ber of smaller organizations tied to a particular church or neighborhood.rnAnd while Mr. Brunner’s belief that “we are our children’srnfirst teachers” seems universally held, an increasing numberrnof Catholic and evangelical homeschoolers agree thatrnparents should irot necessarily be their children’s only teachers.rnEvery Tuesday, many homeschoolers take their children to thernHallstrom School, an evangelical homeschool cooperativernwhich had over 350 students enrolled iir grades seven throughrnhvelve last year. At Hallstrom, students can take courses in subjectsrn—for instance, foreign languages, math, and science—thatrntheir parents might find too daunting to teach, but the parentsrnare also required to attend the courses. Michael Brunner findsrnthe cooperative atmosphere exciting. Rockford, Mr. Brunnerrnbelieves, “is the best place in the whole country to homeschoolrnbecause of the support network. And homeschooling can onlyrnget better here in Rockford. Its reputation is increasing.”rnBecause of the role that the desegregation case has pla}’ed inrnencouraging my wife and me to consider homeschooling, I wasrnsurprised to find that most homeschoolers say that it had nothingrnto do with their decision. Lisa Miller estimates that over 70rnpercent of homeschooling families in Rockford are doing it primarilyrnfor religious reasons. But the number of those doing itrnfor other reasons has increased in recent years, and Mary Hitchcock,rna leading opponent of the desegregation suit, believes thatrnbroader trends in public education have convinced many parentsrnto homeschool, while court orders and judicial taxationrnhave accelerated those trends here in Rockford.rnEveryone agrees, however, that the face of education inrnRockford is changing, and that homeschooling will play anrneven more prominent role in the future. This fall, says newlyrnelected school-board member Stephanie Caltagerone, thernracial mix in the public-school kindergarten classes will reachrnapproximately 50 percent white, 50 percent minority. In desegregationrncases all around the country, this milestone has representedrnthe point of no return. Unless Rockford proves to bernthe exception, enrollment in the public schools will drop dramaticalK’rnover the next decade. With Rockford’s private schoolsrnalready bursting at the seams, more parents may well choose tornteach their children at home. The thought worries some longtimernhomeschoolers, who fear that parents who have waited untilrnthis point to pull their children out of public schools will bernless committed to homeschooling. Caltagerone agrees. “In thernpolitically charged atmosphere surrounding homeschooling,”rnshe says, “it would only take a couple well-publicized cases ofrndual-income families pulling their kids out of the Rockfordrnpublic schools and leaving them home all day to give the state arnpretense for cracking down on homeschoolers.”rnUntil the crackdown comes, however, mv wife and I havernmade up our minds. We enrolled Rebekah in a Catholicrnco-op preschool last year, and this year her brother Jacob will attendrnas well. Both have caught on quickly to their numbers andrnletters, and enjoy reading (aetuallv, reciting) their multitude ofrnbooks. Becky has already surprised us by writing her own namernbefore we even knew she could write, much less spell. Andrnwhile no one so far has questioned our decision, we have memorizedrna line that Michael Brunner a.ssures us will stifle an criticismrnhere in Rockford; “My child is doing at least as well inrnhomeschool as she would in public school.”rnOh, and thank you. Magistrate Mahoney. Despite your bestrnefforts to destroy ovir children’s education, vou may ha’e actiialh’rndone us a favor. crnMadame Preobrazhenskayarnbv Constance Rowell MastoresrnFor too many years I’ve longed to bring backrnperfection: a triple pirouette en pointernperformed in Madame’s last class. “Finally!”rnshe murmured, more to herself than to me.rnShe’d been nagging me all year. “SouplesselrnNot so stiff! You’re plie is too shallow! Head up!”rnEach time I failed in my technique,rnwe went back to practicing half-pirouettes.rnShe was eighty-seven—I, nineteen.rnThree times a week I traveled from my placernto hers at La Place de Clichy. She taughtrnsitting up in a straight-backed chair. She was strict;rnher French heavily Russian. In her youthrnshe had danced at the Kirov—along with Pavlova.rnNow she was poor and gave lessons at StudiornWalker. . .At the top of the stairs, you turn left.rn”Stop talking!” she admonishes Zizi Jeanmaire.rn”Keep your charm for the stage, lei on travaille.”rnZizi with a “Yes, Madame,” plants her feetrnin fifth position. “Constance! Up front!”rnShe performs with her hands—as if to remind methernsteps we’ve been learning from Les Sylphides.rnAs the pianist tiirns to her page, I extendrninto open-fourth and prepare for the tourrnde jetee . .. then dance as if I were other.rnPassion and poise at one with technique.rnAttitude-turn in elated slow motion.rnSpot back. Spot front. Back straight. Arms supple.rnI end with a flourish of three pirouettesrnand collapse in a pool of joy. “Finally,”rnshe murmurs, more to herself than to me.rnIn Leningrad, the curtain falls.rnSEPTEMBER 1999/21rnrnrn