E is for Elegance

The letter “E” was a tough one this week. I was having such trouble coming up with something. Oddly, I had the song “Elegance” from Hello Dolly going through my head over and over: “We got elegance/If you ain’t got elegance/You can never ever carry it off.”

Having Elegance

 

elegant

Aside from the grammatical errors, the song really made me think. If you are familiar with the film, you know that the characters of Cornelius and Barnaby are pretending to be successful, wealthy men in order to impress girls. Without money, it is difficult, so they convince the girls that doing less expensive things is what all the elegant people do.  In a way, they are asking the girls to accept them for who they are.

I remember how much I wanted to fit in when I was in middle school and early high school.  Three things stick out in my mind as status symbols: a Forenza sweater, a Swatch watch, and stirrup pants.  Eventually–probably after they were almost out of fashion–I wore those things.  I had a green sweater, purple and teal plaid pants, and a paisley watch with black “lace” overlay.  Considering the frightening combination of those items, I hardly think I qualified as elegant. Or fashionable.

hats

Unfortunately, the youth of today have new requirements to fit in. Besides trying to look like everyone else, a child can be asked to do dangerous or unethical tasks in order to be liked. The beauty of homeschooling is that there can be considerably less pressure to fit in. There is no dressing to impress, no bullying, nor bathroom rendezvous in a homeschool classroom. The student can concentrate more on his studies without such things to worry about.

With a variety of options available to them, homeschooling is the perfect system for teaching children to accept themselves. Parents can adjust the curriculum to their needs and abilities. In the sixth grade, I had a teacher who seated us according to grade average. A homeschooled child will never feel that kind of blow to their self-esteem. She will never feel embarrassed in front of classroom of peers. The whole experience will teach the children that they are important. And that is elegant.

D is for Dance Class

Probably one of the most dreaded word in a homeschooling parent’s vocabulary is socialization. So we scour the area in hopes of finding activities our children would enjoy and make friends in.

The Dance Class

The Plan

This past fall, my daughter turned three. We decided to place her in a combination tap and ballet class with the local recreation department. Since we always catch her flitting about the house, we thought that she would like dancing with other girls her age.  At the end of the school year, there would be a review with all the teacher’s students.

shoes dance class

The Preparation

We gathered the necessary uniform items: pink leotard, tights, and ballet shoes; black tap shoes; a dance bag.  The first night of dance class went well. At the end of class, our daughter received a sticker and a sucker. The next week, she received just a sucker.  The next week… nothing.  The teacher chalked it up to her age; she was the youngest in the class.

 

The Fall

For several weeks and into the next semester, my daughter would alternate between a spectrum of cooperating and running wild around the classroom. I even attended some classes with her to help her acclimate. Finally, the teacher asked that we not bring her back as she needed to take the remaining weeks to teach the class their routines for recital. As we had just paid the full balance for her costume, I was not pleased.

Jump dance class

Eventually I realized that every child has a different learning style. Even though she was not fully participating in class, my daughter would come home and show us all the different moves and dances she had learned.  She may have seemed like she wasn’t listening; but she had heard everything going on. I had the same trouble in school. In fact, my parents pulled me out of dance class when I was her age. Maybe we’ll try dance class again in the fall.  Maybe we won’t. We’ll just have to see where this free spirit leads us.