Monday, May 6, 2013

Thrift Store Homeschooling

 As Frugal Mamas we all know the benefits of shopping for clothing and books at Thrift Stores. But how can the Thrift Store help us in our Homeschooling? I am going to give you a few my very favorites ideas for how to take Thrift Store Finds and use them in creative ways for a  Homeschool.

I love the Thrift Store. I love it on a Monday or Tuesday. I love it in Spring or Winter. I love it on a train. I love it in the rain....Sorry. Sometimes I just don't know when to stop.

I thought I would take you on a little Field Trip. We spent some time at one of our favorite Thrift Stores in our city. It is run by volunteers and all the profits go to a children's home. One of the many benefits of this setup is that things are pretty cheap..we're talking .25 cheap sometimes. 

One of the benefits of gathering crafting supplies as the Thrift Store is that sometimes you can find some pretty unique odds and ends. My bit of advice? Keep a file or Pinterest board of arts and crafts ideas. You never know when you might find something that will inspire you.

This one is kind of a 'no brainer.' Who among us is not looking for more storage solutions? This little number is not the most attractive, but it is metal and has a key (still!). This would be a fun item to redecorate and store treasures inside. You can do this with a number of items you find in a Thrift Store.

Yes.I've had my fair share of tacky wallpaper rolls or samples. But what possibilities! Book Covers, Bookmarks, Notebooks, Decoupage, puzzles, How about handmade cards or paper dolls? Use them to frame artwork or decorate a diorama. I used to use wallpaper to make file folder games for my preschool classes. 

I really thought about snagging up this one. This is a great chair for reading. If I would have had room I would have loaded it up in the Buick. As it is we barely have enough room for our persons.

I know! .25! Here is my rule when buying books at The Thrift Store. I keep a couple of lists handy of authors or books we want to read. I always buy classics when we can find them and I usually let Josiah pick out one if he is interested. I do not, however, buy them just because they are .25.  Too many books and I might have to go live in the car...with my books.

So not much thought here. Most of the pencils in our large pencil bucket came from the Thrift Store. I am just a bit picker about pens and markers. I don't know if they test them before they stick them in bags and price them. Nothing more frustrating then trying to get a dried out marker to work. I did purchase a large bucket of crayons (.50) for an art project.

Instead of bringing out another workbook use some hands-on activities. And what better way to do that is gather the odds and ends of card games, dominoes and the lack for some real math fun! 

I think I have purchased 1 game from a regular retail store in the past few years. Sure. Sometimes my games are a little old and ragged. But who cares!! Also, consider using older games boards to let your kiddos create their own game.  I didn't get my picture of puzzles in here. I am generally a bit pickier about puzzles (it's hard to be sure all the pieces are there), but they are perfect for art projects and crafts.

Any mechanically minded kid needs his or her own tool box of treasures. Sometimes the best way to learn how something works is being able to take it apart and put it back together. Or how about those budding artists who want to experiment with sculpture art? Oh the options!

Here we go. This is my weakness. Linens. Anything that is made of fabric can be re-purposed. A sheet, napkins and pillowcase. Keep a blanket or two in the car for an impromptu picnic or nap. Use fabric elements in your notebooks or lapbooks. Practice needlework or find a few crocheted pot holders for hand work examples.

No. I'm not suggesting you fill your crafts bucket with a barbeque fork  Though I read a study suggesting that people eat less when using a big fork. Moving on. A couple weeks ago a friend and I were going through some donated items. I came across one of those old style can openers. When I set aside to the "giveaway" pile my friend asked me, "you can use that for a picnic set for the car." What? Genius! She keeps a few odds and ends in a container in the car. I was inspired and now have my own picnic set for the car. I have a some silverware, a can opener a little knife and a couple little of plastic containers.

Another idea for the odd kitchen utensil? Keep a set of utensils especially for cooking school. You can read my post on our cooking school here.

I don't even need to talk about this. The timer is my best friend. A homeschool can never have too many timers.

I have a little tea party set. Over the years I have gathered pretty tea cups and saucers (even a tea pot, sugar and creamer). They don't match. But we use them for tea parties. We take them to our friends house to share and use them at cousin camp. Considering that most of my tea cups cost around .25 and no more than .50 that's pretty cheap fun. I am not worried that one (or two) might get chipped. I can just go to the Thrift Store and get another one. I have heard of homeschoolers devoting a special tea time each day to reading poetry or listening to the classics. How Classy is that!

I don't even need to try and talk you into the value of this one. A homeschooler can never have too many library bags. But consider them also for additional storage. My mom uses bags for storing specific projects so that all the bits and pieces stay together. You can make your own...more on that in a minute.

Another one of my weaknesses. I love re-purposing things. I have used a pretty blouse in an apron or a t-shirt to make a bag. Yes! A bag. Here are 50 ideas for recycling for all of those interesting t-shirts you find at the thrift store that might not fit, but you love. I was literally geeking out when I found it. Also...consider costumes. How fun would it be to not only write and stage a play, but come up with the costuming with what you find at the Thrift Store. I get just a bit giddy when I think about it. I used to be a Stage Manager for a Youth Theatre Company. So much fun!

I'm not even going to pretend you don't know what to do with all the wonderful books to be found at the Thrift Store.

For all the drama buffs. However, these can also be used for some real life writing projects. How about using one as an example for creating your own Playbill. Use your imagination!

So you might not have a flute player. But how fun for the more accomplished music student to create a their own composition using this music as a basis for their own work. Notes are notes.

I just had to include this.

These little albums can be used for storing flash cards, lapbook elements or their own literary creations. I am going to gather some up for our Cousin Camp Cook Books this year.

Some other things to think about when shopping at the Thrift Store? Items for sensory tubs or bottles, Book Report projects, or some real life math. Give your kiddo a bit of money and help them begin the journey of economizing.

So what did I purchase this Thrift Store trip?

Not bad for just a little over 3.00.

I hope I have inspired you to look at things a little bit differently the next time you're at The Thrift Store. Maybe I'll see you there!!

I am linking up to the Schoolhouse Review Crew "The Frugal Homeschooler" Blog Hop. Go take a look!



  1. Up until this year, I have been able to find all of my curriculum at thrift stores. Bless those people who donate their used curriculum!

    This year I haven't been as lucky with it, but our finances are better this year, too.

    Love our thrift store, too.

  2. I have created most of our home library from the thrift store. I have also found some really unique board games that aren't sold in stores anymore. The boxes may be "dated" but the quality and educational value is far superior to modern games. I have the best luck a few days after large community yard sales.

  3. Tons of great ideas! Thanks for sharing them! I love thrift stores too, and I sure wish there was a good one more convenient to me.

  4. You've had some great thrift store finds!! Wow!
    I do most of my shopping online.....dragging all 5 of my small kids to any kind of store is not pleasant! :) Maybe I'll be brave enough to leave the house when they're older.
    For now my hubby actually does a lot of our school shopping for us! He stops in at different stores on his way home from work to pick up supplies. What a great principal :)

  5. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.



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