Friday, 12 March 2010

Swim School

Littletree announced two weeks ago that she wanted to go to school.

It was a huge deal for me; I’ve always said she’s free to choose if she wants to, but lately, I got more and more on the side of wanting her to not go to school.

We talked about why she wanted to go, we talked about the pros and cons. She didn’t have any reason that she could articulate. We talked about having to get up early, to go every day, to have to do what she’s told, to eat and drink only when she’s allowed to, etc. She just wanted to try it.

I figure she wouldn’t last more than a day or two, especially with the early mornings, but I didn’t want to go through the bureaucracy of enrolling her just for a day or two, and I feel that she’s too young to try it out.

We came up with an idea for a trial; she would go to OOSH (the after-school care) *every* day, without fail and do some work in her homework book every day, for a month. If she still wanted to go to school after that, we would talk about it then.

After two days of going to OOSH, Litteltree announced that she’s changed her mind; she doesn’t want to go to school, she just wants swimming lessons.

So I enrolled her in swimming lessons. There was even a class that was in the middle of the day, with other homeschooled kids in it. We arrived on the first day, and I had a little chat with the teacher, and explained about how Littletree is growing out of a fear of water.

Littletree responded by diving in and dog paddling around the pool!

14 swimming

I guess her water aversion is completely over! yay! She picked up kicking pretty quickly, and was working on side-breathing.

13 swimming

Littletree LOVED the swimming lesson, she’s been talking about little else since.

15 swimming

So I guess I’m officially not an “unschooler” any more – I’ve said no to my kid about something I think is damaging to her. Whatever.


  1. Hugs, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying no sometimes dear! I could see Littletree being totally comfy in a school environment as she seems to be a very social little girl. Some kids do thrive in school situations. Having said that, we all know home is better! LOL! Look at Zak, he lasted a whole six days at school. hehe!

  2. I love your blog, I really do but this post annoys me a little. If you really feel that your daughter is free to choose whether she goes to school or not then why did you make excuses of it being too hard , paint a negative picture, and not give her a true experience of what school is really like. OOSH is not school. It's nothing like it. My boys are schooled but I would never send them to 'After School' as we call it nor would they want to go.
    Were you afraid that giving her a true experience of school would go against what you believe?
    I really enjoy reading your blog and many others as it gives me a new way of looking at things and sometimes makes me think of things I would never have considered before.
    Jo x

  3. I loved this post and I think your a a great mum! I also like the fact that littletree has started swimming at her own pace.....we were scorned by a fair few parents because we didn't put our vdaughter into swimming as a baby and this gave me hope that we have done the right thing!

  4. Jo: I think, probably, most of the problem was the idea of going through all that it takes to get a child enrolled into formal schooling, just to face the distinct possibility of then having to take the child back out of school. After-school classes may be be different from regular schooling, but it will give the kid at least some idea of what it's like to have a scheduled daily obligation where she is away from family and home, with other children, required to follow rules and regulations without question. As an unschooled child, that's all completely foreign to her experience.

    I don't think that highlighting all of the unfamiliar aspects (getting up early, following rules, etc.) is necessarily a bad thing. I wouldn't even call it "painting a negative picture" so much as just "giving her the unpleasant facts before she locks herself into a decision."

    To Littletree: Congrats on the swimming lessons! How is the raising money for the netbook going? I may be donating some money soon if I get any more in my paypal account :D

  5. My child is in school after several years of homeschooling, and it was really, really hard for me to let her go, but she really wanted to. I also painted a "negative" (realistic) view for her, but she still wanted to give it a go, and she's doing really well three years later, but there are still many aspects of it I just don't like. I don't think you have to quit calling yourself an unschooler. The getting up early, only eating when told, etc, are all very realistic points.

  6. Yay Littletree -- have fun playing and swimming! Maybe her new name will be Little Fish! :)


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)