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dancindaughters

For Parents with Dancers in Residential Programs

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dancindaughters

How often do you go out to visit your child in residence? How often do they come home? Do you feel that you would like to visit more often? What are factors that limit the visits (distance, cost, parents' work schedules, child's academic/rehearsal schedules)? Also, how often do you talk on the phone? Most importantly, do you feel you have a strong connection with your child, even though they are far away? My little one was away for a month this summer, and we missed each other quite a bit. The thought of her being away for the year/forever :wink: is so, SO hard. But so is the thought of her losing the chance to do what she loves.

dd, sad today

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pointeprovider

I don't have a child in a resident program, but it's something we've considered, and I hope you don't mind if I attach a question of my own for those parents who have children in residencies:

 

How do you keep track of their academic work? Do they mail papers to you? Do the grades get sent to you? If they need help with homework, or tutoring, how is that handled? Thank you!

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imdriving

My dd went away to residency this year, about 2400 miles away. Do I miss her? You bet :wink: Am I sorry? Sometimes. This has been the hardest step of her ballet journey. I will see her at parents weekend and then again for winter holiday. It is not enough and wish it could be more. I guess at 16 she was ready and seems to have no regrets. Some kids have come home or are contemplating it or have been injured and are watching class. So there are no guarantees that this step is the correct one. A friend who has been down this path with her child told me this would be the biggest and hardest unselfish act I would make. In retrospect I agree. All along this has never been about me or what I envisioned for her. I doubt I would ever choose this path voluntarily. But I would ask how you can stand in your child's way? How can you tell them no?

 

We talk on the phone most every day and IM a lot. I feel like my parenting role has changed but I still feel involved and needed. I guess you become more of a mentor and sounding board. It is hard to not be together and just give her a hug after a hard day. But our connection was strong before through necessity and strong today through choice. These kids are motivated and dynamic and want to challenge themselves. It is up to each family to decide if the kids are mature enough to handle all the problems that may come up. Taking care of one's physical and emotional needs are a skill that develops but maybe at a different rate for each kiddo.

 

I think the hardest thing for my dd is watching other students go off for the weekend. Or parents who can just drop in and visit. We aren't able to due to distance and expense. She knew this but it is still hard. So she does more dance or volunteers at the local children's museum.

 

As far as academics we receive grades twice a term and rely on dd to keep us up to date. The kids form study groups and there is tutoring and writing assistance available. The instructors are easily contacted and will conference as needed. This has really been a non-issue for dd. She came from an intense 5A school with huge classes. Now she has small classes that meet 4 days a week and it all is coming very easily at this point. She is taking AP classes and enjoying the discussions that small classes facilitate. If your child needs special help or guidance I am not sure this would be the best fit. But that is why students are approved by dance as well as the school. They are trying to get kids that are ready on both levels. I will say the school did call dd's counselor and former instructors to get an idea of what she has done as well as her potential. I appreciate their taking the time to make sure she was a good fit.

 

Hope all this helps :pinch:

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dufay

My dau cyberschools, and I can keep better track of what she is doing than I could in regular public school (not that it was ever a problem there). Most-not all- cybercourses have a "pace chart", and points might be deducted if work is late. There are some courses that do not have this, and one must depend upon the discipline of the child to keep up. I made my dau make up a master schedule so that the courses that have less oversight don't get overlooked. If she needs help-she calls or emails the teachers. They have office hours, and I have been more impressed with their responsiveness than the public school teachers.

 

This is not a residency program, per se, and in fact, there is a relationship with a public school. However, the course schedule did not work out, hence, the independent schooling.

 

Call- every day! Visit every couple months, depending upon whether she comes home for holidays. Fortunately, it's a 5 hr boring drive or a cheap plane trip.

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dancemaven

My DD has been away going on her second year. The first year was at a true residency school: She lived in a dorm situation with fabulous RAs and attended a local, well-respected high school. I visited as often as I could come up with a good reason: Move-in, of course! Parents' Weekend in October; one of two Nutcracker weekends; a long weekend in January to drive her and a couple friends to a SI audition in another city; a long weekend in February to see the residency school/high school's "CATS" collaborative production; a long weekend in May for the Spring Performance, and a long weekend for graduation 'stuff' and move-home for the summer.

 

She, in turn, came home one short weekend for her birthday (very early in the year); at Thanksgiving; for Christmas Break; for Spring Break; and went with a friend one weekend to visit her friend's aunt in another city.

 

As far as academics, well, she's a fabulous student, so there is really little that I need to keep track of. Actually, there is nothing I need to keep on top of--except to pester her to take the PSAT! :wink: I received her interim grades and semester grades. There were some guidance/course issues early in the first semester, but she learned to handle and navigate those herself. I pretty much provided only back-up suggestions. She took the initiatives and handled it all---right down to talking the principle and head of guidance into approving her request to take a two-semester online EPGY AP course second semester and sitting for the AP exam, all in less than two months. She developed quite a nice relationship with the head of guidance in this 1600-student school and managed quite well.

 

This year, she is attending a wonderful training program that does NOT have residency or academic components. The staff at the ballet school did help connect her with apartment/roommate opportunities, so that worked out fine. The academics, we were on our own.

 

Ultimately, we enrolled her in an online diploma program offered through University of Miami. She is taking honors and AP courses and is able to accelerate most of the course work. She will actually finish high school a year early as a result of this flexibility. This particular program is extremely personal and one-on-one. I have had more interaction with each and every teacher and the college counsellor assigned to her than I have had since she graduated her small private pre-K through 8th grade school! Aside from the e-mail status reports and phone calls/voice mails from her teachers, I can log onto the website and access my student's academic progress.

 

Once again, given the type student she is, I have little need to oversee or keep a close watch on her academics. But this particular high school online program makes it virtually impossible not to do so!! :pinch:

 

This year, I helped move her in, of course. I just recently met her in another city for a long weekend. Her schedule is so busy and her comfort level is so high, I don't know when she'll actually want to come home! She will be home for a few days at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but after that---????? I'll head down to visit for Nutcracker and probably any time after New Year's that I can come up with a good excuse.

 

As far as phone calls, I almost always let her decide on the phone schedule. That is, I wait to hear from her unless there is something I really need to know. She calls almost daily (and then, depending, sometimes even more! It's GREAT!) I do feel very close to her. I just miss actually seeing her dance and watching some class so that I can watch the growth.

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dancerdriver

My son is a 12 hour drive away. He is 16. We visited him this past weekend for parent's weekend. We will go again in Dec. for the Nutcracker. He will come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We'll see what second semester brings.

 

My son resides at the dorms and attends the local high school. (obviously the same program as dancemavens daughter attended last year). The school sent me interim notices and I am in contact with the director of residential services ( a new position this year) about homework habits etc. In addition. the ballet program's liasion with the local high school is always at the school and keeps track of the students progress.

 

As far as how often I talk with him. He calls several times a week and always when he wants or needs something. I am connected with him although I miss him terribly. I don't like seeing his empty room or sitting at the table as a family of 3 instead of 4 (he is a twin). But he is doing what he feels he needs so we deal with the 12 hour drive, the emptiness of the house without him and learning only those things he wishes to share with us.

 

But he is with others who share his passion and has the opportunity to dance more than the 90 minutes per day that our local school offers at his level and that is why he is there.

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cheetah

This is DS' first year at a residency program, though he did study away from home last winter and spring. We're only 35 miles from the school, so technically we could see each other a lot. But we don't. He came home for his birthday - so he could get his presents - and for an appointment. Even then, he came home as late as possible and returned to school at the earliest moment. He calls seldom - usually when he needs money. We weren't OK with this initially, but have begun to enjoy the extra time with his brothers. (He has always been our "high maintenance child", therefore requiring lots of our time and energy.)

 

He'll be home for Thanksgiving and must somehow figure out how to tolerate five days with us. His brothers miss him but will likely be very happy to send him back to school. While he'll be home in December for three weeks, I know that he's already looking for a winter program to attend or a friend to visit. He is very happy excercising his independence - and proving that he is more than capable of doing so. He could easily come home every weekend and do laundry, but he insists on doing everything at school. He's made it very clear that he wants to be the one to try and handle any problems that come up. So he has. There's not a lot of communication with academic teachers. Interims are this week for new students with mid-term grades later this month. End of semester grades will be provided. I did have contact with one teacher earlier. This actually upset him; he indicated that he felt that any problems should be brought to his attention and he would deal with them. If it was something he could not resolve alone, then we should be brought into the situation. This seems fair to us. Not by any means a good student, we are happy to see him excited that he is earning his grades totally by himself - with no one to remind him to do his homework, study, etc. I've learned that a C earned independently is more valuable than an A earned with assistance, regardless of how seemingly minor that assistance might be. (I still hate not seeing those papers, grades, assignments, etc.)We're happy that we are close enough that we can provide a brief respite if - and when - he decides he might need it. I'm not sure how I would relate to 2500 miles apart! I do miss watching him dance. But I love the extra time I now have. We're looking forward to a Nutcracker-free Thanksgiving - first time in over six years.

 

As for dancindaughters question about our connection? Yes, I feel that we continue to have a good relationship. It's just much more of an adult relationship. Once I reconciled myself to that fact (DH got there a lot quicker) then I was OK. He has a different life with specific goals and responsibilities. While we're still his parents, our roles in his new "life" have been altered. The hardest thing is not the lack of time we spend together, but the lack of control we now have over his life. (OK - lack of control that "I" have!) We no longer have the responsibility of making sure homework is done, laundry is done, studying for tests is done, meals are nutritious, etc. His behavior has clearly indicated that he is now in control of these things. Losing that control is an inevitable part of growing up but still a bit of a shock. As time passes, though, it's kind of nice to watch him fairly seamlessly take over that control. And while there are problems, he is quick to explain that at least he is learning through his mistakes. I agree with dancerdriver that it is also difficult knowing that he shares only what he wants to share - which is likely far from everything that is going on in his life. Again - a natural progression in life. At least for some kids!

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pj

Our daughter is in the same residential program as cheetah's son. However, we live 2,800 miles away (more or less). My husband and I went to drop her off and move her in, and our only plan right now for visiting is that we will fly there for Thanksgiving week. My husband's sister lives in the area, and we will all spend Thanksgiving together. 2 1/2 weeks later is the winter performance, so we will fly out for that, and then bring our daughter home for Christmas. She has to have her wisdom teeth out during that 3 week period, but after she recovers, she will do as much ballet as she can at her "home" (2 hours away from our house) studio. Beyond that time, we will take it as it comes. I assume that she will come home for spring break and again before summer program, but we are open for any changes that need to be made due to scheduling of summer programs, etc. We really have to stretch to even afford this much visiting, due to the cost of plane fares.

 

Our daughter is completing a correspondence course in addition to the normal coursework for her grade and I asked for help from the staff in arranging for a tutor for her, for this particular course, just so things don't fall through the cracks. The tutor is a staff member that my daughter met during the summer program, so we knew they would work well together. I correspond with the tutor intermittently, mostly for logistical things. My daughter and her tutor work out her tutoring schedule mutually. We will get progress reports sometime this week, and then grades will be sent home at each semester. So far, so good.

 

We get occasional phone calls, mostly daily, but not always. I don't think any of our conversations have been longer than 5 minutes. Our daughter keeps us up with what's going on with academics, friends, and ballet. I know that we don't always hear everything, but we feel fairly well connected. I don't feel a whole lot of difference than when she has gone to summer programs.

 

I actually think that our relationship has improved by this move to a residency program. My daughter loves the atmosphere, the classes, the training and the friendships. She especially loves not having to ride in the car 4 hours a day, and she likes have a social life with friends that have similar interests. We have had no parenting issues that we have had to deal with that have been beyond things that have occurred during any summer program. At age 15, she really doesn't want to spend as much time with her parents as she was spending and now she has more time to focus on her ballet and her friends, who are also in pursuit of a high level of ballet training. She is so happy that we are happy for her. This was absolutely the right move at the right time for our whole family. :wink:

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dancindaughters

It's really great to hear that things are going so well for all of you. Your dks sound very independent. I probably should mention that my dd is only 10. The program she is considering starts in grade 6. The school says it is best if the kids can start professional training at a young age, but they understand that they are not always ready to leave home. My dd mentioned that she would be happy to live in residence if she were able to come home or have us visit every weekend. That isn't too practical for us, though. I wish I had the forsight to raise my kids in a city with a professional ballet school :wink:

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NSMH

Hi dancingdaughters~

 

First year, DD was away she had only 5 credits to complete high school, due to the accelerated curriculum she took in prior years of high school. So monitoring was done via the computer, she would send the work directly to her teachers or if it was say, a large project, she would mail it home and I would get it to her teachers. Her exams were proctored to her when she came home at Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter.

 

Then, DD started college online. My involvement is limited to helping her select her classes against what might work within the rehearsal/ performances/ schedule of ballet. The college advisor is a little overwhelmed with that request...so I try to do the preliminary work with her. She selects her courses. I order her books and pay her tuition. The daily grind is hers alone as it would be if she were on a campus. Her grades are provided to us both online and through regular transcripts.

 

Visiting the first year; we moved her down and stayed for three weeks, she then came home for Thanksgiving, Dad flew down for Nutcracker and flew home with her. I went down in Feb./March for her first performances with the company. She came home following the year-round program and went back for the summer. She came home after the summer program and went back in the fall.

 

The second year, she flew home for the nasty hurricane in Sept...and the one in Oct.....Came home for Thanksgiving (BF's Idea),...and flew home for Christmas. I flew down for the end of the year performance in May. She flew home with me, and came back for the summer program. Came home after the summer program and flew back for the fall.

 

The third year, she flew home for the Oct. hurricane, did not come home for Thanksgiving (Nuts on Tour) and flew home on Christmas Day for the holiday. Spent six days home! I flew down in March/April for support and company performances. DD flew home for all of three weeks; May/June to get all appointments in etc...Dr., Dentist, Ortho., Wisdom teeth out...you get the picture..

 

The fourth year, she is a st. apprentice and working primarily with the company. As she is drawing a stipend and working with the company on a regular schedule, in addition to being in the school, it is a little different than just being a student. Thankfully, no hurricanes...she won't be home for Thanksgiving...she will be home for Cristmas, but will have to be back early to rehearse/ go back to work. I will go down in late Jan. for about three weeks....and her dad and I will go down in May.

 

The relationship; a constant evolution...the first year~2/3 phone calls a day...the second/third year a phone call a day + Im'ing + lots of cards....

 

Ah, this year, a phone call 3/4 times a week...hit and miss computer time...and a very busy daughter with a very busy schedule + all the learning that goes into being a company professional. However, the quality of conversation has evolved to that of real quality, very satisfying.

 

I never stopped parenting, I just let it evolve into a new way...and for all of us that will be different depending on the kind of children we have...Now, I feel I am on the cusp of it shifting again as she evolves into her own 'woman'...that is not to say I don't have a few grey hairs, or a few more wrinkles...but, they have been earned along with her blisters and bumps. And, I was lonely the first year; the lonliness was like grieving, mostly for her physical presence. The second and third years were more poignant in terms of missing the dailiness of her. She was more secure and I was much lonlier. I felt I missed so much despite being close to her.

 

This year is quite the challenge, due to her time constraints, I am lacking a feel for her dailiness, her routine. Conversations now, are very quick, or very long and playing mostly catch-up. This year, for the first time, I feel she really misses me ( not that she didn't before) There is some distance, but the good kind between mothers and daughters that has to happen if the daughter is to be a woman. Yet, it is still kinda hard not to be present for the subtle growth of glances, looks and body language. I am sometimes startled by how much she has changed since the last time I saw her, or since the last batch of pictures.

 

So, it doesn't necessarily become easier, but you can count on it changing and being rewarding and satisfying. It is so worth it to hear the joy and excitement for that first lead, or the first understudy or the first performance with the company... and with luck, and some blessing, I look forward to hearing about that first demi-solo and pas and principal role.

 

Much happiness to you on your journey,

My best,

 

NSMH

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2marzipans

This is my daughter's second year away at her pre-pro school. It's about 4 hours from us, so she usually doesn't come home in the fall until Thanksgiving. We try to get there to visit before then, but it can be difficult because my husband and I both have jobs which require us to work weekends. Our weekends off rarely match.

 

Last year, she lived with a host family, and this year she is sharing an apartment. The host family was a good stepping stone to the apartment living. She was already a high school graduate when she left last year, and we let her take a year's break from academics to focus on her dance training. This was her choice, and she realized she missed the challenges of academics. She goes part-time to a college this year, and it is working out well. She is getting good grades in both courses. She also enjoys being in the classroom again, and meeting kids who aren't dancers. In hindsight, an online course would have worked out last year.

 

She definitely called us more last year, so I feel she is becoming more independent and is not homesick as often. I think it is because she has made friends and is used to her dance school now. We don't talk everyday, and sometimes I have to track her down because she gets so caught up in her routine. It's good to know she's happy, but I do miss the long talks we used to have!

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5-6-7-8

My daughter (14) is away at a ballet school for the first time this year. She lives with billets as the school doesn't provide a residence. It has been emotionally difficult, especially for me! We talk on the phone every night and IM when she is online (it's also a great opportunity for me to tell her to log off and do her homework!). She doesn't have me hovering over her and telling her to do things, so she has had to learn time management (not one of her stronger traits).

 

I am fortunate that my daughter is within driving distance so she comes home every weekend for one night. Eventually she wants to attend a ballet school in a different province in which case I would only see her at holiday times. If so, it won't happen for a couple of years.

 

It's difficult to let them go, but if they have the passion and commitment, it can only be the greatest experience for them.

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Memo

Ah I am a bit jealous of you all, my DK is a 10 hour plane flight away and wont be home till Xmas. It's a long haul. All is well though. No homesickness as of yet and feeling like there is alot of improvement and a very competitive environment. :shrug:

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dancetaxi

My almost 12 year-old son is attending the same residency program as chauffeur's daughter. DS was just home last weekend for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. We also live 7 hours away by car. Unfortunately, I am a full-time college student and my holidays don't line up with DS's so it is going to be a bit more tricky for us to have frequent visits. The next time I will see him is around Christmas to see him in the Nutcracker. My husband has arranged a business trip next week to Toronto and will take time to go and meet with his teachers since we will not be able to make it for parent's days in December due to my school schedule. :)

 

I don't have much to add about academics other than I have already been in contact with DS's teacher by e-mail, and it has worked out nicely. I was always rather hands-off with his school anyway so it's not such a loss for me. (DS is fairly conscientious about getting his work done, so I never had to hover over him.) As Chauffeur said, the biggest adjustment was the style of academics, but he's found his way by now. I think we are due to get dance/academic progress reports sometime this month.

 

It was funny to hear DS say this weekend in referring to his residency that he was going "back home." :)

It really didn't take long for him to adjust.

 

I got an e-mail from him yesterday followed by a phone call letting me know that he was sick and was going to be spending the afternoon in residence. I'm sure times like this are the most difficult for them, as you always think of your family when you're not feeling well. But he is being well taken care of, so he'll be just fine. :lol:

 

We talk on the phone about every other day or so. (It may be a boy thing, I hear that this is the norm for most boys--they don't seem to call as often.) He usually calls me since his schedule is so tight, it's hard to catch him. I actually feel like we are closer now. We never fight. When he lived at home, it was more of a mother-son relationship (nagging at him to do his chores, whatever.) Now we're more like good buddies. We had a nice weekend together. We went shopping for his Halloween costume for the school dance and he told me about the girl he is going to ask to go with him. (AAAAAAHHH!! :shrug::D --But that's an entirely different thread!)

 

Anyway~ As both Chauffeur and I have stated before, there have to be other advantages than just great ballet training to make the decision on a residency program. You have to make sure your child is mentally/emotionally ready. I'm sure most people who don't know us think it is nuts to send such a young child to a residency program. But, we know him best and made the decision based on that, and we haven't regretted it one bit.

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