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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Adjusting to high school


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she only attempted to join one school club (but eventually gave it up as being unfocused)

This is an interesting comment to me. I feel like my DD is wanting to be more socially involved at school and experimenting with it, but finding it not what she expects.


She "claims" she will not ever spend the night with non-dance friends again, as she can't stand what they talk about and how late they stay up.


She has been to a couple of football games this year, but has found them disappointing in some way.... Most recently, just last night. I'm not sure what she expected, but she didn't find it.


She has already tried to opt out of a mandatory club program they have during school hours in exchange for a study hall, but they didn't give her permission.


It doesn't sound like it, but this is a really social child!! She loves her friends deeply, and gets no pleasure from being alone.


In a previous thread discussed long ago, we talked about "how our dancing kids are different." At the time, it was my opinion that they are not very different. Although, I am starting to see how the seriousness of what they do after school does change them in some way. I'm hesitant to say it matures them, as I see several girls at DDs school whom I find actually immature, sort of in a little girl way. They definitely are focused, however, and my own DD seems to have this drive to get the maximum "whatever", (I don't know) from any time spent doing something.


It doesn't surprise me to hear some of your kids are such successful students. The choice of honors versus non-honors classes next year is really weighing on my DD, as she doesn't want to increase her load of homework. She will qualify for honors in all five core-subjects, but was thinking of choosing only a couple. Now I am thinking she may enjoy school a lot more if she's in class with the more serious students.


Thanks for everyone's perspectives. I am enjoying this thread a lot!

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There are so many threads running through this, I'm not sure where to start.


I think, as nlkflint, that the AP vs. regular classes really is a regional consideration. In Texas, we don't rank in the highest group nationally in our public education system. We're in a small town on top of that. It simply is not an option for us to take basic classes. They would not even be considered seriously by colleges nor would a kid taking basic classes be ready for college. In most cases we have 1 or 2 higher levels to choose from. I do agree with others that dd takes the highest level for the courses at which she tends to excel. In Biology she is taking the 2nd level (but not the lowest). The homework load is not unmanageable, and she does have upper classmen in most of her classes.


She was very concerned about making the transition to high school. But she loves high school. DD is very social, and she spends a lot of time on the phone with her friends during the commute home from dance. She loves her dancing friends, but they live 50 minutes away. All of her school friends are also very dedicated kids to a variety of activities. She supports them, and they support her.


This weekend for her birthday outing she has requested an outing to an Astors game! Recently my husband downsized his car (not as small as mine). So, we're taking a group of kids in two cars to see an Astros game. The most notable thing about moving from 8th to 9th grade is the inclusion of boys in all the activities. :flowers:


Next weekend she has a couple of small activities planned with her dancing friends.


We are indulgent about trying to make the activities work - as in providing transportation. We know the importance of these activities to helping a dk be well-rounded. We also think it's important to know her friends.


All in all, the transition to high school has been great! She has set a good standard for herself. She has finally healed (mentally and physically) from the various ailments that confronted her this summer. She's dancing well, and finding little improvements that make her happy. School is going well, and her grades are reflecting that. :clapping::wub:

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Treefrog: I don't think choosing one over the other is necessarily the best choice, even with my opinions. I do think dd should take some AP classes over the next several years, just not every class. I guess what I was trying to find out is it really necessary for our teenagers to emerse themselves in so much academics at the expense of their teen years. I remember my highschool years as the best time of my life. Yes, we studied hard and took the classes that were needed to get into good colleges, but we still had a life outside of school and homework. I get the feeling from reading this forum that many of our kids are missing out on life in general because of the academic load being forced on them. Whether it is the parents pressure or societies, kids are being forced to take on overwhelming amounts of school work just to get into college....and then it is more work....and then....job hunting and putting all that schooling to work. When does the child have the opportunity to have a life, have fun and be a kid?

I guess I am playing devils advocate here... :wub:

I am driven person and my dd is too. I pushed with my other kids and some went along with it and others pushed back. I don't want my dd to miss out on her teen years but I do want her to be successful. Finding that happy medium is going to be a challange.

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I'm wondering if it's possible to still be (somewhat) involved with high school while continuing a 5-6 day/week ballet schedule? I know that she can handle the academics since she's organized and a hard worker, but I wonder about the extra curricular activities?


A quick update: My dd decided to join the school's yearbook staff since this is something she can do during school (they usually meet at lunch). Plus it'll allow her to be behind the camera at school events which she loves to do, and help her meet new friends.


Thanks again for the many, many helpful comments!

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Guess we're taking our chances on PreAP vs CP classes (still not sure what that CP stands for!). Dd was overwhelmed by the amount of outside work and what was expected of her at the PreAP level in language. She opted out of preAP last week and started her first on level class on Wednesday. She is still in PreAP in her other subjects. She feels she will be able to keep her grades up and continue to dance a full load. She is not lazy or unintelligent, just knows when she has bitten off more than she can chew. I'm proud of her for making this decision. She already feels less stressed and is enjoying her classes and schoolwork more. She is a bright, happy, well-adjusted girl that loves to dance. Whether a professional career is in her future or not, I don't think this AP to CP move is going to cost her a college career.

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sgmca, could CP possibly mean college prep? That's what it meant at my high school about 100 years ago! My daughter is in pre-IB/AP classes as well but wanted to try an AP Government class. She absolutely loved it, very challenging, real smart kids, great discussions. She very wisely decided that her focus for now is dance (she started at a new studio which she thoroughly enjoys but is exhausted)and if she is going to take AP or IB classes in the future, it will be in her favorite subjects of science, math and english. :D

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One thing I forgot to mention is that dd did get a special PE exemption this year which allows her to get out one class period early. This too, helps to keep the homework situation in balance.


By the way - the Astros game was a great success! Our goal is to strike some sort of balance between school, dance and fun. Tonight was great fun - a nice break before the heat of Nutcracker begins!



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Also not a parent, so please delete if inappropriate. :D


Reading all this sure does take me back! I went to an intensely competitive high school where if you didn't take all the AP and college courses (we had a dual enrollment program with a local university) you possibly could, you were basically too low to be spoken too. We also had to write a 100 page thesis to graduate. At the same time, I was skating 25+ hours a week, usually 2 hours before school, 3 after, and up to 5 hours on Saturdays.


The upshot was that during my junior and senior years of high school, I wrote my thesis, took 3 courses at the university and 6 APs (plus other various and sundry classes), and had to deal with my skating schedule. I'm sure I hardly ever slept more than 5 hours a night and I know I had basically no social life, first because I was too busy, and second because I was so busy that I had no time to learn to relate to people. Even worse, I ended up going to university in Canada and they wouldn't take any of my AP or university credits. :P


Looking back on it, there are only 3 or 4 of those 9 classes that I enjoyed enough that-- given the chance-- I would take them again. Those classes were intellectually stimulating because of the teachers and the particular setup of the coursework, not because they were AP or university classes. I think people are right to question the value of taking AP classes just because they're AP, and certainly in situations where the amount of work required would result in a real "quality of life" drop. Because really how happy are DKs who are "called" to dancing going to be if they have to cut back to do an 2 extra hours of homework a night? I say, kudos to everyone who doesn't just give in to the pressure. :thumbsup:

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I just wanted to add that my daughter did drop that AP Government class, but is looking forward to the challenge of taking IB/AP classes when she is ready. I do think these dancers have a better handle on balancing their lives than I did in my high school days. I worked hard in school and in the swimming pool, had no social life and by the time I hit college, I was burnt out on school and swimming. I don't want that for my dd. Although college is Plan B, Ivy League is no longer in her plans like her big brother's. Like most dancers, she is a staight A student taking pretty advanced classes, but right now dancing is her life. I have never seen her so happy. I think that is more important than spending a couple extra hours a night doing homework for a class that won't make any difference in the major she picks if and when she gets to college. I'd rather see her dance a little more or spend time getting to know new friends at school or digging into her host sister's closet for clothes and giggling the whole time with her because she is having a great time just being a teenager. We talk about the importance of the journey and not to worry about the final destination. Whatever happens, happens, she has a passion, she's going for it, she will work like a dog towards her goal and will have no regrets when all is said and done. BUT she is going to enjoy the journey! :grinning:

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So glad to hear your dd is enjoying her new adventure!! Please give her my and dd's best!!!

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The truth is that it's only the most competitive colleges and universities - the Ivies - that require all those AP's. Even among them, there's some flexibility. Brown Univ., for example (a school my family has first-hand knowledge of), never wants cookie-cutter kids, will always look at a student's independent record. Brown has no core curriculum. They won't take a kid who's done the straight & narrow path but little else. Brown requires self-starters, independent thinkers, self-disciplined kids but not just in the able-to-do-homework-any-time-any-place-no-matter-what way. That's an important distinction from other schools and one that serves our high-achieving ballet kids well.


They still want the students who get A's, but they don't care as much about the AP's (they'll want to see some, but not a frenzied ALL) as long as the student has been independently engaged for a long period of time in an outside project. Doesn't matter much what the project is.


So Brown is ideal for ballet dancers who also have high grades. :grinning: This is probably true of all the universities without core curriculums.


The other schools, the non-Ivies (and a handful of others) - commonly known as (and oh boy, how much they hate this!) "second tier" schools - are far more flexible. They include some of the finest private institutions in our country! Now, they probably wouldn't accept a student who took no AP courses and didn't have a reason for it, but they do recognize the intensity of ballet programs and the dedication and self-discipline it requires to be part of one for years.


When I say "took no AP courses", I mean at a school who offers them. Many schools in our country don't offer AP courses or only offer one or two. That doesn't harm a student as long as they take the most challenging courses their school has to offer.


I have a packet somewhere in my file cabinet with advice to parents at the private high school my kids attended. It was prepared by the college guidance dept. I loved that packet because it addressed all the issues parents and students are concerned about. If I find it today, I will type it up and will be happy to email it to anyone interested. I wish all schools sent out such packets.


My kids were each in a different boat than the average high school student because they attended this private school practically in their backyard. Just being there made everything about college applications easier so they were very lucky in some ways. The negative part is that most of the students there applied to Ivies and other "most competitives' & since a student has to be an A student to get into this school, they were all judged against each other by admissions officers at those institutions. It still worked out fine for my kids because each of them had an overriding passion and independent spirit that caught the eye of the schools they visited.


And remember: the non-Ivies jump at our kids. Lots of money flows to them in the form of Presidential scholars, talent scholars, and grant monies. So, except for the Ivies and a small handful of other institutions, your kids have nothing to worry about.

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Algebra I is considered by some taking it and by others to be "stupid math"


I feel this is a very sad viewpoint and an indicator of just how ridiculous our educational system here in the US has become.


Most, if not all, of the adult posters on this board took algebra 1 in the ninth grade. We were not labeled "losers" by anyone. We ended up doing just fine.


I wonder why the teen suicide rate has skyrocketed in recent years?


I wonder why so many teens seem to take solace in food, drugs, alcohol and sex.


I wonder why the dropout rate of freshman and sophomores in four-year universities is astounding? (Conveniently making room for all the dummies transfering in from junior colleges.)


I wonder why so many adult children return home to live with their parents after not being able to support themselves?


Actually I don't wonder, I have a pretty strong inkling why.

Kids today HATE themselves if they are not the Best at everything!


Redstorm is right....what is the rush?????? These kids will most likely live to be 100 years old! Give me a break...


If your kids are ready for these "upper level" classes fine. If they can handle the pressure fine. If they want to be the president of their student council, take all AP and honors courses, do tremendous quantities of community service, be accepted to an Ivy, and be a soloist in the New York City Ballet fine, but please do not label those that don't "stupid" or "losers". :D


Let your dancers decide what they can handle...but if they do seem driven to be the best and most competitive at EVERYTHING, take a second look. Preferably before they crumble.


Vagansmom says it best, let them have "an overriding passion and independent spirit" this will allow them to believe in themselves and be successful in whatever path they choose to take in life.

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DD is in her 2nd week of high school. I wanted to give some time for adjustment to new schedules before I posted a response. DD has added another wrinkle to her schedule....JV cheerleading.


So far the demand for practices and games has not been too great. The JV squad doesn't travel to away games so they are only cheering for 4 games with 1 or 2 practices per week. Just enough to get in the way, though......


However, her dance schedule this year has changed significantly. We live 25 miles from her studio. Our dismissal time in NJ is different than the high schools in Rockland County, NY. Therefore, she has had to drop several dance classes that start at 3:30pm and switch to classes at lower levels. This has been difficult for her. Managing the cheerleading schedule, the dance schedule and the homework workload has been challenging but not unachievable.


Add to this already complicated schedule, Nutcracker rehearsals. Oh, and did I mention I work full-time with a 1 hour commute each way?


All in all, I do feel it's important to experience high school for all it's worth. I had some fond memories of sporting events, social life, and clubs.


Who knows where the dance path will lead? She has kept a level-head about all of this and wants to go to college, so maybe it's better this way.

Only time will tell.

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For the moment, any clubs or "extras" are definitely OUT for my overloaded 9th grade DD. She enjoys seeing her non-dancing friends on Sat nights and Sundays. She especially loves playing with all the neighborhood kids...all of whom are quite younger.


But...I'm actually starting to get quite worried about my DD's adjustment to the HS.

Like some other poster's DK's, my DD is in a very competitive high school with extremely competitive and smart kids. She loves all her teachers in the honors classes and finds them very stimulating... BUT there is so much homework I cannot believe it!!! She works 3-4 hrs a night minimum. And so many tests! I'm beginning to think my daughter CANNOT survive this HS with out stressing out unbelievably OR feeling like a loser. Perhaps every one of her middle school teachers were wrong, and she truly should not be in all these honor classes even though she got A's before. I makes me so sad to think about how much she used to love school. And be a student looking for challenges and delighted by gaining new knowledge. She is just overwhelmed with the academic pressure of the HS. And of course the hormones.


I KNOW ballet keeps her sane. She told me (crying), that knowing she can go to ballet class after school is sometimes the only thing that gets her through the day. She happily takes 15 hours of classes at the studio weekly. I know I don't have to tell the other chauffeur parents out there that it translates into much more than that... what with commuting and warm-up time. But it is truly her therapy....


I sent an email off to the guidence counselor so that he can check in with her. And I listen to her complain. And I tell her it will get better. What else can I do? How can I know if she will eventually be able to cope and stop crying all the time? Is this the part where I let her sink or swim? Is this with in the range of teenage girl behavior? HELP!

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