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Academic issues- academic options?

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Guest mrroberts



I appreciate all of your feedback and am sure that you did tons of research before choosing UMOHS. The program is so much more expensive than the others I have researched. Did you find that to be the case and if so, why do you think so.

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mrroberts, I will confess that although I felt like I did quite a bit of research, it was in a rather frantic, short-time span, panic-stricken environment. So, in trying to remember exactly my thought processes and opinions on particular programs I considered, but passed-over, I'm really very fuzzy. :unsure: It was such a relief to have the decision made and move on, that I have never re-visited it---primarily because I was more than satisfied with our experience with UMOHS. But perhaps I can put our decision in some contextual frame:


As for the expense, well, because we had ruled out local bricks-and-mortar schools because of the $25,000 + price tags in the area where she would be training, and because we had orginally agreed to this online option because we felt reasonably comfortable with and expected her to enroll in the Stanford program ($12,000 for 6 credit hours), the UMOHS program ($10,500 for 6 credit hours) didn't strike me as being out-of-line. Previously, DD had taken online courses through the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University ($575/course), which was strictly the course only.


I figured the difference in '$/course' figure reflected the additional expense of the high school diploma program's obligations to manage and certify her graduation requirements, as well as the other services provided, such as, the college counselling, etc. I figured the program issuing an actual diploma was taking on much more administrative and accountability responsibilities on behalf of DD than Northwestern was in simply providing her with a single class and nothing else. So, in the scheme of things, UMOHS's program seemed (to me) to be in line with what I felt/knew to be quality programs for our DD and my academic expectations for her.


I was aware that there were less expensive programs, some of which were down-right cheap compared to UMOHS. My research (based upon my review of the courses, programs, college entrance claims and reviewing and talking to parents and kids who had participated in the programs) on those seemed to suggest to me that they were not what I was looking for for DD---which is NOT to say there was/is anything wrong with those programs. They just weren't what I was looking for for one reason or another. In regards to cheapest ones, I must say I just worried that the old adage "you get what you pay for" might apply. Whether that was a truism for those program, :shrug: .


In our case, DD was only going to need to do the online program for one year in order to finish her H.S. studies. So, we were only going to have to absorb that cost for one year. Also, with the exception of her freshman year in high school, we had always paid private school tuition. So that means the program cost wasn't as big a sticker-shock issue as it might have been if we had not already been conditioned to pay these kind of expenses.


For my student, I needed to make sure the courses were challenging and stimulating. I required all honors and AP courses be available in the courses that she had originally planned to take at the regular high school. Only a very few online high school diploma programs offered those. Also, I looked only at diploma-issuing programs because DD was only going to be doing this for a single year. I didn't even consider piece-mealing courses from one program to another. I expected to get them available to her all in one spot.


As for why UMOHS is one of the more expensive programs, :shrug: . I guess I chalked it up, in part, to the extent of the one-on-one interaction the teachers and assigned college counsellor have with not just the student, but the parents. I can't remember what all I weighed that seemed to convince me that the tuition was not out-of-line--but I'm sure a large part of it was the conditioning of having paid tuition for many more years than not, plus our experience with the Northwestern course expenses, which are if I recall correctly, considerably more than many other programs.


I know I was quite concerned about the qualifications, experience, and background of the instructors and I wouldn't have chosen UMOHS if I was unimpressed with that---and I do recall that was a concern for at least one school, but I don't remember which one.

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UMOHS does offer "one stop shopping", but it is expensive, and unless one needs the college counseling offered it is possible to take AP classes- and college level classes online thru other sources. For example, Indiana U HS requires only 5 credits to obtain their diploma, and this is easily fulfilled with their own courses, which can be their university level courses. I like the freedom to shop around, and although it does require time searching on the web. However, I have been very impressed with the teacher contact thru other vendors as well.

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I never expected to be needing to ask about this, but it may be my daughter's only option for next year (her senior year)---her ballet school's early release program is apparently transitioning to more of an apprentice-type program, in which she would be required to dance from approximately 9AM to 6PM, and perform regularly throughout the year with the company. Can those of you familiar with these online programs give any insight into whether this type of dance schedule would allow enough time to take a regular class load? And especially if there is enough time to adequately study for at least a couple of AP classes? Also, have any of your DK's regular high schools accepted an all online course load their senior year in order to receive a degree at their home high school?


Lastly, (and I apologize if there is another thread about this or if this question should be the basis of a new thread)---how difficult was it to make the decision to go this route and has it been worth it, from both the parent and student perspective? I have to admit it makes both me and my DD very nervous to consider the consequences of participating in this new, rather "full-time" dance endeavor.



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I think it would be very difficult to take a full class load with those hours, including AP classes. My D is taking AP US Hist and AP Biol (took AP English Lit last year), and those courses require a lot of reading and writing. After dancing all day, your D will be exhausted- mentally and physically. What is the minimum number she needs to graduate?

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Dufay- I'm Golconda's daughter and yes this is quite a shock, but I am hoping I will be able to make it work. I already take a heavy load of AP class this year ( AP US history, AP American Lit, AP French 5 etc.) and I understand how time consuming those classes are. Next year my only requirments are 2 credits of English, 1 credit of Econ, 1 credit of gym, and 2 credits of biology. I was planning on taking gym and bio online, while taking the rest at school for a half day, but that will probably not work out.

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In regards to mrroberts' previous line of questions: As I blow the dust of my decision-making process late last summer, let just say this regarding the 'dual-enrollment' options offered (such as through IU's online high school diploma program). I had only a very short time to sift through all the options, which I found more than a little overwhelming. In the end, I had to rely on extrapolations I made based upon previous experiences and knowledge I had regarding bricks-and-mortar schools, dual enrollment opportunities, and online AP courses.


DD's only real challenge to finishing high school in three years was the fourth year of English. We intended for her to double up and take both AP English Lit and AP English Language (which she has done quite successfully--so it is possible despite all the naysayers and well-intentioned concerns). I looked at the various English courses offered through IU and did find them rather intriguing, but I don't recall seeing any survey type literature courses, which is what the AP courses are and what first year college English classes are. I'm pretty sure that at the time I was searching, IU did not have many, if any, traditional AP courses, English or otherwise (but I'm also pretty sure they do now). However, IU did permit what would be considered "dual enrollment"--i.e., taking certain University level courses and receiving both high school and college credit.


Our local high school also offers options like that, as did the high school DD attended in connection with her residency school, as did several of the private high schools in our home town ---and each had a significant up-charge. The caveat with the dual enrollment option in every instance I was familiar with, however, is that the college credits are only good at specific, limited colleges. In the case of our home town, it would be IU. So, unless DD was actually planning to attend IU for college, those credits would not transfer as college credits. The high school college counsellor made it clear that those credits were not freely transferrable to just any college in the land.


I did not have time to really research whether that limitation would also apply to any 'dual enrollment' courses taken through the IU online high school diploma program. For my purposes, I wanted to stick with AP courses because I understood what they were, DD had had experience with them, and I knew colleges understood them (however differently they might treat them in terms of college credits or simply satisfaction of prerequisite level courses).


Given that DD would most probably be delaying college entry, I wanted her transcripts to be as recognizable in a traditional sense of courses as possible. Whether that was a short-sighted view or not, :) . I figure her application to colleges ultimately will look sufficiently creative and non-traditional that I did not want it to look totally alien.


(I based that concern on the fact that my undergraduate degree was in a very untraditional field for the graduate degree I received. The admissions folks at the graduate program told me that they really hadn't much experience evaluating applications from my undergraduate program and weren't quite sure how to consider me in the overall pool of applicants. Luckily, they did admit me-- with some reservations, I believe :unsure: , but I did just fine.)


In the end, one of the biggest factors in going the route I chose for DD was that she needed only 6 credit hours to complete the course load we had already envisioned for her before we were confronted with the online diploma situation. Thus, she really only needed one year of online academics. Because most diploma programs require a minimum number of credit hours through their program in order to qualify for the diploma, I needed to match those credit hours to the very ones I wanted for her to take. UMOHS met that criteria; most others did not.


If we had been looking at more than one year for online courses, I might have been enticed to go a more creative route. I think there are really interesting possibilities for that.


golanda and gisseleforlife,


Based upon our DD's experience (and given your previous course load), I would say it is possible for you to accomplish that. It will depend, of course, on how efficiently you are able to work, how disciplined, and how easily you read and write. I have said this before (and I know it does not seem plausible to many), but DD has completed two-semester AP courses in less than three months (and scored quite well on the AP test). She has finished every single one of her AP and Honors courses on-line this year in much less time than the school allocated. Right now, she has only the AP English Language course (two-semester course) and a very few Honors Economics (one-semester course) assignments to finish. She started both of those courses in February.


I don't post this to 'brag', but rather to show that it is possible. DD is not a genius (but she is a documented very high-functioning, motivated student). I know of many other students of DD's caliber that can do the very same thing. It strikes me, gisselleforlife, that you have the same academic acumen, focus, and discipline.


The only thing that would give me pause is your daily 9-6 schedule. When DD was involved in Nutcracker rehearsals and performances from just after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, she found she was literally too exhausted physically to be able to work mentally on any of her school work---no matter how easy it usually seemed. Her school gave her no grief (but she was also way ahead in all her courses according to their 'pace' chart).


If your schedule is going to be that steady, you might want to start with a few classes, finish those, then add others. DD did not enroll in all of her courses at once this year. We set her up with a reasonable set, balancing ones that we felt would require more time/effort with ones that were very simple for her. As she finished simple ones, we added more. As she finished more time-consuming ones, we added others. So, if possible, you might consider that type of an approach.

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Dancemaven and Dufay,

Thank you for your comments. Yes, I'm concerned about the intensity of the proposed dance schedule! (I'm wondering if it's crazy, but I guess that is another topic for another thread...) However, I do think that my daughter may be able to swing the online option as you have presented it. After looking at the various options, she seems most keen on the UMOHS program. And dancemaven, I'm completely with you about your rationale for choosing this program and their AP courses as being a bit more understandable to potential colleges. I really want my DD to have all options open, and this seems easier said than done! Has anyone here yet have any experience with their college counseling capabilities?


Dancemaven, you have alluded to how quickly you needed to make a decision and enroll your DD. How fast were you able to accomplish this? I'm guessing we have a bit more time than you, but given my DD's schedule for next year, she may want to get started on at least one of her credits this spring...



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We too are weighing the online high school option and it has been difficult to weigh all of the information. DD will be entering high school next year and really I do like the idea of the Keystone Program as it seems all-inclusive but worry whether it will be challenging enough. DD is a straight A student and does well on all standardized tests. I looked into Stanford EPGY and it seems as if this program is only for 10-12th grades. I also liked the idea of the Miami U program but the price range may be a little high for us. Any other suggestions for programs with challenging programs would be appreciated. I liked the looks of BYU and they had alot of advanced/honors courses but they only offer a transcript not an actual diploma which they say most colleges will accept but I would rather be on the safe side and actually have a diploma in hand. Any suggestions, comments would be greatly appreciated as the more I look, the more confused I become :clapping:

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golconda, the actual application, acceptance, and enrollment process in UMOHS did not take any significant amount of time. It was just a matter of having certified transcripts sent for all her previously earned credits, and whatever else the application required. I had all of that available pretty readily because she'd actually gone through the application and acceptance process for the Stanford program.


My harriedness arose because prior to July 23rd, we thought she was all set for the school year (after spending months and months sorting out what we thought would be the better of two options). Towards the end of July, she received the offer of a third training option, which we felt was hands-down superior---but it did not have an academic component to it and housing was not completely finalized.


If we couldn't work out the academics or housing issues to my satisfaction (she, of course, didn't see what there was to consider :wink::clapping: ), we needed to make non-refundable tuition payment for her residency school within a matter of days or enroll her in our local high school and complete an application for early admission to the college program. Once the third option was offered, she distanced herself from the idea of returning to the residency and the idea of coming home was viewed as closing the door on her dreams. She became very emphatic and a bit more dramatic than I was able to cope with at the time due to other obligations.


The local high school program was starting around August 12th and we would need to complete the application for early admission to the college program. The residency program started about two weeks later than our local school, but the tuition payment was due early August. So, point of no return cut-off dates for the two 'rock-and-a-hard-place' options were fast approaching.


At the time, I was also the volunteer co-ordinator for two back-to-back national championship meets and thus was trying to herd cats that had been volunteered-out due to two other national championship meets that had been held a few months earlier. My days were pretty much 7:30 a.m. to 9 or 10 at night. I didn't have much grey matter free for new problem solving and analyzing of academic programs in a genre I was unfamiliar with.


The day after I gave notice of her non-return to the residency program, I learned that her housing at the third option had fallen through. So, now I had both housing AND academics to worry about. She was accepted to Stanford and I thought we were all set. Then, upon beginning to register for the actual classes we figured out that the program's time issues were simply too rigid for her needs. So, I was back to looking at the other options.


Once we actually got to that point, the application and enrollment went very quickly and smoothly. We're talking less than a month and if I checked the dates on things, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't more like -2-3 weeks all told.


The next big problem was getting the cable people to install the internet access cable in her apartment (whole 'nuther story!!!). Once internet was established, things have gone very smoothly.


So, if you all start with some classes this spring, you'll probably be much calmer than I was. :o

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We are in the exact same boat here. And yes, the more I look the more confused I become. Can you use both on-line and local high school?


We are in the process of getting written confirmation from our local high school that ballet counts as PE and that dd can take a few courses on-line, combine it with the core classes offered by the high school and end up with a challenging curriculum and a fairly flexible schedule enabling her to increase her hours of ballet training. The core science courses were important to DD because science is her thing academically and on-line courses have a hard time matching the rigor found in brick and mortar laboratory based science. It's the lab that gets left out. Her schedule will mean sacrificing a lot of "social time" but that is nothing new and she seems thrilled with the way it is shaping up. Our local high school accepts courses from Brigham Young and she will be using those. She is particularly excited about their Russian language option! I also think the courses from BYU look good. If science and math weren't so important to dd, I think the Keystone program would be great because it offers a nice selection of English, Social Studies and upper level honors math courses. DD did some of their demos on-line and thought Keystone was fun. BYU doesn't have the demo on line so no experience there!


It sure isn't easy being the mom of a 14 year old dd with dreams of dance in her head and an academic aptitude!

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Thanks swanchat,


Unfortunatelyl we live in NJ and they are not very accepting of anything other than traditional schooling and not flexible at all, we looked into it. There are no charter schools online in NJ so we need to totally homeschool and I prefer a program where the curriculum is totally in place. Perhaps if I find one I could supplement it with the BYU courses, I'm not sure how that works. We felt the same with the Keystone program because math/science seem to be my DD's thing and we were not sure how advanced their courses are.

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After reading through this thread I have conflicted feelings. Our school really seems to like the home schooled kids as they are more flexible. Less time spent on school and much more for ballet. Yet, we have some remarkably intelligent, I mean Harvard, Yale bright kids. One actually went to Harvard last year! Looking at the ballet world with a dancer now auditioning for companies, I feel more and more that unless you really can't dance and do school adequetly, I think all young people need to be with their HS peers and not giving up on being kids. Proms and Homecomings, football games and school spirit are all important for maturation. As I say, we have homeschooled kids and I really feel for them. Socially they are in another dimension. They mature differently. They don't have to deal with many of the realities of the world, especially the ugly realities of the world. It may seem idyllic to protect our tiny people but they have to live out there on their own one day and home schooling really shelters children in an unnatural way. The world is not filled with ballet kids. I know many will say they have socialization through churches and such but the world is not filled with people who have your same belief system either.


I know many of you will scream at me for this one and I understand why. However, we are now beginning to experience the nasty side of ballet, the rejection side as we commence the company audition circuit. This is only the beginning. I'm glad my DD has some street smarts and a skin that can weather this even though her heart is breaking and she's a mess inside. Heaven only knows where she'd be if she hadn't learnt to deal with the school yard bully and the mean girls and the less that controlled teachers. We hear all the time about the benefits of home schooling from our studio. I must add, it appears to be the never married, no children teachers who believe in it the most. If ballet ultimately doesn't have a place for you, a childhood is a rememarkably high price to pay, along with all the money and time it takes. To be well rounded individual makes you a better citizen and member of society both in and out off the world of ballet. Isn't the statistic I'v read that 1 to 2% of dancing children will end up with a career. That leaves just about 98.5% needing to find another job! You can never reclaim a childhood, it's very short and we all need one!

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golconda and giselleforlife - in reference to how much time is needed for on-line courses - we found that the programs can vary considerably. But a focused, disciplined student can get through a course in a matter of weeks. Some schools put limitations on how quickly you can complete a course (I think for Keystone it was 2 months minimum) but that doesn't mean you can't do the assignments and print off the tests and complete them in hard-copy. Then you can time your actual submissions to meet the school's guidelines. We found with the classes at Keystone that one chapter a day - reading and assignments - was easily accomplished in a matter of perhaps two hours. Well - according to me, who actually liked to read. It was drudgery for DS and required a lot of prompting. The honors courses required extra projects, but nothing significant. So, basically, one or two weeks of a course according to the "proposed guideline" could be accomplished in one evening. This has also been our experience with the BYU course he is currently taking. You can read a chapter and complete the assignment within a two hour period. For his class, there are ten chapters in a one semester course. Theoretically he could have completed it over the three-week winter holidays and actually mastered the material. He, of course, is still working on it. But it is very doable. The key is actually enjoying reading and having strong writing skills. Remember that you can do one class at a time and progress much more quickly than when doing multiple courses at a time. You're not compromising learning, either, because you are truly "immersed" in the subject.


swanchat - If you opt to go with Keystone, they will accept credits from BYU. I think you only need five classes "in residence" with Keystone to get a diploma. From what we've gleaned from research, BYU - and similar programs - are becoming more popular with local schools, at least those that will accept them, because they have proctored final exams. Keystone does not.


dduffin - Not sure if this applies to NJ, but in case you haven't researched it: Another option to consider is combining homeschooling with local high school. You don't actually attend the high school (i.e. you're not a member of a class - you're still officially a homeschooled student) but you can take classes. This is a result of new legislation that many states have started passing that resulted from allegations that homeschoolers faced a certain degree of discrimination. At least in Virginia, a student can take up to two classes a semester at the local school. At first the requirement was that the classes be third year language, higher level math and science, AP classes, etc. Now, it's fairly inclusive, including PE. The only criteria is that the principal of the school must indicate that their is sufficient space in the class and the student must attend classes at the school which he or she would otherwise attend. Students may also participate in standardized testing - the schools must notify their homeschooled students of the test, date, and location, and students are allowed to participate in certain tests at no cost, just like students enrolled in the public high school. The student must provide his or her own transportation and has to leave campus once class is over. S/he is not eligible for clubs, athletics, etc. But at least here it's a viable option to get the higher level or more demanding courses. If your state doesn't offer this option now, check to see if there's a homeschool association and whether they are pushing for this change. If not, perhaps they can be encouraged to add it to their agenda.

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I do not know if it is helpful for this discussion but I know that in Utah there is Electronic high school. You can take courses that are not available at your school or to free up your schedule (non dancing child took foreign language on line to do more choir/theater at school)


The courses are available to non Utah residents as well and are taught by accredited, certified teachers.


It may help fill the gap depending on how many outside credits are allowed from your school district.


The link is http://ehs.uen.org/

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