Why lessons revolve around dance in our homeschool seems like an odd title for an autism blog. You could easily take out dance to put in therapy in it’s place. For our stage in life, Logan needs far less outside interventions. We are able to do most if not all therapies at home these days. This enables us to focus on helping Madison pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer.
Madison has long had to be second in line to Logan’s needs. Autism has this ugly habit of rearing it’s head at the most inopportune times. She has always handled it with grace and compassion. She is fiercely protective of her big brother. She understands his needs can sometimes circumvent her wants. She has not once complained about this fact. Perhaps this is because she has never known life without autism. By the time she was born, we were entrenched in the world of autism with Logan. It is completely normal in her world to have to leave simply for Logan’s sensory issues.
It is with this sacrifice in mind that we made the executive decision after moving to Arizona that we would allow her to pursue her dream of dancing professionally first with lessons following behind. She swallowed her fears as well as overcame severe anxiety in order to audition for a highly sought after ballet pre professional program in Tucson. Much to her surprise but not mine, she was accepted on her first audition without hesitation to her age which was much younger than the other girls in the program. The director remarked to her that she has talent in addition to a work ethic that was hard to ignore. She was ecstatic yet terrified at the prospect.
She dances every Monday through Friday all day long. Thankfully it doesn’t start until lunchtime. Unfortunately it doesn’t end until bedtime some days. This does not include the stretching and practice that must happen at home as well. Her schedule literally revolves around dance at the moment.
This does not leave a ton of time for lessons. Just like we took two years off academically with Logan when he was younger, we have Madison doing a much lighter schedule than most freshman in high school. She is a voracious reader which helps out a great deal. These lessons tend to get worked on in the morning before we leave or on the weekends. There are some weeks that they simply don’t get touched until Saturday morning. That’s the beauty of homeschool.
Her current workload :
With the exception of math, she’s finished when she’s done with those books. She fell behind in math while we worked on finding a program that would fit her learning style. Therefore, she has to keep working on those lessons until she is caught up. The only time she will not work on them is when she is gone for summer intensive. That entails 3 weeks of 10 hour dance days in another state. I’m not going to make her do math as well. We will keep track of all the books she reads as well as any field trips we may be lucky enough to fit in.
Now before you run me out of town on a rail saying I’m depriving her of a solid education, hear me out. She knows that she wants to dance professionally as an adult. It would benefit her more to be under the tutelage of a high quality dance instructor to accomplish that goal. Much like an apprenticeship teaches you what you need for a specific line of work. She needs to know how to dance, how to balance a checkbook, eat healthy as well as stay within a budget. Lessons need to revolve around what she will need to know to be a successful adult in addition to a professional ballerina. If we can’t tailor her high school education to help her achieve her dreams then we aren’t doing it right.