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Ballet Talk for Dancers

highschool and ballet


sousatzka

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I must admit we still need to finish up quite a few things from last year. In hindsight I overloaded DDs on electives so their freshman year technically has more than a year's worth of credits but that's the brilliance of homeschool - we can smooth everything out as needed. I was also still trying to satisfy public school requirements just in case they would go back into that system. We have now decided that will probably never be the case so I have a ton more freedom to choose their course of study.

 

I'm trying to frontload as many things as possible and get some good electives on the books while they are still home during the day. They might be in a daytime conservatory situation next year so this could be my last chance to have a full school day. Luckily DDs are very young for their grade level so if it suits their needs, we could stretch high school into five years and they would still graduate high school at 18. Or on the flip side, we could go with the minimum requirements and they could finish with a homeschool diploma at 16.

 

Not sure they will ever tackle an AP course, maybe in their best subject or two. I'm actually more interested in and am researching CLEP tests. They haven't taken any yet but I have plans for a few next year. Some of these comments have peaked my curiosity about the flexibility of charter schools. I might look into that at some point. We investigated the local public school arts magnet but DDs felt the studio flooring condition was very poor and would have concerns with injuries if they had additional dance classes on top of their studio schedule.

 

Keeping doors open. That's my mantra.

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The conversations here are really giving me food for thought especially since I'm in the middle of planning out my DS academic school year. I have to keep reminding myself that one advantage of homeschooling is the flexibility and that I need to use it. I'm starting to like the idea of minimum requirement and finishing early so residential programs or even Trainee opportunities could be more feasible. And if Plan A doesn't work for whatever reason, he could continue schooling to meet the recommended requirement and go to Community College. As someone has already mentioned: Many paths, same destination.

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My question is how did you come to the decision to do the Minimum Graduation Requirement? What about Foreign Language? I have gone back and forth about doing the same. I'm uncertain about putting him through the extra classes to meet the Recommended Graduation Requirement, knowing that he is going to struggle and he's not going to a 4-year university right away, if ever. Our plan for him has been community college for some time now, even before Ballet.

 

In Texas, the Recommended High School plan consists of 4 credits each of English/Science/Math/Social Studies, 2 credits foreign language, and 8 electives to make 26 credits (1 credit= 1 year class). This is the requirement for acceptance into a Texas public university. However, a less publicized "Minimum" plan exists for students who are in danger of not graduating with their class or have extenuating circumstances that prevent the completion of 26 credits. Intense dance training is my son's extenuating circumstances. The Minimum plan requires 4 English, 3 each of Math/Science/Social Studies, no mandatory foreign language, and 9 electives to bring the total to 22 credits.

 

We chose to go with the Minimum Plan near the beginning of his freshman year last year. He was making some lousy grades because he had no time at all to do homework other than Sundays (he is in dance after school to 9:00 pm every day, and 9:00 - 2:00 on Saturday). I was researching a couple of ballet schools with boarding programs, and saw that most of those boarding students enrolled in online high school programs that required far fewer credits than the Texas Recommended plan. Once I verified that the Minimum Plan was okay for community college entrance, it was an easy decision. I withdrew him from his social studies class which not only reduced his work load but also gave him a study hall period to do his homework during the school day.

 

7 credits/year is the usual course load around here. Dropping the social studies class last year brought him to 6 in-school credits. Fortunately, his school allows him to count his dance as an elective each year (the benefit of a small, flexible private school!).

 

He is happy because the 5 in-school credits he'll be taking this upcoming year (sophomore year) will give him TWO study hall periods. Since one of those study hall periods is 1st period, we are considering getting him a gym membership at a gym very close to his school so he can lift weights (something he has started doing at his SI and really enjoys). Then, he just has to be at school by 2nd period. He'll do homework during his afternoon study hall.

 

BTW, I did talk to a Texas public university admissions office about the Minimum plan. They said it doesn't automatically exclude his from acceptance to a 4 year university. If he meets the college-readiness benchmarks on the SAT or ACT, then he can apply under a "holistic admission" review process and explain how his intense dance training prevented him from completing the recommended plan. He has a chance of being accepted.

 

Edited: removed details of specific 4 year plan

Edited by slhogan
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Guest Blossoming ballerina

Regarding are we on track for completing school work. And advancing to the next year !

We have needed to streamline and concentrate on what subjects are important.

Some subjects are nearly complete and others we are behind.

We are in Australia. Our school year ends in December.

I stress more than dd. maths is an area we are behind a little on. But once she finishes some subjects it will free her up, so she can concentrate on maths.

Dd still loves to read , so it's pretty high on her agenda and if she isn't warming up stretching she is reading.

 

Homeschooling certainly allows freedom for dd to attend extra classes and at times sleep in. :)

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kiwiwdancer

backstagemom- so true about the AP classes! I have seen parents force their kids to take AP classes in subjects they aren't really interested in...and many of the kids are miserable or drop out. I think AP class should be for the students who want a further study of that subject, who are passionate about it, who truly enjoy that subject, much like our DD/DS feel about dance. But AP classes have come to less of an intellectual exploration and more of a bragging rights and/or college credit thing (sad it has come to the college credit thing-due to high cost of education.)

 

mom2dcec- You have mirrored my thoughts exactly on this whole topic and you phrased the point I was trying to make in my posts here...

To KNOW YOUR CHILD and guide them based on their personality, their temperament, their capabilities and interests.

To keep talking to them about the journey as they mature and gain life experience.

I never would have thought my DD at 14 years old would ever say she wanted to go to college. But, after I forced her to get a job last year (only Sat and Sunday's for a few hours in the evenings) she found she LOVES working in a restaurant and admires the owner and would one day want to run her own business! I was shocked, because up until almost 17 years old, her world view revolved around dance. It was a huge maturation step for my DD when she realized that pursuing dance is more than the little girl fantasy she had. That it may be just a temporary career, if a career is achieved at all after all the time and work. One injury or body growth and development, among other things already discussed,could easily derail the dream. Dance, especially ballet, is DD's first love and like backstagemom and others have said on BT throughout the years, and I have headed this advice... as our parents we will give her what we can to be able to live out her artistic dream, and give her undying support and encouragement, but also guide her by presenting the realities of her career choice and trying to teach her to KEEP HER OPTIONS OPEN. To keep the grades up reasonably, I know DD will never be a straight A student, but then again one doesn't need straight A's to get into college (the high gpa helps with scholarships, but even then there are all kinds of scholarships for all kinds of people). I worked at a medical school for years and I will tell you a majority of those students were hardly all A, all AP students in high school, or college. the high GPA is vital to enter the Ivy leagues and such, but many of those IVY league people end up working alongside non-Ivy league people, so it all evens out.

 

Just know your kid, touch base with them often as they mature and experience life. The balance is important because they then are drawing on things other than dance to help make decisions about their future. Dance can still be a passion, I don't think that will ever die in DD no matter where her paths take her, but I feel confident that she will find her way because she has a variety of experiences on which to draw.You will see as they get older and the realities of making a living become more fully realized in these young people, their decisions about their future may change.

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Slhogan, thanks so much for the detailed response. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. We too live in Texas (Dallas) and he would be graduating under their requirements. Your DS graduating plans looks very similar to the plan I drafted after reading your earlier post and going to the TEA website. I was originally planning to do Spanish 1 this year but will instead do Speech and Economics. Then his Junior year I could do US Govt and double up in English with English III and Creative or Technical Writing. So that way his Senior year he could be ready for a Winter/Year-Round Program.

 

So I am so happy to have seen your post. It was really good timing because I have time to adjust this year's school schedule. I feel so much better now the we have a feasible plan A, B, and C. My husband is totally on-board. I'm so excited!! This is exactly the reason why I'm constantly on Ballet Talk, such a great resource.

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Rosepetals- sounds like we are somewhat similar. :yes:

 

All of the recent responses add to the picture and are equally helpful to me. Our online program requires 21 credits to graduate and now I realize I should probably look into credit requirements for certain colleges at some point, as well...so that I have a fuller picture of what could lie ahead if college occurs before or instead of a professional dance career. I believe someone also mentioned that their DK works better when focusing on a certain course before moving on...Interestingly, after signing up for a full load of courses and completing assignments within each, trying to work on several courses each day, my son seems to prefer just focusing on 1-2 classes, finishing and then moving on.

 

Feeling a bit more relaxed. Thanks everyone.

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I think it's good to remember as stated before we are trying to raise human beings not just dancers! We need to set them up to be well rounded productive citizens, even if they think they want something different. What a child at 14, 15, or even 16 thinks they want very well may change. And if they are allowed to poo poo school they may regret it in the future. And just because some dancers may not have a passion for school work or like studying and homework it's our job as parents to show the big picture of its importance. There are a lot of things kids don't like and that doesn't mean they aren't important to do anyway. I am trying to raise daughters that are so much more than just dancers, and sometimes I think it's easy to loose site of that in this competitive ballet world. We are willing to let other things of importance fall by the way side and even find wonderful justification for doing so ( it's not my kids passion, they wouldn't like school even if they didn't dance, they don't have enough time, they can always focus on learning later). I by no means feel the college path is for everyone and understand that dancers will most likely have to postpone full time college if lucky enough to enter a company but that doesn't mean that at a young highschool age academics should ever be put on the back burner. Intelligence is never a bad thing and will probably even go a long way in the dance world.

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Drivingtodance

In reading through this thread, there are certainly different viewpoints, which just reflects that different kids have different needs. My dd trains intensely, but has always maintained that she will attend college. I am in agreement with Violet1 that academics should not go by the wayside, especially in the early high school years, even if she ends up in the dance world. We have seen too many former dancers who are now unhappily teaching in small studios who regret that they did a bare bones education when they were young.

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flyingpersimmon

Thank you both Drivingtodance and Violet1, I really needed to hear that. I feel that academics is just as important as dance. There are no guaranties in life and it is important to provide a balance. What one kid can handle is not necessary the same as another. If my 14year DD has a difficult time handling her AP and honors schedule, then we will take a step back and reevaluate. But she won't know what her abilities are until she tries it. She has been dancing 20+ hours a week, received three dance scholarships this summer, and has managed to get straight A's in school. We have cut back on her chores at home and never expect her to babysit her siblings. We have told her that we will always support her with dance as long as she continues to make an effort with school. This is a child that called home from SI reminding me to sign her up for the Geometry math camp for when she gets home. Seven fun weeks of SI's and she is asking about geometry! I have to think that school is just as important to her as it is to us.

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I think ultimately when trying to balance high school and Ballet; it takes knowing your DK, communicating with them about their goals, and formulating a plan with different options (types of high school classes to be taken, hours allotted for Ballet, traditional high school, homeschool, immediate college, deferred college, etc). Of course academics is the priority, whether it is all AP classes or bare bones, depends on your DK needs as a student and how much training time they can manage. Again you have to know your DK. And know that as DK matures and learns more about themselves, the plan matures as well.

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Guest Blossoming ballerina

5678dance....this is my view point. I can drag all the academic books out I like but unless dd is motivated and wants to excel then its useless. Thankfully dd has not been inclined this way.

 

But saying that often dks who dance usually have drive and determination anyway. So I am using this to our advantage.

This week we have completely revamped our school approach. Or shall I say dd has. She has sorted out her subjects and arranged her time to her best advantage.

Maturity and determined to fit her schooling into her ballet life.

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This week we have completely revamped our school approach. Or shall I say dd has. She has sorted out her subjects and arranged her time to her best advantage.

Maturity and determined to fit her schooling into her ballet life.

 

This has been such a great back-to-school thread! As parents, we spend a lot of time on this board, learning *everything* we can about the training of a ballet dancer. We are actively involved in advocating for our DS's and DD's and making sure they have the best dance training available. It's great to know we can take charge of their academic training as well!

 

I think every poster here has agreed on the same 2 things:

 

1. Just as we spend time on working out our child's dance education, as parents we should be proactive in thinking about our children's school education (rather than just going with the default program the school's computer assigns automatically).

 

2. A solid high school education is important, and our dancers should have a high school education that can ultimately lead to a university degree (although, for some, the university education may not happen immediately after high school; for some, there might be an intermediate step of community college).

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Slhogan, thanks so much for the detailed response. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. We too live in Texas (Dallas) and he would be graduating under their requirements. Your DS graduating plans looks very similar to the plan I drafted after reading your earlier post and going to the TEA website. I was originally planning to do Spanish 1 this year but will instead do Speech and Economics. Then his Junior year I could do US Govt and double up in English with English III and Craetive or Technical Writing. So that way his Senior year he could be ready for a Winter/Year-Round Program.

 

I find it interesting that different states have different requirements. We switched DS over the minimum plan when I realized the Texas 'Minimum' plan was actually the same high school education required in most states. Here's a few random states:

 

Texas: Eng-4, Math-4, Sci-4, SocSt-4 (alternate 'minimum' plan allows 3 in all but English)

Florida: Eng-4, Math-4, Sci-3, SocSt-3

Kansas: Eng-4, Math-4, Sci-3, SocSt-3

Ohio: Eng-4, Math-3, Sci-3, SocSt-3

Oklahoma: Eng-4, Math-3, Sci-3, SocSt-3

Utah: Eng-4, Math-2, Sci-2, SocSt-2.5

N Carolina: Eng-4, Math-4, Sci-3, SocSt-3

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I find it interesting that different states have different requirements. We switched DS over the minimum plan when I realized the Texas 'Minimum' plan was actually the same high school education required in most states.

Slhogan, thanks again. I actually looked at Keystone Graduation Requirements and it was also the same as what you listed. We were originally going to let our DS do his Senior year in residential year-round and finish High School using Keystone. A decent plan but him finishing High School away from home made me a little nervous. Now with the information you provided, I can be proactive with scheduling and split the Senior classes over the next 2 years to finish early since we homeschool. That way he can train full-time during the day, he would have graduated High School, I would have saved a year's worth of tuition from Keystone, and he can ease into Community College at night or on-line to start towards a degree. A win-win situation. Cost effective too.

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