I guess I am kind of asking....do you or should you unschool swimming?? Thanks in advance.
I think good swim classes are about a lot more than technique....they're also about water safety, and how to be a strong and efficient swimmer who knows a variety of strokes. I think this is a really important thing to know how to do well and safely, and that instruction, either from an instructor or from you if you're a good swimmer, is key.
Of course there are good teachers and bad, and you can always scout the class ahead of time and go with her to make sure you're comfortable with the teacher. But I for one would not leave something that's so important safety-wise up to my child to pick up on her own.
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If you don't want to deal with lessons and finding a good teacher, just take your dd to the pool a lot. My kids learned to swim pretty young and I just took them a lot. Once they were comfortable in the water, they learned to swim pretty quickly. I think it's really important for them to be the leaders in what they want to do in the water, but you can give them lots of opportunity by going often.
This is one area I really struggle with because I don't want to "push" DD. That usually means that I let her find her own resources, self-learn, etc.. But I realized that with some things, she can't really do it on her own. So, if she shows interest, I am trying to do a better job at leading on certain things. For example, last october she really started showing an interest in learning to read. I figured, great if she does it by herself, she was ready. After a few months, I realized she *was* showing she was ready--- by asking, but she needed a bit of help to get there. We picked up Hooked on Phonics in January, she did it on and off for a month and then stopped. I am so glad because she got what she needed.
Some things are just easier learned with lessons, or classes, or actual "how to" books, others not so. Sounds like you are doing a great job!
Whatever you decide, keep me posted (I'm trying to decide if I should put DD in swim lessons next fall or not).
My feeling towards classes is that they are fine if my children show an interest. However, I make sure my children know that they do not have to go and that they can stop anytime they wish, no matter how much money we spent or how much it inconveniences the class.
I know a lot of parents feel that if a child starts something they should finish it, but I know that can be very painful to a child. They are just beginning to explore and do not have the experiences behind them that we do that helps us decide whether we might like a class or not.
I also make sure that the teachers are okay with my staying around and being involved if that is what my children want.
My daughters had wonderful experiences with swimming lessons last summer. My six-year-old was very excited at the end of the summer that she got the card that said she could go on to level three. Now that she hasn't been swimming in several months, she is very nervous about level three and really wants to go back into level two. We've been talking about this. I want her to do what is comfortable for her, but I also know that the teachers will move her up or down in the beginning of the season if they feel she is not ready or is too advanced. But I will keep my daughters fears/needs/wants at the top of my priorities.