What are they doing now: Liam
Liam read the earliest of any of the five kids (age 6). I found out he knew how to read when he came into the bedroom one night and spelled, “Gap: g-a-p.” Apparently the source of this amazing revelation was the Gap shopping bag sitting in the hall… for weeks.
Liam taught himself times tables and percentage calculations through online gaming. He had a knack for math for which his father nor I take credit.
We spent most of Liam’s homeschool youth reading about, observing, and owning animals. He attended the Cincinnati zoo programs, we literally visited the zoo multiple times a month for a couple of years, we owned pet rats, two ferrets, and a dog because Liam researched, located, and promised to love and raise them. He is still my main birding partner. We not only watched them at our feeder, but we joined in the Nationwide Christmas Count one year too, joining other local birders. We rescued an injured sparrow and a disease ridden cat, taking them where they could be treated and healed.
I learned to play Yugi-Oh cards so Liam would have a partner, and I read Redwall aloud because Liam loved the books. You should know something about me at this point: I am not naturally interested in animals, pets, or card games where the cards feature characters with special powers. And I’m ashamed to admit that my mind wanders during outloud readings of Redwall.
But that didn’t stop us, and honestly, I have such fond memories of all of these experiences despite my own reluctance, self-doubt, and concern for carpet and furniture.
While reading, calculating, and animal-loving came naturally to Liam, he had difficulty with handwriting. He’s a lefty and we discovered that he suffered from dysgraphia by the age of 9. At that point, we stopped all handwriting and he dictated to me whatever it was he wanted to write or narrate. He did continue a bit with handwriting pages. It wasn’t until he turned 12 that we turned to tutoring with a specialist.
As a freshman in high school, Liam took two classes at the local public school and the rest at home. He then completed high school fulltime in 2 1/2 years, finishing this last January. Liam would say that traditional style education isn’t for him. He much prefers reading whatever he likes and self-educating. Currently he’s got quite a book list going that he reads on his tablet.
One benefit to traditional schooling for Liam, though, was that he joined their chess team. By his senior year, he was “first board” and their team had a great season. I was the only mom who attended the tournaments and watched the games. A little like watching grass grow, if grass jumped four squares and crushed the queen blade.
Liam will travel to Europe for a month. He’s been working at Steak and Shake, and saving money so he can visit his brother (studying in Paris), many of his online friends, and my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live in cities like Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Zagreb, and Viareggio.
He isn’t sure what his plans are for the fall, but he’s 18. He’s got loads of time to figure it all out. Just glad he got done with high school early enough to have an adventure.