The Swan Lake Effect


Liz Sears // Humor

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January 23  

In our family, three boys happen to be the older ones, and four girls happen to be the younger ones. The boys do magic tricks, battle with swords, and need to know the exact location of the bathroom on the Millennium Falcon so that the model they are building will be completely accurate. The girls, well, they dance. They received ballerina attire recently and whenever music is on, they are ballerinas.

Because we homeschool, I’m always looking for ways to keep the little girls quiet and occupied while I do school with the older boys. I thought it was perfect when I found the ballet of Swan Lake on our very smart TV to let them watch and dance to, while I did math with the boys. Tchaikovsky, and Swan Lake in particular, is something I have always loved since I was a little wanna-be-ballerina myself, twirling through the living room.

 The boys could hear the music of the ballet in the adjacent room. I thought that would be great: don’t all the books say that classical music aids academic learning? I expected the boys to focus right in on their math with the classical music working its magic of providing super brain power.

Wrong! The music of Swan Lake tells a dramatic story, and the boys’ curiosity was piqued. Within a few minutes, the music had captured their attention and they wanted to know what story was being told! Math was forgotten and all the boys were in the other room, watching the ballet, pelting me with questions as to who was who and what was going on. I quickly searched on my very smart phone for the plot of each scene and explained it to all seven of the kids as it was happening.

 And so, our schooling evolved that morning, from geometry, algebra, and decimals, to the kids enchanted with a timeless ballet, and occasionally imitating the dancers. Of course, our three-year-old ballerina danced the whole time! It was an unplanned but welcome lesson in the arts. Thank God for Pyotr Tchaikovsky; he spoke a language that captivates everyone.

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