Advice

Confessions of a Homeschooled Ballerina

5:10:00 PM



I miss school.

A lot.

Did I just say that?

Wow. Please don't quote me on that.

Life has been quite different for the past few months as I left my public high school (go bearcats rawr rawr rawr--I still don't know the fight song) and decided to homeschool so I could have more time and flexibility to study ballet. The lack of sleep I was getting from coming home late from rehearsals and just starting my homework/eating dinner then was damaging my health and performance both at school and ballet, and I was (and am) so blessed to have had the support of my friends and family as I decided to homeschool.

I know many ballerinas face this decision of deciding whether or not to homeschool, so I want to give my honest opinions on the decision to help with the decision-making. AND to non-ballerinas: this blog post will hopefully either be an interesting look into the life of a student-ballerina and/or shine light onto the things you may take for granted at school.

The Pros and the Cons

So when I say I miss school, I miss the people... for the most part.
I miss my friends and the people I've only glanced at once while passing through the hallways, the people that have kept me awake during class with smiles and the people that have made me hit my head in frustration during group projects.
I miss the desks with gum underneath, the stupid bell that no one ever heard, and the fire alarm that would go off at random times.
I miss making faces to people across the room, eating other people's food (something I've done way too much), and pretending to speak in Spanish while the teacher was nearby.
I miss the teachers that assigned work like homework was our only passion, running around trying to cram information into our heads during lunch, and freaking out about exams with my lil' AP Euro group chat.
I miss seeing my friends everyday, even if I was in my little bubble trying to finish my homework before ballet. Even if I had no idea what they were talking about because I was too busy in my ballet world to peep into the teenage world. Even if I never went to a single school dance, and even if I silently wished I could connect more to my own friends.

Sacrificing a regular social life seemed like such an easy decision when I made it. I thought, "I'm an introvert, anyways, and I don't really have a social life anymore." But the thing is, a social life isn't just being involved in your friends' activities and being in the regular group chat. I didn't really have those things too much, so I thought I didn't have much of a social life. I now know that I am so wrong, because a social life is precious, no matter how skimpy it is. Seeing friends outside of ballet is actually very important (even if you don't interact with them all that much), mainly to remind yourself that the world does not revolve around ballet. If not, ballet can become a pretty unhealthy obsession.

Now that I am homeschooled, it definitely takes an effort to keep up relationships, especially when your friends are growing in a different direction than you since you rarely see them.  I will admit that the social sacrifices impacted me more than I thought it would, but they have also made me appreciate the presence of the people around me so much more.  Every moment I get to spend with my friends I cherish, because I genuinely miss them so much when they're not around. Everyday I am more and more grateful to have such loving people around me--yet another reminder that I have so much more than enough to be the happiest person in the world.

Disregarding everything else but ballet, homeschooling is definitely the better choice. It allows way more freedom with when/how/where you do your work, and just getting a couple more hours of sleep helps me focus and learn so much faster in class. The online program I am currently doing pretty much allows me to do my work any time and anywhere (with WiFi, of course), and that makes schoolwork much more efficient and flexible. I can stay far longer at ballet now because I don't have to rush home to start school work at 9 or 10 at night, and that reduces stress levels quite a bit. It's amazing to actually have at least a little opportunity to do things other than ballet and school!

Education wise, I will also admit that I do feel as though I am learning less, but that could be because the teachers at my old school were quite great. But it's not as though homeschooling teaches you nothing; if anything, I think it prepares you for a work life more than traditional schooling. It teaches independence and time management on new levels--after all, it's mainly you that sets the pace and teach yourself. And with more free time available, you can use that to do academic things as well (for me, that's trying to study AP European history and pass the AP exam since I'm not taking the class anymore 😅.)

The Conclusion

So yes, there are things I miss about school, and I have even cried because I miss those things so much.
But everything comes with a price, doesn't it? And for me, the price was worth it.

I have sacrificed a traditional social life and education for a better health, focus, and performance in what I love to do. I have more time to sleep and explore things I love, I get sick less often and go through far less emotional breakdowns from stress... oh, and I actually have more time to hang out with my friends!

I am not saying that there are not moments where I doubt myself and the decision I made. I am often deathly afraid that I have made the "wrong" decision. Because what if ballet doesn't work out? What if I fall horribly one day and won't ever be able to dance again? Will all my sacrifices be all for naught?
It is in these moments that I am especially reminded of why I am a Christian, and why I need Jesus. Nothing but the assurance that God has a plan can calm me down. How strange and how wonderful is it that of all the paths my life could take, that this is the one I'm on?

Ultimately, if ballet is your priority, I'd go for homeschooling IF you are sure that you are can resist the urge of procrastinating, commit to keeping up relationships, and learn things mainly on your own. After all, if that's not you, homeschooling could very well take up just as much time as traditional schooling! I also wouldn't go for homeschooling unless traditional schooling takes up a disproportional amount of time and energy and/or you have other priorities on top of school, just because I think the traditional high school experience is actually quite valuable.

It's hard for me to say whether homeschooling or traditional schooling is better; they're really quite different. For me, the content of what I learn in homeschooling is not as hard as what I learned in traditional schooling, but homeschooling does push my work ethic and independence. I can no longer turn to a friend and check whether they got the same answer; I just be confident with my own answer. Small things like that actually build up to a big difference in the overall school experience. I feel less connected to my friends outside of ballet, but I now also have time to hang out with them outside of school, as well as explore activities unrelated to ballet and school. Truly, the decision you should make depends on the person you are.

This one's a pretty short post compared to what I usually write... I have lots to say, but honestly, who wants to hear about school so much?

Comment below or contact me if you have any questions, especially about the specifics of homeschooling!
Instagram: @ballerina_and_cat
Email: thehappyballerina@gmail.com


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