I believe swimming lessons are important because there are few things quite as scary as being in water and panicking. I know, since I was not a very good swimmer growing up. I have no plans for my children to be at an Olympic level or even in a swim meet, but I do want them to feel confident in the water. (And not a false sense of confidence.)
My children are getting better every year...even the ones who tend to sink. The only problem is finding a time for them all to attend. I was not on top of the game by any means. When I finally decided to sign them up, many spots were already filled. That makes it a bit tricky when I am trying to find a time that all five kids can go, all in different levels.
The mornings were not great either because I had my previous obligation to be at the library on Tuesdays. (I didn't want kids missing two days out of nine because of that.) I finally decided that we could do afternoons indoors at the rec center. I found a time when all five could be in their appropriate level. I gave myself a nice pat on the back for a job well done.
About five minutes later, I realized that I scheduled swim lessons right in the middle of Ivory's gymnastics.
Sheesh. There really was NO time that they all could go together.
I ended up canceling Ivory's registration and I planned to sign her up for semi-private lessons later. The other girls went to lessons as planned. I'm really impressed with all their hard work and improvement.
Let's start with Pearly P. She would NOT put her face in the water last year. This is pretty normal for my kids the first time, so I don't pressure them. This year, she seemed to be doing better. She would put her face in the water when she took a bath, so I thought we wouldn't have any problems.
Enter her teacher.
I don't like to be negative about people. Everyone has their own method of doing things. Perhaps her particular style works well with lots of kids. Pearl was not especially digging it. One of the requirements to pass level one is to do 3 bobs. I don't think Pearl was in the mood one day, but her teacher was going to have her do them anyway.
I look over and Pearl was crying. I figured she must have swallowed some water or her nose was stinging. Then I see the teacher dunk her under the water. Pearl comes up sputtering and crying still. Under the water she goes again. More crying, and yet another bob from the teacher. Poor Pearl. Sadly, I already knew going head to head with Pearl is not always the most effective solution.
I went over to the edge to comfort Pearl. I wasn't going to disagree with the teacher, or Pearl would never learn anything, but I was happy to give a hug and dry some tears. Sure enough, Pearl told me that she didn't want to do swimming lessons anymore. I settled on bribery. (It tends to work better on Pearl.) If she would get back in the water and do her best, there was a starburst waiting at home.
She did fine.
The teacher avoided bobs for several days, but I told Pearl that in order to get a Twix dad left for her, she had to do her bobs anyway. She did them reluctantly, but she did them.
I knew she could, and by the end of week two, she was doing bobs like crazy. I'm really happy because I'm pretty sure the teacher would just have dunked her again.
To give the teacher some credit, she had a rough class. One little boy seemed to not follow directions well. Another boy spent the entire time splashing. I kid you not...every time I looked over, he was splashing and most of the time Pearl was squinting her eyes and looking away to avoid water in the face. The other little girl was an angel baby. She did everything she was told while looking adorable. I thought Pearl was not too difficult overall, but sometimes personalities collide.
Pearl spent most of her time wandering around waiting for her turn to 'swim' with the teacher. I actually don't think Pearl got as many turns. Was I imagining it? Did she not need as much practice? Who knows?
But check out her amazing bobs. She did over 20 the day before testing, and she passed with flying colors test day.
Daisy got so much better at everything. Last year, she could float with assistance. This year, she got it down by herself.
She is not afraid of the water and spends a lot of time trying to perfect her backstroke or work on freestyle. Way to go cakes!!
The older girls are still in the same class and doing well. They were learning more difficult strokes like Breaststroke and parts of the Butterfly. They spent time in the deep end diving. They had a great teacher who taught them a lot, but used humor. I think everyone enjoys laughing, even if you get water up your nose.
I was waiting to sign Ivory up for semi-private lessons, but I hadn't heard back and finally decided to sign her up at a different time. I figured it would be easier to plan for one child. It was. Ivory is taking lessons right now, so you'll have to wait for pictures.
In the meantime, four little fish can be proud of themselves. They all moved up to the next level.