Sunday, June 10, 2007

Trouble in the Water

My girls started swimming lessons last week. My oldest had her lesson first and then the younger 2 had their lessons. We were, of course, late, so we run in looking around for Sierra's class. We find it and I notice that she has a male teacher - uh oh! She has had male swim teachers before and she has never liked it. She seemed to be doing OK during the lesson, but when it was over, she began crying, "it was awful", " I couldn't do what the teach wanted me to do." "I don't want to go to 7 more lessons." She cried the entire 30 minutes that her sisters were having their lessons. I sat there calmly and listened, explaining that if the class was easy she wouldn't learn anything. I even considered moving her down a class, but then realized that would be her 6 year old sister's class. She thought it was a good idea. I wasn't so sure.

This attitude has been common for her and I am just starting to see the pattern. She doesn't not like to do things that are hard for her or that she has to work at it. She didn't start swimming on her own until she was 7 and she is still not comfortable in deep water. She still hasn't learned to ride a bike. We haven't practice much, but every time we do she is easily frustrated.

I think this temperament also relates to her being "slow to warm " (ie shy) with people and animals. Once she gets to know people, she is gregarious, but it takes a while especially with adults. She screams when she sees a dog, but if she has time to gets to know a dog she will eventually get comfortable enough to pet it.

This "personality trait" can be seen in her school work, too. She could read, but didn't want to read chapter books until she just before her 8th birthday when met a girl a year younger than her that was reading them. She liked math until the middle of 2nd grade when it started to require more time and effort.

Back to swimming lessons day, I was not sure how to proceed. Should I let her move to the lower class or should I push her to stay in the class? When we got home, I consulted my dh. He immediately said she needs to stay in the class and threatened no birthday presents if she didn't try and have a good attitude in the class. It seemed kind of harsh to me, but she easily agreed and has done fine ever since and now says she can't remember why she got so upset. She did sleep in the next day until 10 am, so maybe she was really tired...

My dh, whose idea it was to homeschool in the first place, has suggested that because of this attitude, she may need to go to school, but I am not so sure. He says that in school she will have to work hard at things she is not good at. And it is probably true that I don't push her as hard as I could. In some homeschooling circles, however, I seem to push too hard. I feel like I push her harder than the younger 2 and they seem to be progressing faster educationally... I guess there is a balance and I need to find it. Now that I realize her need to approach things slowly and to sometimes be pushed past her comfort zone, hopefully it will be easier to find that balance.

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