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kikiswede

Dorm vs. Host Family

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kikiswede

Hello parents of DK's and older dancers. I haven't seen too many threads on host family options written here. I have had 4 DD's in various programs over 20 yrs. Right now I am a host mother in an SI in FLA and the program has referred me and other families as alternate living accomodations for dancers who couldn't go to a SI for budget reasons (as scholarships for dorm life are limited, ) or for dancers who are older teens who feel happier in a supervised private home, or for dance students who do not do well in a dorm situation in general. There are also students needing the quiet of a private home to tackle summer academic reading or studies they are trying to balance before returning to school in the fall!

( Although it must be said that the dorm situation is a very good learning opportunity in developing sociaL skills and new relationships with dancers.)

 

The difference can be in whether or not a dancer gets to go and study or not. Even though most programs do offer some assistance, it is often very limited. It is a wonderful and generous thing for parents to offer their homes to dance students as alternatives. In FLA, the difference can be $600 for the program for room and board vs $2500 or more to stay at a dorm. Host homes are limited however, but it would be helpful if there were a way to post these options. Some programs include the information, and others do not.

 

Who else out there is a host parent? What has been your experiences, and what do you see as the pros and cons to both? I also host dancers in Maine for year round programs.

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Rhapsody

We now live quite close to dd's studio and are considering becoming a host family for the coming year. So any information on host family experiences from the host's perspective will be appreciated.

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5-6-7-8

I'm not a host, but my dd has lived with a host family. Naturally it has it's ups and downs. Right now we are looking for another host family for her to live with beginning in September. It's a tough task very full of emotion.

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nmp1014

My dd has been in two different host family situations. I think if there is anyway to have a "trial run" with a host family that would be wonderful. For instance, if you were able to host someone for a summer program to see if the child and family would be compatible for the year round. I think the most important thing is to try to set expectations on both sides in the beginning ... as a parent you will need to decide what are and are not the host families responsibilities. Some things may seem very small but when your dk is living with another family small things can become large problems. For example, do you want a host family making dietary decisions for your dk? Who decides what type of social activities are and are not okay? These are just a few things that became a huge problems in one host family that we were involved with. I think it could have been avoided if I (the parent) had set the ground rules in the very beginning. It is important for the dk to be respectful and grateful to the host family but to remember who their parents are!!!

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vagansmom

I agree about the "trial run." We were a host family a number of years ago. I wrote about our experiences in this thread where someone asked about CPYB, but it became a thread about host families in general. We were a host family at Nutmeg Ballet:

 

CPYB Host Families

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kikiswede

. For example, do you want a host family making dietary decisions for your dk? Who decides what type of social activities are and are not okay? These are just a few things that became a huge problems in one host family that we were involved with. I think it could have been avoided if I (the parent) had set the ground rules in the very beginning. It is important for the dk to be respectful and grateful to the host family but to remember who their parents are!!!

Here it is September, and I am back on home turf again. This was an amazing summer in Florida as a host parent of 7 dancers and with the help of one other mom. I would like to respond to the questions about dietary decisions and social decisions. It has always been the case that our host home pays attention to a balanced diet for dancers. In Florida we emphasized protein, fruits, vegies, dairy or other calcium sources, and kept the junk food away. The school provided lunches. We took our dancers out on weekly shopping runs to buy their own treats, and fortunately they were pretty responsible. Once in awhile such as on Friday night we might have a treat night as a reward for all the hard work. We followed the camp's dorm rule that at 10 o'clock things should wind down to get the needed rest. Saturday night we might go to movies and get back a little later. At the malls, dancers only went out in pairs or more. The dancers also were great about keeping the host moms informed by cell phone of changes or requests.

 

In my other home, my mother and another ballet mom hosted for the local ballet SI. She had her hands full preparing healthy meals to find that one of the dancers (under 18) snubbed her nose to healthy food and opted for piles of mash potatoes, mac and cheese, pizza, etc... that the student went out and bought on her own and prepared with no one around. ( Lodging fees included breakfast and dinner.) This dancer also bucked the idea of being at home (at 10pm for younger girls and 11 for older teens.) The idea of a host family's home is to provide a social and financial alternative to residency halls/dorms, but not to vary from the basic rules of responsability that goes along with them. Overall, most dancers are a pleasure and "get it" with only an occasional dancer who looks at our host homes as a way to buck the system. It won't be long for such dance students to figure out if they are cut out for the life of a dancer or not. We ant dancers and their families to know their kids are safe and cared for.

 

We encourage parents to state their preferences to us at the get go, and ask for students to give us their input and questions at the start also. We provide rides to worship for those who want that element, and try to provide trips to malls and entertainment also. The reason we provide host homes is so talented dancers can pursue their dreams in spite of the high cost of dorm life, or if they prefer to live within a family environment. In our homes they all take part in keeping their rooms clean, helping with meals on a rotation, and planning out their laundry. During times of disagreement , we follow the "talk it out" approach with everyone directly involved sitting down to discuss the issue for immediate resolution. When needed, I will call and speak with a parent for clarity of their position and work at finding a compromise that will fit in our household and be acceptable to the student and their family as well. It is never 100 percent perfect, but a 90-95% sucessful experience with our dancers. I look forward to continuing this and encourage others elsewhere to do the same if they enjoy young people and support ballet and other forms of dance.

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Kat09

Hi I am looking for info on host families in the manhattan area - any information appreciated - my DD is 15

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dancemaven

Kat09, you would probably have better luck asking for recommendations through the particular school your DD will be attending.

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slhogan

I am looking for information about host families in general.

 

After a wonderful SI experience, DS14 has been very tempted to stay year round. Ultimately, we decided he wasn't yet old enough to leave home, However, he will be travelling there a couple times this year to spend a week in classes and generally keep in touch. This company does not have housing but will match the students with a host family. He will be staying with a host family during this year's week-long visits, and if it works out well then he may stay year-round next year.

 

This is very new territory for me to explore. Does anyone know of any host family guidelines/handbooks/contracts/agreements/etc that might be published online, perhaps on an academy's website?

 

If not, do you just go into a host situation and work out the kinks as they arrive? Or, do you meet with the family and work it all out beforehand? If working it out beforehand, what are some things to consider? Here is a few that I thought of, but I'm sure I'm missing some.

 

-- living quarters-- own bedroom? shared? What furnishings are available?

-- curfews and bedtime

-- What meals do the host family provide vs. what is the student responsible for?

-- how will student get to studios and back

-- What is student allowed to do during free time?

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lsu

slhogan, ask if the parents both work and about the children in the family to get a sense of the family dynamic.

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dcns

academic and school work-who will be monitoring this

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Blanche

As we investigated this briefly earlier this month, I would also want to know how the host family spends its free time. There would also be related transportation questions here if there was something your DK wanted to do (say with other friends)...

 

And I would also want to know how medical issues would be dealt with.

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vivaballet

I have hosted DK's a few times and we have had others who have also hosted other dancers. We have had mostly good experiences with dancers who have lived with us, but they have all been over 18 and short term. Because yours is young, the family dynamic is the most important part. We know of another student was in a home with young children and that was not a good fit. She ended up living with another family who had a dk her age. It is more difficult for the family when the student cannot drive or does not have transportation. Find out what their rules are about guests... we had one, who did not work out, who invited "friends" to spend the night... not OK with us. . Also, find out about how your medical insurance will work? Might be difficult to find "in-network" doctors if needed. We usually had a very good rapport with parents of hosted students. Our favorite hosted dancer was with us for about a month and he was like a part of our family, ate us out of house and home though :dizzy: , another one who was from overseas, and we all cried when she left as she was so interested in learning about our culture and had a great relationship with dd and other dk's at studio.

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FlexyNexy
On 7/27/2013 at 1:20 PM, Kat09 said:

Hi I am looking for info on host families in the manhattan area - any information appreciated - my DD is 15

Hi Kat, just came across your profile but somehow i am unable to send you pm. I am from UK too and would love to hear your advice on one matter. Would you be able to get in touch? Thank you x

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dancemaven

Flesh-Nexy, Kat09 has not been active here since 2015, so it it unlikely she will respond.  Secondly, as a brand new member, you do not as yet have PM privileges.  Those come later after some experience with this community.  

Please do stop by the Welcome Forum and introduce yourself and your dancer.  We ask everyone to read our Rules and Policies and to take some time nosing around the Board to see what all is here and how we operate.  We look forward to getting to know you. :)

 

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