Thursday, November 14, 2013

Classes Outside of the Home

Before the nurf guns come out and the water balloons begin to fly with well aimed hisses and boos, let me clarify the title. While I don't judge anyone for any choice they make in raising their children (YOU are the ones who know best what to do for YOUR family), I've always been the one who said if I'm going to homeschool then it's all going to be at home... Well, let's just say that I ran up against a brick wall with a certain subject over the past few years. That subject? Swimming... I could not teach my children how to swim. I can swim and so can most of my family and friends but NONE of us who can swim was able to teach any of the children how to swim. What to do? To us swimming is not just something to do for fun the the knowledge of how to swim is a mandatory safety thing. Where we live in Michigan there is water all around us, when in Kentucky we're surrounded by water, and when we camp we tend to do so by bodies of water. For those who cannot swim water can be dangerous (it can be for those who can swim as well) and that means it's something to be avoided. But, my kids love pools and beaches, lakes and streams, anything wet and fun to play in on a hot day. They NEEDED to learn how to swim.

Then, this summer I got scared. Big time scared. My mother (Noni) and I had taken the kiddos to our local beach, Daddy met us there. There are lifeguards on duty and the main area for swimming really isn't deep (no deeper than an average residential pool at the deepest part) not to mention there were three of us adults to three children. I was lulled into a sense of safety. Wrong move on my part. I was up the beach a little ways talking to Noni and Daddy while the three of us kept a casual eye on the kids ... Peanut was next to ECJ inches into the water (no more than four inches out ... that's important here) and YCJ was a few feet further out than they were but only up to her belly button. For whatever reason, something I can't remember now and forgot about right after, all of us turned our gazes off of the children to something further down the beach. I swear it was less than thirty seconds of not looking at the children. When I looked back Peanut's feet were in the air and her face was in the water! Her little froggy float upside down around her waist. Noni screamed for ECJ to help Peanut, and so did I as I took off down the beach towards my youngest child. Noni was right on my heels and so was Daddy.

It took seconds to reach her but I can remember my flip flops flying off of my feet, passing the lifeguard who still hadn't noticed my daughter upside down, and the surprised look on ECJ's face when he saw us running up. I grabbed Peanut and righted her, then looked at her face ... waiting ... she began to cry. Thank goodness! She was OK. Just scared like we all were. The adults all looked at each other and decided right then and there that all of the kiddos were getting swim lessons this year. I want to note here that the lifeguards were not teenagers at this point, they were older ladies who had experience, and that many other adults on the beach saw my daughter upside down, saw us running, and heard us yelling ... We were the ones who reached her and no one else had even moved.

This situation could have been a lot worse had we not looked back at the children as soon, if she'd been further out in the water at all, or any other number of things. 

My children began their swim lessons for the fall session at the beginning of October and yesterday (11/13/13) was their last lesson until the spring session. I am very glad that we did these lessons and the children will be going back in the spring for more lessons. If we feel they need even more after that then they will continue again next fall. I even added learn to swim in our fall bucket list.

We chose to have them taught outside of the home because we had tried to teach them this skill and failed. We had tried to teach them repeatedly for years and failed. No one could convince ECJ that when his feet left the ground that the ground was indeed still there and his fear had crept into YCJ as well. Peanut cannot see well without her glasses and that plus her young age coupled together to make a very clingy little girl in the water. My point here is that if you find yourself unable to teach a subject to your children, no matter what that subject is, if you find it important that they learn it make sure that they do so. Outside classes, tutors, co-ops, friends, neighbors, etc... find a way to help your child learn what you think they need to know.

By the time swim classes begin again in the spring two of the children will have prescription swim goggles from Kiefer which will cost us less than $20 each (they also sell regular and professional swim goggles for really good prices). It is my hope that these will help give Peanut more confidence in the water because then she will be able to see where she's going.

Oh, and by the way, Younger Cracker Jack now knows how to swim! Elder Cracker Jack can now swim short distances without having to put his feet down for reassurance. And Peanut? She can actually let go of Mommy and hold onto the side of the wall without freaking out and jump to Mommy from the edge of the pool knowing I'll be there to catch her. I call this all a win in my book. My children may not be swimming like fish yet but they are well on their way!

Swimming lessons are working for us! But, now that they're over until spring what does that mean for us at home? It's Health and Safety class time! That's right, a few new books and a couple more lessons over the winter season (thank goodness I found them at a HUGE discount on Amazon!).
I'm still so very happy to be a nominee in the Best NEW Homeschool Blog category of the Homeschool Blog Awards. I am not worried about winning, just very happy and proud to have been nominated. Pop on over there and give your vote to your favorite blogs. You can vote every day from now until the 18th of Nov. from any of your devices that can access the web. That means that those of you with a few laptops, cell phones, and desktops and vote once for one blog in all twenty categories once a day from each of those devices. Click here to vote.

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Linked up today to Our Busy Homeschool and Squishable Baby


  1. I agree 100%! We don't swim often because we are very outnumbered by kids (8 kids 12 and under). This past winter/spring we put the then 11, 8, and 7 year olds in swim lessons. The older two had to know how to swim before girls' camp/cub scout day camp or they were not going. We will be doing lessons again before next summer for them and several more of the kids.

    1. I'm very glad to know that we're not alone!

  2. Definitely! Our older 2 took one session about 2 years ago right about the time the toddler was born and did pretty well. They "passed" the oldest to the next level, but the younger had to repeat for a few of the things. At the time, he wasn't happy about the prospect. Even though we haven't been back (circumstances and money first, and then forgetting to sign up on time since), I want to sign them up again, and the toddler too. They all love the water, and my in-laws have a pool, so they swim a lot when we go visit in the summer and when the older two spend a week down there in June/July every year. It makes me nervous! Thanks for sharing, and also the reminder :)