Best Pencil Sharpeners for a Homeschool

by Jimmie

If you teach your children at home, you probably use a lot of pencil lead in a single day. Keep those pencils sharp with a dependable pencil sharpener.

A homeschool needs a plentiful supply of sharpened pencils to run smoothly. But we've all had the frustration of pencils that just won't seem to sharpen without breaking or that sharpen away to nothing in an instant because of an overzealous sharpener.

I've certainly owned my share of pencil sharpeners that perform poorly. More often than not, it was my frugal nature that got the best of me. Spending 50¢ on a pencil sharpener normally gets you about 50¢ worth of value. And that's just not a lot.

I didn't want to switch to mechanical pencils, so something had to change.

If You Homeschool, You Need Pencils.

If You Need Pencils, You Need a Good Sharpener.

I finally chose to stop wasting money on tiny pocket sized sharpeners that get lost and scatter shavings all over the table. I decided to never again fall prey to cheap battery operated sharpeners that die after sharpening a new pack of one dozen colored pencils.

My resolution was to Invest in a quality sharpener that will do the job well and will last for several years. In the long run, such a decision really is cheaper. Here are three top quality pencil sharpener options. Look at the pros and cons to make your best pencil sharpener decision.

Sharpened Pencils
Sharpened Pencils

Tabletop Manual Sharpener

This is the kind of pencil sharpener we used for years. It was consistently reliable and easy to clean out. (This particular model comes in four different colors.)

The sharpener is designed to grip your pencil so that you use one hand to hold the base of the sharpener and the other hand to turn the handle.


Can be put away when not in use.

Requires no electricity or batteries.

Clear drawer lets you see when shavings need to be emptied.


Works with colored pencils as well as graphite pencils.

Manual Wall Mount Pencil Sharpener

Go old school vintage with a wall mounted, metal pencil sharpener just like the one in your classroom. There is a reason why schools use these sharpeners. They can stand the abuse of dozens of children all day long, 180 days a year, year after year.


When mounted to the wall, you can never lose the pencil sharpener.

This sharpener can be mounted to a wall, table, or bookcase.

Metal parts sharpen to a very fine point.

Very durable and lasts for years.

Dial allows for different sizes & types of pencils.


Tabletop Electric Sharpener

For ultimate convenience, an electric sharpener is the best choice. You do need a dedicated spot for the sharpener, one near an electric source. But the payoff is the ability to quickly sharpen pencils to a fine point. 

The sharpener shown is commercial grade, perfect for homeschools full of blunt pencils to sharpen up.


One handed operation.

Fast and efficient.

Easy -- no turning a handle at all.

For the model shown, when the pencil is sharpened, the motor automatically shuts off and the blue light comes on. (No more oversharpening a pencil down to a nub.)

A dial allows for pencils of various thicknesses.

Getting Ready to Draw a Picture

With a Freshly Sharpened Pencil
Sharpening a Pencil
Sharpening a Pencil

Ticonderoga Pencils

The World's Best Pencils
Dixon Ticonderoga 13872 Woodcase Pencil, HB #2, Yellow Ba...
$11.28  $10.79

Avoid Cheap Pencils Too

Sometimes the problem isn't your sharpener but the pencils themselves. Avoid cheap pencils and spend a bit more on the quality ones that won't have repeatedly breaking lead.

Ticonderoga are a well respected brand, made in America of real wood.

Generally speaking pencils made in America with real wood are going to be better quality than the cheaper Made in China pencils. It's another case of getting what you pay for.

Updated: 02/21/2012, Jimmie
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bloomingrose on 10/26/2011

When one of my frustrations as an elementary school teachers was there a lot of pencil sharpeners were actually not effective. Yours all sound good. Thanks for this!

Holistic_Health on 10/21/2011

Harkening back to my grade school days, I can tell you that a well sharpened pencil is a thing of importance. I always felt smarter when my pencil was sharp :)

Digby_Adams on 10/20/2011

I agree! There is something about a freshly sharpened, high-quality #2 pencil that feels wonderful in my hand as I map out the Spring garden and think about the right seeds to plant or even just plan my shopping list for the week.

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