I've been reading tfp for several months in preparation of having my own pool. Finally got it up just over a month ago. I went with a small 15' x 48" Intex as my first as I didn't want to invest too much if things went awry...
Besides, I have a 4 yr old and a 4 mo. old so 15' is big enough for now. Everyone keeps asking when our 4 yr old is going to take swim classes but he's doing so well with just my wife and I that I think he'll be swimming in no time! My wife and I have always been wary about organized swim classes.
This is is not my first experience with maintaining a pool. My wife and I used to live with her parents for a while and they have an awesome in-ground pool with a 9ft deep end! Love that pool but unfortunately my wife's parents are too old and too poor to maintain/run it so it's been a swamp for years. When we lived there it was a swamp and since we moved out its back to a swamp. It's a real shame but for the time I was there I got it back to like new and maintained it for everyone to enjoy.
Back then I relied on pool store water tests and did fairly well, but I'm the kind of person who likes to get fully involved in something and have a keen attention to detail. I'm enjoying and looking forward to learning, testing and maintaining my own pool.