teaching kids to swim?? (and unschooling) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-10-2003, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
kel
 
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My oldest son is 8 yrs. old and doesn't know how to swim. (None of my kids - 8, 4 and 2 1/2 have ever had swim lessons.) He's comfortable playing in the water, but doesn't even doggy paddle, although he will float around on noodles a bit - staying where he can touch.

Anyway, we unschool, and I have kept thinking - well, we'll just spend the summer at the lake and he'll learn, but we never end up spending enough time there and it doesn't happen. We go camping/hiking a lot, dh is big on family canoe trips and even though the kids wear life jackets, I feel like they should be able to swim, too, once they're old enough. Also, it's important to my dh and other family members that our oldest learn to swim now, not in a whenever-it-happens unschoolish sort of way.

Has anyone else's kids not learned to swim until around 8 yrs. of age? My son isn't afraid of water, but again, he doesn't like to be where he can't touch the bottom, and he doesn't think he'd like swim lessons because he's heard negative things about them. I don't really want him to be the oldest kid in a beginner's swim class and feel bad about that either (I don't know if he would)... Any ideas?!? Should we sign him up for lessons? Should we start going to the pool a couple nights a week and try to teach him ourselves? (My husband is a very strong swimmer and used to work as a lifeguard.)

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

xo - Kelly

Handmade dress shop owner and mama of five - our littlest just born in December! ♥

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#2 of 8 Old 09-11-2003, 11:57 AM
 
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Would your son be willing to try swim lessons out? You can try just going to the pool w/DH but unless DS will listen to him, that will probably be an excercise in frustration. We unschool and DD will be starting lessons 9/29. She will be with other homeschoolers and they are offered at a local pool. Could you look into something like that? (homeschool group lessons). Or, if DS would be uncomfortable in that situation, could you try some private lessons. If he is not afraid of the water and would like to learn, you could probably do one private lesson a week with a couple practice free swims and he would be competent in no time.

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Kay

 

 

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#3 of 8 Old 09-11-2003, 03:12 PM
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Rain learned to swim last summer, when she was 9 1/2. Like yor son, she was comfortable playing around in the water but couldn't actually swim. The 18 yr old (homeschooled until college, where he's on the swim team) son of a friend offered swim lessons on the homeschool list last summer, and Rain said she wanted to do it. We arranged private lessons for a half hour twice a week for a month or so, and now she swims.

She wasn't really interested until then, but she did fine. Actually, the instructor said she progressed about twice as fast as kids who took lessons at 5 or 6, because she was older and had that extra maturity.

So, finding a teenage boy with swim experience might be good... but if your son doesn't want to do it, it may just be an exercised in frustration.

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#4 of 8 Old 09-11-2003, 11:52 PM
 
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Personally I'd ask him. He's old enough to know how he feels about learning to swim on his own or whether he'd like lessons. But if you ask him, make sure you are willing to go with what he wants. And if he decides to take lessons and then decides he doesn't like them, let him stop.

Unschooling doesn't mean no lessons, it means giving the child freedom and choice.

FWIW, my 6-year-old took lessons this year and last year and loved them. My 4-year-old was signed up for lessons this year and last year, and both years went a few times but mostly hung out with me.
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#5 of 8 Old 09-12-2003, 12:05 AM
 
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You and your dh should sit down with him and discuss this whole swimming thing. express your concerns why yoou think ha should learn to swim and how well. Give him his options: working hard at it himself, with is dad, private lessons or group lessons. Decide what he needs ot be able to do (probably just jumping into the deep in and swimming to the side would be proficient.) If his dad feels it is absolutely nessecary from a saftey view point that he be able to swim to a reasonable degree then there should be a logical consequence of noneof that activity after a specified amount of time given for learning. When it has been decided what his goal will be and how he will reach it offer a reward (perhaps the whole family going out for ice cream to celebrate) becaue it is big deal for many reasons. he did it even though he didn't want to do it. he made it a prioity because it was omportant to you. And hopefully he did this with a good attitude.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#6 of 8 Old 09-12-2003, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone - yes, I'll talk to my son more about it and see what he'd rather do. It turns out dh is not big on the private swim lessons idea - so I'll see is ds either wants to learn from his dad, or else try and find a good beginners class somewhere. The only swim classes I've found around here so far do that whole swim test on the first day of class, where they have all the kids swim as much as they can and then divvy them up due to ability - I was a decent swimmer, but I remember that whole event as humiliating - so I'll keep looking. I have a feeling he'll choose his dad, in which case we just need to sit down and figure out a regular schedule for them to go to the pool.

Thanks again - Kelly

Handmade dress shop owner and mama of five - our littlest just born in December! ♥

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#7 of 8 Old 09-12-2003, 12:35 PM
 
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It sounds like your dh is the perfect person to teach his son to swim. I'm sure learning from daddy will be more enjoyable and less stressful than an impersonal class. Although some unschooled kids really like taking a class to learn things like swimming, music, etc.

Like You, I found the swim classes pretty humiliating as a kid too. My older children learned to swim with a relaxed homeschool swim class when they were about 8-11. My younger kids haven't learned yet even though we go to the beach near our home a lot in the summer. They are 7, 9, and 13. I figure they will learn when it is important to them, just like they do with everything else.
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#8 of 8 Old 09-13-2003, 11:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kel
swim classes I've found around here so far do that whole swim test on the first day of class, where they have all the kids swim as much as they can and then divvy them up due to ability -
Oh
My
Gosh!!!!

That would totally suck!!!!

We went through that at summer cam[ but I remember it being very supportive and somewhat chaotic so no one was really paying attention to you :LOL

Here they take the parents word for it and then reassign as needed. Since no one pays where we take them no one really cares if you repeat a thousand times.

I hope there is a plan that can make every one happy.

If you dh doesn't want private lessons, is there maybe a friend who could buddy up and teach them. this is how I learned to play piano and my friend learned to tap dance.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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