“What will school be like for my kids this fall?” is a question many — maybe all — parents are asking during this very strange summer of 2020. Some parents are overwhelmed and anxious. Some are trying not to think about it. Some are resigned to doing what they’ve always done because they don’t know what else to do. Some are trusting their local schools to figure out good solutions. Some are excitedly looking into new possibilities.
History authors Ray and Charlene Notgrass were asking that same question in the summer of 1990. Their reasons were different, but the question weighed on their minds with the same intensity that it weighs on many parents’ minds thirty years later. In the spring of 1990, the Notgrass children had finished the school year in a local public school. Over the summer, Ray and Charlene decided that in the fall their family would homeschool.
The Notgrasses had the same fears that other parents have. They wondered, “Are we nuts? Can we really do this?” Soon they learned that they could individualize their children’s learning. Their kids could follow their passions. They had more time together as a family.
Patriotism runs deep in the Notgrass family. Ray’s dad was a veteran of World War II. Charlene grew up with parents who took her to one historic site after another. Homeschooling gave them the freedom to visit 48 states with their own children.
In 1999 the Notgrass family began Notgrass History to help other homeschooling families experience the joys they had experienced. Their curriculum brings American history, world history, and civics to life. Thousands of children across America have come to love history through their storytelling style and their vibrant illustrations. Parents across America have appreciated how simple it is to use. According to one parent: “I love how easy and fun Notgrass makes history. The pictures in the books are beautiful.”
With history in the news almost every day, children need to grow up learning history and understanding it. Loving history helps that happen. In the words of another parent: “My kids have struggled with loving history. Since we started Notgrass, my kids beg to do history every day! Thank you for such a wonderful and engaging curriculum!”
The Notgrasses are grateful that their curriculum has helped so many students. Ray said, “One of my favorite success stories is the Air Force Academy cadet whose professor wanted to know how he knew so much history. The cadet’s answer was, ‘My mom taught me and I used Notgrass History.'”
Charlene said, “I remember well how intimidating homeschooling was for me at first, but now I rejoice in the success stories we hear all the time.”
Homeschooling is a grand and wonderful adventure. Homeschooling is loving and living with our children moment by moment. It is filling their minds and their hearts with important lessons and good experiences. Homeschooling celebrates who children are right now and helps to mold who they will become. Homeschooling is also possible. Ray and Charlene have been watching possibilities become realities for 30 years.
When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live.”
Proverbs 4:3-4, NASB
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Notgrass History website: notgrass.com