Homeschooling Essentials: Pencils. Just Pencils.

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Hey guys! This is my first blog hop, and I’m really excited to spend the rest of the week talking about what I view as “Homeschooling Essentials.” When you’re done reading my post, make sure to head on over to the master list and read about everyone else’s Essentials too!

The essential I want to talk about today is very simple, and one we can’t do without in my homeschool: Pencils. Yep. Just the basic, yellow pencil. It might not be worth mentioning at all except when it’s time for school, the kiddos can never find one! No matter how many I buy, they’re always lost.

Have you ever seen how pencils are made? We watched a YouTube video with the kids once, a few months ago, and it was actually quite interesting. Here’s the short version. First, the wood, typically cedar because it’s soft enough to sharpen but hard enough to hold up under your grip, is cut into pieces and then a groove is added for laying the lead into. A layer of glue is added to each groove, and half of the wood sheets get lead in their grooves. Each sheet is enough to make 8 or 10 pencils. The other half of the sheets are then laid on top if the leaded sheets, where the “lead sandwiches” are pressed together with a vice for an hour while the glue dries. The pencils are then cut and painted. I found it interesting that it takes four coats of paint to fully conceal the wood grain. If you have five spare minutes sometime, I encourage you to watch one of the pencil videos (just search “how pencils are made” on YouTube; there are several to choose from). I think it’s good to know things like that, if for no other reason than to keep us from taking things for granted.

We couldn’t do school without pencils. I’m sure my kids wish we could, but I’m not one of those homeschool moms who goes the “unschooling” route; I need some sort of record of what the kids have done, and I need to push them to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily choose for themselves, which is the antithesis of unschooling. Don’t get me wrong – I totally want my kids to love learning, and I want them to develop ways of learning naturally. But I can’t leave their education up to them. Otherwise Seahawk wouldn’t be as strong a reader as he is, Munchkin wouldn’t know anything about history, and neither one would be proficient in their times tables. All of those things are important – as important as having fun learning. And without our trusty pencils, we wouldn’t have a record of what they’ve learned.

So that’s my first homeschool essential. Make sure to visit my fellow bloggers to read all about theirs, and come back tomorrow for another of mine!



More Homeschooling Essentials:

Lisa @ A Rup Life

Jordyn @ Almost Supermom

Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers

Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog

Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy

Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles


  1. My kids have trouble remembering to bring their pencils “to class” too! LOL I remember watching the show “How It’s Made” awhile back when they showed how pencils are manufactured. Gave me a new respect for this simple but essential tool!

    • I love finding out how basic things we take for granted are made. We don’t have a TV, so it’s all YouTube or Amazon Instant Video for us.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Ticonderoga are my favorite pencils! And I feel the same way about the unschooling approach. While self-directed learning is awesome, and I do let my kids have some freedom in this area, there are some things they’d never choose to learn, um, like fractions, algebra, etc. 😉

  3. I keep every random pencil I can find in a central location. If we are tidying a bedroom and I find a Valentine’s Day pencil in October, off it goes to the pencil drawer. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.