Last year, we'd had Norah take swim lessons via the city, and they were okay, but not great. Norah didn't like going, and often cried beforehand about having to go, and at the end of the 10 week session, we didn't feel her swim skill had advanced much. So, we didn't continue the lessons, and since it was then late fall, there wouldn't be much swimming over the course of the winter anyway.
This summer, then, I was on the fence about having both kids do lessons again: Were they really worth the money? Could I teach them what they needed to know? So, we began our summer of swimming with arm floaters and that was fine, but I knew they needed more in order to be competent swimmers -- sooner rather than later. I knew the city lessons weren't great, so I searched for private swim schools and found the US Swim Academy, a place we'd briefly checked out before since it was close to a movie theater Jerry and I often go to for our date nights.
I toured it, and I knew right away it would be WORLDS better than the lessons we'd done last summer, so I signed them up. Their first lessons were yesterday, and I can't say enough good things about the place and their methods. It's indoors, heated pool, and they have a plethora of inventive toys and equipment, and the teaching philosophy is all about making every skill a game or task. Plus, the classes are super small: 3 kids to 1 teacher.
Pic's not great, but here's Norah going down one of these floaty slides into the water in her class:
Unlike the lessons Norah did last year, she was beaming through her entire lesson yesterday, and when she got done, she was excited about returning for next week's class.
That is worth every penny of the extra cost.
Not only does the place make the lessons not feel like lessons, but immediately, there's a noticeable improvement in both kids' swimming. Today, at home in our community pool, Norah abandoned the arm floaters and was swimming back and forth from the stairs to me, and she kept wanting me to go farther and farther away (I'm terrible at judging distance, but I'd say she was going about 10-12 feet at a stretch).
Caleb too wanted to follow Norah's example and swim out to me without his floaters, but he could only go about 2 feet or so, and he was still flailing like I was stabbing him with hot pokers when I tried to get him to practice his back floating; still, he too had improved and he had also liked his class (the only problem, by his estimation, with his class was that Norah wasn't in it with him).
Caleb's teacher said he needed one more week in the class he started in, and then he could probably advance; Norah immediately advanced, and for her advancement, she earned a medal.
She was SO proud of her medal, and when she got home, she knew, right away, where to put it: