Here are some of my favorite inexpensive curricula.
One great example is Common Sense Press Check out Learning Language Arts Through Literature. The teacher book is less than $30 and covers all your language arts, grammar, writing, spelling, reading and more, in an easy to use integrated format. Student books are available but not necessary. Take a look at the sample lessons and placement tests. Don’t worry about levels. Many kids have started slow and grown quickly with this approach. Plus, there are no grade levels on the book. Check their science and other products as well.
Making Math Meaningful from Cornerstone Curriculum is a good inexpensive math program, at $45 for both parent and teacher books. A nice plus is the scripted lesson, making it easy for the parent to teach. The program uses graph paper manipulatives. The books are clean crisp black and white, easy on little eyes.
A second math program is Mathematical Reasoning from Critical Thinking. These books are similar in price to Making Math Meaningful, but you can find them for less through other vendors. There is no teacher book, but the answers are in the back of the book. They are colorful and meet federal math standards.
Critical Thinking also publishes Developing Critical Thinking Through Science books 1 and 2. These cover the basic science experiments included in most elementary science programs. They cover several grade levels, making the $25 each a real deal. The selling point for these is the scripted lessons, which tell the parents what to say, and what to expect the child to learn.
Your local public library carries materials to flesh out your course of study. You can keep books usually for 9 weeks, which is a quarter of the year and plenty of time to explore extra studies. For example, history is a joy when taught with real books. If you need guides for that, Beautiful Feet Books can help with their inexpensive study guides.
There is also free curricula available online. A few of the better examples include:
Starfall - a reading program
An Old Fashioned Education - this program uses primarily older copyright free books, as the name suggests.
Letter of the Week - one mom’s lessons. These are good, but keep in mind you can substitute, delete, do less, or whatever fits your family.
Ambleside Online - Charlotte Mason approach to curricula. Again, feel free to adapt. There is no secret best way with any curriculum.