Top Ten {Tuesday} – Must Haves

The end of the school year approaches (maybe it’s already here for you) and my mind wanders toward the beginning of the next year before this one is even finished. I want to start lesson planning, organizing, buying curriculum.

But I won’t.

I’m making myself wait a little longer. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t start THINKING about it. 😉

This year I already know most of what I want. Having found so many things that work well for us that we can stick with for a while, it’s mostly a matter of spending the money on it! (The not fun part!) We love some of our books so much, they’ve become “must-have’s” for us. So as I begin to look forward to the next year, I thought I’d share my 2012-2013 Must Have List.

1. Bible (goes without saying, right? I *am* a Christian homeschool mom!)

We still have our Gospel Story Bible & Jesus Calling for Kids Devotional, our For Instruction in Righteousness book, our Charlotte Mason memory verse method (though, we’ve forgotten about that lately!) and various other resources to help make studying, learning and reading the bible a regular part of our day. When we start our day with prayer and bible study, the day just seems to turn out better than if we don’t.

2.) Who Am I? — Worldview from Apologia

We really enjoyed the first book (Who is God? And Can I Know Him?) This series quickly climbed to the top of the list with all of my other faves. I’m very much looking forward to moving on to the next book! I learned so much along with the kids — notsomuch stuff that I didn’t know, more like vocabulary and terminology, presentation and explanation of ideas. But yes, some things I didn’t know, about other worldviews and religions. It’s a good book to read!

3.) Mystery of History (Volume 2)

We ended up stretching volume 1 out over 2 years. So next year, we really will move on to volume 2! I’m exceptionally excited about this. I’ve really enjoyed this book but especially as we neared the end and crept closer and closer to the first century. I’m looking forward to picking up where #1 leaves off and learning more about the 1st – 10th century, something I feel I know very little about. I can’t believe that I’ve come to enjoy history so much!

4.) BOOKS!

And books and books. We like to read. We’ll be reading books that correspond with our Mystery of History volume 2 lessons, science lessons, books of special interest topics.. and books for just, plain, fun. We go to the library, buy inexpensive used books from Amazon, find digital ebooks (some free) and make trips to the local bookstore.

5.) Apologia Science

I felt like I discovered a gold mine when I found Apologia science. We couldn’t be happier with the curriculum we’ve used so far, and so we’ll continue with it again this year. Drama Queen & Little Prince will be doing Zoology 3 (we’re rebels, doing it out of order) and Princess will be doing General Science independently – though she still wants to sit in on Zoo 3 because she doesn’t want to miss anything. 😉

6.) The internet

We’re so blessed to live in the age of the internet! We often turn to the internet to do further research, find printables, watch documentaries, and so on. If we didn’t have the internet, we’d survive, but thankfully hubby really needs it for work because this has become a real “must have” for me!

7.) Horizons Math & Teaching Textbooks Math

Drama Queen does really well with Horizons Math. I’m going to start Little Prince on it as well because I think he will like it, too. Princess, however, needs the audio visual demonstration of Teaching Textbooks to do her best and since she’s moving on to Pre-Algebra (or Algebra 1, depending) we’ll definitely be spending the big bucks for Teaching Textbooks. For Princess, it’s definitely a “must.”

8.) Copier/Printer

Every homeschool mom who has one says that, right? Well, it’s TRUE. The majority of our language arts curriculum for next year will be things that I print off and store in a binder. Not to mention all the notebooking pages! I’m glad that I can do this myself. We also have books (like the Mystery of History) that includes reproducible pages and if we didn’t have a copier/printer it wouldn’t be so easy to make use of that.

9.) My organizer and my Well Planned Day

I call it my “teacher box” because “rotating file organizer” just feels too long. This holds copies, printables, notebooking pages, paper, assignments, pens, pencils. It keeps so much in one place and accessible. Really, any variety of file organizers would be helpful, it doesn’t have to be THIS one. But I do think it’s important to create a teacher file organizer of some kind.

10.) Lots and lots of paper, bradded folders, 3 ring binders, pencils, erasers…

Now that we’re increasing the amount of notebooking we’re doing, we’ll need these even more! I bought a small stack of paper, folders and binders at Walmart yesterday so that I can get started printing off language arts materials over the summer. (It’s a true sign that you’re a homeschool mom, and maybe even a little bit of a homeschool geek!, when you get excited about paper and folders.) 😉


All of these are “MUST. HAVES.” for me for this upcoming school year. I don’t want to compromise on any of that! But as you can see, that’s almost everything I really need. Maybe a little supplemental thing here or there to fill it out. We’ll need to throw in some art and music and stuff like that but I’m much more flexible with those things.

What are your must have items for next year, the ten things that you feel like you just *have* to have?

For TEN weeks, the iHomeschool Network is joining forces to participate in Angie’s (Many Little Blessings) Top Ten Tuesday with specific themed lists. Check it out!

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May 29, 2012 1:11 pm

I absolutely LOVE Apologia’s Apologetics. We used Who is God last year and Who Am I this year….and I adore their science! Love all of your list!

June 1, 2012 9:42 am
Reply to  Rebecca

Cool! I’m glad to know you loved the 2nd one just as much as the 1st. =)
I’m loving that my kids are learning how to think about this stuff now — something I didn’t do until.. not all that long ago!

May 30, 2012 11:06 am

I often look at the Apologia studies of God, but haven’t bought them yet. I may have to add that to the list for next year.

June 1, 2012 9:41 am
Reply to  Paula

We love them. I do recommend them. =)

May 30, 2012 1:37 pm

We use a lot of the same things 🙂 I just started with Apologia this year, but we absolutely love it and I wish I had used it from the beginning!!! History – I’ve been using Sonlight but it’s been a tad overwhelming since it’s so time consuming. My daughter loves reading but she found it hard to juggle all the readers along with all the text book reading, so next year when we switch to something else I’m sure we’ll stock up on supplemental reading books for her – just to keep that reading flame going :). I recently… Read more »

June 1, 2012 9:40 am
Reply to  Marlene

First off.. I. LOVE. MYSTERY. OF. HISTORY. (I am not a paid advertisement – haha!) But my recommendation is very biased because we love it so much! The book, ($40) comes with everything you NEED. It has a “What do you know?” pretest for each chapter, 3 lessons per chapter with suggested activities/follow-up for each age level at the end of each lesson, directions for making memory cards and adding figures to your time line at the end of each chapter, and a “quiz” at the end of each chapter as well. (We do the pre-test and quizzes orally.) At… Read more »

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