Dogretro, somewhere on Alfie Kohn's website there's a link to one of his articles about the effects of rewards used in reading programs. I was really tempted to share that with our children's librarian a few years back. Instead, I took the smaller step of asking if she would consider NOT giving out stuff from Oriental Trading Company every week during summer reading program. I explained that OTC had been involved with numerous recalls for lead violations, that the stuff was pretty disposable, and that several times I had a crying child because the toy he or she was given broke before we even made it home. The result was that the librarian distanced herself from me dramatically (cold shoulder kind of thing). The library still gives out OTC stuff, the last I heard.
Swimming lessons are now over (it was an every-day-for-two-weeks session). DD is doing all kinds of new stuff in the water: underwater somersaults, handstands, etc., and can now do a pretty decent breaststroke and sidestroke. Interestingly, none of these things were taught in swim lessons. We've simply been going to the outdoor pool every other day on our own time.
On the last day of lessons, the teacher gave out report cards and certificates. DD asked, "What's this?" and the teacher told her what was in the envelope. She hasn't even gotten around to looking at it, so obviously she doesn't really care how the teacher rates her performance.
Honestly, I think if I could do it over I would just skip swim lessons entirely. DH and I are good swimmers, and I think being taken to the pool and having swimming modeled is probably the best way to go. I came across this piece online (written by an unschooler), and I'm adopting the term "competence model" as a regular part of my vocabulary. I'd love to hear what others have to say about the piece.