Tools of the Trade
A child's learning necessities are either free or inexpensive. Ideally, every child should have the following:

A dictionary
This should become your child's best friend! Increasing your child's vocabulary increases her chances of success in life :) Do not leave this up to your computer's spell checker program.

A thesarus
The dictonary's side-kick :) The is a handy reference guide to vary the words used in compositions.

Loose-leaf writing paper
I highly recommend using this versus spiral notebooks in most cases. Since the paper can be placed in three-ring binders, it is alot easier to keep track of notes. Also, with the use of dividers, your child can file his subjects.

Construction/drawing paper
This really depends on the child's creativity. If she is more geared towards sketching, use the latter.

Pencils and/or pens
While everyone should have pencils handy, pens are not really necessary for children. However, children who are writing proficiently can have the option.

Pencil sharpener
Since everyone uses pencils, there should be a stationary pencil sharpener in the home. The electric or manual types are both ok.

Crayons/markers/colored pencils/paints/chalk, ect.
Did you know drawing and coloring pictures are one of the foremost ways to teach hand-eye coordination? Depending on your feelings and the age of the child, simple artistic mediums such as these will fuel his imagination. Art can be applied to almost every subject as guides for learning as well.

A tool that has only been around since the 1800's, scissors are a must-hanve for any home, children or not. You may consider letting smaller children handle scissors that do not have pointed ends.

Glue/paste/rubber cement
Depending on the project your child is working on, there are now a large variety of glues and pastes available. I find small children do well with paste or glue sticks instead of traditional white glue, since it's alot less messy.

A world atlas and/or globe
Even small children can have fun with this tool. Stories can be created about travelling to far-away places, or children can figure out where a particular story takes place. Chilren can even follow along or help out when it comes to mapping the family vacation. And, of course, the older children will find this a necessity when it comes to their history lessons.

A well-lit, organized, quiet learning environment
This can be as simple as the kitchen table, or as elaborate as a private study, complete with computer. The only thing that is really important here is that distractions have been reduced to little or none, and supplies are readily available.

A library card
Even the best websites out there cannot compete with a good book. Libraries are always free, and some even offer free passes to the best museums.

Encouragement and love
As any parent knows, you can't possibly expect a child to do well with his studies if he isn't being supported. You'd be surprised how many students are out there working alone, because their parents think it's not their job (unless they're homeschooling). *EVERY* child needs their parents to help them study, give them a hug when they're struggling, and congratulate them when they succeed.

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