Julie Lyles Carr: Real Educatin'

Friday, May 21, 2010

Real Educatin'

(1 of 8, circa late 90's)
Heatherlyn asked yesterday, "You have multiple children involved with dance? Do you homeschool them all then? It is very difficult to keep up with all the dance stuff AND all the school stuff if children attend a regular school from 9-4."

Agreed, Girl.

And it was actually this issue that led us on our homeschool journey.

 1 of 8 attended public school for first and second grade, way back in the day. We had an excellent experience and she enjoyed the classroom setting, her teachers and her classmates.

And she also loved dance.

(5 of 8, tapping it out...)

By second grade, she was asking to take more dance classes and I found myself picking her up from school, tossing her snacks over the backseat, racing to the dance school, getting her changed, running through some homework, staying at the dance school while she danced, racing home, throwing something on for dinner, shoving her through the rest of her homework, tossing her in the tub and then hustling her to bed.

And we would do it all over again the next day.


With three other little kids in tow.

Something had to give.

I figured it would be the dance schedule.

But it was 1 of 8 who offered the preemptive strike.

She asked to homeschool to make our schedule less crazed.



We had homeschooled her kindergarten year since our district only offered half-day classes and she was already reading and wanting to do more than the kindergarten curriculum offered. But homeschooling kindergarten seemed a far site less radical that homeschooling mid-elementary.

But Mike and I do believe that a well-rounded education is one that allows time for children to follow their passions. Obviously, there are activities and blisses that dovetail well into a more traditional school schedule, particularly those sports and clubs hosted by the schools.  In our situation, dance was not.  We opted to rearrange our lifestyle a bit to accommodate the demanding dance schedule. Ultimately, we would love for our kids to make careers out of what brings them bliss, even if those activities change throughout the years.

So, we took a step.

And 1 of 8 signed up for more dance steps.

Now here's the part of the post where I should go on to tell you that 1 of 8 is now dancing on Broadway and has been featured here, there and yon.


This is the part where I tell you that 1 of 8 is a double major in college in French and neuro-biology. And she heads to Paris in the fall for a year. And she is pursuing her degrees full-out, with great devotion and passion. And she is no longer taking formal dance classes.

But I do believe the experience of creating some margins in her educational life, allowing her the time to, yes, get her algebra done but also to allow her to study, in depth, hermit crabs and Viking funerals and Hitchcock and learning styles and early British history and all the other passions she's followed through the years have brought her to a place where her vision is beginning to crystallize on what drives and motivates her.

And that early path of 1 of 8 wanting to dance more has now led to 2 of 8 dancing more. And heading to Joffrey Ballet in NYC this summer.

(2 of 8, waiting to go onstage...)

And that path has allowed 3 of 8 to develop a passion for film-making and vlogging and all the writing and editing and creativity that come with that.

Because, after all, what good is all that book learnin' if at the end of it all you still haven't learned who you are?

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