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While writing my previous post on Homeschool Supplies We Use and Love, I realised there were plenty of things we use that couldn’t be classified as “supplies” since we don’t need to replenish them. “Tools” seems to be a more appropriate word!
Hanging wall storage
This contraption is great for holding books she’s currently reading and keeping them in view. Occasionally I use one of the pockets to keep her homework projects from kindergarten so we don’t forget to work on them. These wall pockets come in several sizes and ours is one of the smallest. If you have a large wall space to spare, you could even set up a mini library on your wall without any shelves!
Melissa & Doug My Daily Magnetic Calendar
We only started using this in recent weeks, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favourites! Daily calendar time becomes doable when you have this hanging in the living room. We used to keep a calendar notebook when H was starting to learn the calendar, but on many days we lacked time to fill it in. Now, we use this as our main calendar and work on the calendar notebook once a week or so. The one downside I find in using this calendar is that it’s catered for the US market, so some of the preprinted magnets can’t be used in our context, e.g. 4th of July holiday. I plan to stick blank labels over these magnets and “localise” them with holidays and events in Singapore.
Alphabet Desk Mate
This super handy mini chart is a free download from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I laminated the printout and pasted it on H’s desk with clear masking tape. It’s such a simple tool I sometimes forget it’s there, but she uses it often!
We use the iPad mainly to add a fun and interactive dimension to topics that may otherwise be rather dry. Currently, we use it to play math games, memorise the Juz Amma (Quran Star), practise handwriting (LetterSchool), read e-books, and work on spelling (Word Wizard), amongst other things. I also load the Spielgaben play guides and inspiration cards on the iPad, because printing out all of that would take a LOT of ink and paper.
I bought the GBC CLA402 for cheap from Popular and it has served me well for almost 2 years. So far, any brand of laminating pouch of any size (up to A4) works with it. It’s simple to operate and doesn’t overheat even when turned on for one hour. (If you’re looking for cheap A4-sized laminating pouches, try Popular’s house brand Pop Basic. It sometimes goes on sale – two 100-piece packs for S$20.00. That’s only 10 cents per piece! The quality is actually pretty good too.)
Suremark Paper Cutter
I use this on an almost weekly basis to prepare the homeschool materials that require cutting. It saves a lot of time compared to using scissors or a penknife. I’m so seasoned at using it now; I can even cut stuff while watching TV! You can find this paper cutter in various sizes at Popular or any office stationery store.