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An Unexpected Kayaking Lesson

Alice Kayaking

Alice Kayaking

What I love most about homeschooling is the unexpected learning experiences that my children encounter on a daily basis. Although most of these experiences border on the ordinary side, yesterday’s experience was anything but.   As usual, my children attended their weekly homeschooling class at the YMCA. This consists of art, physical fitness, and swimming.  Until the last half hour, everything about their classes had been typical and like always my kids were loving every minute of it.

As the children poured out of their gym class, I overheard them discussing  the beautiful Homezone art banner they had just created in art class. Then I heard other chatter (mainly from the boys) about how fun it had been to play dodgeball.  Once the kids had formed their two separate walking lines, they proceeded to march from the family gymnasium to the changing rooms. After helping my son change,  I very cautiously (and unfortunately without much grace),  lugged my sleeping 6-month-old and his infant carrier to the pool deck.  Then for the next hour, I watched their swimming lessons.

The first group to swim was the beginner’s group, which included my son. Pride swelled, as I watched Cheshire float, kick and (almost) swim across the water.  His progress, although slow, has been steady.  Without reservation, he followed the swim instructors every command (something he struggled with just a few months ago).  Instead of reluctantly placing his face into the water, he enthusiastically submerged his entire head and methodically practiced his breathing when asked.  When it came time to kick, he instinctively grabbed his kickboard and ferociously kicked his little heart out.  And if that hadn’t been enough, he then went on to do one of the best black floats I have ever seen.  After two years of swim lessons, it was with great joy to see his fear of swimming replaced with cheer and confidence.

As if my son’s progress wasn’t good enough (which of course it was), my daughter’s swim class continued to amaze me with an impromptu kayak lesson.   A few minutes later, after the novice swimmers transitioned to free swim, the advanced swimmers were outfitted in life jackets.  Then their usual swimming spaced doubled in size (one lane suddenly became two) and kayaks were ceremoniously pushed into the water.  After receiving instructions from the swim instructor,  my daughter cautiously took her seat in the kayak and began her first kayaking lesson.

For me, it was amusing to see her paddle backward, thrilling to see her advance forward and it was a proud moment when I witnessed  her travel the entire length of the pool.  As you can imagine, she was very pleased as well.  When we finally left the pool she turned to me and said, “That was quite fun! Can I  do that again?”

To this, I simply replied, “Maybe this summer you can take lessons or possibly in the fall, but right now let’s just enjoy the moment.”

To this she smiled and my children and I all walked along, enjoying another great homeschooling moment.


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