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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Social isolation for student w/non dancing peers


Guest fille'smom

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E's mom, now that does sound like a good program. Do you happen to know if your school belongs to any sort of educational organization that might offer information on other such programs around the USA?

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Guest fille'smom

In our area schools that are sort of "part time" school like the one discribed above is called a cottage school. I hadn't thought of that for our move to Cincinnati. I will definately look into it. (BW You probably could contact a local homeschool support group for information.) It's so nice to have BA! Moving in 3 weeks is stressful - having you all to help along the way is wonderful. :)

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A friend of mine has a daughter enrolled in public school for the majority of her classes, but she is homeschooled for math. She attends school until lunch, and then goes home. This accomodates her heavy dance schedule, and is sort of a compromise between homeschooling and total public school. This arrangement is with a regular public school, and, at least in our state, can be made with any school. Also, at my daughter's school, some of the classes can be taken on line. I found that there were a lot of different ways that the school would work with us, once I asked. They don't exactly volunteer that information.

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Ok--I wasn't going to post about this--I have defended the homeschool thing for over ten years now so I am sounding like a broken record to myself--older daughter having graduated homeschool high school, university with honors, and now my dancer at home in high school and her two brothers in middle school...We never homeschooled for more focus on dancing. We did it because it is a great way to get an education. And we are hardly ever at home, but anyway...

My dancer has had a really tough time juggling projects and labs, lab reports, literature assignments, 15 page research papers, and advanced algebra and chemistry this year, all while taking 25 - 30 hours of dance classes per week and rehearsing for four major shows before a paying audience.

So homeschoolers not only learn to juggle school and other interests, they meet tons of people with which to socialize along the way...

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busymomof5: I know nothing about home schooling. I always thought it would be done at your own pace, so I'm just curious how there would be a need to juggle assignments. Do the students still have to submit work to someone in your school district by certain deadlines to get credit for their courses? I greatly admire you for being able to teach your children all those subjects! I teach math (algebra, geometry) but can't imagine teaching English and sciences at the high school level as well! You certainly are a busy (and talented) mom!

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Guest Doris R

There is definitely some social isolation when they get to high school. My daughter went to a school of over 2400 kids, four straight classes of academics then whoosh, into the car and onto I-95 to the Washington Beltway and WSB. She did her homework as most did, in the hallway of the ballet school between classes and rehersals during performance times. There was little time for high school friends.

 

Her freshman year was the most difficult because she went from being a girl with many friends to one with no time for friends. She was no longer asked to the parties and the games -- she didn't share a lunch with them to discuss these type of activities, she was in the car eating on the way to DC.

 

She adjusted, it was probably harder on her parents watching her than it was for her going through it. Regrets? Sure. She would sometimes say she wished she had a "normal" life. But she never wanted to give it up, never wanted to stay home in the summer and "veg." She'd rather dance.

 

She didn't go to her senior prom...but she went to the NFAA gala during Arts Week, and met the president as an Arts Scholar. It was a trade-off. In some ways she grew up quicker, into the professional scene at 17, and her friends were going to college.

In other ways she was still very much a young girl -- no time for a social life except with other dancers during high school years. Life is full of difficult choices, and dancers have to make some of the hard ones early in life.

 

She graduated feeling she had very few friends at her high school, but everyone knew who she was. She was the dancer.

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So many great posts with this thread. I was really touched by your post Doris R. I thought I was reading about our life several years back. And you are right, everyone knew who they were-- the dancers. And, I still feel they are darn lucky to have found the thing for them that creates such a passion.

 

As for the topic of this thread, ballet and social isolation. Dance is who they are, or so they tell us, and it is not a sacrifice to miss the parties and shopping excursions and evening telephone conversations that most teens choose to be involved in on a daily basis. A passion drives everything, providing a clarity and perspective for a person, no matter the age. Goals get set and a work ethic ensues. Isn't this what we wish for all children/young adults/adults/ourselves?

 

PS versus HS? It really depends on your "child." What works for them. Our daughter begged to be homeschooled when she reached middle school age, but I was back at work by then (teaching) and didn't feel I could do as good a job as I'd like if we HS. She experienced both ends of the spectrum during middle school and later high school. Fellow students who teased and others who were impressed with her. Some days she managed it better than others. In retrospect I do wish we had homeschooled her if only to expedite her education. But, also it would have given her a much less stressful daily schedule, with fewer exhaustion melt-downs at the end of the day.

 

Ultimately our daughter finished her last 2 years of high school via correspondence with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, while she finished training at a pre-professional school 3 hours away from us. So, I guess she was homeschooled, in the end.

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I struggled last night to explain to my sister why we aren't having a big HS graduation party for my daughter. I don't think that she gets it as none of her children have pursued the arts. My daughter has a performance on the Sunday after graduation and an SI,10 hours driving time starting Monday. The logistics of flying doesn't work for us because of the expense since my son will have to tag along too. Naturally the performance will have madatory rehearsals leading up to it filling my daughter's few days after graduation. This has been our life for many years and we fit in extended family visits when we can, not always the day of the holiday, etc. but we do try to accomodate everyone. My sister thinks that HS graduation should be celebrated as a major event in a child's life. My daughter and I disagree. My daughter says. "Give me the big party when I graduate from college", that will be a benchmark in her life. She feels that high school was just something she had to do and she did it with honors and will graduate, no big deal. We are proud of her and she proud of her accomplishments but a big party that she doesn't want, not necessary. The big gift we are giving her is the chance to go to the intensive, something that she has dreamed of for years. Does this fit ballet and social isolation or what? We don't want to alienate ourselves from family but what can we do, it's our child's focus and we are thankfull she has this direction and dedication in her life.

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tu2mama, just so you know - in my family, as I was growing up there was never a big deal made about graduating from high school, as it was just something you did - whether you were an "A" student, a regular "B" student, or a "by the seat of your pants" student. :)

 

Each person, and family, deals with life's little bench marks differently. My own parents never evern made a big deal when I finished college :eek: ;) - maybe because I graduated in August instead of June?

 

Lots of kids are not the "gung ho" type and many do there own thing. Don't let anyone rain on your daughter's parade - whatever it is! Remember that saying: "To each his (or her) own." :cool:

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Victoria Leigh

tu2mama, please do not let people who do not understand the situation, family or not, make you feel guilty. Your daughter has made her choices and her priorities, and I doubt very seriously that she will ever care that she did not have a big deal high school graduation thing. I graduated in January, and there was no graduation ceremony, and I could not have been happier about that! :) Nor have I ever thought once, much less twice, about this until you mentioned it ;)

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balletbooster

Like BW's family, mine down-played the highschool graduation thing. My mom always said that it was not the end of anything, just a transition to the next phase of my education.

 

In our area, where the majority of students go on to college, high school graduation is exciting for the kids, as they look forward to college and increased independence. But, there is no real sense of accomplishment in having made it to graduation. It is expected of everyone around here and only for those who have struggled with rebellion or major learning challenges during the teen years is it seen as a major accomplishment.

 

We too struggle with the priorities my child has set for herself and how they impact our extended family. My siblings and their families all spend the week of the fourth of July at an area lake. This week seems to always cut into my daughter's summer programs, usually around when I must take her to the program, so we rarely get to participate. They all grumble about this and wonder why she can't choose a program that doesn't happen over the 4th of July, as if that should be her deciding factor in this decision. They shake their heads when we miss numerous other social engagements for our clan, due to rehearsals, performances, etc. that happen throughout the year and often during holiday seasons.

 

I've had more than one lecture from my siblings (separately and in groups) cautioning me that it isn't good to let a 'hobby' monopolize so much of my daughter's life or allow it to set the priorities for my family, including the large amount of money it takes to pursue this 'hobby'. They all point to their children who were passionate about various sports during jr. high and high school and then when college rolled around, decided not to continue with them. They worry about her not being a cheerleader, etc. and wonder (out loud) if she will feel that she has missed a great deal of the high school experience.

 

Now, no one said a word back 5-10 years ago, when we had to change the day and time of our family's Thanksgiving celebration (on a routine basis) so that my brother's boys could participate in an out of town soccer tournament. Nor, was any excuse offered when we could not get together for a birthday celebration until weeks after the actual date, due to their demanding game schedule. Nor, does my sister offer any excuses, except that her daughter loves it, as to why she drives to a horse stable in the country every single afternoon after school, to allow her daughter to ride her horse.

 

I have a very close knit family. However, our children are all on very different paths in life. Each of us scratches our heads at the other and often wonders why they have made the choices that they have and why their parents go along with it. But, the bottom line is, we are all doing what we feel is best for our children. And, more importantly, all of our children are happy, healthy and likeable human beings.

 

We all give greater or lesser credence to various activities and rituals, based upon our own nuclear family's values and priorities. It is important to evaluate anything that takes up the majority of your time, money and passion, from time to time. But, as long as you feel that it is right for your family and your child - don't allow others to dictate your actions or make you feel guilty about the path you are on. We all must make our own way in this world. To paraphrase the words of a famous poet, "taking the road less traveled can make all the difference!":D

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Balletbooster - that was a wonderful post! Seems that most of us (myself included) don't really see high school graduation as requiring a huge bash to celebrate. Ditto the Sweet Sixteen party (pretty much everyone graduates high school and has a sixteenth birthday). In our extended family, college graduations are much more important occasions. I echo the sentiment that each of us must do what we feel is right for our family. You can't please everyone all the time, and you'll only stress youself out if you try.

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I must inform my parents of our decission this weekend and hope that they understand. We didn't have parties for high school graduations growing up so I hope it won't be a big deal. My sister didn't even tell us when she graduated from college so there was no celebration. My mother is taking us to a ballet this weekend, she has never seen a professional ballet only my daughter's performances on a studio level. My parents have supported my daughter ,only occasionally becoming miffed because of her schedule. I wrote my sister a long letter trying to explain my daughter's commitment. Her kids have been into sports off and on and both worked at an early age so that any get togethers revolve around that schedule. I respect their differences and hope that we can come to an understanding about the activities that are important in my children's important lives. I won't stress but my daughter will probably be nervous going to her first intensive but once there I'm sure that she'll enjoy being able to do what she loves most all day long. She's more than willing to give up her "senior summer" for ballet.

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Here in Ontario there is a funny practice with regard to high school graduation. They don't have even the ceremony until the fall...I've always thought this weird, having grown up in Texas where things were different, but I suppose it would be helpful for a dancer going off to an SI after exams are finished...I never thought about it that way before!

 

I echo balletbooster's sentiments. We often hear from my husband's extended family when we aren't able to make a function...but if the nephews have a hockey tournament somehow the feelings are different entirely.

 

This year we will miss the family reunion - a HUGE shindig held every two years. Both our kids will be away on the date...usually my husband chimes in his laments as well, because family IS quite important to us and we live a distance from them...but this time he pointed out that we weren't consulted or involved in choosing the date for the party (although he and his siblings are the organizing committee this year)...so he's OK with being absent.

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That's interesting about having the celebration later. We've been known to postpone family birthday parties and such to accomodate conflicts in schedules. Now that I think about it, one of my neighbors didn't have a high school graduation party, but an "off to college" party in mid August since graduation time was so hectic for them. Maybe you could have some sort of a family get together to celebrate "end of summer" or something like that. That way the family could be together but it will fit your daughter's schedule.

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