Self made modern

Homeschool Hardware: 10 Equipment Must Haves

  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.    6. Microscope 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. 7. Globe 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

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Bad Handwriting-Why The Paper Matters

  So, you have a child with bad handwriting.  Maybe it’s sloppy or maybe it’s huge.  What do you do?  How do you help them?  Today we will be discussing how to improve handwriting. One way to really help a child with poor handwriting is paper. Yes really!  The paper you use matters and today we are going to talk about why. Paper is something no one really thinks about.  We use it constantly.  But we never really stop to consider its value.  Having the right kind of paper can make the difference between illegible handwriting and beautiful, clean writing for years to come. Why the Paper Matters My child has always had trouble writing neatly.  In kindergarten they gave the kids special lined paper, but the next thing you know, they are moving them to standard, wide ruled paper.  Smaller handwriting allows a child to write more without tiring the hand as much.  However, what I found was that it is extremely hard for a child to go from writing really big to really small.  I found myself just allowing the use of two lines on college ruled paper as one line and making dashes in the middle.  This actually works quite well if you are on a budget.  But it causes a whole other problem.  The handwriting, while neater, is now bigger than before.  So how do we make it smaller?     Primary Composition Books Some companies make what are called primary composition notebooks.  These have dashed lines for making clean letters.  They are also very reasonably priced, and you can find them HERE.  The downside to these type of notebooks is that they only come in one size.  Roaring Springs In my search for another option, I stumbled upon Roaring Springs Composition Books by accident.  Can I just say that I’m so excited by these!  These composition books are organized by grade. You can select grades 1, 2 or 3.  Each grade is ruled with horizontal lines and a dashed line in between.  This helps train handwriting skills in print and in cursive.  The best part is, that as the grade goes up, the lines get closer and closer together.  This ensures that a smooth transition can be made to standard wide ruled paper. Roaring Springs Grade 1 has a 1” lines, with ½” center lines & can be found HERE. Roaring Springs Grade 2 has ¾” lines, with ⅜” center lines & can be found HERE. Roaring Springs Grade 3 has ⅜” lines, with 3/16” center lines & can be found HERE. Final Thoughts These composition books make it easy to teach proper letter formation and control the size and structure of both cursive and print.  They also teach boundaries and proper control when forming letters.  After using these it’s easy to move on to wide ruled paper and then eventually, college ruled.  Don’t forget my nifty trick for smaller hands, golf pencils.  By using smaller golf pencils and composition notebooks, you will ensure neater and cleaner writing skills. Try these out and let me know what you think.  Hopefully, they will help your child smoothly transition to smaller, cleaner and more beautiful handwriting.  If you have any other amazing paper or handwriting finds, let me know.  For more tips on better handwriting, you can check out my post Writing Challenges-When Your Child Hates Writing If you enjoyed this post, check out these others: How to Choose a Cursive Curriculum 10 Ways to Make History Come to Life Unboxing All About Spelling Level 4

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