Just a few thoughts I had--
I have a hard time with this because I don't want sports to take over my teenagers' life or me, myself be one of those booster club moms. However, if I knew I was staying here I would sign Ana up for the swim team which practices 3 times a week for an hour from Sept-March and then competitions. I NEVER thought I would ever do that with any of my kids so young, but frankly, Ana has little or no physical exercise. (And she loves to swim). I don't know if you knew this, but in Latino culture, the girls don't play. Leo said he never saw a girl play futbol his whole life till he moved to the states. And when I send Ana outside to play, she stands gossiping with the other Latino girls while watching the boys play futbol in the tennis court. I find that ridiculous. Also, Ana's birth mother is diabetic Type II and obese, and obesity/diabetes runs rampant in her family and to be nice about it, Ana will never wear "slim" jeans. Not that I care about being "skinny", but I do care about her health and the more active she is as a child the better her chances of not getting diabetes for a long time (I think it's a matter of when, not if). Also almost all of the team sports here play on Sunday so I've had a difficult time getting her on any teams. Blah.
Also, the reason I said I was a bad parent Andrea, is because I avoid interaction with Ana. Remember that adoption book I read? Yes, I am avoidant, because Ana and I are so different, it's really hard for me to interact with her for any length of time. I think though, that it will get better as she gets older, barring her not going off the deep end as a teenager, because most of what annoys me is her immaturity, and I think she is more immature than most kids her age just because of her background. Not her fault at all. I just find it difficult. Although being around my nieces at the last reunion made me realize that all kids Ana's age are annoying. So maybe it's just me. This is why I won't homeschool. For now.
I loved to read but was a slow beginner. My dad once told me that he thought after all his smart kids he had finally ended up with a dumb one--me. Ruff. Anyway, forgetting my middle child angst, I read Nancy Drew and horse and dog stories in second, third, and fourth grade. Louis L'Amour in 5th grade. Ender's Game and Tale of Two Cities, etc. in 6th grade. And in eighth grade I finished War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Then I wasted time reading a whole lot of fantasy in high school and more modern classics like Catch-22 (probably one of my all-time favorite books). I also read a lot of historical fiction. Mostly though, I love classics. I love how well they are written, I love that they have depth. I love that you don't get some pat, predictable ending. Like I've stated previously, my favorite author is Edith Wharton. My husband feels neglected if I read (he's not a reader), plus my children and house ARE neglected if I read, so I try to be selective and pick books now that I think will be educational and that I can really learn from--hence why I joined this group of crazy homeschoolers.
To be honest, I always thought, even as a child that a lot of books were junk food reading, even though I did my fair share. You know that question in Anne of Green Gables, where she asks, "Would you rather be really good, really pretty, or really smart?" (That was a horrible paraphrase.) I would have picked smart hands down all my life. I took Latin because that was a "smart." I read a lot of classics because that was "smart." While that obviously got me nowhere, I still do honestly love classics. But as far as kids go, I try to encourage Ana to read more worthwhile books--kind of a TJed idea here. But if she's reading I'm generally happy and don't push her too much since she knows what she gets paid for or not. Plus I think if you're reading good books, you're more likely to enjoy reading anyway.
Also I do pay Ana for memorizing poems too. That's her only other way to earn money. I don't pay for chores nor do I think I ever will, because I feel that is a responsibility a child should have as part of being in a family and having all the things parents provide. That has been excessively portrayed to me since marrying Leo. He gave his parents a whole semester's tuition that he had saved for his parents to try to save their business. He also worked to pay for bills at his parents house while in college the whole time he lived at home (and that was until he married me--typical of Latino culture). He gave his parents several thousand for the down payment on the first house they bought here in the US. And most of the teenagers in our ward work part-time and turn ALL their money over to their parents so they can survive here and then send whatever they can back to their families in other countries. While I don't want it to be that extreme in my own family, I certainly think my kids should learn to contribute to the family's well-being.
As for scripture memorization and stuff like that, Ana does her Fe en Dios and Articulos de Fe because it is part of her responsibilities, not any other reason. I do try to give her privileges along with being older. Like letting her pick one food she doesn't have to eat--the younger kids don't have that option. Also she gets to go with us to more things, like this weekend we're going to a dance performance. It's hard coming up with privileges though.