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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Academic issues- academic options?

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After reading through this thread I have conflicted feelings. ... 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. ...To be well rounded individual makes you a better citizen and member of society both in and out off the world of ballet.


Thank you for your bravery in saying this Pasdetrois. You have touched a real nerve with me as I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to support my rising high school freshman dd in this dream while not stunting her growth academically or as a complete person. I have said clearly to anyone who will listen, that our kids should have as many life experiences as possible for many reasons but especially for kids who intend to participate in performing arts as a career. Life experiences make it possible for them to be better artists (and people). If they are sheltered by limited exposure to the world with all its beauty and all its warts, then they are likely to be shallow, stunted people who will have difficulty in believably conveying the emotion or situation as performing artists. A steady diet of only homeschooling and studio time has risks of limiting exposure to the wider world. For that matter, a steady diet of school and studio time with no other activities also limit our dks. Proms and homecomings and the awfullness of the cafeteria are one way to mature. I do feel that if parents are diligent with their homeschoolers there are other ways to expose kids to the wider world. Try volunteering in a soup kitchen, mentoring underserved kids, take time out for sporting events, go to museums, walk in the woods. All kids should have these types of exposures no matter where their formal education occurs. It's part of learning about the world.


We, parents of aspiring ballet dancers, work very hard at making sure that our kids have more and more training to reach their dreams and many times, the training happens during other life events. We have to fight for the time for our dk's to volunteer and we have to insist that dk can take a weekend off just to be a kid, go to a high school homecoming, or to visit grandma and we have to insist (and simultaneously feel guilty) that dk just needs to rest for one night. Yes, ballet schools like homeschoolers because scheduling that time for them is easier; we as parents have the right and responsibility to act in the best interest of our dancing kids. If we insist that they regularly volunteer or take a couple of hours for personal enrichment, we are modeling good adult behavior. If that means that occasionally, they miss the lead role and are in the corps or even opt out of one performance because of a missed rehearsal, we as adults need to accept that and remain committed to the larger goal of raising a well-adjusted adult.


Thankfully, society is making formal education more flexible to attain and we can use that flexibility to help our kids get the amount of training necessary for this dream but we need to make sure we are not wearing blinders. Flexible academics make it easier to train but we have to also insist that there is time for activities and exposures to grow complete, well-rounded people who are also well trained dancers. We need to use the flexibility for more training but also to fight for our dks right to grow up and experience the world they live in. For my part, I am still trying to find more hours in the day.... :clapping:

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I agree swanchat, there are ways to balance homeschooling and personal experiences. No, it isn't for everyone and each family needs to decide what is best for them. We are also looking into homeschooling for next year and my biggest concern was also missing out on normal high school experiences. However, my DD assures me that even if she were in high school, most extra-curricular activities she would opt out of anyway just as she is doing with her 8th grade year. At her present school the 8th grade does something outside of school together almost every month and she always picks dance over the activity. She does not feel as though she would be missing out but would remain in contact with her good friends, have her peers at her studio to look up to and we attend church regularly and have many family outings. I feel that as long as you don't keep them isolated and the child does not feel they are missing out they can still function in the world. Keep in mind spending the day with other ballet students is still the same as spending the day with other high school students, you still have different personalties to deal with.


Anyway, we are looking into homeschooling next year (9th grade) and then re-evaluate. To that end, anyone have any suggestions or wants to share their experiences with online high schools. We are in NJ which is not very cooperative with homeschooling and does not have any flexible charter schooling available. Any suggestions, observations, would be appreciated.

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Just to clarify, University of Miami High School does not use Florida Virtual High School curriculum. They have their own curriculum.

Hi , I am learning so much from this discussion. We are currently home schoolers. As my daughter approaches high school, it is helpful to know about University of Miami's high school program. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the number of choices for high school! Our local public high school is replacing their honors program with AP classes and I have been hearing horror stories about the amount of homework involved! I was wondering what happened to some of the high school age dance students-they had to cut back on dance classes due to the homework load. The standard classes are overcrowded and watered down to meet the needs of the unmotivated students.

We have a performing arts magnet high school, so that is another option-IF she gets in! personally, I'd rather home school her through high school, but she want the whole high school experience.

We'll see...

Edited by lynnatbeach
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I think my attitude about homeschooling is because of the children I know who are home school. I'm an older parent and I'v seen friends negotiate the world of home schooling for thirty years. I live in an area where home schooling is beyond popular. Most of the kids I know are not in the ballet world. Most are bright kids and most are accelerated and achieve early graduation. Sadly most are children with social difficulties. One I know well is currently 16 appears to be a young 12 year old. No social maturity at all and I'm afraid it is my take on the home schooled environment.


I know it can be very positive. Some of those I'v seen it work with have been young actors. That said Hollywood is enough to make anyone grow up too quickly. This group are young adults who could teach older adults a thing or two about maturing. I know volunteering and seeing the other side of life can help but I believe when a parent is always present you just have to be marching to a different drummer.


A friends children have all been homeschooled. She is so proud of her 16 year old university sophomore and the fact he's on a full scholarship, no one denies they really get an excellent academic education it's the socializing I have to argue with. Church is not enough, they have to learn where they fit and don't fit. They need to learn so much that we parents can not teach them. I'm sorry, but when so few ballet students get company contracts. Ballet is not a good enough reason to give-up so many of the benefits of the awfulness of High School and trust me I think it's a rough, tough and horrible world to navigate but a very necessary one!


I know I will rufffle feathers with this post. I apologise to everyone of you who work so hard to be the extra hands on parent that homeschooling requires. You are all diligent and caring parents. I just see the world a little differently!

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Pasdetrois, I thank you for your post. I agree with many of your points. Some rambling thoughts here:


One of the biggest things that fascinates me is what I think of as the game to skip grades and get in and out of school quickly.


They (parents and children) get an awful lot of attention for grade skipping. But by the time someone is in their mid-20's, no one else could care less (except sometimes as a curiosity) about what age they graduated school by, or how many grades they skipped. School life and real life are two entirely different things. Did you know that studies show that valedictorians fare worse in their professional lives after school than the average academic kid does when grown up?


Some general thoughts about homeschooling: I've seen it work wonderfully and I've seen it work horribly. Lots of the kids I know who are homeschooled use adult voices: inflections, phrases, etc., but they are still kids. It does make them seem odd to other young people sometimes. But they're not really odd; they've just picked up the language they're around all day long, the dialect of adulthood. When they ARE adults, it won't matter because everyone will sound like that. :flowers:


Sometimes they're that way because they really do have odd social behaviors and that's what made their parents remove them from traditional schooling. It could be a good thing, allowing the kids to grow up without being constantly ridiculed. In other cases, it could be a bad thing, a way to hide the child from the rest of the world and not learn to roll with the punches (hopefully metaphorical ones :o ). They then become the super-sensitive adults who continue to have trouble with social situations. They would have benefited from increased, not reduced, socialization as kids. I think this is the group people often think of when homeschooling is mentioned.


But we had a homeschooled kid living with us for a total of nearly two years when her summers here were included with her full year. We were her host family. She was then and still is the most comfortable, fun, natural kid I've ever known. She was the life of the party with all the teens she met while under our roof, and she still is today - just a terrifically friendly, open-hearted young woman. We should all be so lucky to have a daughter like her.

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They then become the super-sensitive adults who continue to have trouble with social situations. They would have benefited from increased, not reduced, socialization as kids. I think this is the group people often think of when homeschooling is mentioned.


Has there been a study on this that you're referring to?


I am confused by this generalization that you're asserting...I've seen plenty of adults who were sent to public schools and had plenty of "socialization" as children, who are paralysed by any social situations now.


Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but neither are traditional bricks and mortar schools.

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If I may speak for vagansmom .... I don't think she was making any generalizations. At least, that's not how I read it. I understand her to say that IF you have a kid who already experiences social difficulties, and IF you remove or cut back on further opportunities to learn socialization skills, THEN you MIGHT end up with socially impaired adults. It's important to note that vagansmom presented the opposite side of the coin as an equally valid hypothesis: that IF you have a kid who experiences social difficulties, that kid can potentially really thrive when the social impingements are removed.

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Fair enough. I just wasn't sure if there were some actual studies done on this subject.


I'd also like to add that socialization is much more than being in a room full of children who happen to share the same birth year. Those who are most comfortable in social settings are those who are most comfortable being around people of all ages.


I think it goes back to why a person chooses to homeschool; if a person chooses to homeschool to protect their children from the world, therein could lie the problem. If on the other hand, a person chooses to homeschool because they wish to broaden their children's knowledge base, then socialization opportunities arise quite often.


I believe that it is a very viable option for kids who dance, because there are so many benefits, and very few liabilities.


And parents, if you're worried about a homeschooled child's "Plan B", you can relax. Ivy League schools are actually seeking homeschooled children because they tend to be very well-rounded, intelligent, organized, creative thinkers.


See: YouTube- search words- Do schools today kill creativity? (Ken Robinson, TEDTalks)

Colleges and Universities that accept and scholarship homeschoolers

Homeschooler gets into Harvard

Can homeschoolers get enough socialization?


Edited to add: As an example, my oldest son (Who at 17, has been homeschooled since 12) has gone to Homecoming dances, Winter Dances, Spring Dances, Proms (some of these all in the same year), and many, many football games, because he has friends all over the city. I have done both online schooling with him, as well as Unschooling, and with his dance schedule, he has also been able to work p/t for a temp. agency.


I know I'm not letting this go, but it's because there are so many myths and misconceptions out there, and the truth is, there are many different ways to educate people. I think that each family needs to choose what works best for them, and that very well may be a traditional education in a school building, or it may not. Either way, people on either side of the fence needn't disparage the other.


I just want to present the concept that for ballet students who are serious, online/homeschooling may work well for them without destroying their chance at an Ivy League Graduation some day.

Edited by Clara 76
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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually I unschool at this point. I use books that I find at the library or online from Amazon, depending upon the needs at the time. My oldest has an excellent science, history, and language arts background, but was lacking in everyday math skills, so I got one of the "Dummies" books and he whizzed through that.


I just go by what their needs are at the moment, purchase books and take them on field trips to learn. They are both ahead of their peers in the important areas, so for now, I'm sticking with it.


I do have a lot of respect for learning and education in general, in whatever form works for each family. :thumbsup:

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Clara 76 - Just curious. How do you monitor your child's progress in the unschooling experiences? I'm guessing you use some standardized test to measure his progress on a yearly basis. I'm a novice in the area of home schooling, but I am an administrator in the public school system. NCLB is pretty strict on the school system.

Edited by 2LeftFeet
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As a formerly homeschooled individual ("homeschooled" through Junior year of high school) - hey, it was the 70's and my parents were hippies - I can well attest to the difficulties homeschooled children may encounter. Although I got lovely scholarships to good colleges and graduate schools, it took me years to learn the social accumen that the peers who attended public/private schools got. I also have scary and startling gaps in my education, since my parents were not teachers and did not use a complete curriculum from anywhere. I know no history, no geography, and am very weak in math. Many of my DD's dance friends are homeschooled, and though many parents do a beyond fabulous job, some of the kids are going to "graduate" and have exceedingly weak academic skills. Dance is great, but the kids need options beyond dance. I urge dance parents to use formal curricula, and to make sure that the kids participate in national annual testing to make sure they are covering all their bases and receiving the minimum necessary for college success (math through Algebra II and Geometry, 4 social studies, 4 sciences with labs, 2 years foreign language, 4 English). We live in a very homeschool-y area, and a lot of the non-dancing homeschooled kids around us appear to be lacking social skills. They, in contrast to some of the homeschooled dancers, are keeping up or excelling academically, but lagging significantly behind in social abilities. I really, really urge parents to make sure that the kids get PLENTY of social interaction - sports, scouts, clubs, etc. My own non-dancing son is absolutely brilliant (getting his first college offer at 12! He's a "recessive gene", we don't know where the math/science smarts came from!) and outpaced the academic offerings of his middle and high school very, very fast. We do let him homeschool for two subjects (Chinese with a tutor and math through an online program) but he goes to high school for several subjects a day, just so he can be around age-mates and enjoy being a high school kid, and then goes to college for the other subjects, so that he gets plenty of human interaction and experience being in a classroom. It's a pain in the neck toting him back and forth between the college and high school twice a day (he's only 14, so he won't drive until after he graduates from high school), but the payoff in friendships, fun and learning is well worth it. Thank goodness for self-employment, or I wouldn't be able to do it! While I wholeheartedly support the right to homeschool, I do have significant concerns about the skills and opportunities all children deserve to have - both academic and social. For goodness sake, if you are taking this route, be careful. When done right, homeschooling costs as much, and takes as much time, as "regular" school. It's not a way to avoid private school tuition, or the time spent in public school classes (well, okay, I do think health, PE and some of the "filler" classes in public school are wasted on dancers!). Education is precious. Please put a lot of thought into preparing your children for the future. Okay, that's my "lecture" for the week!

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That was a very thoughtful post, dance1soccer1.

My son was very advanced from a very young age; however, by the time he was 5 it became clear that we need to put him into a group setting - he was entirely too comfortable being alone! The public school exceeded our expectations in accommodating and supporting his abilities, and the help from the teachers dealing with the social aspects of his development remains invaluable.


To be honest though, we never considered homeschooling - as first-generation immigrants, we simply can't afford one of us to stay home, plus, as you so aptly mentioned, it costs a lot of money to homeschool if you want to do it right!


Dance is great, but the kids need options beyond dance.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. The reality of ballet is such that most kids will need a backup plan.

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When done right, homeschooling costs as much, and takes as much time, as "regular" school. It's not a way to avoid private school tuition, or the time spent in public school classes (well, okay, I do think health, PE and some of the "filler" classes in public school are wasted on dancers!). Education is precious.


Well said, it's clear that these kids need to put time and hard work into their ballet in order to be competitive in the adult ballet world; no short cuts can be taken. It's also clear that there will be a need for skills/knowlege after ballet careers end. Education is the key to being competitive in the adult world; no short cuts can be taken. I have heard so many of the homeschooling parents say they are doing it because it leaves more time for ballet. I do think that PE and "filler" classes can be left out if you are homeschooling but if it's being done right, that's about all the time you buy. I have told dd that if I homeschooled her, she would probably have more work! I think our educational system is failing our children in many ways. Many are so rigid in their curriculum that they do not acknowledge individual needs and talents. They refuse to count ballet as PE. If they don't offer a certain language, then tough...you have to take theirs. That's one of the reasons that homeschooling has become so popular. Homeschooling is great as long as no short cuts are taken. My grandfather said that a lot of what we have can be taken from us but our education imparts knowlege that no one can ever take. A fine education is a gift. I think this includes dance education but general knowledge of the three R's can't hurt either!

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