Learning Through Play
I get that "play is my child’s work" but how and when do we
 start to transition to at least some "schooling?"
Ask yourself what it is you hope "schooling" accomplishes that is not currently being accomplished by play? Is it possible to teach reading through play? Writing through play? Math through play?

And when I say "play," I mean the spirit of:

•    curiosity,
•    engagement,
•    and excitement.

Everything children do touches on the very subject areas you care about. You can get there through what they are already doing, and you can entice participation in the areas you think require more structure through a spirit of play with those materials!

What if you played with the handwriting book under the table, using a flashlight? What if you doodled pictures for your child to find as she completed math problems? I know you don't want to do these all the time—but if you come from a spirit of discovery rather than requirement, you may find yourself seeing learning opportunities right now that you are missing.

Focus on parallel play. In other words:

•    make observations in your child’s presence,
•    talk about what is fascinating about language,
•    try out the pencils and pages in the book,
•    or leave some math manipulatives out to be discovered.

It's tempting to "play school" because that's what we remember.

For example, in your child’s presence in the morning, simply get up from the floor where the two of you were playing and silently begin writing at the table with a big variety of utensils. You might even start by writing her name on the windows with window markers, or making cookies that look like the alphabet and then playing with the letters and putting them into arrangements that are words.

Perhaps while your child is playing, you sit nearby and simply begin reading aloud in his presence and see if he is enchanted or interested or simply absorbing what you read.

You don't need to "teach." You want to simply include in your day conversation and activity that points to the tools he will need for his life, a little at a time.

Julie Bogart homeschooled her five children for seventeen years. Now she runs Brave Writer, the online writing and language arts program for families, and is the founder of The Homeschool Alliance and Poetry Teatime.
arts program for families, and is the founder of The Homeschool Alliance and Poetry Teatime.