Write your own ending
keep believing, keep pretending."-- Jim Henson (1936-1990)
Wow, I am still floating! We spent 11 days traveling and visiting unschoolers!! Well... that makes it sound like there were many unschooling homes we visited, but it was 2. And it was awesome!! I would highly recommend to ANYONE that if you can swing it, DO it!!
It was such bliss being "surrounded" by (as much as a family can surround another!) experienced, whole-life unschoolers. I was at my most content. Frankly, I just wanted to sit all day and absorb the atmosphere (and that was almost all I did! LOL). It really is wonderful to sit and talk without having to censor yourself or explain every little thing. The boys enjoyed themselves immensely and were somewhat subdued, comparatively!! (Wonder what is missing at our house??) Coming from NE Ohio (where the temps took their inevitable February dip below zero), the weather was tropical-in the 60's! The food was awesome, the company grand and I got reprimanded for trying to help clean up!! Okay, besides the "advertisement" (LOL), what the heck did I decide to post for? Hmmm....
Really, though, the experience was so lovely, Dave and I wished we had the money to be able to do that indefinitely. With him off work at the moment we have plenty of time, but referring to the previous, definitely not the cash. The boys didn't get on each other's nerves, they ate fabulously, and there was pretty much peace and harmony the whole week. Everyone slept soundly and well, we just had the best time. Amazing what getting out of the routine can do.
My head was so full of things to put in my blog last Saturday as we were on our trip home, but most of it seems to have evaporated at the moment. I guess I'll just come back and edit in stuff as/if it comes back to me.
I remember some! Over the last few weeks of travel, I've been amazed at the completely organic development of swimming in Storm's exploration. From the Ohio campout last August/September, where he was so tentative... He took almost an hour to get all the way *into* the pool. He'd get his feet wet and get out (and *man*, was it HOT-in the mid-high 90s, if I recall...), get his feet wet and get out, get his shins wet and retreat, etc. By the time we got out of the pool, he was jumping in from the side into my arms and running around the perimeter of the pool like he was going to jump into the deep end. Wyl also honed his swimming skills. Sadly, we started swim lessons with him before we found unschooling and that has effected Wyl's water confidence. He could move from one side of the pool to the other without a floatation device of any sort in water over his head and he did this several times. At one point, he was surprised to find himself in water over his head and panicked a bit, went under a moment or two, splashed a *lot* and when we got him to the side, he declared that he couldn't swim!! All my reassurances didn't help-he swam with a floaty the rest of our time there.
We started swimming with our homeschool group at the end of last year. Storm spent most of his time around the zero-entry area, playing on the slide and with the water sprayers/drippers. Once or twice, he got in too deep, but Dave or I was there to grab him before it got scary (for him). He'd asked to be carried in the deeper water occasionally, but mainly just stayed in the shallow end. We never really considered swim lessons for Storm for so many reasons, one of which being all the "unschool swimming" stories I'd read and read aloud to Dave. Then we went to Kalahari. I never noticed any real change in his relationship with water, there. There were "little kid" areas he loved, with very shallow (ankle-deep?) water, and the wave pool. The latter area we stayed close (I'm confident in my swimming ability in still water, but have huge difficulties in waves) to him, there were giant, sit-in floaties, flotation vests available but Storm wanted to stay in the shallow area when the waves were going. When they weren't, he liked to wade out to chest-height and then be carried into the deeper water. Oh, and we went on one of the family raft/floaty tube slides (very exciting IMO!!) and floated on the lazy river ride once. The next time we were at our local swim, things were business as usual, but the time after that...! Wow, I just couldn't believe how interested he was in the deep water!! Wanting to go out until he was tiptoe-bobbing, nose held high and then reach for me-but he didn't want picked up, he just wanted a hand or an arm to grab onto for leverage to get his head up into his comfort zone. He wanted to stay in the deepest water he could touch bottom in, hold onto me while I walked and he kicked, "I swim, mama, I swimin'!" He grabbed onto the edges and dunked himself under in those deep areas. We ventured back to the shallow area and I dove under and swam toward him (both boys love this "chase" game), blowing bubbles and "growling" and suddenly, *he* wanted to dunk his face and blow bubbles!! It was just an amazing day for me-watching all that develop and the complete lack of thought that anyone should be concerned about the possibility of harm or accident... It makes me glad again that Wyl and Storm are 5 1/2 years apart... I have no idea how I could divide my time between 2 learning-water-skills kids... I need to give 95% of my attention to Storm while he's exploring water and having fun-sometimes more than that! There have been 1 or 2 occasions in the past where he was between Dave and I (just out of reach of either of us) and got a little too deep or dunked under and we needed to take a couple steps to help. I don't know how folks with more than 1 little one do it...