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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Distance education options for Australians

Dance supporter

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Hi, forgive me if this has been dealt with elsewhere but it's a question for Australian parents. We live in NSW and are looking to go down the full-time path next year for classical ballet combined with distance education (Year 10). The thought of distance education is terrifying! Is anyone willing to share their opinion on the different distance education options out there and what they are really like? My child is an average student and completes the assignments and assessment tasks at the current high school but is not what I would call a self-starter, often getting into strife (with me) for leaving things to the last minute and requiring some assistance to "polish things". No such problem with dancing! I have looked into some christian distance ed options but they involve "retreats" and also don't seem to give you a ROSA at the end. Queensland options for distance education have also been mentioned - because apparently they are "more relaxed" than some NSW distance ed options - but what happens if my child discovers the full time path is not for her and wants to go back to school. Will a NSW school accept a Year 10 distance ed program done through Queensland? How tough is distance ed for a child like mine? Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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Hi Dance supporter, I went through similar dilemmas when my DD was the same age. For many reasons we decided against distance education full time, but the main one was that I would have had to reduce my work hours/ possibly stop working altogether so that I could 'teach' DD. I love my job and it helps pay for DD's ballet!

Having said that DD did complete a subject via Brisbane School of Distance Education for one year. It was not a positive experience. There were a number of reasons for this including: the subject was a language and I think probably more difficult to study via DE because of the oral/listening component required and we had issues with the teacher (which could occur regardless of how the subject was taught).

DD has many friends who have done DE and then transferred to main stream / face to face and vice versa. It doesn't seem to have been a problem gaining recognition for attainment even when swapping States/ even countries. You can check with the relevant Education boards as to their policies.

However it is just about essential to stick to the same education system for the last two years (can be spread over three years for DE) of high school, especially if you wish your DD to satisfy higher education entrance requirements.

It is very difficult to combine high schooling, regardless of the delivery method and the required hours of dance per week required if your DD's goal is to dance professionally, but it can be done.

I'm making the assumption that you already have a ballet/dance school chosen for your DD. If not and you have decided that DE is the way to go, I would suggest that you look at dance schools that have a number of students who are doing DE and who have supervised DE study sessions timetabled. DE seems to be more successful in this environment as there is structure and consistency, the kids even help each other with school work! This was the case for at least one of the schools we looked at, it was in QLD.

Before making our decision, I talked to people/friends I knew who home schooled their kids, regardless of whether they were dancers or not, to gain some idea of the pros and cons. I also talked to my DD's high school about options. There are a number of on-line forums for DE/home schooling parents. There's also lots of information on this site regarding combining education/home schooling and dance which would be helpful to you, if you haven't already found it.

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