Product: Fellowes Binding Machine (Star+ 150)
Price Range: ~$60
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Comments: On my own, I probably never would have thought to buy a binding machine. One day I was complaining about how expensive blank drawing books were for my kindergartner and my husband suggested getting our own binding machine. I thought he was crazy. I assumed it would cost at least a hundred dollars. Shortly after, a blogger which I greatly admire recommended one. At that point, I decided it was worth looking into and bought one. (My husband was only mildly offended that I valued someone else’s opinion above his.) At about $90 total for the machine itself, the combs, and the clear covers it still felt like a bit of an investment. However, looking back, now I can’t believe how little I paid given how much use and savings I’ve gotten out of it.
My binding machine has become an indispensible part of our homeschool. Not only can I make blank books for drawing, but I can use it to bind the ebook (pdf) curricula I buy. I like to have something to hold and the ebooks are usually significantly discounted compared to the hard copies. Personally, I buy a lot of curricula that has ebook options. Some of the ones I recommend are Bravewriter for their Quiver of Arrows language arts program, Elemental Science for their Sassafras Living Science and Adventures in America programs, and Pandia Press for their Real Science Odysseys.
Another great homeschooling application is to make interactive notebooks. Instead of binding paper, I bind cardstock and then we glue lapbook materials to it. We’ve done this with both Real Science Odyssey material and Sassafras Zoology supplies that I’ve purchased. We also bought some interactive notebook material off of Teacher Pay Teachers that we haven’t used yet. At the end of the year, I’m also planning to bind some of my child’s work to keep as a sample of what he did this year.
Probably my kids’ most favorite binding machine application however is that I let them periodically author and illustrate their own books. They narrate to me what they want each page to say and I type it up and print it. Then they draw pictures to go with their text and we make free covers in PicMonkey. They LOVE when we read their own stories back to them. My oldest can now read his books on his own and he cracks himself up. (They also make great last minute gifts for grandparents!)
I’m sure that the number of ways we use our binding machine will only continue to grow over the years. I love Mama Smiles idea for making books for composing music. In less than a year, I feel like our binding machine has already been well worth the cost. The machine is so sturdy, I really think it will last forever. At some point I’ll need to buy more combs and covers, but as long as you’re willing to take apart old projects, they can be re-used. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.
Included on Lists:
- Best Homeschool Supplies
Why I Homeschool
Parenting Books on Education
Learning Activities for Kids
maryanne @ mama smiles
YAY!!! I have used my binding machine so much more than I thought I would. I’m thrilled to hear yours has been a hit as well. I love the books your kids are making.
P.S. I got the go-ahead from DH to homeschool my oldest daughter for 6th grade in the fall. He wants the other three in school, and they do seem happy there for now at least. My oldest has been asking to homeschool next year, and I think it will be a great adventure for both of us.
That’s so exciting! I’m hoping we’re able to homeschool through at least 6th grade. So far it’s going really well, but we’re just playing it by ear. I hope you both enjoy it too!
Thank you for your amazing article and website
You’re welcome! :)