The Back Story

I get a lot of people wondering how I did this, how I had the time to put it together, how I came up with what to do. By the grace of God, let me take this week to tell the story of this curriculum.

Four years ago I had no written plan of what we were going to do for school each day. Daily I chose something for my two older kids to do from our bookshelf and from my collection of online freebies. We lived in a tiny two room apartment, so it wasn’t hard to keep tabs on my kids getting their work done while the littles napped.

When we went on furlough the next year, it was harder to stay on top of everything. There are a lot more distractions in America. I started writing out my kids’ assignments. Over the weekend I would write out what my older two kids needed to do each day for the coming week. Then I tagged bookmarked websites with the day I wanted them to visit each site. What happened at the end of each week? The day of the week tags were removed from the bookmarks and new links were tagged. The written assignment sheets were thrown away and new ones were written. It got discouraging that I was losing all of the work I was putting into their school. I knew I would just have to do it all over again for each of my kids. I wanted to save my work.

When I decided to write their assignments online to save my work for my other children, I made the decision to write it so that anyone could use it. I didn’t want to have all of this for only my kids to use. I also wanted to help others who needed to homeschool for free.

It was hard at first writing up assignments because I had to change my approach. I used to do English through what we were learning for history or science. I tried that at first but quickly realized that English had to be separate in order to make it progressive.

At that point, my kids used math textbooks, other books we owned, as well as freebies I had downloaded, but I knew if others were going to use it, I had to use materials that were always available to everyone. I stopped downloading the daily freebies (so happy to not be chasing freebies anymore) and stopped using our hand-me-down textbooks.

For the first time, I gave my kids off for the summer in 2011, and I worked on writing assignments online. By the time my kids started school, I was eight weeks ahead. Once I got going and figured out what I was doing, I had a routine. I was up at 4 or 5 AM and did my quiet time and one Bible lesson. Then I did one week for one subject. One day I wrote a week’s worth of history assignments. One day I did science, etc. If I didn’t meet my goal by the time the kids were up, I tried to finish up during nap time. I had my routine and made it happen most of the time. By the end of the year, I was four weeks ahead of my kids. At this point I don’t think anyone else was using the curriculum.

I started right away on the following year, getting ahead and then keeping up. At night I did extra. I worked on preschool and kindergarten while my husband taught his internet classes until 11:30PM. I already had a lot of that learning to read stuff for my family, but I knew the curriculum wouldn’t be complete without it. Once I had that second year ready, in 2012, I announced the curriculum in a few places.

I got pregnant which spurred me on to work harder. I couldn’t sleep well after a few months, so I stayed up again working ahead, waiting for my husband to end his work night. Since I had finished the courses my kids were working currently on, I could put together individual courses all at once instead of working on every course at the same time. It was so much easier, so I could move faster. I also have the great blessing that when a new baby comes, my husband takes first shift in the morning, keeping the baby, so I can still have my quiet time and get a Bible lesson done.

So, that’s the story. It’s not really a super tale, just a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of thing. It didn’t start with an aspiration to create my own public homeschool curriculum. I just wrote down my children’s daily assignments, thinking it was the best use of my time and energy. I had in mind my overarching goals and progression, but as always, the materials I used were what were available to me. I didn’t follow anyone else’s plan, or scope and sequence. I used websites and looked at their games and worksheets for certain grade levels and used those.

I obviously enjoy the work (most of the time) or I wouldn’t have been able to keep it up. It has made me realize that the Lord has gifted me to do this. I used to consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none. I discovered through this that I do have a special talent. It may sound silly, but I write outlines. It’s what I’ve done here. I’ve organized my children’s education into an outline, so it’s an easy-to-follow plan. I’ve never posted any credentials. I’m just a mom trying to prepare my kids for whatever the future might hold and with God’s abundant grace helping some other parents do the same.

Here’s the story of “How Can This Be Free?” It’s the story of our family coming to trust the Lord to provide for us and how EP fit into that.

17 thoughts on “The Back Story

  1. Misha Greenwood April 11, 2013 / 11:38 am

    I thank God for your curriculum daily. His gifts to you; your gift to us; our gift to our children; a real education; a solid homeschool; the stress of planning gone; the stress of buying gone. Before I found Easy Peasy I was scared and unsure if I could really homeschool. I knew God wanted me to though, so I got online to look for resources. Within an hour I had found EP. I was still scared and unsure but I was hopeful. As I started looking through the curriculum I saw your novel cover, “The King Will Make a Way”, and I knew that it was all part of His plan. Now I am no longer scared, or nervous. He provided for myself and countless others, through His gifts to you, exactly what we need to educate our children. His children. Thank you for listening to Him, for your time, for sharing your gift, for being such a huge, instrumental part of His plan. Thank you.

  2. Mrs Curtis April 11, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    This particular post has helped me solve the “when do I have the time to plan” dilemma- get up earlier!!
    Thx so much!
    Mom of 7

  3. Renee Erickso April 11, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    Many years ago when I was at a teacher conference, I asked your teacher, Lee, what was your strength. She considered and said, “Organization:)” Praise the Lord for all His gifts and the wonder of discovering our own, enchanced by Him. I enjoyed this post so much.

  4. Delana April 11, 2013 / 4:38 pm

    To God be the glory!!! We have struggled with homeschool for MANY years. Because of the Lord’s grace we have two in college, one who does a lot of volunteer work but four more in school (6th, 4th, 1st, and preK) Because of financial problem, I have had to go to work full time. While I do get to do part of my work from home, it has made a bad schooling situation worse. I have contemplated sending them to public school soooo many times but have always felt sick at the thought. Not knowing what I was going to do, but believing God would make a way, my oldest daughter introduced me to Easy Peasy. For the first time in several years I have a really feel like I can do this again. We are starting Monday and am THRILLED with this new approach, for us, in our schooling. Thank you for allowing God to work through you and we pray for a showering of blessings on you and your family.

  5. Sarah Paris April 11, 2013 / 5:58 pm

    You are a true blessing to our family. I homeschool my two younger daughters and started because my 9 year old has heart issues and was so sick in kindergarten from all the germs. She missed 68 days of school and fell behind in phonics, for sure. We joined an online public school, which saved us because it was free. We both worked full time and homeschooled. That, along with tremendous financial burdens, lead us to let it all go and I quit work to stay home with the girls. Online public has suited us financially, but has left us behind as a number and a test statistic. I cannot stand the teach for the (state required and funded) test mentality! A friend of mine found your website and I was so thrilled that you would do this for free! We are so grateful for what you have done! We will be starting in the fall with 1st and 4th graders! Thank you!!! God bless, my friend!

  6. Katie McCarthy April 13, 2013 / 8:42 pm

    God has indeed gifted you this ability, Lee. There are so many of us here who needed this, as it is easy to become overwhelmed with the cost and quality of homeschooling curriculum. I love Easy Peasy so much, I tell everyone I know who has homeschooled youngsters or have children who “just need a little extra.” As always, thank you and thank the Lord for Him blessing us all with Easy Peasy.

  7. Lisa B. April 21, 2013 / 11:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing this without obligation. There are so many out there that want to homeschool but simply can’t afford to buy books after books to do so. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like free??? 🙂 I have been sharing about your site for some time now and constantly refer other folks to it. You have given the homeschool community a wonderful gift.

  8. kougarten May 21, 2013 / 3:16 am

    I just heard about this curriculum two weeks ago and have been looking at it closely. I like a lot of what you have done and i wanted to say thank you for your generosity! Your work will help ease our budget this year for home schooling which is so tight that I have been working a 40 hr/week job and home schooling for 3 years now. I am trying to “delight myself in the Lord” while I struggle daily with this load and this eased my load some, finding free curriculum that is all laid out for me already. God Bless You!

  9. Tiffany June 5, 2013 / 7:11 pm

    I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have found your site, I am currently homeschooling my 11 year old, and it has been quite the struggle. Being a low income family because I have chosen to stay home has not been easy and after sending my middle child to kindergarten, feeling guilt every day, I am happy to say I will be taking on all three of them. The task felt overwhelming, until I found your site here. Again I cannot thank you enough. God bless you and your family 🙂

  10. Tammie June 25, 2013 / 1:37 am

    I bookmarked all this a few months ago, but just now decided to read this material. You are an amazing person! I am so glad God gave you the gifts you have and that you share them with all of us! God bless you!

  11. My Tropical Home July 2, 2013 / 9:20 am

    I found the link to your site in an FB group I recently joined. I actually had the same ideas that I read in your Backstory – but focusing on homeschoolers in Asia. Thank you for sharing your story. I now know God is confirming what He’s been telling me to do since last year but which wasn’t clear till I came to your site. Bless you and all the work you’ve done. May God continue to bless you in your ministry and work. Warmly, Mary

  12. karenjterry July 5, 2013 / 3:20 am

    I can not tell you what a blessing this site has been to me. As a single Mom I am always looking for great resources cheap or free. 🙂 I had seen this the end of last year [school year] and my 13 year old daughter started your 8th grade this week. She absolutely loves it. She said, “I love that it is all in one place”. I am blogging about our week and including a link to this site. It is magnificent and I thank you so very much.

  13. alaynar July 26, 2013 / 7:51 pm

    God bless you!! And your organization skills! I do not have a gift for organization, but feel like God has called me to homeschool my children. I just found your curriculum and it gives me hope for our future homeschooling times!! Thank you for all the hard work you have out into this, I’m excited now!

  14. Kelly August 28, 2014 / 12:17 pm

    I am so grateful that you have taken the time and effort to organize this curriculum! Last year was my first year homeschooling my 9 year old son (my 12 year old daughter goes to Catholic school – it works for her). My daily routine looked a lot like yours did in your early years – deal with the toddler, flip through the used books, choose some subjects for the day, and have him do some educational games and apps. The scariest moments in my day were the words “OK, I’m done! Now what?” because I didn’t KNOW what was next and I had to scramble to get him something else! Now there’s a pattern to the day, a simple list to follow, and he seems to get further than he did last year because he can see everything he’s supposed to do, and doesn’t balk thinking “it’s too much!”. It’s just enough. The lessons are the perfect length for him. If we want, we can add more, but this is perfect daily work.

    I’ve also been recommending EP to people disillusioned by the cyber schools in PA. We tried one briefly, (Agora, for anyone wondering) but they wanted 9 hours of schoolwork a day out of my son with attention problems! I kid you not – 9 hours! 3 hours in a virtual “classroom”, then I had to get him through all his subjects (or he wouldn’t get credit, even though he had just been in class with his teacher), which tallied 6 hours of credited work… if he just did it and didn’t burn out or cry. Sometimes it would take 2 hours for a one hour class because he was fried from all the work. When I complained, they tried to tell me “Just make it up the next day”, somehow forgetting that that meant he’d be doing 12 – 14 hours of work to stay caught up the next day! Unsustainable. EP is a beautiful balance between the hyper structured cyber school and loosey-goosey homeschool for us. Many thanks and blessings to you.

  15. Walter G. Reece July 21, 2015 / 11:31 am

    I need to talk to someone at the school about my daughter. I need your phone number.

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