Evan started swimming lessons last week. He has taken lessons before and has some basic skills but is behind where most kids are by this age. This is largely due to the fact that we are not a big swimming family. Nor are we a big soccer family, a big baseball family, or a big [fill in the blank with the physical activity of your choice] family. We have always tried to have our kids do something physical, but jocks we are not and never will be.
For lessons we are going to a local swim school that offers classes during the day all year long. Evan is taking class twice per week. One of the classes is made up of him and three adorable, tiny little girls that barely come up to his belly button. When Evan and his classmates climb out of the pool to walk to the diving board it looks like a scene out of Gulliver's Travels. The other class has several boys that are a tiny bit bigger, but not much. In fact, Evan is by far the oldest child in the entire place both days that we go to class.
Evan has not uttered a single word of concern about being in a class with younger children. I don't think it has occurred to him that some kids might be bothered or embarrassed about the situation. I attribute this to homeschooling. He simply does not equate learning with age but understands that people learn at different paces and different times according to their readiness and their circumstances. This comes of growing up in a house where different-aged people learn together all the time and where it is not unusual for someone younger to be "ahead" of someone older. (Exhibit A: his mother, who is still trying to learn the Small Catechism that his brother and sister mastered years ago.)
Let's hear it (again) for homeschooling.