This time last summer, Luke was nearly 7 and deathly afraid of getting his face wet. He had a real phobia about it, which is no surprise considering I had the same phobia until age 9. Knowing that I shared his fear made him more comfortable, but real help came late in the summer, in the form of a pair of goggles.
The goggles actually kicked around all summer; then right around Labor Day Luke plucked up his courage, put them on, went under - and loved it! He was fascinated with how everything looked under the water, and so finally beat back his water-related fears.
Just before we closed our pool last summer, Luke started holding his breath for a bit longer, tentatively swimming and floating. We opened the pool this year in early June; here's a series of pictures I snagged yesterday:
My mind boggles at the difference between Luke last July, and Luke now.
The best thing about his progress (outside of how much fun he's having, and how much safer he is now that he can swim) is that it came about through play.
As an unschooling parent, I spend lots of time finding illustrations of play-as-learning for skeptical parents and friends. Well, there's no better way to show the value of play in learning than swimming, where everything Luke does is a small step in the direction of learning to swim.
But he never set out to 'be a swimmer;' instead, he wanted to see what the diving sharks looked like under water. And then he wanted to grab the diving sharks under water, and then he wanted to use his hands to pull himself along the bottom, and then he wanted to jump in from the stairs, and swim in the deep end...
And suddenly, Luke is a swimmer.