zacharie swimming lessons

[twitter]This is the one where your own rules and parenting ideas get massaged because you feel the need to go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing.

My son’s school has swimming lessons coming up this month.  I ranted about this last year, and it appears I’m on it again. While I recognize that swimming is a vital life lesson for kids to learn, it’s one we provide for our kids in our family leisure time. Both boys are in swimming lessons throughout the school year, so I don’t want to pay $45 for my kid to have 4 lessons with his school mates burning a half day of class time to do something I already provide.

Burning a half day of class time. That’s what this is really about for me. Already there are too many days off in the school calendar because of professional development, and while my son is speaking french beyond my expectations, his literacy skills are falling behind. So I’d prefer time at school was learning school things.

I wrote letters to the principal and teacher, both say it’s not a problem if we want him to stay behind, but he’ll likely be the only one. If I pull Z out of the swimming lessons to stay in the library or sit in with another class, I’m making him an outsider. I’m purposely making him different instead of going with the flow.

Peer pressure. Whether direct, implied, or placed upon oneself, the desire to belong, fit in, and not rock the boat is there at any age. I have my idea of what I want, but how far do I go placing that value system on the relationships of my child?

So we gave him the option. We talked about it over dinner last night. We asked Z if he really wanted to go swimming with his class. He was lukewarm. We told him he’d be the only one staying behind and that if he did, he would go and spend time in another classroom where he probably didn’t know anyone.  Instead of being afraid, he jumped up and was thrilled at the idea of doing something new.

The principal said the kids will likely ask why he’s not going swimming but if my son simply says “I have already had enough swimming lessons”’ or “I don’t want to,” it quickly becomes a non-issue. Crisis averted. He’ll skip school swimming lessons and learn to read instead.

How do you balance your personal values with the values of your parenting peers? Have you ever had to modify your wishes to not rock the boat?

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