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DD - rather SDD - is in tenth grade, homeschooling for first time so she can train privately all day with her ballet instructor.

 

Half of the time she is at her mother's house.  On those days, we typically chat over the phone, email and text to keep in touch or work on a subject.

 

I have written out a schedule with what to do each week.  That way, everyone knows what is expected.

 

This is not how I have taught my own kids, because the situations were different.  They were/are home for the academics, not for an intensive extra-curricular.  We were much more relaxed and, because I was with them all day, I knew what they were doing. 

 

She is not keeping up - at all.  Last week, at her mother's house, she did nothing.  Nothing.  She didn't respond to my requests for her work.

 

I have been mulling over what to do - let me know what you think.

 

On certain days, one subject must be entirely done.  Not ideal, of course.  But what happens is she does a little of each subject and then nothing gets completely done.  We are constantly playing catch up, for weeks.

 

I will start grading her, accordingly.  Up until now, I haven't handed out grades.  If the work is a day late, she will get penalized.

 

No phone, no computer, unless necessary to do the work (answering questions from a textbook should now be done by hand).  She is constantly distracted by these.  Of course, I can only oversee this while it is our week.

 

She does an online math class and she responds the same way - late with homework and she bombed her last test (which was handed in late like all of her other tests, no matter how many reminders I gave her).

 

I understand that transitioning to all of this is difficult.  She has taken a lot on by choosing this life.  But - she procrastinated in ps, too.  

 

I just don't know what steps to take to help her.  And relieve me of all of the pressure!  She is a super bright girl;  Most things, other than math, come very easily to her.  

 

I was hoping that you had some words of wisdom and words of advice.  

 

Oh - we have a great relationship.  Never any tension.  She cries and apologizes and worries about this too.  But then, even after serious conversations, from her father and me, she just never steps up.  Never feels a healthy amount of fear which kicks her into gear.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by lisabees
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Without a solid, consistent routine I get so mucked up.  I would really struggle if I were in her shoes.

 

FWIW, my BIL ran into a similar issue even though he was not homeschooling.  When his boys were at his ex-wife's they got nothing done.  No homework/projects/reading.  Then he would have to help them catch up when they were back with him.  It was so detrimental for all of them.

 

I am wondering, would it be possible for her to work on maybe just ONE thing while at her mother's for a while?  I realize getting only one thing done means playing a whole lot of catch up at your house but at least you know ONE thing was completed.  Maybe it will work better if she knows when she is there, she needs to do just that one thing.  If it is only the one thing, it might not seem overwhelming and she might find it easier to remember and tackle.  Is there a way to communicate with her mother directly and ask her to encourage and remind her about that one thing?  Maybe ask if the mom could ensure she doesn't have access to distractions until that one thing is done, or she only has access to distractions/fun outlets after a certain amount of that one thing is done each day?  If she could get into a routine of success with that one thing, she might be able to add on to it with something else further down the road.

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I would think you need a conference of sorts with DSD, her mother, your DH, and yourself. If all of the adults aren't on the same page, things will continue to slip through the cracks. I would write out specific goals, assignments, due dates, and consequences. Worst case, if her school work isn't done, I'd take away the ballet.

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Is her mother home during the day? My tenth grader gets very little done if a parent is not there. Sometimes we do leave him, but I know that he will end up working in the evening. Particularly if she has access to the internet, I would expect that she is using her time poorly (based on the experience of all my friends with teens).

 

Can she come to your house for the school day? Is her mother willing to enforce homework in the evenings if you report she isn't done?

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Thank you all.  Mom does have access to the weekly schedule I create, but doesn't stay on top of her.  She does work full time, but remember that SDD dances full time!  She only has a couple of hours in the am and about 4 hours in the evening.  

 

Her mother will not let her come here to work me in the mornings.  SDD has asked.  

 

The problem is that she is slipping into these ways at our house, too.  She can look like she is working on the computer or in her room, but she just isn't.

 

And, yes, the next step is to take away dance - even if it's just for a day.  That would drive her absolutely mad! ;)

 

SDD is a very good, sweet, respectful girl.  She has the kind of personality that makes it hard to get angry with!  Once she cries and apologizes, her Dad crumbles.  As stepmom, I have to walk a fine line!

 

 

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It sounds like this is not working.  Even if she were at home, 4 hours in the evening after a full day of dancing is super tough, and not something that many teens would be able to motivate themselves to do.  Where do you see her future?  Would it be better just to study for the GED and be done so she can pursue her dance?  Or is she not really destined to do that, and maybe needs to stop spending so much time on dance?

 

Priorities for her are dance right now, it seems.  If education is not important to her, this will never work.  The path she is on now is HARD and would be even if you were always there to supervise.

 

The other alternative I can see is to make all her school subjects completely online, where she is accountable totally to a third party.  She needs to face the consequences of her actions, and it would probably work best if a third party, say, failed her in a subject, than her step mom.  

 

Gently, you are not in a position to supervise her adequately in the current situation.  It must change, drastically.

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Yikes.

 

Well, we moved ds into the living room and productivity went WAY up. He can't work in a room away from

 

If Mom won't support her education, that's educational neglect isn't it? I don't get how she can keep dd from going to her school.

 

I guess sdd will have to school into the summer or miss dance while she's with you in order to catch up for what she doesn't do at Mom's.

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 SDD dances full time!  She only has a couple of hours in the am and about 4 hours in the evening.  

 

Under these circumstances, I do not think it is realistic to expect her to complete her school work.

After a full day of dancing, I cannot imagine a 16 y/o to be able to do focused academic work. I know that if I am physically exerting myself all day, the evening hours will not be productive, and neither of my kids would be capable of this either.

 

Sorry - but I think the expectation that she should do schoolwork after a full day of dance sets her up for failure. By the time she gets started, she is already exhausted from the day.

 

The only realistic option I see is to get school done before dance. If that means she has to get up at 4am, then that is what is necessary. 

Edited by regentrude
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In the current situation it looks, from the outside, like you are being set up to take the fall. You are in charge of sdd's education, but without support from mom, nominal support from dad, and testing of boundaries by sdd there isn't anyone else fully in your corner.

 

I would sit down with interested parties (you, dad and sdd?) Lay out the schedule, decide what needs to be done, when that can realistically happen, and what consequences should be. Be super realistic!

 

Will she have time after school ends and before intensives begin to spend a week or two on focused work?

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In the current situation it looks, from the outside, like you are being set up to take the fall. You are in charge of sdd's education, but without support from mom, nominal support from dad, and testing of boundaries by sdd there isn't anyone else fully in your corner.

 

I would sit down with interested parties (you, dad and sdd?) Lay out the schedule, decide what needs to be done, when that can realistically happen, and what consequences should be. Be super realistic!

 

Will she have time after school ends and before intensives begin to spend a week or two on focused work?

Agreed.

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Some kids can't teach themselves. Can you hire a tutor to sit with her for those four hours a day that she does have for school work?

Can you enforce more homework time on weekends?

 

I also wonder if your expectations might be unrealistic? I seem to remember you posting before about wanting her to be able to dance full time yet still be on an honors/AP track. Is her to-do list intensive, or 'get 'er done"?

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First: :grouphug:  How frustrating and difficult!

 

Agreeing with all of the great thoughts in the above posts.

 

Was this a "trial" with a time frame for how long this would be tried out to see if it would work? And if so, what was the agreement going into this arrangement about consequences if school work was NOT kept up? Sounds like it is time for those consequences to begin to kick in. If school is not happening after a month's trial of the new schedule, then perhaps it's time to pull the plug on this arrangement, or at least have a serious rethinking as a group meeting.

 

If there was no agreement or consequences, then it's time for the mom, dad, and DD to sit down, hash it out, write it down as a formal agreement, of what needs to happen and when, what the consequences are if that does not happen, and alternatives that everyone agrees to if things start to slip or if the agreement needs tweaking (like, a tutor, or DD comes to your house for oversight, or other suggestions from above posters). Then all three sign it and have a copy of it, so if things start to go south, unemotionally the changes or consequences agreed to will kick it.

 

If DD can actually do school via all online, that might be the way to go, as it would make her completely accountable to a third party, which solves half the problem, but doesn't help with the motivation it takes to be mostly managing her own high school education, so there is a high likelihood that, while she would feel guilty about it, all online school still might be only half-done or left to slide. Don't know… would something like K-12 provide more support and scaffolding with daily or weekly checking in with a teacher/mentor from the public school, but allow her to set her own schedule to be able to dance?

 

While I, too understand it takes time to transition into being responsible and doing a load of school work mostly on her own volition now, it just doesn't seem like she has the motivation, ability, or interest to do it, when there is dance and computer interfacing to distract.

 

I'd say going back to public high school would be the best bet for her, and she can do dance full-time in the summers and after graduation. Perhaps that might motivate working super hard and graduating early (1.5 years)??

 

Or perhaps a Performing Arts boarding school would be a better all-around option for this young lady, to give her help, boundaries, and mentoring, to be able to complete high school while focusing on dance. A random search pulled up these schools:

 

in MI = Interlochen Arts Academy

in CA = Idyllwild Arts

in ME and CT = Hyde School

in NH = White Mountain School

in MA = Walnut Hill School for the Arts

in SC = Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

 

Even better is this list by state of Dance Performance boarding schools.

 

 

You are really between a rock and a hard place with the mom having 1/2 custody, working full-time, and not cooperative nor helpful in wanting to see her DD get an education…  :grouphug:  BEST of luck to you all in finding a workable solution that keeps as many future doors open for this young lady as possible! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Were it me, I would inform the child's parents the the current situation is unworkable and that unless steps were taken to make the situation workable, I would no longer be available to direct the child's education.

 

She's only with you half the time, her mother won't step up, the child is out of the house all day doing something else, and Dad won't be the heavy because he crumbles when the child cries. How is that possibly going to result in education happening?

 

I'd resign. I would not sign on for a set-up to failure.

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Were it me, I would inform the child's parents the the current situation is unworkable and that unless steps were taken to make the situation workable, I would no longer be available to direct the child's education.

 

She's only with you half the time, her mother won't step up, the child is out of the house all day doing something else, and Dad won't be the heavy because he crumbles when the child cries. How is that possibly going to result in education happening?

 

I'd resign. I would not sign on for a set-up to failure.

Yes, this. I can't even imagine schooling a teen without having the authority to make sure the work gets done. It can be hard enough with a "nice" kid and full back up from dh.
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Are you producing a list of things to be done for the whole week, or breaking it down?

I've found one of my DC does fine with a list of things to get done on the schedule of their choosing, the other does not.

For that child, I produce for each week a 1 page 'school list' that looks roughly like:

 

Monday

 - Math    Alg   Ch 12.3

 - Vocab  WW   7 A&B

 - history          Ch 33 & 33 - reading

 - etc

Tuesday

 - Math    Alg    Ch 12.4

 - Vocab WW    7 C

 - history           Ch 33 & 34 outline and questions

 

etc.

 

and daily that child brings a stack of work to one of us to check off that they in fact got it all done.  I involve the DC in the making of the list, so they get input into how much / day, which days to do what, etc....but once the schedule is made it's a contract - they've agreed to get it done on that schedule.

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Kids that age may not have the maturity for whatifs. Putting her back in school or an online charter would help because they may force her to do credit recovery which would eat into her summer time.

 

If she procrastinate in public school and has bombed an online math test recently, she needs consequences that is hard even for a parent, worse for a stepparent. Best to take yourself out of that role of being the bad person.

 

Speak to her ballet instructor too. Some may be strict about grades. I know gym instructors who nag about grades because they want their competition gymnasts to be able to get into college with scholarship which is gpa dependent.

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I agree with a previous poster that schoolwork should be done first thing in the AM, before dance; it is unrealistic to expect it to get done after a full day training.  My own DD is spent after swim practice in early evening, so we don't really plan on doing anything major after that.  That said, I think if schoolwork is going to be a priority (and it might not be, but his has to be determined at a family conference), then the dance hours will have to be reduced accordingly, because that is a pretty intense training schedule.   

 

To the bolded:  Electronics of every stripe needs to go (unless needed for schoolwork); they are a time-waster for most teens, regardless of how busy they are training for a sport.  Keeping her nearby so she can't daydream might be a good idea, too, on the weeks she is with you.

DD - rather SDD - is in tenth grade, homeschooling for first time so she can train privately all day with her ballet instructor.

 

Half of the time she is at her mother's house.  On those days, we typically chat over the phone, email and text to keep in touch or work on a subject.

 

I have written out a schedule with what to do each week.  That way, everyone knows what is expected.

 

This is not how I have taught my own kids, because the situations were different.  They were/are home for the academics, not for an intensive extra-curricular.  We were much more relaxed and, because I was with them all day, I knew what they were doing. 

 

She is not keeping up - at all.  Last week, at her mother's house, she did nothing.  Nothing.  She didn't respond to my requests for her work.

 

I have been mulling over what to do - let me know what you think.

 

On certain days, one subject must be entirely done.  Not ideal, of course.  But what happens is she does a little of each subject and then nothing gets completely done.  We are constantly playing catch up, for weeks.

 

I will start grading her, accordingly.  Up until now, I haven't handed out grades.  If the work is a day late, she will get penalized.

 

No phone, no computer, unless necessary to do the work (answering questions from a textbook should now be done by hand).  She is constantly distracted by these.  Of course, I can only oversee this while it is our week.

 

She does an online math class and she responds the same way - late with homework and she bombed her last test (which was handed in late like all of her other tests, no matter how many reminders I gave her).

 

I understand that transitioning to all of this is difficult.  She has taken a lot on by choosing this life.  But - she procrastinated in ps, too.  

 

I just don't know what steps to take to help her.  And relieve me of all of the pressure!  She is a super bright girl;  Most things, other than math, come very easily to her.  

 

I was hoping that you had some words of wisdom and words of advice.  

 

Oh - we have a great relationship.  Never any tension.  She cries and apologizes and worries about this too.  But then, even after serious conversations, from her father and me, she just never steps up.  Never feels a healthy amount of fear which kicks her into gear.

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I would think you need a conference of sorts with DSD, her mother, your DH, and yourself. If all of the adults aren't on the same page, things will continue to slip through the cracks. I would write out specific goals, assignments, due dates, and consequences. Worst case, if her school work isn't done, I'd take away the ballet.

 

THIS.  Each of you has to be on the same page.  And, if the mom and husband aren't willing to support the homeschooling -- you will have to walk away.  THEY need to be the "bad guys."  It's nice and all to be the facilitator/organizer, but if she's not doing what she's supposed to her parents need to be the heavy.

 

Beyond that,

 

I have weekly meetings with my teens to go over what is expected each week.  I have an assignment/grade book which lists daily lessons for each subject, we go over what was completed, what may need to be re-done, what they need to finish the coming week and how they plan to accomplish their tasks.  We keep all of their grades in that same book, so I have a record of exactly what they did, and how they did it.  They write down assignments for their "A" days and "B" days (we block schedule, so the kids can do 4 subjects at the school, and 4 subjects at home).  I've found the work gets done better by only having four subjects each day vs. 7-8 each day.  I break up the core work, so that any one day is too heavy.

 

DS (16) 10th grade looks like this, which is why we ran into problems:

 

"A"                                  "B"

Precalculus                    AP Chemistry

Engineering Drawing     Hon. English 10

Robotics 1                     Advanced US History

Adv. Chorus                   Italian 2

 

The "B" days have too much work, and the "A" days are too light -- but because he's at the school, I have zero say in how the time gets spent.

 

Next year, it will look more like this:

 

"A"                                    "B"

AP English Comp             Precalculus then Calculus

AP Physics 1                    Robotics 2

Italian 3                            Western Civilization 1 & 2

Elective (tbd)                    AP Art...

 

Weekends are for finishing up projects, things that need finishing up, getting ahead so we can take extended trips during the school year, etc.  At home, we are also working on a 9 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule -- I match that up as much as possible with school vacations, but the extra time off at home allows for us to do other things as well.  I can also tell you that his Robotics course at home will be the last "period" -- everything else has to be done, graded and entered before he can start Robotics, because that class is 25% lecture and 75% hands-on programming/building.  His current Robotics instructor has been invaluable in helping me create a Robotics 2 and a Robotics 3 course that he can continue his education in this area.  Robotics is his carrot.  In the same vein, depending upon your DD's schedule, perhaps ballet can be her carrot?   But, whatever the plan -- her mom and your dh *have* to start stepping up.

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Thank you all.  Yes, I have definitely been set up to be the fall guy.  Let's just say that her mother would be extremely pleased if homeschooling didn't work out with me as the facilitator.  With that said and understanding the responsibility that I have accepted thus far...

 

Dh talked to her last night and told her that she will dance only five days a week, instead of six, unless she keeps up.

 

We will approach her instructor and explain the situation.  Instructor takes education very seriously, so she can definitely be used as an ally.  DD reveres her.

 

Dh and I will write an agreement today.  I also like the idea of a gradebook, always open for all to see.

 

 

Before agreeing to this, Dh insisted that her education be top priority.  She was in honors classes, on track for college.  His demand was that she still be on track for college, as we had (and still have) no idea if this will lead her to a job in a good ballet company.

 

Charter schools etc. were out, after doing the research.  The demand and inflexibility were too great for her situation.  If rehearsal schedule increases because of a show or ballet competition, there needs to be plenty of wiggle room.  

 

Her output is limited because of time constraints, but that is to be expected.

 

English:  Homemade by me.  Worked through Shakespeare and now feminist literature.  Next up, we will concentrate on reading and writing essays.  English is going well.  She is soaking everything up and has hand picked the studies that we do.  This helps motivate her.

 

History:  Strayer's Ways of the World.  Reads, watches Crash Course and answers Big Questions at end of chapter.  She enjoys this, but it is a slog to work through.

 

Science:  Conceptual Physics, Hewitt.  We always work through this together on our weeks.  She really loved physics after doing Big History.  This course is not inspiring to her, so it has become a slog.

 

Math:  Online Class. 

 

Spanish 3 - Breaking the Barrier and Pimsleur.  NOT working.  Thinking of making this a summer course.  Maybe at a community college or online?

 

Anatomy - CK12/Khan.  Easy.  She usually stays on top of this and relates it to dancing.  Almost finished with this and will likely do Great Courses How to Listen and Understand Great Music.  Can this work well with audio?  She can do her exercises while listening!

 

 

Proposed Schedule Changes:

 

Year long school.

 

No Spanish until summer.

 

Every day, she needs to present me with her completed work to be entered into gradebook.

 

Mornings, as many of you stated, are easier for her.  On our weeks, she works with me on the mornings.  The evenings are more distracting.  We have a busy household!

 

 

I would like to add that she is not exhausted when she comes home.  Physically and emotionally, she is fine.  No different from last year when she only danced a few hours a day. She would garner more sympathy from me if she were exhausted.  

 

She has always been known as the bright girl.  The good girl.  She is used to getting all As (Bs in math).  She wants a good college to be an option.  This morning, she asked about taking the SAT and taking APs next year, so she too is trying to be practical and is probably uncertain about her goals.

 

For everyone involved, it is a balancing act.  Giving our daughter the gift of passion is an honor.  But being practical about her education is a responsibility.

 

Thank you all for your advice.

 

 

 

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Would it help to use email to pass along a weekl l assignment list broken down by day. CC both parents.

 

She could return assignments or report completion daily via email. Would that make the assignments harder to blow off?

 

Does she need to look at some college programs to see what they are looking for? Do most students at her level still attend school? Is she going to wind up with the problem that she will be competing against other accomplished dancers who have stronger school records.

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The year is scheduled by the week.  DD emails her previous week's log to all parents.  Because they aren't too involved, they don't understand what it means or pay much attention to it.  She used to sit down with each parent for over an hour to explain each week's work, but it really became a time suck.

 

Ballet dancers don't go to college to dance.  They go straight into a company, if they're good enough.  Her college aspirations are separate from dance. And that's why it surprises me when she talks about APs and SATs, because the accomplished dancers she knows haven't gone to college - they are given a company job right out of high school. I think she knows that she needs a plan B.  Or maybe she isn't really sure what she wants. Ballet life is not an easy life.  :)

Edited by lisabees
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I don't have a highschooler.  I DO have a procrastination habit.  And that's the part that I haven't seen addressed in the replies so far.

 

You said she procrastinated in high school as well.  So, that's her norm.  And it's a BIG deal, and she probably needs focused, intensive help in that area.  I doubt she *wants* to fail as she's doing.  But..if what you know how to do is procrastinate, that's what's going to happen.

 

So rather than tighter schedules, what you need is scaffolding on how learn a way other than procrastination.  Scheduling may be part of that.  Accountability may be part of that.

 

But start by reading this article and its sequel, linked at the bottom (warning, I think there might be some language, but the content is SOOOOO good.)  That will give you a picture of what's happening in her brain.  And, depending on how you feel about the article, you might want to have her read it too.  And then maybe you and she can start to put some steps in place to address the procrastination part of the equation.

 

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html

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I don't have a highschooler.  I DO have a procrastination habit.  And that's the part that I haven't seen addressed in the replies so far.

 

You said she procrastinated in high school as well.  So, that's her norm.  And it's a BIG deal, and she probably needs focused, intensive help in that area.  I doubt she *wants* to fail as she's doing.  But..if what you know how to do is procrastinate, that's what's going to happen.

 

So rather than tighter schedules, what you need is scaffolding on how learn a way other than procrastination.  Scheduling may be part of that.  Accountability may be part of that.

 

But start by reading this article and its sequel, linked at the bottom (warning, I think there might be some language, but the content is SOOOOO good.)  That will give you a picture of what's happening in her brain.  And, depending on how you feel about the article, you might want to have her read it too.  And then maybe you and she can start to put some steps in place to address the procrastination part of the equation.

 

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html

 

Wow.  Just wow.  Those articles were amazing.

 

Thank you.

 

Indeed, practical ideas - tools for the both os us - are exactly what I need.  Thanks again for sharing.

Edited by lisabees
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You've received so much good advice so I'll just give you sympathy.   :crying:   Honestly, I think part of it is the age.  My dd sounds like the same as yours character-wise; sweet and thoughtful and just OH-SO-SORRY when she doesn't get her work done.  Life is just grand and she flits around like a butterfly, but her attention and responsibility and focus flit along with her.  I do see a good work ethic under there somewhere, so I believe with maturity, it will eventually take over.  My dd plays high-level softball, but I make decisions, with regard to the sport, that make her life (work/study/sleep time) balanced and her mental acuity doesn't suffer.

 

In any case, all the best, and I hope you can find a balance ....... and support!  

Edited by Cleopatra
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Even dropping Spanish, I'm not sure your plans are realistic. I don't think DH's "no slowing down in academics" is compatible with the level of training this girl wants to do and the lack of support (and perhaps passive resistance?) from her mom.

 

Have you considered just planning for a 5th year of high school up front? Then you could do four solid academic credits per year, rather than 5 or 6. If she doesn't get into a ballet company, you can do the 5th year of high school to finish up the last credits before graduation and do the college search and applications without the distraction of full-time ballet training.

 

Either way, I noticed you have two science credits this year: anatomy and physics. You could drop one of those, too.

 

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For the OP: I know you said dsd is conflicted about whether to go straight into a company or go to college. I have observed that many of our local girls who go on to dance professionally spend several years as a trainee or apprentice before joining our local professional company, while the girls who go to college to major in ballet (usually with a double major in something more practical) generally skip over the apprentice years and go straight into the company after graduation. So the girls wind up as company members around the age of 21-22 regardless of the route they choose.

 

Obviously there are exceptions to this with exceptionally talented students who might join NYCB or another company straight out of high school (or SAB), but those are the really rare talents. Going to a university with a good ballet program to get a degree (while dancing in the university's ballet company) is a good option to consider, especially if she's feeling conflicted. Then she would have a clear alternative course that allows her to continue pursuing ballet.

 

Maybe it would help dsd to start looking at the university ballet programs that are out there. Right now it sounds like she's floundering, but if she can visualize herself attending those schools and excelling there as a ballerina then that may help her find that focus. It could also give her a sense of what she needs to be striving for academically to get into those schools, so that she can find the motivation to get the academic work done now. 

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1) I am not sure that it is possible to dance *full* time and also do substantial amounts of school. 


 


2) I have talked about working with school with my ds's skating coach. My ds's skating coach said that when he was a serious skater and still in school, they (he and others in his program) did 4 hours a day of school each morning, as the most basic subjects (math one of them I know, and I presume history, English, science would have been the others) with no extras, electives, assemblies or anything else. They skated approx. 5 hours per day, part before school in the morning, and then all afternoon. They were not trying to do school when already exhausted (eta, ok, so you say she is not exhausted, but her behavior pattern suggests that she is something other than on top of things at the point she is supposed to be doing school, And she is being asked to do the equiv of going to night school, largely self taught, on top of a day job, at 15--which is hard for adults with more fully formed frontal cortexes to manage) from a long day of skating. So the school was condensed and given a time when it could be done well. At the same time, if they did not keep their schoolwork up they understood that they could not skate.


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. Worst case, if her school work isn't done, I'd take away the ballet.

 

 

 

I just want to share a different view.

 

I would never, ever, ever take away the dance. Sure, she's messing up in some areas.  But dance is healthy.  It is building important "educational" skills like accountability, teamwork, and performance.  It is getting her out of her chair to experience investing herself fully.  A truly failing child might have none of those assets on board.  A student doing poorly in school and quitting dance could potentially do absolutely zero, could potentially blame parents, could potentially become depressed.

 

As Cleopatra mentioned, take her age into consideration.  As Kiara and Janet mentioned (or my own take on what they said), take into consideration that ALL of us likely don't perform at 100% for 12 hours a day. 

 

We homeschool moms want everything for our kids, but realistically not many kids accomplish everything during their high school years.  It's a tough time for many kids, juggling a lot of things, including culture and new responsibilities for self-discipline and in her case multiple families.

 

Yes, keep her mind sharp for future college options (and just for life).  Yes make her aware that her decisions impact her future.  Your asking for tips on how to guide her is a great idea.  But I have seen teens fall and fall hard.  If she has one area where she's getting healthy exercise and disciplining herself, I'd hang onto that area for all it's worth, and start outlining her options from there.

 

Julie

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And piggypacking on what Julie said, when my dd is driving me crazy in this area, I always have to remind myself that what is most important is her character.  We all tend to get distracted with the academics and think that high grades and good universities are what is going to make our children most successful when really it boils down to character.  If she's dependable, thoughtful, friendly, empathetic, etc., etc. those things will probably get her much further than an A in high school math.  

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I agree with not taking away opportunities to dance, and not even threatening to take it away. DD14 is also a serious ballet dancer who has the talent and desire to pursue a professional career. At this point, all of her dance classes are at night or on the weekends, so she does her schoolwork before class. You could, though, rethink whether daytime classes are a good idea for your step-daughter. I realize that she has a unique opportunity to study with a certain teacher. But if it is not working, you could explore all the other available options. Most dancers don't train full time at her age yet, so perhaps she could wait another year or two before following the full-time plan. I'm sure you know this already and have gone around and around about it in your mind and in your discussions with your family. I'm realize I'm not saying anything you don't know.

 

It's hard to make these choices!! When you have a talented child who is working toward a career, you just have a different menu of options than someone whose child is just doing a recreational activity. With ballet, the teenage years are the main time for professional preparation.

 

It sounds like you are in a hard position, where you are responsible for overseeing the education but do not have all of the authority or perhaps even full support from all of the other adults involved. Because of that, I think some kind of written plan and contract is a good idea. If she cannot come to your house in the mornings, can she check in via Skype or FaceTime?

 

I hope that things smooth out for all of you!

 

 

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