How we built our off grid tiny farmhouse, debt free!

It was six years ago when my husband and I had a discussion in the kitchen of our 1300 sqft townhome full of extra rooms, extra stuff and not one, but TWO cars parked outside.

We were CLASSIC consumers. But, we wanted out. We NEEDED out. We were broke and tired of spending our time working SO hard to get ahead in the game then BAM! the car broke down, the husband lost his job, and our ATROCIOUS power bill dropped in the mailbox in the middle of winter.

I wanted a little farmhouse, a garden to grow my own flowers and food, and he wanted to live in a tiny house. We wanted to live our lives on our own terms, for ourselves, doing what we loved to do. A dream was born, and so was our blog.

We kept dreaming for 5 years and struggling to stay afloat . We downsized. We started living more simply and thrived when adapting to a minimalist lifestyle. But our dream was not coming true. Still on the grid and in the grind.

But something shifted in us and in our mindset. 

There was an awakening and affirming moment. If we wanted that dream to come true, and I mean if we REALLY wanted to live that life, we needed to start changing our thoughts and taking actionable steps and jump in with two feet because what we learned is, there will never be a perfect time to start living your dream just like there is never a perfect time to have a baby.

When we just kept dreaming about what could be, we were subconsciously telling ourselves 'this is a dream and not a reality'. It was always a thing that was GOING to happen in the future, and mindset is EVERYTHING.

For years we kept telling ourselves this is 'going to happen' or 'we will do it someday'. We would have never made it here if we didn't change our mindset from dreaming about building our off grid cabin one day to 'we are doing this!' and 'this is how we are doing it!' And after this shift, things started to fall into place.

So, we started taking actionable steps to get here! Things that we could start doing immediately to make our dreams come true. These could look differently for everyone, but for us they looked like this:

1. creating a passive income so we could make more and work less
2. downsizing and selling our possessions then saving this cash
3. purchasing, renovating, and moving into a fixer upper camper #nelsoninthewild
4. living nomadically, rent free, while we eliminated all debt and accumulated savings
5. purchasing our property with cash and moving onto the land in our camper

Next thing we knew, we were living in a tiny house on wheels on our property! From here we started clearing the land and building our off grid tiny cabin and now that we are here, I am 100% certain if we carried on only dreaming about it without taking actionable steps or changing our mindset, we would still be dreaming and stuck on the grid and in the grind.

Creating the freedom to build our dreams...

When sharing our lifestyle choices with friends, family or other off grid dreamers we meet along the way, one of our most asked questions is how we afford to live this way or how can we afford to build a cabin debt free and not have a full time job.

We both, the person inquiring and myself, find these questions a tad uncomfortable to ask and answer because your salary is personal and private, but we all need to make money to live, right? And there are many people we have met who also want to build a cabin or move off the grid! To make our dreams come true, we needed to create a passive income and become financially free.

Financial freedom is when you can earn an income
when you aren't working and
it's far more than your expenses.

How we built our off grid tiny farmhouse, debt free; we cooked all our own food!

Ways we lowered our expenses and became debt free...

A little over two years ago, we became ruthless with our money and determined to pay off all our debt. We weren't terribly in debt because we didn't have a mortgage to pay but we had credit card debt and we were a single income family who had moved back and forth across the country... Regardless, it needed to go so we started making some changes!

We cooked all our own food, grew a garden for fresh veggies, and tried hard to never eat out. We even asked our friendly neighbour for their wifi password and cancelled our home phone, satellite, internet ( you really only need Netflix nowadays). We went to the extreme of cancelling our insurance and selling our car in the spring and used public transit all summer and fall to pay of debt and build a nest egg!

Once we really decided to commit ourselves to the dream of building a tiny house in the forest, we purchased a 24' Class C motorhome to live in while we continued to work for our dreams! We lived, and worked, in this motorhome for a year and half before purchasing our forested property, for cash.

How we built our off grid tiny farmhouse, debt free; we did the work ourselves!

Some ways we earned a passive income so we could afford to build off grid..

While the husband continued to work outside the home to pay our living expenses, pay off debt and build up savings, I started creating and earning passive income! Here are a few ways we did this:
  1. we run ads on our blog
  2. we sifted through our belongings and sold anything we didn't need
  3. we create eco friendly handcrafted items to sell at farmer's markets and online
  4. I taught art classes in our home to homeschooled children in our area
  5. I wrote an eBook 
  6. I created downloadable printables available online
  7. helped women reduce the toxins in their homes and bodies to live more naturally
These streams of passive income are all STILL bringing in an income so we can focus on keeping our expenses low by building our cabin ourselves and doing all the labour, which ultimately, made it all possible!

How we lowered the cost of our off grid cabin build, so we could actually do it...

Like I just said, building the cabin ourselves was how we made this happen! Spending our time and not our money, saved us thousands. We built and installed our own culvert, cleared our land for our cabin and driveway by hand and chainsaw, and built the cabin ourselves. It saved us thousands of dollars because we weren't paying someone else to do it.

We weren't both working away from home full time, earning less from other employers, to pay for labour. And I am NOT a master carpenter hah! I am a stay at home mom of two children but I am telling you, if I can build my own home, so can you!

How we built our off grid tiny house debt free!

How to Build a Homestead: Clearing our driveway by hand!

If you are new to this blog, or series of How to Build a Homestead, our family of four is building an off grid tiny house and self sufficient homestead in the Canadian wilderness and we are sharing our projects and what we learn along the way with others who want to do the same!

Our family goal is to spend as much time together as possible so we try to work as little as we can outside the homestead and away from the family. When it comes to the bigger projects like renovating our camper, clearing a driveway, putting in a culvert or building our tiny house, we are always looking for as many ways as possible to save money on building materials, supplies and labour.

In this post I am going to share with you how we cleared our raw, undeveloped property for our driveway and off grid cabin site by hand and chainsaw rather than hiring someone to bull doze it all in a half day.

Clearing land for a driveway by hand. BEFORE

Why didn’t we bulldoze our driveway…

Before I get into how we actually did it, I wanted to bring attention to why this could be a more gentle choice. Clearing land by hand is much less expensive, although it is very time intensive. Renting a bulldozer or hiring someone to clear your property can range from $800 into thousands of dollars depending on the amount you need cleared but it is also very invasive, killing the microorganisms in your soil, harmful to the tree root systems, destroys wildlife habitats and your property’s micro ecosystem. And sure, cutting your trees down with a chainsaw is also invasive, the impact is far lessened.

Trees can be selectively chosen to stay to become a part of your finished landscape or be removed. Where as if a bulldozer were to come and clear the path, it would destroy everything in its path.

Branches, bushes and limbs can still be tossed aside for wildlife to take shelter in or use as a food source. The forest floor and microorganisms can remain and even thrive on trimmings from the trees being left on the forest floor as a natural mulch similar to what you would find there anyway.

I recently watched a YouTube video where a family building their homestead in the forest opted to bulldoze their driveway and house location choosing to keep a giant Oak Tree in the middle of the property but because they opted to bulldoze, necessary earth was removed from the tree base and many roots were damaged resulting in the death of their favourite feature tree for their homestead.

Because we had the time, we are super frugal and don’t want to spend a lot of money paying someone else to build our homestead, we opted to clear it by hand and chainsaw! 

Clearing land by hand and chainsaw!

How to clear land for a driveway by hand!

Decide on your driveway and house location.. 

Your driveway is basically going to divide your property in half wherever you decide to put it so taking the time to consider how you want to be able to use your property now and in the future can save your bacon! Do you plan to have a large pasture, gardens or any future buildings? Find your property lines and consider where you want to place your house and any other buildings on the property.

We decided to put our driveway off to the side, about 15 feet off our property line, then have it turn 90 degrees towards our cabin location.

Reasons why we chose this area:

  • because our road is made of dusty dirt and I wanted a buffer between it and my windows!
  • I wanted privacy and a forest buffer between our home and the road.
  • Because we live in the sticks there are all kinds of ATVs roaring up the road.
  • It also saves the front of our property from being divided in half because although we just want to be surrounded by the forest and wilderness now, in twenty years, we may want a large open pasture to raise animals.

Choose the path of least resistance..

Once we had the location for our driveway chosen, we looked for a path of least resistance. Our property had been logged around 80 years ago so our forest is quite young with just a few large trees, but dense with small bushes and thin, tall trees fighting for sunlight.

We were lucky to have an area that had been cleared previously for a soil, water and sewer test with a path from the excavator so we went from there.

Clearing forest for our driveway.

Start clearing the trees..

There really is no right way do to this, folks! Just get in there and start clearing the trees that are growing in your future driveway. When we first started clearing our driveway it was still March and there was about a foot of snow in the forest but we chose this time to get started because the leaves wouldn’t be in full bloom, the trees were accessible, and the mosquitoes were still hibernating!

How we did it:

  1. We used a RYOBI 46cc 18’ chainsaw to cut the larger and smaller trees.
  2. We then de-limbed trees we thought we could repurpose for firewood, camp firewood or fence posts and set them in larger piles.
  3. We started piles of the branches of trees we de-limbed and brush off to the side of our driveway about every 20 feet. This can be left for wildlife to eat or use as a shelter or mulched at a later date (we noticed rabbits were flocking to these piles to eat!).
  4. We worked in 15 foot sections, cutting, de-limbing, sorting and tidying before starting the next section of driveway until we reached 150 feet, or the end of our driveway.
AFTER Clearing our driveway by hand and chainsaw!

Because we started clearing our driveway in the snow, we were left with stumps around 12 inches high everywhere once it melted so we needed to go back and start trimming the stumps to the ground.

Permaculture driveway!

Nothing was wasted from clearing our driveway. The piles of bushes and tree limbs will be mulched into a permaculture back to eden style vegetable garden. The trees have all been chopped up into firewood and kindling and stacked into a holz hausen, and a little was burned to cook our dinners while we worked in a dutch oven!

Our next step is to lay down some gravel so we are able to drive our RV over our DIY Culvert and onto the property!

How to clear land for a driveway and cabin

How to Build a Homestead: DIY Bucket Culvert & Installing it!

If you are new to this blog, or series of How to Build a Homestead, our family of four is building an off grid tiny house and self sufficient homestead in the Canadian wilderness and we are sharing our projects and what we learn along the way with others who want to do the same!

After doing some research on having a culvert installed on our property, and the math, we opted to make our own and install it ourselves. In our neck of the woods, a culvert costs around $500 and up depending on the size, having it delivered would have been around $150 and installation another $300. Basically, we would have to work off the homestead for about a week in order to pay for a Culvert to be installed by someone else so we decided to do it ourselves instead!

DIY 12 inch Culvert made from repurposed 5 gallon buckets

Can I make my own culvert?
Yes, you CAN make your own culvert and in this post I am going to share with you how we built and installed our own culvert using 5 gallon buckets and just a few screws. 

NOTE: If you are using this culvert at the entrance to your property, be sure to check your local by-laws, if any.

When we were searching for a property to buy for our off grid tiny house build and homestead we had a list of <<<LINK>>>things to consider, our wants, and must-haves to keep in mind while shopping. On the top of our list was that the property we purchased needed to be located in an area where we could get away with these kinds of things, and be able to build off grid and tiny! Ultimately, you need to do your research and know your by-laws, if any, before you dive into your making your own and installing a handmade culvert.

How we made our own culvert..

Because our ditch doesn’t have a large flow of water during heavy rainfall, we easily made a culvert out of 5 gallon food grade buckets to create a culvert 12 inches wide and 18 feet long. If you have a lot of water running through your ditch in heavy rainfall, this may not work for you and you may need to install a traditional culvert purchased from the Department of Transportation. But don’t let that discourage you! You can still install your culvert on your own to save money.

First you will need to find used 5 gallon buckets that have been used for food rather than chemicals, because we don’t want the chemicals to leach into our waterways, this is incredibly important! We searched the online classifieds for “used buckets for sale” and found a man who works in the food industry and sells the leftover buckets to earn an extra income. We took 70 buckets! You could also buy new food grade buckets but this will be much more expensive, and less environmentally friendly, than using recycled buckets.

Making holes for the jigsaw blade in buckets for a culvert!

Using a drill, we put a small hole in the bottom of each bucket to fit a jigsaw blade and used the jigsaw to cut the bottom of each bucket out, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch of bucket bottom along the edges for extra strength rather than cutting off the whole bottom.

We stacked our buckets together, laying them along the side of the ditch to ensure the length of the buckets and culvert was long enough for our needs. We only used 60 buckets for an 18 foot long culvert. You may need more or less buckets depending on how well they stack together.

Once we had enough buckets, we attached them together just drilling 1inch screws on every third bucket then we were ready to install it in the ditch.

Attaching the buckets together for the culvert!

Installing the bucket culvert…

To prepare the ditch for the culvert, we simply used a shovel to create well, or groove along the bottom for the culvert to sit in and sloped it in the direction of natural water flow. We gently rolled the culvert into place and once we were satisfied on the location, we started to cover it up with earth and clay soil from a berm, or hill, we needed to remove to be able to lay down rock for a driveway. This berm was about three feet high, five feet deep and in our way so we used this to cover up the culvert but you could also use gravel to cover it if you didn’t already have materials available.

Make your own DIY Culvert! Step by Step how to with pictures!

Things to consider when buying land for your Off Grid Homestead!

Things to consider when buying land for your off grid homestead

If you are new here, we are a homeschooling family of four building an off grid tiny house and homestead with our bare hands from scratch on the Canadian East Coast. We want to live a simple, debt free and independent life among the trees, basically.

While looking for a piece of property to start your dream homestead there are all kinds of things to think about and consider and this is what I am sharing in this post.

I also did a YouTube video with all these same tips if you would rather watch than read. I plan to document our entire Off Grid Tiny Home and Homestead Build for our own mementos and to inspire others who want to do the same. 

If you would rather read, keep scrolling!

How much money do you have to spend on property?

The first thing to consider is your budget, because if you can't afford it, it is completely out of the question. Our budget was quite small because we were buying a land with no lender involved but we found this was the first filter we set we we set to the internet for our search. Soon after you start searching, you will get a feel for how many acres that will get you in your desired area.

How many acres do you need to homestead?

For some, this number is set in stone because they have specific plans for how they want to use their property. For others, like ourselves, this number is negotiable. But, how many acres do you need to reach your goals, or accomplish what you want to do on that piece of land.

Now obviously, we want as many acres as possible because we really want to feel secluded and one with trees, but at the very minimum, we need one acre to build our 16x20 off grid cabin, a greenhouse, chicken coop, and maybe some other animals.

How remote do you want to be?

Basically, how far do you want to drive when you need something or run out of something? If you want to be really remote you will need to be willing and have transportation to drive far distances to what you need, whether that is a supermarket, hardware store or for other shopping needs.

Also important to know is how long it will take emergency services to get to your property in case of an accident and if you are capable of providing CPR and first aid is you are very remote.

We wanted to be around 200km to a town with shopping centres and hardware stores so we can plan a day trip to get everything we need but also to be close to our amazing homeschool community.

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What does the ideal property look like?

There are all different kinds of properties out there, some are flat, on a hillside, pasture or wooded. Some are susceptible to flooding or are just really wet and boggy. What does your property need to look like in order for your to accomplish your homesteading goals? If you want to raise cows, you may want to look for cleared land and if you need trees for firewood, you may want a wooded lot.

For our Off Grid Tiny Homestead, we wanted a wooded lot because our home is going to be quite small so it doesn't need to be cleared, but also because we want to use those trees for fence posts and firewood.

Do you need municipal services to your property?

If you still want to rely on the grid for plowing your road, providing water to the property or for sewer services you will want to add this to your list of considerations. If you don't want to pay the large amount to have a septic system put in place you will need to be certain you can legally have a composting toilet or outhouse on your property or find one with a septic system already in place. The same goes for your water and having a well drilled, collecting rainwater or using the town's water.

But if you are looking to build an off grid property where you use an outhouse or hand drill your wells, you'll need to find an area where you can get away with it because it is largely illegal to be off grid in Canada. I'll talk more about building off grid legally in another post.

What are the Building Codes?

You'll always want to follow the rules, especially if your home is what's at stake. In some areas you are not permitted to build tiny houses, ridiculous right?! Again, I'll talk more about where you can build an off grid home at another time.

Does the Zoning and By-laws allow you to do what you want?

Some municipalities or townships restrict what you can do on your property. If you can use it as a business, residence or a farm. There are also by-laws that will restrict the amount of chickens, larger animals, and if you can even have a family daily cow. Being aware of these by-laws is so essential to finding your property for your homestead!

Things to consider when buying land for your off grid homestead

Review: Chalkboard Publishing Digital Library of Educational Materials

Canadian Curriculum Review | Chalkboard Publishing Database of 1000s of Worksheets & Workbooks
A while ago I shared a photo on Instagram of our homeschooled boys working away in our Canadian Math workbooks and the publisher reached out to me and asked if I would work with them to provide an honest review of their service in exchange for a free subscription to their online database of 1000s of Canadian workbooks & worksheets, which I didn't even know was a thing, so of course I agreed!

This post contains affiliate links. To learn more, read our disclaimer.

I first found Chalkboard Publishing's workbooks in our local educational supply store while browsing for a Canadian Math Curriculum and I have to admit, I'm a bit picky when browsing for workbooks to use in our homeschool. 

I particularly dislike the 'all-in-one' curriculum books because we only homeschool Reading, Writing and Math around a table, everything else you find in these bigger books, like STEM, social studies, or history, we learn by exploring in life, museums and the outdoors so there are large portions of the book we just won't use and it seems so wasteful. 

I love these beautiful, clean & engaging workbooks that align with our Canadian homeschool Curriculum because they are full of 100% Canadian content which is hard to find when you are picky, like myself! I picked up a Daily Language Grade 2 and Canadian Math for Grade 1 and 3.

But what I didn't know was Chalkboard Publishing also has all of their full workbooks and 1000s of other worksheets for Kindergarten to Grade 6 available on their website and online database which you can get a yearly subscription for. They have a wide variety of Daily STEM Curriculum, Remembrance Day Activities, Indigenous Studies and even a Yoga book!

You are able to easily search the database for the worksheets you need by Grade, Subject or by curriculum ie. American, Canadian and even French Canadian. Once you find what you are looking for, you can either print the entire workbook just like you would find in store or just the worksheets you will need, which helps save paper!

Canadian Curriculum Review | Chalkboard Publishing

I have really enjoyed this database of worksheets because I have been finding the Reading, Writing and Math worksheets for two weeks, printing them all off and sorting them so we have two weeks of homeschool planned and ready to learn! (There are two piles above because we have two children.) I also love that I can print only what we need, saving space in our tiny home.

Chalkboard Publishing has affordable yearly memberships for their online database for just $16.66 a month which gives you access to 1000s of worksheets for the price of a single workbook, really. But they gave us the coupon code CBAF40 to save 40% on the subscription to share with our friends and family so I'd like to invite you to check them out because we really enjoy their worksheets and wouldn't be sharing it with you if we didn't!

6 Lessons from Homeschooling My Boys

Lessons Learned from Homeschooling | You don't need a homeschool room!

When I first began homeschooling my youngest his junior kindergarten year in 2014, I wasn't really sure why I wanted to homeschool, what I needed to do, what method of homeschool was best, or what homeschooling required of me, but I was certain I wanted to be the one educating our all future children!

We've been homeschooling for a few years now and have really fallen into a rhythm or groove with our own style of homeschooling but it didn't come easy. Our first year of homeschooling was totally ruined by this newbie homeschool mama trying to do 'school at home' and missing the whole point to homeschooling. I felt like a complete failure and fraud!

Needless to say, my children weren't the only humans getting educated in this homeschooling journey of ours. I have learned so much and I want to share it all right here with families who are considering homeschooling and to encourage families who are just beginning to home educate their children.

This post contains affiliate links. To learn more, read our disclaimer.

You don't need to have it all together...

Homeschooling is a lot of work and it will take time before you fall into your rhythm so don't feel like you have to have it all together, all the time. Subjects will be forgotten, pyjama days will be had, you will be late, you may fall behind in your studies, and you may never drink your morning coffee hot again but.. this is important.. learn from this. 

All of these things that seem like they are going wrong are actually all signs, cues, and directions to what your homeschool rhythm needs to look like. If you are over scheduled and are having a hard time getting everything done in your day, stop and listen to the cues, re-evaluate and adjust your homeschool schedule. 

Just because you may not feel like you have it all together like a Pinterest mom, it does not mean you have to, or that you aren't finding your own unique homeschool rhythm when it may feel like you are failing.

Lessons Learned from Homeschooling | You can do what works for your family!

You can do what works for YOUR family...

There are all kinds of homeschooling methods out there. Montessori, Waldorf, Classical, School at Home, Charlotte Mason, and Unschool, to name a few. If one of these styles aligns perfectly with your homeschool beliefs or values and will work well for your family, dive in and have fun with it! But, you don't have to pick one. It isn't written anywhere that you need to pick one of the above methods and stick to it, to homeschool your children. 

Do what works for your family. If you are unsure of how you want to home educate your children, do a little research on each of these methods and see what speaks to you, what you like about each method, and what will work with your family dynamics. This could mean that you are pulling your favourite parts out of each method for an eclectic homeschool.

When I first started homeschooling, I went with what looked School at Home but what actually works for our family, and what our children thrive with, is a mix of secular homeschool, Charlotte Mason and Unschool!

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You will find your people...

The community has become more and more diverse over the few years we've been homeschooling, but in the beginning, I couldn't find a homeschooler in our small town I could relate with if my life depended on it! But now, with billions of social media accounts and more families choosing to homeschool, the online community is quite large and diverse. So start there.

Once I found a local homeschool group on Facebook that aligned with our values, we had so much more moral support, a community of likeminded homeschoolers, and our children made those priceless long term childhood relationships we feel are incredibly important.

Homeschooling can be isolating so you will want to find your people, and you will, and it will feel magical!

Lessons Learned from Homeschooling | You don't need expensive curriculum!

You don't need to pay an arm & a leg for curriculum...

Sound the alarm because you can homeschool for little to no money spent on curriculum! When we first started homeschooling in 2014, we started shopping for complete curriculum programs that would have set us back $750 a year, but what we have learned over the years is that you can actually homeschool, for very little.

I mean, if you have the money to spend on curriculum, and it works for your family, go for it! But if you want to save the money so your spouse can work less, there are all kinds of resources out there and Pinterest is a homeschooler's treasure trove. What we would rather spend our money on is national park passes, admission to museums, and travel expenses so we can explore nature studies... out. in. nature!

We spend very little on curriculum each year because we love to use Chalkboard Publishing. You can create an account and get access to their digital library of thousands of worksheets, workbooks and activities on all kids of different subjects! I can easily find what I'm looking for and print it off at home without breaking the bank! Here is an in-depth review of Chalkboard Publishing if you want to learn more about their affordable curriculum.

Here is a huge list of free or inexpensive homeschool resources!

Lessons Learned from Homeschooling | You can homeschool anywhere!

You can homeschool anywhere...

When we first started homeschooling we had a three story town home with an entire basement to peruse while we learned. I felt obligated to fill this space with fun and educational toys, letters and numbers but now we live in a tiny home and we are homeschooling a second child in a fraction of the space.

What I have learned over the last few years as I became a minimalist and homeschooling at the same time is you don't need a dedicated room, you don't need baskets and baskets of manipulatives or toys, and your classroom doesn't just exist around the kitchen table. Take a look at this list of what a minimalist homeschooler actually needs.

Our best homeschool days have happened in aquariums, museums, and walking on the ocean floor with a notebook! Don't let space hold you back and don't limit yourself to a classroom.

You will learn so much about yourself...

Sure, you'll learn a lot about your children. They'll let you know what they enjoy or don't, what they are great at, what they struggle with, and what really lights them up but homeschooling will teach you so much more about yourself.

I can't tell you what you will learn about yourself, but for myself, I have learned I needed to be more patient with them, to listen to what they are saying and what they weren't saying. I've learned that it takes everything I have to stay consistent with their studies. I have learned, although I still doubt it from time to time, that I am a great mom and that I absolutely love homeschooling!

You may also enjoy: Reasons why our family chose to homeschool our children..

6 Lessons I learned from homeschooling my two boys!

List of Amazing Free or Inexpensive Homeschool Resources

List of Free or Inexpensive Homeschool Resources
This post contains affiliate links. To learn more, read our disclaimer.

This compilation of free, or inexpensive, homeschool resources is a perpetual list for you, but also for me hah! Keeping all these amazing resources in one place AND sharing them with other homeschoolers is so important for my sanity and for our homeschool community so please take advantage of it!

All the resources are categorized by subject but if you use your control+F function on your keyboard, you might be able to better find something specific or something on what you are currently studying.

Some of these are American or Canadian Resources, some are Secular and some are not. Also, if something in this list isn't available anymore, or the link is broken, please comment at the bottom of the post so I can keep it current for everyone.

List of free or inexpensive homeschool resources!

If you are looking for Canadian worksheets, activities, and workbooks, I know how frustrating it is to find what you think will the perfect resource only to find halfway through it, the currency is American! But I have found a treasure trove of Canadian Resources!

Chalkboard Publishing has thousands of Canadian worksheets, activities, and workbooks on their website that can easily be downloaded and printed at home. Here is an in-depth review of Chalkboard Publishing and their online database of educational materials!

All in one Curriculum

An Old-Fashioned Education | A complete FREE Charlotte Mason curriculum (K-12)
AmblesideOnline |  A complete FREE online curriculum designed for Charlotte Mason (K-12)
Brightly Beaming's Letter of the Week | FREE Preschool curriculum (PK-K)
Discovery K12 | FREE Online homeschool platform and curriculum (K-12)
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool | A complete FREE online Christian curriculum (K-12)
MobyMax | FREE 27 Online Subjects (K-8)
Wildwood Curriculum | A complete FREE secular Charlotte Mason (K-8)

Language Arts

CK-12 | FREE online program for English and Spelling (K-12)
CommonLit | FREE reading passages and tools to support literacy. (3-12)
Grammar Monster | FREE online resource and tests


BBC Bitesize KS2 Science | FREE online lesson plans on The Living World, Human Body, Materials, Forces and Motion, Light and Sound, Electricity, Earth and Space, Working Scientifically
CK-12 | FREE Online programs for Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Biology, Physics, Chemistry (K-12)
Crash Course Kids | YouTube Channel with exceptional explanatory videos (K-8)
Free School | YouTube Channel with great explanatory videos
Khan Academy | FREE online programs for Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Astronomy, Cosmology, (K-12)
National Wildlife Federation | FREE complete lesson plans on Mammals, Marine Wildlife, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Butterflies, Habitats, Pollinators, Insects, Spiders, Invertebrates, Fish, Endangered Animals, Eco-Systems, Arctic, Watershed
PBS LearningMedia | FREE lesson plans on Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Science, Art, Nature, Human Biology.
SciShow KidsYouTube Channel with 100s of supporting videos
Smithsonian Science Teaching Resources | FREE lesson plans and printables on Earth Science, Engineering & Technology, Life Science, Palaeontology, Physical Science, Social Studies
Teach Preschool Science | 75 FREE Lesson Plans (K-3)


CK-12 | FREE Online program for Math, Arithmetic, Measurement, Algebra, Geometry, Probability, Statistics, Trigonometry, Analysis, Calculus (K-12)
Teaching Squared | FREE worksheets for math, language, spelling. (K-5)
Free Math Program | FREE Week-by0week curriculum & worksheets for (K-5)
Math Help | FREE online math classes (K-12)
MathPlanet | FREE online complete curriculum, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Prep SAT & ACT tests (9-12)

Arts & Music

Art for Kids HubYouTube Channel for 100s of How to Draw Videos
Clarinet Now | FREE online clarinet lessons
Classics For Kids | FREE Lesson plans for 14 different Classical Musicians,  (K-5)
Guitar Lessons | FREE online video guitar lessons
Hoffman Academy | FREE online video piano classes (K-12)
Justin Guitar | FREE online videos guitar lessons
Learn The Harmonica | FREE online video harmonica lessons


Teaching Children Philosophy | FREE Lesson plans with children's books you probably already have
Philosophy for Children | FREE 15 different Lesson Plans (5-12)


Bedtime HistoryYouTube Channel with explanatory videos
CK-12 | FREE Online History Program (K-12)
Digital History | FREE Online resources and worksheets for American History
Free School | YouTube Channel with explanatory history videos
Kahn Academy | FREE Online World History Program
Saylor Academy | FREE college history courses

FREE or Cheap Homeschool Curriculum, Printables, and Resources!

What a Minimalist Homeschooler Needs

What a Minimalist Homeschooler Needs | A homeschool supply list

I love the homeschool community on Pinterest and Instagram! I love looking at all the beautiful, inspiring, and very well organized homeschool rooms but we live in a 160 square foot home on wheels. Space is at a premium!

But when we first started homeschooling in 2014 we actually lived in a three story town home and had a dedicated basement for all the homeschool toys, tables, books, and craft area but we have made some big life changes since then and are still dedicated homeschoolers.

What I have found over the years as we downsized again, and again, is that we really didn't need all the things you'd think you need to effectively homeschool your children and that you aren't any less of an amazing homeschooler if you don't have a dedicated homeschool room. Shake off that homeschool room guilt with me! 

We have a very eclectic style homeschooling. We love to pull from Unschooling, Charlotte Mason and Classical Homeschool to create what works for our family and the tools we use are quite minimal! We use may resources outside the home to enrich the bulk of our homeschool.

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What a Minimalist Homeschooler Needs | A Library Card

Our Library Card...

We don't just have a regular library card, we have an Educator's Card which allows up to borrow 150 books at a time for up to 6 weeks, not that we have room for all those books, but it means we can borrow the really good books for a longer period of time before we need to return them, rather than just purchasing them ourselves.

Our library card also gives us access to borrow audio books, ebooks, and even Rosetta Stone through the library's website. Also, we can go to the library to use their 3D printer, sewing machine and take advantage of many programs they hold every week and play one of their MANY board games rather than accumulating our own set at home!

Our Homeschool Community...

In this post with 6 lessons we learned from homeschooling our boys, I touched on how you will find your people when you become a homeschooler and we have the best people!

Our homeschooling community consists of around 120 families and there are a few parents that really support and help our community flourish by sharing their stories in the facebook group, planning homeschool field trips or guided tours and some even host science or heritage fairs. Often these homeschoolers will share their curriculum with each other as well!

Minimalist Homeschooler Supplies...

When we are gathered around our dining table working on Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, there are a few tools and supplies we keep on hand. This is usually where homeschoolers struggle because these homeschooling supplies can really get out of hand so we keep ours to a minimum and store them in jars right on our table where it will really become a bother if we accumulate too much! (See the above photo)

  • An old set of Scrabble tiles (sits under our pencil crayons)
  • Watercolour Paint Palette + Brushes
  • Markers, Pencil Crayons, Pencil Sharpener, Eraser, Scissors
  • Unifix Counting Blocks
  • Legos, Skip-bo, Uno, and a regular deck of cards!
  • iPad and a home printer
What a Minimalist Homeschooler Needs | Digital Curriculum

Digital Curriculum Resources...

One of our biggest space savers as a minimalist homeschooler is being able to find workbooks, worksheets, and activities online rather than having a bookshelf full of them at home.

I have a list of free or inexpensive homeschooling resources here but my favourite resource is the Chalkboard Publishing website because they have thousands or worksheets, activities and even full workbooks you can download and easily print off at home! Here is an in-depth review of Chalkboard Publishing and their digital library of educational materials.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like to know the 6 reasons why we chose to homeschool that have nothing to do with religion!

What a Minimalist Homeschooler Actually Needs! | A supply list!