At this point you are probably feeling the need to buy "something" and get this homeschool adventure started! Most newbies (as new folks are often called) automatically think "curricula" when they think of buying homeschool materials. Let me prevent you from making what is likely to be a big, and expensive, mistake--do not buy any set curricula for the first year!!! I can not emphasize this enough. If your child was in school prior to homeschooling you will find that the nuances of their learning style will change greatly as they adjust to homeschooling. What worked at school is likely to NOT work at home.
Even though I am a certified teacher and knew all about learning styles and various resources I was still taken by surprise at how much my children's learning needs changed our first two years of homeschooling. Everything that worked for them then would definitely not work now. If you must buy materials buy only a years worth. Personally, I like to think of the first two years as practice. This is where you try various resources and methods for a few months to see how they fit your family. You can even try various philosophies of homeschooling to see how they fit. At the end of the year, or two years, you will be able to make much wiser choices.
If you don't need curricula then what do you need to get started? Here is my list of homeschool supplies that I absolutely could not live without. The list is not in any particular order.
Art supples: A variety of* good quality* art materials will go a long way for many subjects. We absolutely could not live with out a variety of colored pencils (and not the cheap waxy ones--they don't work for mapwork or nature drawings) and corresponding sketch books. Our family does not use crayons because you simply can't do detailed work with them and they melt in hot vans. I would include art prints in this category. I tend to use coffee table books that I either keep as-is or splice and dice into just the pictures. Old calendars often feature well known artists. Most Christmases someone in the family gives me a calendar that features the great artists or an art form from another culture. I save all these.
Craft supplies: No they are not the same as art supplies. With CM's emphasis on handicrafts you will eventually find yourself giving over some serious closet or shelf space to basic craft supplies.
Binders: I use them for everything. Keeping educational magazines corralled. Keeping the materials/handouts for one subject all in one place. You will need someplace to store all those narrations! Except for storing magazines which I use 3 inch binders for I really prefer the smaller 1 inch size. These are easier for the kids to handle (after all they do have smaller hands than us) and they fall over less on the shelves. We also go through a lot of 3prong pocket folders but I consider those less vital. If you have to choose go with the binders.
Paper: Stock up on a variety of paper. Printer paper and loose-leaf lined paper for the binders, construction paper and art papers for projects. Index cards for flash cards and making games. Sticky notes can by handy for lesson planning.
Printer: A decent flatbed printer is a must, trust me you will be making plenty of copies! One that can do resizing is great. You also want it to print fairly quickly so you aren't stuck standing at the printer all morning.
White or chalkboard: If you have any visual learners or are a visual teacher you will need one of these. Great for the kids to take notes on or use as scratch paper during lessons, in addition to the more traditional uses.
Bookcases: If you follow any of the classical education or literature based philosophy you will *never* have enough shelf space. Trust me, if you don't have shelving, the books will just pile up on the floor and every available surface! This, and a printer, should be every homeschooler's #1 purchase.
Books: A home library of high *quality* books is extremely helpful. I do know families who rely exclusively on the library for their books but that just didn't work for my family. I prefer to be able to answer the children's random questions with, "I don't know but I'm sure we have a book about that", since these questions are inevitably asked when the library is closed. The nice thing about using great books and classics is that they are readily available at inexpensive prices. I found many of mine for under $2 each. Just be sure to get decent unabridged versions. I also keep a library of quality nonfiction books that match our studies and/or the children's interests. For CMers, local nature guides are a must.
Games: Traditional games are fine but I would not have survived the grammar stage without a variety of educational games. I use both store bought and homemade. Games are *great* for introducing a topic or for reviewing previously learned material. I think it helps keep the info fresh in the child's mind and provides somewhat of a real life application of said information. Ages 5 to 9 seem to be the most game oriented, their interest in educational games does seem to wane a bit after that.
Globe and an atlas: I have a variety of atlases for a variety of ages but I must say that we use the big adult family atlas more than any of the children's atlases. We are particularly fond of National Geographic products. My friend says a history atlas is vital but I must confess I do not own one I like--yet. Choosing a globe is actually harder than you think. This is because you want a sturdy one (trust me it will get dropped, spun too fast and so on) but you also want one with some texture so that the child can feel the difference between the plains of Mongolia as compared to the mountains of the Himalayas. Unfortunately most globe companies do not value this feature as much as educators do and many globes have no texture to them. Globes and atlases are one supply I would not buy used. I prefer to use as up-to-date materials as possible for this subject.
Dictionary, thesaurus and word origins book: You probably already have at least one of these. Younger children really use only the dictionary. The other books come in handy as the children get older and learn more about how to use language. Word origin books are a nice bridge between history and language arts. Once the children can read on their own we found the children's versions of these reference books useless. The rich vocabulary found in CM reading lists simply does not exist in modern children's dictionaries. We usually end up using the dictionary my husband and I used in college (believe it or not only adult dictionaries have words like mitochondria!).
Timelines: If you are teaching history at all you will need a timeline of some sort so that the kids can see the progression of human history. Several types are listed in the history section. Which type you need will depend on how you want to use it. (No, this is not Charlotte Mason but my own recommendation.)