Threadbare Finances – 5 Days of Threadbare Homeschooling

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Welcome to Day 2 of my 5 Days of Threadbare Homeschooling series! Sometimes the reason we are threadbare homeschooling is simply because we can’t afford it any other way. When we first started homeschooling 11 years ago, that’s how it was for us – and it has been that way off and on (mostly on) ever since. Some years are better than others, but most years I’ve had to piece together our own curriculum, find things for free or very cheap, and make do with what we have. Here are some of our favorite (and our most hated) threadbare homeschooling results.

5days Threadbare Homeschooling
Threadbare Finances

The very first homeschooling materials I ever used were all free. I didn’t know much about homeschooling at the time, but my husband’s biggest concern was how much it was going to cost. So I put some feelers out on the then-popular freecycle group (today I’d use craigslist, but it varies by area – local FB groups are popular as well). I told them that we were going to start homeschooling, and that while my son was finishing first grade in the system that I knew he was super smart and that in some subjects I might need up to 4th grade, so if anyone had anything for 2nd to 4th graders that they’d be willing to part with, I’d appreciate it.

I received several boxes of donations, including three “complete curriculum” workbooks, one per grade, which helped us get started. My grandma, who taught public school for over 40 years, also brought and sent quite a bit of material. Actually, she still sends at least a box or two home with me every time I see her! (See some of my posts about my phonics curricula addiction!)

I didn’t spend a single dime on homeschooling for a year. At that point, we needed a new English program and I spent my first $10 on a used 3rd grade set from Rod & Staff. That was a fantastic price for that set, and I didn’t spend another dime except for paper and pencils for another 9 months.

5days Threadbare Finances

It can be done! These days, there are so many sites available online that either allow your child to do their work directly on the computer or to print out worksheets that you can do your entire school day with these programs either completely free or almost free. Here are some of my favorite websites for cheap or free threadbare homeschooling!

  • SchoolhouseTeachers – many courses, all ages and subjects, all media types. Low family fee, monthly or yearly.
  • Educents – digital downloads for all ages and subjects. Freebies, low cost items, get what you need.
  • EasyPeasy – all ages and subjects. I haven’t ever used it but highly recommended. Free.
  • Homeschool Freebie of the Day – sign up for the newsletter and get a new freebie every day! Really!
  • CurrClick – digital downloads, free and low cost. Sign up for the newsletter for weekly freebies.


  • Starfall – phonics for younger kids to early readers. Online and printables. Free and paid versions.
  • Letter of the Week – phonics and more. Online instructions and printables. Free.
  • Hubbard’s Cupboard – complete curriculum from age 2 through Kinder. Online instructions and printables. Free.
  • LalaLogic – preschool curriculum and brain practice. Online and instructions with printables. Low one-time fee.


  • Math-U-See – online drills and printable practice worksheets. Free.
  • Math Play – lots and lots of online math games. Free.


High School

  • College Board (test prep) – this page is for the SAT prep but all tests are there. Free.
  • YouTube – is your friend for science videos, music lessons, and more! Free.

This list is only a start. There are a million websites out there for free or cheap so that you can totally do this on a threadbare budget. Don’t stress out, Mom! Enough of us are or have been in your shoes that there’s a myriad of resources at your fingertips.

Keep on keepin’ on with the blog hop, below!





    • dalynnrmc says

      There are dozens and dozens, if not hundreds! It’s always good to get specific recommendations, but a simple google search will certainly turn up innumerable pages of options. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

    • dalynnrmc says

      Absolutely! I put this post together a little quickly so I didn’t really dig… but these are the sites that come to mind first when I want to look for something quick or I’m in a season of filling a void. Thanks for taking the time to comment!