It’s hard to set a start point for homeschooling, because the way I view it, we have a certain family culture that encourages curiosity, exploration, independent play, projects…all the things that could also fall under the heading of “homeschooling.” I don’t worry at all about the “summer slide” (what else is summer for, after all?), but on the other hand, especially when my big kids’ time is taken up with school for so much of the year, summer is our time to do things together–the sorts of things I just don’t have time for during the school year. We take day trips, we explore local habitats because we want to, we visit the library often and read, read, read–the quietest times in my house this summer were the afternoons after returning from a library trip, when all three kids–even the one who can’t read yet–were sprawled around the living room, absorbed in a new book. The kids had projects that didn’t involve me at all (that pile of cardboard in the corner of the living room), and we did things together, too.
Even so, a few more items will be introduced as part of officially homeschooling my eight-year-old, and my plan was to ease these in gradually this week and next, even though my ten-year-old began school this past week. Adjusting to his schedule and the change in dynamic was enough all on its own. I was much more tired than I expected–I’m only getting up about a half hour earlier, but apparently that half hour is crucial. And we’re getting used to the absence of the older brother, which also gives my younger son the chance to be the oldest child for a good chunk of the day.
And yet, we have already added in more than I thought we would. My eight-year-old is excited. (He was also glad to see that my homeschooling to-do list was much longer than his.) We’re continuing with a chapter of Fred per day. We’ve begun history; we’ve started with science experiments and how to write a lab report. We have time to play in the yard and finger paint on the deck and dive into the stash of washi tape with wild abandon. (Thank goodness Target sells some too, a less expensive yet still fun option.) So even though my son is telling anyone who asks that he’s not really homeschooling yet because Mama doesn’t believe school should start until after Labor Day, I know better.