enjoy the ones that have topographical features for more of a 3d look, but a simple globe will work just fine.
8. Teaching Clock
So this teaching clock is great for the elementary grades. They make a basic plastic practice version of these that will teach children how to use an analog clock. Get several mini versions, and you can teach about time zones.
I’m also a big fan of real teaching wall clocks that actually tell time. These are real working clocks that easily show kids how to read analog. What’s nice about them is that they can be used for many years to come, not just a grade or two. But, whether you go for the practice clock or the working one, it’s definitely a must for your classroom.
9. Cricut Maker 3
Okay, so this one is a splurge. But it’s one that I highly recommend and can’t say enough good things about. I bought my Cricut Maker 3 for my husband to use as a vinyl cutter. But, I have been using it in the for the classroom ever since. It makes cutouts for your classroom walls, vinyl clings and quotes for your white boards, classroom stickers, organizing labels for everything, sewing projects for Home Ec. class, wood projects for shop class, leather jewelry and tons of art projects for just about anything you can think of. It’s so easy to use that a small child can do it, literally. I seriously love my Cricut Maker 3!
If the Cricut Maker 3 is not in your budget, the Cricut Joy can do many (but not all) of the things that a Maker 3 can do for a fraction of the cost. It’s particularly nice if what you are looking for is vinyl and paper projects.
I don’t have a lot of space or really any extra space. So making sure the classroom stays uncluttered is a priority. Making sure my paperwork is in order is also one. So one of my favorite pieces of homeschool equipment is a scanner. I actually prefer this little compact mobile scanner by Brother. It works great for about 95% percent of what I need. It scans in color, is super fast and is double sided. Best of all, I can fit it in my purse.
It can scan art projects to the cloud, paperwork for anything important, documents I need and many other things. It’s an amazing and relatively cost effective way to declutter your classroom.
So these are my top 10 equipment must haves for my homeschool equipment. I find each and everyone of them valuable. Feel free to let me know if you have any other amazing finds you use all the time in yours. If you enjoyed this post you may also want to check out these:
Thanks so much for reading and happy homeschooling!