or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › My 4.5 year old taught himself to swim today
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My 4.5 year old taught himself to swim today

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been taking the kids to the wading pool 1 to 3 times a week. We go on the days the girl I babysit can go with us (so it will be more fun for him with a playmate.) I have talked to numerous lifeguards so have been taking the following toys with the intention that they would help the kids learn to swim:

1. Diving balls. The ones I got at Target can either float or sink depending on if you screw them large or small (We know why that works from reading the Magic Schoolbus lol.)

2. A large plastic truck that they can push on the bottom of the pool. (It replicates the swimming position of arms in front and legs extended back.)

Today I was finally able to add kid-sized kick boards. They were doing really well with them, pushing them forward while kicking. Then the friend sat on hers and fell under water. My son tried to do the same thing. And when his face was under water he started kicking his legs and he was swimming!!! The friend did the same thing except she kept her hands on the bottom of the pool. However, she is on the verge of swimming. (Her 4th birthday is this week.)

My son did several sessions of swimming, so he's got it down. Now we just need to keep going so he can be comfortable with this. Then we'll try in the deeper pool swimming back and forth from me to my husband.

My son taught himself to ride a bike. We gave him a balance bike at 29.5 months old. Eventually he graduated to a 2 wheeler when he was ready. He was riding a 2 wheel bike at 3. This spring, before it got hot, he was going on frequent 4 mile bike rides with my husband and loving it.

I just love unschooling. Letting the kid do it at their pace. I gave him the tools and he figured it out. I can't wait for him to teach himself to read!!!

In other related news, my daughter will be 2 in 6 weeks. She is wild and reckless in the pool. I have to stay right beside her to keep her head above water as she is constantly falling down. I have tried to show her how to float on her back. Today when she would fall down, she would often turn herself over as if she was trying to float on her back. As this skill would make her so much safer around water, I hope that she is successful. She also is better able to get herself up when she falls. She actually looks like she's got some very beginning swim stuff happening. I was joking with the lifeguard that I think she'll be swimming by 2. Well, maybe not, but I'm almost certain she'll figure it out next summer before her 3rd birthday. (She also has a balance bike. We gave it to her much younger than we did our son, though she hasn't really been interested in it yet. She watched her brother riding it today and spent more time on it than she ever has before. They're just so cute when they ride balance bikes at such a young age.)
post #2 of 11
It's really neat to read a post like this where the skills are swimming and bike riding. My kids aren't very athletic, and at age 5 and 7 neither can swim nor bike ride (though both are close and I think the young one will get there first). However, I could have written similar posts about them learning to read or do math. I love how the excitement of watching our kids figure it out, and the thrill of seeing natural learning in action, is universal regardless of the skill being obtained. It's so cool, isn't it?
post #3 of 11
My DD just taught herself how to swim too! She is 7 yrs old, so quite a bit older than your children, but still exciting to me. We took her once a week for about 6 weeks. She didn't want us (or a teacher) telling her what to do. Once she decided she was going to learn, she went for it whole heartedly! We took a few months off from weekly swimming and then just took a vacation where we spent 4 nights at a hotel with a pool. By the 3rd night she was swimming the length of the pool on her own. She did the same thing with the bike last summer. Told us to take off the training wheels, practiced non stop for several days and then took off. I love that learning these skills were her idea, and she did them in her own way. Both times she was so very proud of herself. She is learning that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to, and that's the most important lesson.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LucyRev View Post
She is learning that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to, and that's the most important lesson.
Yeah, that is so cool. That will last them their lifetimes.
post #5 of 11
I loved reading this - how exciting!
I am very new to unschooling but I feel so at home with the philosophy.
My son (5) has always resisted anyone trying to obviously teach him anything. He wants to figure it out himself. Every year I have tried swim lessons with him and he has hated it and not wanted to return after the first class. I have always felt pressure to teach him how because we live in CA where a lot of people have pools.
I was just thinking the other day how I taught myself to swim as a kid on vacation with my parents and the pride I felt at having done this all by myself.
I am not going to force the issue any more. It will come in its own time. In the meantime, he will wear floaties
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashersmum View Post
In the meantime, he will wear floaties
I've heard that floaties actually hinder learning to swim. I can't remember why, if it's because they don't have to swim or they don't learn about buoyancy or what. Get him a kickboard and a big plastic truck and hit up the wading pools (if they'll still let him in at his age.) One lifeguard told me in her classes it's always session 8 where they figure out how to put their face in the water and that's when they start swimming.
post #7 of 11
Thanks for the advice, Sunday.
post #8 of 11

congratulations!
It is great to read about this. I have often wondered whether kids can learn to swim on their own just like they can learn to read and add, etc without being taught. My dd quickly and easily learned these mental skills but is yet to learn to swim or bike. She is using a floatie only 1/4 inflated (used to be fully and then half inflated) and I plan to gradually use less and less. I am guessing this should do it.
post #9 of 11
I remembered this thread and decided to come and post because my newly 6 year old DD has just taught herself to swim also.
She's never been to swim lessons, but we have a neighborhood pool and we go a few times a week. Tonight, she showed me that she cam swim underwater for many feet and she almost has floating on her back down as well! I'm just thrilled. Kids are really amazing.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
That's wonderful!!!
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
I've heard that floaties actually hinder learning to swim. I can't remember why, if it's because they don't have to swim or they don't learn about buoyancy or what. Get him a kickboard and a big plastic truck and hit up the wading pools (if they'll still let him in at his age.) One lifeguard told me in her classes it's always session 8 where they figure out how to put their face in the water and that's when they start swimming.
Floaties keeps a child's head out of the water, and therefore keeps them somewhat upright. When the floaties are off, the upright position will make them sink. The heavies part of a body is the head. The head has to float for a body to float. The OP's toys for the pool make total sense--the car on the bottom of the pool makes a child need to reach both the head and the hands to the bottom, making their bum and legs float. When the head is under water, all the child has to do is kick their feet to make themselves go!

I can't wait to take my little one to the pool tomorrow!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Unschooling
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Unschooling › My 4.5 year old taught himself to swim today