We've quietly started our school year with the girls still at home with me. There are not requirements for children under the age of seven, so we are taking it slow and doing what we feel is right for us right now. So far, this includes reading good quality fiction books (I say good quality because so far I've been fairly successful at keeping the junky books out of our library bags. I know I can't control it forever, but it's nice to enjoy reading the books that the kids enjoy hearing!). We are doing a math curriculum (Math-U-See) which is a tad bit simple for Josie. We've skipped ahead a few times and still haven't found the spot she should be at, but I'm thankful she isn't struggling with it. We practice handwriting and spend a lot of time working side by side. We have an art book that guides us with projects when I draw a blank. That's about it... I really believe that younger kids need a lot of time to grow their imaginations. It's a skill, not something that necessarily comes naturally to them, and I want them to develop it fully before moving on to school that requires much more time, taking away from that part of their play. The girls have been building their own worlds all over our house. At any given day, there are two or three different scenes set for different games that cannot be cleaned up because they will come back to it. Amazingly, they actually do come back to it, playing for hours at a time. This is a huge change for our family. Sometimes, I find myself missing the girls when they've been in the same house as me all day long. Isn't that a little crazy? I can see a bit more why mothers of older children stress setting aside intentional time for their kids even if they are around each other quite a bit. That said, it's made for easier routines around here. Since school doesn't take a lot of structured time, we fit it in where it needs to be throughout the day, leaving plenty of time for meal prep, cleaning (because there is a lot of it when we are all home all day), and book reading (the kids, but also for myself). We don't do nearly as much outside of our home as we used to. I used to make a point to leave the house every single day. Now, I try to only have activities two days a week. With our weekly commitments on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons and evenings, that is plenty. Surprisingly, this has been more than enough and none of us seem to be feeling cooped up or stuck at home. Ask me again in February if we still feel this way. The biggest challenge we've faced with our little home school is entertaining Amelia. She is 19 months old, old enough to want to play actively but not by herself. She was making it a habit to climb up on the table to get some attention, but thankfully we've figured out a few tricks to keep her from seeking us out like that. She sometimes seems content sitting on my lap watching, and when that isn't enough, I give her colored pencils and paper and let her color as much as she wants. It doesn't always work, but school really doesn't last that long. My hope is that Amelia and Audrey can play together while Josie and I finish up her school work. So far, Audrey is not interested in that. She would rather sit at the table with us like a big kid. We shall see if she continues with this as the year goes on. Her school is very simple. If she wants to write letters, I help her with that. If she wants to color, she is welcome to that. I will reinforce letter and number work with blocks sometimes. She has mastered spelling her name (first and last), knows my phone number, and can count to about 20, but that is about it, and there is no rush for a three year old to do more than that right now. I'm so thankful that the girls are willing and happy to learn. Next year will look quite different as we add more formal schooling, but this routine we have right now is working out great.