Homeschooling is not like a traditional school. You don’t need a uniform or the latest trendy clothes, you don’t usually need a backpack, and in most cases, you don’t need to pack a lunch. But, there are a few things that are essentials to a homeschooling teen’s success each year, especially for High School students.

Here are my top five most important back to school items every high school homeschooler needs:

    1. A planner:

      Many high schoolers don’t realize just how valuable a planner can be, but it can be a vital part of keeping you on track and preparing you for the rigors of college academics. They can help prevent procrastination while promoting organization. Plus, they can also be used as a great outlet for creativity! Decorate your planner with stickers or colored pens and you will look forward to not only using your planner, but actually enjoy looking back at what you need to do. Need to find a good planner for the year? Here are some of my favorite planners for the 2016-2017 academic year:

    2. Pencils:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love pens, especially the colored ones for taking notes, but they’re just so permanent. Pencils are great for math assignments or for taking tests, and they allow you to erase your mistakes and redo things without having to see scribbles or “X’s” all over your page. While there are lots of options for pencils like Ticonderoga #2 and mechanical pencils, find a type you like and add them to your shopping list. They are a must for this upcoming school year!

    3. Colored Pens:

      As I mentioned above, I love colored pens! They’re great for taking notes, color coding things, or let’s be honest, doodling when you need a little brain break. I use my colored pens for literally everything: writing reminders, decorating my planner, and most importantly, for color coding my notes. Studies show that color-coded notes increase memory and concentration! Are you sold yet? There are also several different kinds of colored pens: gel pens, marker pens, or just plain-old colored pens! Here are my two favorites:

    1. Highlighters:

      Whether you’re reading a textbook, reviewing your notes or making an outline, highlighters are a great tool to remember the important points of a lesson. (Plus you can color code with these too)! Highlighters have the option of a thicker tip or a thinner one, but I recommend the thinner tip as it’s easier to stay “within the lines.”

    2. Note-cards:

      Notecards are amazing! They can be used to study facts, memorize a language, or they can even be used to keep track of sources when writing a research paper. In high school, memorizing vocabulary for the SAT or ACT is especially helpful for getting a high score, and notecards can be used over and over again to do this. If you need to write a lot of terms, try cutting the note cards in half to save paper. If you have younger siblings, make sure you save your notecards so that eventually they can use them too!

Now I know this is a short list, but these five things have made all the difference in my schooling, and if I could force everyone to use these items, I would!  Starting your school year organized will set the tone for the rest of the year, so start it strong with all the supplies you need!
What are your back to school essentials? Tell us in a comment below!