The conference workshop I'm going to be doing in March is about using thrift shop finds and other free and inexpensive materials as homeschool curriculum. Here are some things that I'm planning on using [in our own homeschool] in the near future--things that have been on the shelf or that I haven't thought of using for school before this.
1. On Foot to the Arctic, by Ronald Syme: a biography of Arctic explorer Samuel Hearne, the first European to reach the Arctic coast. The cover's old and dull, but how can you not like a biography that starts:
"The English county of Somerset was a good place for any boy to live. The streams which flowed through the fine green meadows were filled with small trout and perch. In forest glades of oak and elm and ash, big cock pheasants made an easy target for anyone expert with a sling and able to dodge the prowling wardens. In the kitchens of the white-walled farmhouses, great joints of beef frizzled gently in copper pans, and the warm air was filled with the aroma of smoked ham, cheese, fresh butter, and sweet West Country honey."
2. Janice Van Cleave, Math for Every Kid. A thrift shop copy! I think Ponytails has had enough of the four operations for awhile, so I'm considering making this a more hands-on math term with lots of measurement. The activities in this book seem pretty do-able, although the vocabulary will be challenging.
3. Beanbag Buddies and Other Stuffed Toys. Also a thrift shop find, although these Kids Can books are readily available. Two patterns in this caught my eye: Baby Chicks made out of fabric and put into felt egg shapes (we will probably do that closer to spring), and "Buttons Bear" made out of old denim--a good way to practice sewing on buttons.
4. A Bisquick cookbook (from the grocery store a long time ago). This would be fun to use with homemade biscuit mix (maybe we could spring for a box of the commercial mix and compare results). We could make cinnamon rolls, muffins, and pizza (recipes from the book).
More coming, this is just a start! (My list isn't all books, but these came up first.)