What’s the number one homeschool supply you need for homeschooling a young family?
My opinion? A comfy couch.
I’m not talking about a pretty couch or an expensive couch—just a comfy one. And preferably, a couch with fabric that matches or at least blends in with the color of the family dog or cat.
You’ll want to be able to snuggle up on the couch with your littles as they look at picture books with you and listen to you read aloud. Reading to your kids is the single most important thing you can do to give them a head start on academics, and many homeschooling parents read aloud for an hour or three a day, often spread out over multiple sessions. On a comfy couch, you can nurse the baby while the other kids gather around and still feel they are sitting with you.
Pair the couch with a good lamp (or one at each end) that is tall enough to shed light on the pages. Include a basket or box for books and another for toys that kids can fidget with during reading time. (I never made my kids look like they were “paying attention” during our read alouds. They comprehended more when their hands were busy. When they got older, we addressed what “paying attention” looks like to teachers and other adults, so they would know how to meet that expectation).
Make your couch low stress instead of high priced. You’ll want to be able to enjoy being together with your kids without worrying about the occasional crayon that’s going to sneak out of a pocket and mark the couch. My kids often drew scenes from the books I was reading to them, and we had the occasional dropped marker, but our “comfy couch” cleaned up pretty easily, and I didn’t have too much invested monetarily or emotionally.
And by the way, in a smaller home or with fewer kids, a comfy chair (those big ol’ rocker recliners!) makes a good substitute. We wore one all the way out.
When the kids grew up, I got a new couch and we’ve kept it fairly pristine. The solid red couch is lovely and unmarred, but it doesn’t hold the memories of our comfy couch, and nobody has learned to love books while nesting there.
The homeschool joke is about all we do around the kitchen table, but the heart of homeschooling may well be the comfy couch.