It's been a while since I have written much about parenting or homeschooling (unless it is about my own worries). I don't write a lot about parenting because it doesn't take so much energy anymore. Livy is easy to get along with and pretty self-sufficient, and though we talk about things and I share information with her, it feels much less like active, constant parenting. It feels more like hanging out with her, being a model for her, and working through problems together. It feels like a real relationship with a person instead of a teaching and limiting role, like it did much earlier. Not that she doesn't need a limit set sometimes, but it's less of a teaching thing and more like the limits I might set with anyone else. "Here is what I am going to do." Or "Please stop that. It affects me in such and such a way."
I also tend to talk less about parenting because the situations in which Livy does need my guidance are often private. She doesn't have fits anymore about not getting what she wants; she has emotional issues about her relationships, her plans for herself, her fears, etc. These aren't conversations that belong on my blog.
When I do post, it's often about my own issues. I've found that when I behave myself appropriately (listen, empathize, be selfish, etc), most of our problems go away. She's such an easy-going child, and I'm sometimes kind of a challenge to live with. Like my relationship with Aaron, my relationship with Livy is usually as easy, happy, and positive as I make it. I'm the wild card. So when I think about problems with homeschooling, it's my worries that I write about. When I think about problems that have arisen at home, it's usually my too-hot temper that caused them.
I don't post a lot about education because for us, it looks so relaxed and so leisurely and so all over the place that I sometimes can't make a coherent post about it. We read, we play, we watch movies, we go places, we have conversations. But those things don't always look like traditional education. Were my posts about our Texas trip education posts? I don't know, but the trip involved learning for each member of our family. It's hard for us as life-learners to pull the education piece of our lives free of all the other pieces, and so it's hard to post about it. I'm just going to try to list some of her current interests and activities and how she and I are fulfilling them. That may be the best I can do for an educational post.
- She just finished a Lego project she has been working on since Christmas, a model of the Burrow, the house of the Weasley family, in Harry Potter. She did it completely by herself, following all the instructions in the manual. She really seems to enjoy this kind of detail work, and she took some of it apart several times when she discovered a mistake. Next, she wants to try the Hogwarts model.
- She is learning and practicing making different kind of balloon animals. So far dogs, poodles, coiled snakes, dinosaurs, and giraffes.
- She is watching lots of movies, like Strawberry Shortcake, Johnny Test, Scooby Doo, the Narnia movies (we saw the newest on in the theater), and Harry Potter.
- We watched all of the Gilmore Girls together, and she watches some of the episodes of 24 with Aaron and me.
- We are listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
- We have been playing a lot of games, like Labyrinth and Outburst.
- She has been taking chess at our homeschool co-op, and she loves it! Must get Aaron to play with her more often. I hate it.
- She has also been taking American Sign Language from Miranda at the same co-op, and she loves it even more. She constantly makes up new signs and shows me the ones she learned in class.
- She and her friends the Casey kids have invented a battle game based on a video game she loves called Halo. They play it a lot.
- She likes to cook and makes eggs by herself all the time. I think she enjoys the independence and the eggs.
- She is interested in (and very good at) cleaning and has mentioned starting a cleaning business when she is "a very young adult."
- She has been making business ideas a lot lately, and with my help, has narrowed it down to car washing at Roberts school, making balloon animals for kids at Roberts school, or doing cleaning chores for money. I'm not sure if she will follow through on these ideas; she may just be playing with them in her head. She still isn't super interested in money.
- She is taking sewing lessons from our friend Melissa. They have chosen a pattern for a dress for Livy and bought fabric and notions. Next lesson they begin the process (mysterious to me).
- Livy has expressed interest in going to some concerts. We REALLY like the Dixie Chicks, so that would be ideal, but I am going to look for other things the two of us might enjoy.
- Livy wants to go dancing with me, so I am trying to figure out how you could do that with a child. She can't go to clubs (more's the pity), but where can kids just dance and not do classes?
- As a family, we have been watching lots of documentaries on human evolution and the Space Race.
- Livy enjoys socializing with her 4 closest friends. She likes to see them most days, though she likes to have alone time in between. She also enjoys the kids at co-op, but she likes to be in large groups much more rarely. She was talking to me about how she likes being with people in small groups best of all and how she likes to be alone the whole morning.
- We talked on our vacation about doing a tour of Southern zoos because we both like to see animals very much.
- Livy photographed every second of our Texas trip with her new camera, and she has expressed interest in doing a photo collection of nature pictures to turn in at the Nature Exchange at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
- This spring, she will be taking her first horseback riding lessons.
- The snow and ice prompted an interest in ice skating, so we'll have to do that soon.
- Livy has shown interest in my Crossfit training, and she wants to get involved in a Crossfit kids or a similar kind of program eventually.
- She plays the keyboard sometimes and plays around with songs she learned in her class.
- She plays video games with her super-cool babysitter Miranda and at her dad's house. She and Miranda play some iteration of Super Mario, and I'm not sure what she plays at her dad's, except for Gears of War, which she tells me about in all the gory details.
- She loves to work mazes, find words in word searches, and decipher codes. She also likes WordUp (kind of boggle) on Aaron's fancy phone.
- She has talked about wanting to do gymnastics again, but I'm not sure if that will last.
- She is quite a knowledgeable gardener (more so than many adults I know) and wants to have her own separate plot this year to grow veggies and flowers.
- We love to visit the Tellus Science Museum, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Zoo Atlanta, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. We have memberships to these places, so we go as often as we like.