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The Swimming Season Starts Again

31 Aug

We headed back to swimming lessons this week.  Yes it’s that time already.

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Our swim school takes a short break over the three winter months because the pool is an outdoor pool.  A bit too nippy for swimming in winter even though the pool is heated.  Well actually it’s the getting in and out that’s problematic.

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Nice straight strokes

We take private swimming lessons as I worked out how much instruction time my boys receive during the 30 minute lesson, shared with 3 to 5 other students, and it came down to less than 5 minutes.  The rest of the time they spent sitting on the side waiting for their turn.  For those 5 minutes of actual instruction it would cost between $10 to $15 depending on the swim school.

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Ready? Set? Go!!

I decided to look into private classes.  For $40 for the half hour my boys could receive private instruction.  Sounds costly when you consider the lump sum for the whole term (or worse still three sessions a year) BUT remember that’s $20 a child for 15 minutes of instruction time AND because there are only two children in the pool, the boy who is waiting for his turn can be practising his lessons instead of sitting on the step.  That’s value for money!!

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Pretending to sleep on the job

If I was paying for weekly lessons, while a tad cheaper, I suspect we would need a lot more classes.  By paying for private classes it won’t be long before we can move from lessons to regular trips to the local pool instead.

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Needs to tuck his head down more

I know we don’t really need to “purchase” lessons.  So many people teach their own children to swim.  I was one of these children.  I never had formal lessons because Mum and Dad had an inground indoor pool so why would we need lessons.  Or so was their reasoning.  Plus at school we did 8 swimming lessons a year.   (Divide that 30 minutes by thirty kids!!!)  As a result I’m a very poor swimmer.  I can get myself around in a pool and wouldn’t drown immediately in the ocean or river but I have absolutely no confidence in my skills in the water.   I didn’t want my boys to feel like this in the water so swimming lessons were on the top of my “Must Have” list for the boys.

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This is going to end badly!

I’m curious to know whether my international readers also rate swimming skills highly where they live.  In Australia it’s almost irresponsible to not teach your young children to swim.  Lots of people have pools in their backyard or enjoy spending time at the beach or river or local pool.  So it’s fairly important that your child can maneuver themselves to safety in the event of falling in. Do kids in your public schools have yearly swimming lessons as ours do? How young do they start teaching swimming?  Here they can start around the 6 month age, although I didn’t buy into the baby swim class.  I feel it’s lures parents into a false sense of security. But more commonly the children start around age 3.

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Belly Flop!!! Ow!!!

My boys love their swimming lessons.   In fact they love everything about the water.   I”m so pleased they feel at ease in the water…unlike their poor mother.    Hmmm…but then again do I need swimming skills to sit on the beach and read!

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I fear this dive may hurt

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4 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2010 in Homeschooling Days

 

4 responses to “The Swimming Season Starts Again

  1. SeventhHeaven

    September 1, 2010 at 12:08 am

    We live in Arizona – Sonoran Desert – it is warm (well, hot, really :)) enough 6 months out of the year for swimming.

    You would think that in a place like Arizona, the public schools would have swimming classes as part of their PE curriculum … but no! If you want to teach your child how to swim you must do it on your own or buy lessons which are quite costly.

    We had our (inground) pool installed about 6 years ago. Our second son was 8 at the time and didn’t know how to swim at all. He accidently got away from the edge, didn’t know what to do, and nearly drowned. My husband and I were RIGHT there, not 3 feet away from him, but our attention was on something else and we didn’t notise him bobbing in the water for a few seconds. We fished out a very white and frightenend little boy and decided right then and there that ALL the children would get swimming lessons so they would at least know HOW to swim from the center of the pool to the edge, know how to float, know how to haul themselves out of the pool if they fell in.

    The lessons were costly as we had someone come TO our home to teach them, but so worth it! My two youngest are now 7 and 9 and they are like little fish! They are very comfortable in the water and love to swim! My 11, 14, and 18 year olds are all good, confident swimmers as well.

    Here in AZ, drownings happen year-round. Some cities have mandatory fence laws, but others, like mine, have no fence laws – you can have a pool built without installing a fence of any kind, proper or otherwise. It is always sad to read in the morning paper or see on the news yet another child has been lost to drowning in the family pool :(.

    I also am a poor swimmer. Yes, I can get from one end of the pool to the other and I will swim thousands of laps every summer! BUT, stick me in the ocean and I will become fish food! 😆

     
  2. Tracey

    September 1, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Wow no swimming lessons at schools. I had suspected this might be the case. I wonder if this is just your state/area.

    Sadly Australia still has their fair share of drownings. Most pools have to be fenced but there are a few loopholes in some states eg pools built before mandatory fencing laws might escape legislation.

    But the drownings aren’t always in unfenced pools. It’s often dams on properties or kids opening gates that don’t have proper locking devices on them.

    I think one of the most common danger periods for near tragedy is when there are lots of people around the pool. That’s when everyone thinks that everyone is watching but no one really is.

    My little brother slipped into the pool this way. I saw him but as a seven year old I didn’t even think to alert anyone. I just stood gaping. Thankfully my dad and uncle saw him and pulled him out in time.

    Too many people have these near miss experiences.

    We shouldn’t give too much confidence to these lessons though. I know a child who has had lessons since they were 6 months old and who fell in when they were about three and they just sunk to the bottom. The same child could swim across the pool confidently but in an emergency they didn’t even think to do anything her parents thought were instinctive. Thankfully it was another of those occasions when everyone was standing around and just hadn’t seen her and she was rescued. But it was a real eye opener. We have to watch them every minute, even if they’ve had lessons.

     
  3. SeventhHeaven

    September 2, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Yes, you are absolutely right! Even with lessons and confident swimming abilities my children are always supervised in the pool. Even when part of their lessons involved being fully clothed in long pants and sweaters and being thrown into the pool, they are still watched :).

    As far as swim lessons in ps are concerned, I think it is pretty much the same across the country – no swimming is taught in school. I suppose there are free lessons taught somewhere like the YMCA or other such places, but really, if you want lessons, you have to pay for them. Our elementary and most juniour high schools do not have swimming pools. Some high schools do.

    I guess here in the US, having mandatory swimming lessons for children in schools would be akin to having Big Brother breathing down our necks :(.

     
  4. Tracey

    September 2, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Our schools don’t often have swimming pools either. They are bused there each week.

    I suppose that’s the difference between the US and Australia – here we can’t do anything without checking with Big Brother first. He has a tight hold on us and it’s only getting worse.

     

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