Over the last couple years, we've decided that it's probably more cost and time effective to pay for a pool membership rather than just pay to have the kids in swim lessons. The beginner lessons especially seem focused on just becoming comfortable in the water, putting your face in, floating etc. And just being exposed to the water, and being in it, moving in it, experimenting, getting around, I think kids naturally pick up on a lot of the early water skills by themselves. And also, knowing how to swim myself, I can help them here and there with some of the skills too, by going to the pool frequently during the summer.
So! Zac and I sort of set some mental goals for the kids to accomplish at the pool by the summer's end. Just to keep in mind and help them work towards so we can see that they're making progress.
Elisabeth - well, she takes to the water like a little fish. This year the pool added these climbing walls in the 4 ft and she had no fear whatsoever. She just climbed up as far as she could, jumped into the water, kicked herself to the surface and was ready to do it again.
(here you can also see Abigail jumping down from it)
The goal for Elisabeth was to get her to be able to lift her head up and breathe while she swims and I think she could do it at least once. She already dives in the water, does underwater flips, kicks with a kickboard, and "swims" as far as she can before stopping to get a breath, so we're pretty happy with her "water skills" thus far. ;) She even did a flip off the side of the 3 ft pool once . . . but I had to tell her that wasn't allowed because it's not safe.
At the beginning of the summer, Samuel was still insisting on wearing the life vests that the pool provides everytime he got in the water. So our first goal for him was to get him in the pool without it. And then to get his head under the water.
And he did it! At first he would dip his hair backward into the water and tell me he got his head wet (haha). Then he would tell me to "look away" and he would put his face under only when I wasn't looking. But by the end of the summer, he was dunking under water and even doing a few bobs! yay!! Ohh it feels so good to see progress!!:)
Isaac and Abigail - our goal was to get them to jump off the diving board and swim to the side. Actually, that was the original goal for Abigail but Isaac "jumped on board" too and accomplished it as well!
So at least we know that if they fell into some deep water, they'd be able to swim a short distance to save themselves. That's an important skill, right?
Anyway - I love the pool. I loved the times I could go swim laps. I loved just sitting in the water watching the kids. I loved teaching them how to play "Marco Polo" (or Marcolo Polo, as Samuel liked to say). And I loved watching them love it too.:)
Here is Zac throwing Samuel (something Samuel was terrified of doing for a long time!!).