All the kids started swim lessons this year, and I am happy to report that at least two of them seem to enjoy them. Mica is in a parent-toddler class with me. I was not worried about her enjoying the swimming — she loves the water — but she has found the structure of the class a little odd. In no other part of her life is she required to follow directions and do what everyone else is doing for no obvious reason, and she clearly finds that bizarre.
But I give her what choice I can, and she is (mostly) going along with this strange concept. She also has gotten used to the idea of being dunked under the water — more quickly than I expected. For myself, I find the structure a little annoying; I still think that little kids would benefit from maybe a few small directed activities and then lots of time to play. But I understand that my perspective on education is not mainstream.
The boys are in a semi-private lesson with an instructor at another pool. After the first lesson the instructor told me that he could definitely work with Ryan, but he wasn’t sure about Nathan. Now three weeks in, that pattern is holding. Ryan openly likes the swim lessons and has fun in them. Nathan still dislikes even going to the lessons. We’ve reached an understanding: although I’m making him attend the lessons, which clearly violates his sense of autonomy, I’ve been entirely up front about the fact that I cannot, in fact, make him learn to swim. I can hope he takes advantage of the opportunity, but I really have no greater power than that. Once he understood it in those terms, he stopped actively resisting going to the lessons. I honestly have no idea whether he’ll warm up eventually and begin to have fun.