Friday, July 13, 2012

Swimming!

Life as a homeschooling family has its upsides and downsides. I love having us all together all the time. It's so nice to know what my kids are doing, what they're learning, and know that they are healthy and happy. 


On the other hand, there is a certain amount of additional pressure when I am their only teacher (and Hubby, when he's home). Of course, for swimming, putting them into swimming lessons isn't the same as putting them into school.  The trouble is, swimming lessons occur in the chilly mornings, which Curly's Raynauds would make her miserable, and also, I would have a tough time getting them there. Not having to shuttle kids all over town is another benefit of learning at home.



This summer, I bought a pool pass for our family. I wanted them to be able to swim a lot, not just for the fun of it, but also to feel comfortable in the water, to prevent future fear or safety issues, and so I could teach them how to swim well. I was lucky to get swimming lessons every summer from a fantastic teacher, so I figured I could teach them the strokes and techniques.


The pool isn't really within walking distance. This created another issue; since I don't drive (and love not driving), I had to figure out another way to get us there. Alyssa, the high-school-aged girl I hired to come watch Bean each day for a couple of hours while I work, does drive, so I recruited her to take all of us to the pool several days per week. The down side to that is I'm not working when I'm at the pool, and it is tough getting my work hours in here and there during naptime or in the mornings.



Still, scheduling aside, it's been worth it to take the kids to the pool, and it's been a LOT of fun. Curly is becoming quite fearless in the water, and even timid Mister will jump off the side into my arms and let me dunk him under the water while he holds his breath.


The Littles just get to play in the baby pool. For Abi, just getting used to the crowds and the noise of the spraying waster is plenty for now, and I am so glad Alyssa is always there to watch Bean. He's much more adventurous, and will happily head off to wherever, even if it means deeper water.  Generally, she chases him, and I stay with Abi, constantly cementing that bond that we have worked so hard to form.



A nice bonus of pool time is social time. Many of the kids we see at the pool are friends from VBS, the park, violin or Homeschool co-op, and some are pool regulars that are quickly becoming new friends. Curly in particular has no trouble at all joining a giggling group of girls playing water games or riding the big slides. Abi too has several little people her age who are attracted to our water toys and come play tea party with her whenever we see them there.


Yes, it's difficult and a lot of work, but I think this summer at the pool will reward us with big payoffs in the future in terms of confident kids in the water, be it pools, oceans or rivers. I always enjoyed swimming as a form of exercise, as opposed to sports involving moving balls that generally hit me in the face. For Abi and Mister, both of whom struggle with the visual nature of most sports, it can be an option for lifelong healthy habits.


For now, it's a fun way to get outdoor exercise and social interaction, both of which we need during our school year. Not to mention, I'm getting a much better tan than I usually get!

**Thanks to Alyssa for the pictures. She's a much better photographer than I am, and sweetly agreed to bring her camera to the pool one day for the purpose of providing me with blog fodder. Locals can check out her photography booth at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

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