What You Need To School at Home: The Ultimate Back to School Supply List

It’s August. For most people that means that the school year will begin soon (if it hasn’t already). School supply lists, back-to-school clothes shopping, or new uniforms are topping every parent’s must buy list. And every mom is praying their kids don’t have another massive growth spurt before school is up! All of the back-to-school hype and hub-bub really only applies to those that attend a public, or private, school.

Does it really apply to home-school families? Well, it kind of does.

In my home, we are a house, divided. Our oldest attends the local public school, and I home-school our youngest two. Now, before I get any hate on why do we send one to school but not the other two: It is her choice. She has always attended public school, the only experience she has had with homeschooling (aside from myself) resulted in someone having to repeat a grade. I have given her the option to stay home with me to do homeschooling. She prefers the structured atmosphere of the public school.

Back-to-School Shopping Chaos

All of that said, we do the annual, obligatory back-to-school shopping for supplies and clothes and shoes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera for our oldest. My son, who starts kindergarten this year, doesn’t necessarily need a backpack or lunchbox. He doesn’t have a structured list dictating the 24 count Crayola box of crayons and 3 pack of No. 2 pencils. This is not meant to demean or put down the teachers that have very specific lists. I TOTALLY get why you request certain brands and certain “counts”. If my youngest children were attending public school, I would gladly buy EXACTLY what was on your list. However, that is the beauty of homeschooling. We are more flexible on the supplies needed. Frankly, I have a TON of stuff anyhow because I have a craft supply hoarding problem. Oops. Don’t judge.

School supplies: Stack of books with apple on top, crayons and alphabet blocks

“I don’t have to do back-to-school shopping because I home-school.” I find this statement to be false.

Just because a child is home-schooled doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t ‘need’ a few school supplies. I have compiled my list of must-buys for the homeschooling parent. Please keep in mind, I am a relatively new homeschooling parent, so I very well may have forgotten a few things. Please comment below and share you suggestions!

Home-School Supply list

Pencil case/supply box

This will help organize the essentials for morning work, workbooks, etc.


Every household likely already has pencils, but I think it is helpful for the student to have their “school” pencils. Sort of like a trigger to help their brain get into “school mode”.


School Supply: Cardboard art box filled with crayons

This really only applies to the younger aged children. If you already have crayons around the house, check this one off of your list to buy!


Luckily for homeschooling children, they can have the cool picture ones and such. Depending on the age or grade level, you may need fewer or more, but I plan to purchase about 3 for my son. I am going to be working hard to keep our work organized and tidy for record keeping purposes.


For kindergarten, I don’t feel that I need very many notebooks, but I will probably buy 1 or 2 for those lessons that need it.


Home-School Child smiling wearing headphones with books behind him

This last one is more for home-school families that plan to utilize online curriculum and videos where the child needs to be able to focus. I have a 4 year old daughter that LOVES to distract her brother. My son is able to focus and block out her shenanigans when he has headphones on.

That’s pretty simple, right?

I hope that this list helps calm the nerves of the new home-school parents. Also, each homeschooling technique and methodology is VASTLY different. Some may need absolutely NO supplies while others have a more extensive wish list. I drafted this list because I was feeling overwhelmed with all that I had to get ready. I hope that this simplification of a school supply list helps encourage you to continue on this journey. The biggest suggestion of all, be open-minded about how your child(ren) learn. After all, we are choosing to home-school because we feel that we know our child’s learning style better than anyone.

Now, go forth and educate. Create that love of learning so that your child(ren) will continue to seek knowledge well into their adult lives!

Oh, and check out my back-to-school supply list for the homeschooling PARENT! It’s sure to make you laugh, but also help prepare you for your journey!

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