Updated: Jun 2, 2022
We are in our third year of homeschooling. I really can’t imagine our lives any other way. When we started our homeschool journey, my goal was to provide a top-notch education for my ASD son. The public school he attended in Tennessee just wasn’t cutting it. His previous school in Florida hadn't been much better. The straw that broke the camels back so to speak and thrust us into homeschooling was Covid. We finished the year homeschooling as the school provided no instruction at all. So, I talked to my husband about letting us give it a try for “just one more year.” Now, almost 3 years later, I homeschool for the same and different reasons. I still strive to provide my children with top-notch education with a strong foundation they can build on. However, there are new factors in our plan to continue homeschooling. You see, my daughter – currently age 11 – is an aspiring dancer. She is at the studio five nights a week during the regular dance season. Now that we are in competition season however, she can be there six days a week attending additional rehearsals. In addition to her classes and rehearsals, she also has a few private lessons each week during regular school hours. There are a lot of dancers combine that with limited studio space and limited teacher time makes for difficulty in getting a time slot. Homeschooling has been a lifesaver for her to have the flexibility to train! Homeschooling has given her the freedom to dance.
Freedom of Flexibility
We have the flexibility to be at the studio earlier in the day for private lessons, because she’s not in public school. This has allowed us to meet her teachers before the public schools dismiss instead of staying after class until 9:00 or later because that’s the only available time slot during the week. It also keeps us from having to go in on Sunday because that is the only available slot to get a solo/private scheduled on the weekend. We also have the flexibility to head to an out-of-town competition early on Friday morning without having to worry about missing school. We have a 4 day homeschool week so that frees up our Friday to do what we need to do and don't have to feel rushed or worried about dealing with the public school. It is so nice to not have to add extra days to our schedule for a solo rehearsal or a private. This flexibility has been invaluable to us.
Freedom to Rest
I have the freedom to schedule light school days on the Monday after a long dance competition weekend. Let me tell you late nights followed by early mornings makes for a very tired child and mom. This has allowed us to still “do school” while allowing Bella to rest her body and recover from the weekend. It also lets me recoup and recharge a bit because any dance mom will tell you competitions are exhausting. Public school kids don’t have that same freedom – at least not without adding an “absence” or "tardy" to their records or falling further behind. At our studio the Monday after dance competition means they still have a three hour dance practice. Then she still has her normal Tuesday - Thursday schedule. This makes for one tired little girl after the first or second day. We will bulk up our lessons leading up to these weeks so that we can do “light school” during performance week. I allow her to sleep in as late as her body needs to sleep, and then we do some reading, some math, and usually a science or history video. Most of her dance friends get up around 5-6 a.m. and hop on the bus the next morning, but I am thankful that we don’t have to do that. This is also great for my son who is a bit of a night owl. He gets the benefit of being on his rhythmic clock and performs better academically.
Freedom to Travel
At dance I've listened as another mom talked about their daughter having to do homework on the ride home from practice and competitions. Her daughter attends public school, and she had to catch up before heading back into the classroom. We know a girl who has been unable to dance her solo on a few occasions because of its conflict with her school schedule. Those darn Friday solos are a pain for public school children. We’ve had to take a day off to travel to an out-of-town performance. In those instances, I like to plan a field trip wherever we are going so our travel time can count toward our school day count. With our 4-day school week we have been able to enjoy trips of our own on non competition weeks. Her dance schedule gives her most Fridays off so we can enjoy exploring the historical places all around us.
No Homework/No Tests
I hear all the time about how much homework the girls on her team have to do when they get home from dance class. Two nights a week, we are there until almost 8:00, and it’s 8:30 before we get home. At that point, Bella needs to unwind before her brain can shut down and go to sleep. We are both so thankful that she doesn’t have to come home and do homework after a long evening of dance. She doesn’t have to cram to get her homework done before class, either. She doesn't have tests to study for and there are none of the high stakes standardized tests that just stress kids out. She doesn't have to learn to a test she has the freedom to learn things she is interested in, and she can move as fast or as slow as she needs. She is starting pre-Algebra next school year going into 6th grade and, Physical science a 9th grade course. It's been a win-win.
Freedom to Be a Kid
Because Bella doesn’t have to dedicate her free time in the evenings to doing homework, she has time to just be a kid. She has time to be outside with her friends. She can do crafts and projects and learn new hobbies. She can practice tricks on her tumble track and ride her bike. None of this means that dance comes first, in fact it is NOT the main reason we homeschool. Bella and Mikey's education is and always will be our priority. However, we plan to homeschool long-term to afford her as many opportunities as possible to live out her dream. While we didn’t start out homeschooling so she could pursue her dreams she has the freedom to do so with a few less burdens than her public-school peers. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful homeschooling journey while working around her passion for dance.
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