The short version: We did "nothing" and it was better than school.
Let me explain with the long version: We never planned to homeschool. There are schools; kids go to them; we simply never thought beyond that. So when our Attachment Therapist suggested what would really help Em heal was to be homeschooled, we said Um, no.
She said she really needs time alone with just me because she never gets that, being in school all day and with her siblings in the evening. Still, no.
She said both boys had time with just their mom to attach and do all the things moms and babies do naturally. Well, with Mr is wasn't naturally, but from age 3 to 6, thanks to a lot of attachment therapy and baby-focused play, and his siblings being in school all day, he did learn to love and trust. Cj was only 20 months and (ironically) seemed very attached straight from an orphanage. Of course he was with me all day doing those mom and baby things. Oh, dear.
Our AT was right, Em needed that. Shoot. How could we not? Um, okay.
She suggested we simply give her one year. She said ideally, she just needs mom time, not education. But since she and Cj are the same age, it would be rough for her to be a grade behind him next year. She'd always have to explain that, which wouldn't help her self-esteem. So we figured we'd keep an eye on Cj's homework and try to keep her on pace. She wasn't doing well in school anyway, with low grades, high stress, behavior struggles, and days of "checking out" in her teacher's words.
So in 2008, Em started grade 3 at home. We went to the pool, went shopping, ran errands, cooked, baked, cleaned, read, played with dolls, played computer games, played inside, played outside, and played some more. That's it. All year. And while she began the year far behind Cj, she ended the year far ahead of him. What?! We didn't teach. She didn't learn. But somehow we did, and she did, on accident.
Obviously, that personal attention helped her esteem and confidence. Obviously, she picked up some math skills playing with the calculator in the grocery store. Obviously, she was absorbing history and science from her games and books. Obviously, we couldn't send her back to school. Oh, dear.
Obviously, if her year of "nothing" was better then their year full of stressful school, we couldn't send the boys back either. Oh, dear.
So, while we planned to spend a year attaching (which was very effective, I add almost as a side note), we accidentally spent a year learning. And then another and another...