Our Favourite Homeschooling Resources
I’m always getting asked what our favourite resources are for homeschooling and what we use most, so I thought I’d put together a list of our favourite things for you.We unschool, and we value play, and so the things we have in our home reflect that. We don’t sit down to do formal ‘work’ so we don’t have resources designed to teach specific things that you might find on a curriculum. Instead we have materials that inspire play and creativity. Play is the work of children, and that’s what our children do. All the while learning everything they need to know along the way.
These are the things that are top of the list and get the most use around here…
I don’t believe you really need a lot to homeschool, but one thing I wouldn’t be without is art supplies. Most kids love to create. They need ways to record their ideas, things to use to make their plans come to life, supplies to let their creativity flourish, and space and time to be able to do all that! We have a lot of different art materials because we have the space, but if you don’t you could always rotate things. They love pens, textas, pastels, paints, craft materials, different papers, clay, etc. You can see more of our art shelves and exactly what’s on them here.
I love Magna-Tiles so much. They’re one of those things I held off buying for a while because I wasn’t sure if my girls would like them. They were a lot of money for me for something that they may not like. I wasn’t sure if they were as good as everyone said. Well they are! These are one of those things they use every single day. My almost 7 year old loves them, my nearly 5 year old loves them, and my 2 year old even loves them! Great for all ages and so many possibilities for play. I’ve also found them great quality. Tall towers have been built and fallen down onto tiles and we have never broken one. We liked them so much we bought a second set so we have 200 to play with. Great for developing math and spatial skills, problem solving, cooperative and imaginary play.
Here’s a link to where we purchased our Magna-Tiles.
Our Spielgaben set is another thing that gets a lot of use. I have it open on the shelves all the time so they are free to grab whatever they need when they want it. Mostly, in our house we use it for loose parts play. There are so many different pieces, enough of each to make whatever they want.
We have a lot of other loose parts available that it’s often used with too. Miss 7 regularly uses the pieces to create different ‘worlds’. This post is a great one on the value of loose parts play if you’ve never heard of it.
We also use Spielgaben a lot for maths. If they’ve asked a question and I’m trying to explain something I’ll grab some pieces to demonstrate. Or if they ask for something to do I might set up a little activity for them. You can see some examples of activities here.
You can read more about Spielgaben here. An 11% discount is available from Spielgaben for all Happiness is here readers. All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to email@example.com mentioning Happiness is here and you will be provided with a discount coupon.
Well, it’s a Duo-Scope actually, meaning there are two lights. One shining up for viewing slides, and one shining down for viewing solid objects. The girls were lucky enough to receive this as a present one Christmas and I wondered how much use it would get at their ages. I thought maybe it was something they wouldn’t be interested in until a bit older. However, they have been fascinated! They’re always looking at things they find with it. We also got some of the prepared slides and they have never tired of looking at them. They have some great packs of them from ‘Blood and Guts’ (eww!) to ‘Incredible Edible Plants’. Lately we’ve also ventured into making our own slides which they are loving, and plan to also grow some bacteria to examine!
This is the Duo-Scope we have here. And here are the slides.
Books! I love books! We have many. Stories as well as informational books on topics of interest. I’m always collecting them when I find them on sale or when an interest arises. You can see some posts about our favourite books here.
Yes, they are just plain dyed pieces of silk. Yes they are amazing. I’m so glad I bought these. All of the girls love them. Probably because they’re so open ended. Of all of the imaginary play things we have, these would be used the most. They can be anything: a cape, a dress, Rapunzel’s hair, an ocean, a cubby, etc. These are used most days for one thing or another. I could probably replace all the dressups with just silks and they’d be happy, and they’d be easier to clean up. Now that’s an idea.
We purchased out play silks from here. I’ve also seen a few tutorials where you can make your own.
Of course, the outdoors. I couldn’t leave that off the list. If you have nothing else but outside, you’ll be fine. You can find anything you need out there. So much inspiration and learning. Unstructured free play outdoors is vital! You don’t need to have everything or the latest and greatest. Kids really don’t need much at all. For us, we’ve chosen to invest in a few quality things, provide inexpensive but quality art materials, and make sure there is ample time for free play and being outside!
Tell me, what are your favourite things?
We love Magna-Tiles too! We were really unsure about investing so much money in them, but they really are worth it. We bought 100 to let the kids try them out, and when we saw how much they love them, we bought 200 more. I’d love to get the clear ands black sets to add later on!
Art supplies kind of take over our kitchen and laundry room. We have so many different paints, papers, wooden bits, recycled materials, clays, fabrics, etc. Our kids really love art!
Some of our other favorite items are our homemade light table, dress up clothes, Playmobil and a wooden kitchen set.
Clear and black sets? Why have I not seen these! LOL. Oh dear, I think we need them.
Yes!! They now have Magna Tiles Ice (clear), frosted colors and the black set. We have regular and clear already, and getting black for Christmas.
So many of our favourites too! We love our Magna-Tile sets and will be adding to them again this Christmas. Our Schleich animal collection as seen so many hours of play as has our Grimms large wooden rainbow – something I wish I bought before we did but it always looked too expensive. It’s become a favourite of my 6yr old who keeps building houses with it. There’s a rainbow house on our living room floor tonight ready for play in the morning 🙂
Oh we have a basket of a random assortment of animals that is used a lot too.
I love the houses your kids make with the rainbow!!
We bought picasso tiles and my 4yo boy loves it! He always play with his trains and blocks. My just turned 12mo girl now really loves to knock down his tiles and blocks which often made him so mad! How do your children play together? We have Spielgaben too. I didn’t leave it open because my 12mo baby still loves to put things into her mouth!
Oh, that’s a hard stage! I just tried to be close as much as possible when they were building but a lot of things got knocked down! She seems to be over it now at 23 months and is more into helping build.
Love this post!
We also have quite a few magnatiles that are used very often, my son loves the clear ones and the DX version that had working door and windows and a car chassis. We also have the Spielgaben set too after seeing it on this blog. My kids don’t play with it as much as I hoped, however. 🙁 We also really love our Hape marble run, expensive but well-made and attractive too!
My son has a zillion Schleich animals, we use them so much for learning about animals or habitats. We have Mindware Pattern Play, which is fun for creating many different looks. Getting some Tegu magnetic blocks for Christmas. We also just have a set of plain old unit blocks, that have been well-used. We have a telescope and are getting a microscope for Christmas too. Have used plasticine lightweight clay and have a good stash of tube watercolors. Also, Duplos & Legos, of course! I love Usborne Books, they have so many interesting books on everything from storywriting to mazes to ‘see inside’ lift the flap books and picture encyclopedias. Also really like the Let’s Read and Find Out Science series of books. I put some links below.
I have been looking at Tegu too! Is there such a thing as having too many blocks? LOL. I love them all.
That’s just great blog I read this day, wow amazing. These resources are great for the children of middle school and elementary school. Thanks for sharing such amazing blog.
Those are our very favorite resources! Feel free to reach out if you have specific questions — you’re not alone and you’ve got a tribe.