Thrifty homeschooling ideas & methods

Do you live on 1 income & you homeschool your child (ren)? Why spend lots of money? Here are some of my thrifty homeschooling methods & fun ways to teach my children.

Thrifty Reading / spelling
I got this idea from one of the blogs I follow. She has such wonderful ideas! I decided to make my own word movers. I modified mine to fit our application. My husband went to the hardware store & grabbed a bunch of paint swatch samples. I cut them out & wrote the 1st letter of the words my preschooler is reading then I made a moving tab, cut out a box & wrote the rest of the letters of the word on the tab. For instance he has learned 3 letter words that end in ad, ag, an, at, ap. The tab moves up & down (I made a front & back to it). I am trying to get him to read the words he knows in other places besides the workbook. I plan on doing this until he has completed the whole level 1 kit of our Hooked on Phonics reading cirriculum.

Thrifty Science Nature Box


We collect! I made the boys a nature box. I bought a plastic shoe box container & we have collected: bird feathers, rocks, snail shells, leaves, acorns, cotton from a cotton plant (from our trip to Louisiana from the cotton fields), etc. I laminated the leaves. This is a ongoing project. This is a great way for a nature study! Pull out an item, read books about it & learn about it!

Thrifty thinking skills game

Sequence/pattern cards (total cost – less than $2.00)
I had previously purchased at the dollar store some foam sheets for arts & crafts for my kids. I cut them in 1/2 then at the dollar store I purchased a bag of foam stickers. I made different sequence/pattern cards. The last pattern I put onto a different a different color foam sheet cut that last pattern out & had my boys had the last pattern.

Thrifty Math

While my husband was at the hardware store I had him grab a bunch of paint swatch samples so I could create for my preschooler a fun math game. It can be played several ways too!

Supplies needed: 1 file folder, paint swatches what have 3 different color tones. Glue to the file folder write the number out then on seperate cards write the number & the corresponding number of dots that match. This will teach your child the actual word, how to read it, spell it and the number that matches it! This idea came from Snail Trail – thank you! I just modified it a bit!

Thrifty Math
I have been saving all the plastic tops to the milk jugs, water bottles, etc. With a sharpie marker I write a number on the top. I plan on making 100 of them. My preschooler LOVES putting them in numerical order. This is a fun way for him to learn his numbers.


  1. These are really cute ideas. I especially like the number caps one. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy following your blog.

  2. Awesome Nicole. I’m definitely stealing your ideas. They are great!

  3. I just found the info for your blog on the message board. Thank you for starting that thread by the way. Your blog looks so interesting with lots of cool ideas. I like the whole thrifty thing. I was saving milk caps at one point, I think I will start that again. Years ago I was using them for letters with my older children. I like your idea. My almost 3 year old is looking forward to doing the numbers on them. I like the file folder too, but was a little confused on how you actually played the game.

  4. The number paint swatch game it basically a math / numbers match. My preschooler matches the actual number (word) with the number and the numbered dots. While he’s doing this he is learning the actual number word, how to spell it, the number and counting all at the same time!

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