first committed to homeschooling when M was not quite three-years-old and all of her friends were enrolling in the city's preschools, I felt the need to make sure that we had structured activities and classes planned almost every day of the week.
Apparently this is a common pitfall for novice homeschoolers, according to the veteran homeschoolers I talk to. At some point we learn to trust our children and realize that although some formal classes and activities are valuable, kids need a bounty of unstructured, open time in which to explore and discover. We have dramatically reduced the amount of structured classes in which the kids participate compared to when we started, and our weekly homeschool rhythms feel much saner as a result.
One class, however, that Daddy and I feel is very important is swimming. We spend a lot of our summer time in or near the water and so the ability to swim is critical. In the city, we have lots of different options for swim lessons. We chose a small class just a quick bus ride down the road at MIT that a neighborhood friend of M's is also taking.
While M and Daddy have done parent-child swim classes in the past, yesterday was M's first class without a parent in the water (though I was sitting nearby on a bench). I wondered how she would do. She enjoyed it so much in fact, that it wasn't until about 20 minutes into the class that she finally turned around, realized I was there, and said enthusiastically: "Look Mommy I'm learning to swim!"
As Dr. Sears says, attached kids grow up to be confident and independent:
"They grow up learning that it is safe to trust others, that the world is a warm and responsive place to be, that their needs will be appropriately identified and consistently met. The trust they have in caregivers translates into trust in themselves."
Knowing that your loved ones are always nearby makes it easier to plunge eagerly into uncharted waters.