What do I need?

When I first started homeschooling (way back in the year 2000), I was comforted by author Mary Pride’s declaration that only two resources are absolutely necessary: A Bible, and a library card. The rest is icing on the cake! I agree with her: Having a Bible and some quality children’s books is the perfect starting place for any child to learn about the world.

Don’t let financial fears keep you from enjoying the wonderful experience of teaching your child at home. Your time and attention are what your little one wants most. In addition, here are just a few of many, many free or inexpensive resources you can use to round out your learning fun:

1. The internet

There are a few gazillion ideas floating around which can be accessed by anyone with a computer and an internet connection. A quick Google search or a short browse of Pinterest will produce tons of fun, free learning activities. Many of “my” ideas come from the internet, and sharing them here is supposed to save you some browsing time…..but just know that there are plenty more out there for the taking!

2. Thrift stores & yard sales

I have found a plethora of  educational activities and supplies just by browsing yard sales and thrift shops. (I really come away a winner when the seller is a retiring teacher or day care worker!) You’ll be amazed at the fun things you can collect for a fraction of the cost new if you are willing to shop this way. Keep some bleach or a can of Lysol handy if you have germ issues (like I do) and you’ll be good to go. (And, if something gets broken, it’s no big loss.)

3. Used book sellers

Much of our library has been built on books purchased at used-book sales (usually through homeschool groups) and at Half-Price Books stores. I’m talking about books that are in like-new condition but cost very little. Win/win!

4. The world around you

When you go on a walk with your young child, observe what you see in nature. Here’s just one example: Point out that big tree and ask your child who made it. Talk about how it looked when it was planted and figure out what grows on it. Talk about how people use trees, and what creatures might live in it. Ask if she remembers who climbed a tree in the Bible, and why. Use paper and crayons to make a bark rubbing, and/or some leaf rubbings. Look for bugs crawling on the trunk or eggs on the leaves.  Help your little one try to climb it herself. Paint her arm brown and her hand green so she can stamp her own tree. Think of songs you know about trees, and sing them. Let her try to draw one. There is no end to what you can come up with to discuss with your child, just from what you see in God’s amazing creation. If you haven’t already developed this process as a habit, it may take some effort when you first start. But it will open up a whole world of FREE learning activities for you, and will teach your child to be a life-long observer and learner.

5. Recycled items

You probably have loads of items in your kitchen and the rest of your house that you could use to teach your preschooler (and beyond). This post will give you plenty of ideas to get you started.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that you don’t HAVE to spend a lot to give your child a quality education. If, however, you WANT to go out and purchase some items to stock your preschool (and beyond) shelves, here are a few suggestions of items for which you can be on the lookout:

pipe cleaners

construction paper

craft sticks

cotton balls

glue sticks


Color Wonder (special markers and papers that only work together; no mess)

Play-Doh (or make your own!)



lacing cards

stringing toys

stamps and (non-toxic) ink

cookie cutters


painting supplies

magnetic letters & numbers


musical instruments

dot markers

Unifix cubes

counting bears

any toys that require imagination (such as baby dolls, building blocks, play money, and pretend food/dishes)

Don’t forget to check the dollar store and the dollar bins at Target when purchasing new supplies.

And remember, the focus is on learning, playing and interaction with your precious child–not the STUFF.

Enjoy learning together!

  1. […] elsewhere—you may want to read through Should We “Do Preschool” at Home? and What Do I Need?, both under Getting […]

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