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.