We began homeschooling in 1990. We hung a bulletin board, displayed an American flag for the Pledge of Allegiance, and assembled our big stack of textbooks. By trying to recreate a public school in our basement, homeschooling quickly came to feel like a big, heavy sack of rocks.
Our homeschooling experience was transformed when we made homeschooling who we were instead of a burden. We carefully chose some curriculum, and we did a lot of lifestyle learning together. We took art lessons. We went on lots of field trips. We volunteered. We read books aloud.
In 1999 we began to combine our homeschool experience with our love of history to develop Bible-based, easy-to-use homeschool curriculum. Our curriculum uses narrative lessons, original source documents, rich literature, and hands-on activities to help parents and children love history.
~Ray and Charlene Notgrass
Notgrass History exists to glorify God by producing materials centered in His Word that help parents train their children to honor God with heart, soul, and mind. We have a team of ten people who work together to serve homeschooling families across the country and around the world. We'd love to help your family!
Back Row: Ray and Charlene Notgrass, Mary Evelyn McCurdy (daughter), Bethany Poore (daughter), John Notgrass (son), Phil and Donna Ellenburg
Front Row: Josh Vorhees, Titus Anderson, Nate McCurdy (son-in-law)
Ray is a Christian and a veteran homeschooling dad. Ray is the president of our publishing company and a lead curriculum author.
Ray earned a bachelor's in history from Middle Tennessee State University, a master's in history from the University of Kentucky, and a master's in New Testament from Harding University. Before launching this business full-time, Ray was a campus minister and then a preaching minister for a total of twenty-two years. He served with churches in Mississippi, Illinois, and Tennessee.
Ray met Charlene while they were in college at Middle Tennessee State. They were married in 1974. Ray enjoys reading and listening to classic literature and biographies, traveling, spending time with his children and their spouses, and admiring his grandchildren, to whom he is "Notty." Ray is deeply in love with Charlene, the most wonderful person in the whole wide world.
Charlene is a Christian and a veteran homeschooling mom. Charlene received a bachelor's in urban planning from Middle Tennessee State University. She oversees curriculum development at Notgrass and is a lead curriculum author.
Charlene is the wife of the most wonderful man in the world. She has always loved being a mother and now relishes the role of mother-in-law and grandmother. She is proud of her grandma name, "Little." She enjoys working with children, especially in her annual role as assistant director for Mary Evelyn's historical dramas performed by homeschooled children.
Charlene loves to encourage homeschooling mothers, whether speaking at homeschool conferences, counseling mothers individually, or through her blog, Daily Encouragement for Homeschooling Mothers. Charlene enjoys reading, quilting, drawing, sewing, improving their old house, teaching a weekly Bible class for women, and spending time with Ray, her husband since 1974, and their growing family.
John is a follower of Jesus Christ. He is thankful for the training his parents, Ray and Charlene Notgrass, gave him, and his goal is to be a great husband and father and a blessing to people.
John oversees business planning, manages the finances, and administers the website. He also works as a graphic designer for our company and travels to conferences and other events. John tells the stories of real people from history in first-person history presentations.
John and his wife, Audra, are both homeschool graduates. They met at a homeschool conference in 2005 and were married in 2009. John and Audra live near St. Louis, Missouri, with their sons Henry and Toby. They also have two daughters, Melody Hope and Glory Dawn, and another son, Avery, who are safe in the arms of Jesus. John and Audra enjoy travel, adventure, and finding moments of beauty.
Bethany Poore, daughter of Ray and Charlene Notgrass, is a homeschool graduate. Some of her favorite homeschooling memories are listening to her dad read aloud, studying Spanish and geometry around the dining room table with her mom and sister, learning home economics in the kitchen and at her mom's sewing machine, taking field trips to plays, and criss-crossing America in the back of the family minivan with her brother and sister.
Bethany has been part of Notgrass since its start in 1999. Her main roles are curriculum development and administration.
Bethany's favorite jobs are wife to Gregory and mommy to their two daughters. Together they stay actively involved in their church and community. Bethany also loves to read, sew and craft, cook and bake, and spend time with family and friends. Bethany is never more in her element than when she is interacting and learning with children. She has worked with children through Sunday school, drama, chorus, traditional dance, after-school care, quilting classes, baby-sitting, and assisting homeschooling mothers.
Mary Evelyn McCurdy
Mary Evelyn was homeschooled by her parents, Ray and Charlene Notgrass. Mary Evelyn (most commonly called Mev) has been working with Notgrass since she was in high school. Her main role is as a graphic designer.
Mev enjoys writing and creating art in many forms. When she was fifteen she organized the Homeschool Dramatic Society, and since then she has produced an original historical musical drama each year with homeschooled students in Middle Tennessee. She thrives on writing scripts and songs and directing and choreographing the productions. In 2008 she and her mom took one of Mev's productions to Belize and directed school children there in a musical production for their community. Mev also enjoys writing and directing skits for children in their church.
Mev married Nate, the man of her dreams, in 2010. They have three children: Clara, Wesley, and Peter. Mev is enjoying beginning their own homeschool journey. She feels very blessed.
Nate married Mev in April of 2010 and joined our business the following September. He manages our warehouse and contributes to graphic design. He has enjoyed traveling to homeschool conventions and getting connected with the homeschooling community through this work. He says it is the most fulfilling work he has ever done.
Nate grew up in Michigan and moved to Tennessee in 2000. His parents and most of his siblings followed him south. Nate enjoys spending time with family and has discovered that fatherhood suits him quite well.
Nate has a love for history and is particularly interested in the Civil War era. He enjoys working with his hands. He built a log cabin using logs from an old barn and other materials obtained from various structures that were being torn down. He has constructed numerous set and prop pieces for the Homeschool Dramatic Society. Nate constructed a working cannon that he fires on the Fourth of July. He likes to tinker and build and experiment with all sorts of interesting and surprising things.
Titus joined Notgrass History in 2016 and began work as a warehouse associate. In 2017, he shifted his focus towards video production, and currently films and edits a variety of videos for Notgrass History.
Titus has lived in Tennessee for his whole life, along with his parents and siblings. A homeschool graduate, he enjoyed years of learning in a local homeschool group that provided socialization, creative opportunities, and a group of supportive friends who feel like family. He participated in plays, musical programs, and graduations with the group. Titus married his lifelong friend and high school sweetheart Brettianee in 2015, and they excitedly await the birth of their first child in 2018.
Titus enjoys spending time with his family, as well as playing music, having played the piano for over 15 years. He also enjoys leading the song service at his congregation, which he attends with his wife. Other activities include reading and listening to podcasts about history, language learning, and board games.
Born in California and raised in rural western Oregon, Josh moved to Tennessee in 2014. He loves it here, especially the warmer climate! Josh is thankful that his parents love God and showed him how to do the same by their example. They were committed to homeschooling even when life was very difficult financially. He hopes to do the same whenever he has a family of his own.
Josh joined our team in 2016 and serves homeschooling parents on the phone and by email. He discovered over the years that he genuinely enjoys helping people find what they need. He loves to help families find the Notgrass curriculum that works best for their children. Josh is especially excited for the student when he gets a good report back. He remembers being that struggling child and wishing there had been better curriculum.
Growing up he loved raising livestock and plants, exploring the outdoors, and studying foreign language. Josh worked with his dad building and remodeling houses all through his teens and 20s. He still enjoys growing things, hiking, doing fun, crazy things with family and friends, and traveling and exploring new places whenever he can.
Donna is a homeschooling mom who joined our team in 2016 to represent Notgrass History at homeschool conventions.
Phil is a homeschooling dad who joined our team in 2016 to represent Notgrass History at homeschool conventions. He also works with our distributors.
Phil earned a bachelor's in religion from North Greenville University and a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as a pastor for over 20 years.