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What would you do differently....


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....if you had your time over again?

I would have encouraged my DD to audition at 16 rather than do A levels I think. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but had I known just how hard it was going to be to get her to do any school work when all she actually wants to do is dance I might have seen things differently. And if I had known her dance school was going to close down at short notice I would definitely have felt differently - the last 12 months have been very hard work and I think she's been having to run very fast just to stand still really. But hindsight is a wonderful thing!

On a more light hearted note, I wish I had bought shares in lycra many years ago. With one child a dancer and another a cyclist, I hate to think how much I have spent (and will continue to spend) on brightly coloured multi-way stretch fabrics......

What would everyone else change if they had known then what they know now?

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With the knowledge we have now of associate programmes, private teachers etc, I would not have let my daughter go away at 11. She would have stayed at her little school along with her two brothers. I feel that my daughters whole life has been about ballet, she has missed out on some things that you get from not going away. This forum has opened my eyes to what is out there regarding ballet training and companies.

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I would have liked to have discovered this forum earlier than I did!

It has been a font of information and through it we discovered LCB and other lovely opportunites.

It's kept all our feet firmly planted and offered some great advice. The best bit being .....remember for most DC, its a hobby!

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I`d have put some effort into my CSE`s and O Levels,instead of thinking ,wrongly,that seeing as I was heading off to Urdang in the September after leaving school my future was secure and I didn`t have to ever worry about academic qualifications. I also wish i`d tried really hard to discipline myself to be a saver not a spender.[something i`m trying to instill in my 19 year old,who just this morning received his £900 odd maintenance loan for the term and is already spending it like water].

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I would have left Associate Schemes that although prestigious not good for dd. Didn't have the knowledge or confidence at the time as a non dancing Mum -wish I found the forum earlier.....

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I would have sent my youngest dd to a different ballet school earlier than I did and also to proper summer schools rather than the one run by her ballet school.

I guess this is something I am actually doing differently as a result of my experience with DD, though I don't have any other dancing children. But I am approaching my sons sporting interests very differently. When DD started dancing I was very passive for quite a long time. I was in a world that I knew nothing about and I sat and waited for things to be suggested to us, rather than actively seeking information and opportunities. With my son, I am actively researching what opportunities there are beyond our local area, and am a lot more confident about approaching different people for their opinions and help. And I won't be putting all our eggs in one basket this time. Plus I guess ive learned to take what children say a bit more seriously - I assumed DD would "grow out" of her passion for dancing, but it didn't happen. My son may be different of course, and if he changes tack next month, or next year, so be it. I won't be forcing him to stick with anything he doesn't enjoy, but if he does turn out to be as single minded as his sister I will be listening a bit more carefully this time.

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I would have begged and borrowed to buy a flat (maybe a shoebox) in London when my dd started vocational school over 10 years ago. Think of all the rent we could have saved if only we had known she would stay in London for so long. We could retire on the proceeds from selling.

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Contrary to Pups mum, I would have wanted dd to wait until 18 to audition rather than going away at 16.  Her destination at 18 would probably have been the same, but with much less grief along the way.

Yes, I was thinking the same re waiting until 18. :-)

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I agree with Tulip; I would not have let my son live away from home from 11 years old. I think I would also have pushed earlier for more information re facility and body types so we could have made more informed decisions. Other than that we and my DS have been very fortunate with the people we have met and the teachers DS has benefitted from. He is now an adult and happy with his dance life.

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Is it possible to ask those of you who wish they hadn't let their DC leave home at 11 the general reasons why ? Without of course disclosing anything you see as personal. It's just that as a mum whose considering/wrestling with this & having a DS who is really keen on vocational training - I would really appreciate hearing the positives & negatives of such a decision,

Apologies to moderators if this is slightly off thread & happy for you to move this post if you wish ,

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Is it possible to ask those of you who wish they hadn't let their DC leave home at 11 the general reasons why ? Without of course disclosing anything you see as personal. It's just that as a mum whose considering/wrestling with this & having a DS who is really keen on vocational training - I would really appreciate hearing the positives & negatives of such a decision,

Apologies to moderators if this is slightly off thread & happy for you to move this post if you wish ,

It is on reflection now my DS is nearly 21. I don't think he has any regret about the time he had living away at school but I feel we all missed out a little from a family perspective. He may not have got the opportunities that followed if he had not gone to his first school. However, there were a number of students in his year at Central that had not gone to a vocational school before 16 and have gone into be very successful. I think anyone making the decision should weigh up lost family time against benefit of good training. Edited by veryskint
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Is it possible to ask those of you who wish they hadn't let their DC leave home at 11 the general reasons why ? Without of course disclosing anything you see as personal. It's just that as a mum whose considering/wrestling with this & having a DS who is really keen on vocational training - I would really appreciate hearing the positives & negatives of such a decision,

Apologies to moderators if this is slightly off thread & happy for you to move this post if you wish ,

I sometimes wish DS had stayed home , but it is sometimes very hard to find enough good training for boys not to mention spending every week end travelling on a train to associate lessons - which also impacts heavily on family life .

They change so much and grow up so fast when exposed to different values than may be the case in a sheltered home environment !

Many of the questions we had and things we experienced are on a thread called

 

"Questions about the practical aspects of life at Vocational School"

That might be interesting for you to read.

It was hard when he clearly was not coping well, to be so far away , but there was lots of help and support from houseparents .

Now we've reached year 9 my DS has toughend up and had progressed much more than he did in the first 2 years - largely because he loves his present ballet master!

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Looking back we should have auditioned for other schools apart from WL in Yr7, as it's obviously harder to gain a place in later years up to US. On the other hand we have had some wonderful family times that our DD would have missed out on, and had very good teaching with associates etc, which we've had no issues with whatsoever.

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Whatever gets suggested on this thread, you'll probably get another person suggesting the exact opposite!

 

Summer schools are more designed with fun in mind, rather than serious training, even the very prestigious ones, and they can be very expensive. Consider if your money can be better spent elsewhere.

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Whatever gets suggested on this thread, you'll probably get another person suggesting the exact opposite!

 

Oh no you won't!

 

Summer schools are more designed with fun in mind, rather than serious training, even the very prestigious ones, and they can be very expensive. Consider if your money can be better spent elsewhere.

 

Residential summer schools are a good way of finding out how your dc feels they cope with being away from home, especially for those considering training at 11+ and they're also a good eye-opener for them. They can experience different teaching methods from what they are used to, and maybe different styles of dance they haven't tried before.

 

My dd didn't do any until she was about 13 (I think) and she would have benefited tremendously if she'd done some earlier. I wish we'd known about them before, but her original teacher was one of those who didn't like 'her' students doing anything outside her dance school and actively discouraged it, so didn't tell you about them.

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Billyelliott makes a very good point about the impact that 'local' training at a high level has on family life, particularly if there are other children in the family. And this doesn't just apply to ballet. It's not much fun for other children hanging around in cars or generally rather dingy church halls or being told that they can't do something at the weekend or in the evening because of their sibling's dance commitments.

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Thankyou everyone - it's always a good thing to hear different points of view & different experiences. It's always going to be a difficult decision to send your DC for training at 11 .......even if it turns out to be the right decision....... It's always going to feel like a trade off between training and family life I'm guessing !!

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Oh no you won't!

 

 

Residential summer schools are a good way of finding out how your dc feels they cope with being away from home, especially for those considering training at 11+ and they're also a good eye-opener for them. They can experience different teaching methods from what they are used to, and maybe different styles of dance they haven't tried before.

 

My dd didn't do any until she was about 13 (I think) and she would have benefited tremendously if she'd done some earlier. I wish we'd known about them before, but her original teacher was one of those who didn't like 'her' students doing anything outside her dance school and actively discouraged it, so didn't tell you about them.

Completely agree taxi4ballet. The summer schools that my dd has attended have had a high % of full time vocational students and overseas students who are most definitely not there purely for 'fun' (which is not to say that they don't play hard too). For a child who has trained in a dusty church hall local to home, the whole experience of staying away from home, working alongside full time students in great surroundings and being taught by a prestigious faculty is an incredibly inspiring thing and a huge confidence boost. Also makes going back there for auditions a lot less intimidating.

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Also Royal Ballet Ss has an extra opportunity for an audition and my daughter was approached by Elmhurst during a summer school, but she was about to start her GCSE's at Tring. Prague master ballet classes is very serious and has professional dancers attending. Some summer schools can be for fun though.

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I absolutely get the point from those who see value in the summer schools for the reasons outlined above, but see what I mean about differing opinions? It all depends on your individual experiences so far. For example, DD had never had classes in church halls, so that's alien to us. The one thing DD got out of summer school was realising she was on track for her goals without being at vocational school -in that sense it gave her confidence. But summer school didn't address the things she felt she particularly needed to work on, and that's why it wasn't a good fit for her. It would depend if you had other classes you could access in the summer, too, whether or not you think it's worth the money.

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When DD was five I looked at the 'most serious' dance school and discounted it (too full-on and terrible parking), and sent her to a local outfit run from church halls. Although her training was fine, she was too old for her grade by age 9 but as the oldest in the school, there was nowhere to move up to. They also didn't do privates or competitions so I had no idea that stuff existed. And then (oh the irony), our school merged with the serious one and she was offered privates and bumped up two grades, which was really hard after being the oldest and best in her class (going from RAD Grade 3 to Inter Foundation). I don't regret it, as she was too shy for competition work when she was younger, but I do chuckle that we ended up at the serious school in spite of my efforts!

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