Two Books

This was on a display at the library and I picked it up and brought it home. I read it to the kids at the table while they were eating lunch. I could barely finish. It brought me to tears.

It’s a fictional story based on the true story of Harriet Tubman. Each page is a conversation between her and God. She asks for help. He guides the way.

It’s a Caldecott honor book which means it’s beautifully illustrated. I suggest reading to your kids, but it’s reading age is listed as 3rd – 5th.


This book is also in our home right now. This is for middle school and up. This is a Newberry Honor book. I often look for that seal when searching for books to bring home. This is the author’s memoir, written in free verse as vignettes. A unique experience for your readers!


I know I don’t usually make posts recommending things, but allow me to today. 🙂

Support EP Families

LIFE UPDATE: Our family has been living with my parents in my childhood home in Pennsylvania since we returned to the States in 2016. We applied this summer to Habitat for Humanity and have been accepted into their program. In 2019 we’ll have a new home in Gloucester County, New Jersey. They don’t give you a home, but since the labor is all volunteer, it’s a reduced-cost house. Over the next year we’ll be helping to build it. We have a son that uses a wheelchair and walker, so our new home is going to be all one level and have wheelchair ramps and everything. Right now we live on three floors, so that alone will be a big deal for our family.

My husband went back to school this summer. He’s working on his master’s in teaching English as a second language. He is going to school debt free which means a lot of budgeting is going on here, but the school raised the prices after just the first semester and left our budget busted. In praying over how to earn more money, I was inspired with the idea I’m going to share with you now. It’s a win, win, win kind of thing.

I have never put ads on the site because I never wanted to dangle something in front of you that said, “Your child would have a better education if only you could afford this.”

Most of you know one of EP’s core values is IT IS ENOUGH. I never want you to feel like you should be doing more than what you’ve decided is right for your family right now.

I was inspired with an idea for a way to use ads to not only help out my family but to help many other EP families as well.

I’ve created a page for ads on the site. There will be no ads in your face. You have to click on SUPPORT EP FAMILIES at the top of the menu to get there and see them. It’s a place for EP families to advertise their businesses, books, blogs, etc. For now, my only limitation is that I won’t place ads for other homeschool materials. (If people are trying to advertise things that are against my personal values, I might end up putting limitations on those as well.)

I don’t know if you realize how high traffic EP is. I could actually be asking $1000 a month for one ad on the main page of EP. If you place an ad, I hope this will help your family business. I’m thinking there are a lot of you with Etsy shops, blogs, etc. that could use some help gaining a bigger audience to earn more for their families.

Not only does it help EP family businesses, but when you place an ad, the money will cover our free EP books. This will help even more EP families because now people will be able to request any of our books, not just the readers. I don’t know if you realize that I spend thousands a year buying readers for people, so this will be a big help. It will also really help these families who may not even have a computer or internet at home and so need to use the books. Please only request books if you really can’t use the already free curriculum and have no other way to buy the books. It’s still money that could be going to help pay for my husband’s tuition! (The request link is at the bottom of the ad page. Click on SUPPORT EP FAMILIES at the top of the menu and scroll down to find the link. Take a look at what’s helping you get these books!)

I hope you can see the heart behind this new page on the site. I’m hoping that it will be something that will be a blessing to many. The first ads will go up on October 1st. After then I hope you will visit often and support your fellow EP families!

Is It Enough, part 2

I’ve been cringing reading one mom’s posts on my facebook news feed. Last week the mom and her son spent two hours together completing a grammar worksheet that he then got a 79 on. Her son is in second grade. This week she didn’t even know the meaning of several of the words she was supposed to read to him to practice for his spelling test. Why would one need to know how to spell argosy if one is never, ever going to write that word?

I’m sure her son is getting a rigorous education.  I hear about rigorous education all the time. I think it must be a buzzword of the moment because everyone is claiming their school, their curriculum, their standards are rigorous. I’d rather have peace and joy in my home than rigor.

I get a lot of questions from people coming out of the school system about where the spelling test are. EP has none. The kids learn the phonics behind spelling, practice some spelling, but mostly they write. That is, of course, the context where spelling is used. But spelling brings me to another point. If your child is really interested in spelling, then by all means give your child a dictionary and quiz her on the spelling of argosy. But if not, why drill and practice things that will be forgotten tomorrow and were never needed in the first place?

That’s all part of the philosophy behind EP. Give them a strong foundation where it matters. Expose them to a variety of subjects. Let them do more where their interests lie.

My one son reads history books for fun. I don’t have to push it on him. I don’t make him memorize. He learns the names and places and dates because it’s interesting to him. That kind of learning sticks. In the subjects he doesn’t care about, I let it be “enough.”

Now a word of caution here. When your kid is excited about chemistry (and who doesn’t like explosions and slime), don’t go crazy and run out and buy a science kit. If your child really cares, they will make it happen on their own, including bugging you until you do get that kit. You don’t have to chase after a child’s whims trying to flame a passion. When they find what they really like to do, they will just do it. Give your child the gift of time, space, and boredom.

I wrote a companion piece to this on the high school site, called “The Key.” I talk about trading “rigor” for passion and how that has played out for my children so far. And the key? It’s not Easy Peasy. It’s the grace of God. Let Him form your kids into who they were created to be.

Black History Month

Game: Match the faces to the historic events. There are several levels to play.

Scientists: Learn about African Americans in science.

Books: List of books to look for in the library. Interviews with authors that you can watch online. There are links to poetry as well.

News: Articles and videos from Scholastic for Kids looking back at the Civil Rights movement and other influencers in the African American community.

News: Time for Kids – There are “looks back” but there are also current news articles.

Explore: Scroll down and click to see the collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Brain Pop: There are six free topics which include videos and quizzes.

28 Unknown Facts: a video by kids

Two escape from slavery games: You might have played these in the curriculum. PBS  Mission US

Christmas Activities

Take a look down the list and think about some things your kids might like to do. There are stories, songs, recipes, crafts and activity books. If you are studying geography and cultures, there are two “around the world” links below you should check out.

The Christmas Story

A Russian Christmas story  video

More Christmas stories

Christmas karaoke

Decorate an online Christmas tree

Christmas around the world

Christmas recipes from around the world

Christmas crafts

LOTS of Christmas lapbooks

Christmas activity book  grid pictures, counting, tracing, other worksheet activities

Christmas alphabet  letters, words, tracing

Christmas counting  numbers, tracing numbers, counting