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Professional children's school?

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Has anyone had a DC attend one of these or looked into it seriously? We're facing a possible relocation for DH's job, and one option in the area (that we don't have here) is a program designed for 5th-12th graders who are "following their passions". The kids profiled on the school's website are serious competitive athletes, pre-pro dancers, actors, and writers (heavy on athletes) who are spending large amounts of time on those areas of interest. Apparently the school is sort of a hybrid of homeschooling and group activities, with the school/teachers themselves largely working with the kids 1-1 or in very small groups over the week, with only a few larger group sessions, and each child's schedule is very customized to allow a lot of time to meet the needs of practice/competition/performance or allow time for research/writing/study.


DD would need an acceleration in at least some if not all subject areas, but I rather like the idea of sort of a hybrid approach, and I think DD would benefit from being around other kids who have that same sort of intensity and drive that she has-and my gut feeling is that kids who are level 10 gymnasts at age 11, or who are third in the USA for Junior figure skating, or who have written and published three books at age 12 are likely to be a group that might actually get her wanting to spend time studying for a math competition over riding bikes.


It would definitely cost more than homeschooling, but the tuition isn't ridiculous.

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My son would love a place like that! Really, though, it sounds a lot like what we're already doing here (lots of time devoted to training, lessons done 1:1, spending time with others as passionate about training as my ds.


I guess the only added benefit would be academic group activities. Those are hard to come by here- ds has done lots of classes with other homeschoolers, but not with a group of other intense kids.

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We're going to be doing a week there next month-I'm hoping to get some questions answered about the school, and also check out homeschool groups and other things. (I'm not sure if the school follows a traditional year or a year-round schedule. Academic level is a concern, certainly. I can see real benefits to DD in being around other gifted, passionate people, even if they're not the same gifts/passions she has-and I'm also a little concerned about starting over in a move, because I can see that she's a lot more concerned with having true peers now and the chance to meet kids who "get" her than she was three-four years ago, when we pulled her from "school"-and a move would lose the connections she's developed here.

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It's got a monthly tuition charge, so it wouldn't be a charter, unless the rules are REALLY different there than here.


I have two charters on my list to check out as well. Compared to here (where charters are really, really restricted), some look like possible options, and I admit, it would be nice to at least feel like I can make a choice between apples and oranges, as opposed to apples and plastic fruit.

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I should elaborate on my answer a little, since I'm going on experience and not just gut instinct.


My high school started a magnet-esque "school within a school" for the arts. This program demanded a high level of dedication and motivation, with competitive admissions and classes until 5PM on a daily basis, with much more around performances.


This did not automatically translate into academic motivation. The program required meeting minimum academic requirements, so they did that, but most did not take on much in the way of extras such as AP classes because they didn't have time and energy to focus on both. In fact, the ones who were just doing the program for fun, rather than out of serious professional interest, were more likely to focus their attention on academics, as they didn't see it as their professional future.


I'd also want to be sure that a child with a more academic, less-showy speciality is going to fit in. Are there many others there with a STEM focus? If there are, I'd be a lot less hesitant than if it's primarily oriented towards sports and creative/performing arts (Creative writing is academic, but still something where subjects they aren't interested in are likely to be devalued if they see fiction-writing as their end goal).


All this isn't to say that the school isn't the right choice. It's just the things I'd be looking at if it were my kid.

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