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To Ballet, Or Not to Ballet?

Question

I'm a homeschooling mom of two (ages almost 10 and 11). My daughters are involved in a Christian ballet school as an extra curricular activity. They have been going to ballet for about three years and enjoy the classes. While we can afford these classes, our budget is tight. The classes get more expensive as the girls advance in level. Therefore, ballet is their only extracurricular because that is all we can afford. While I think ballet is a great form of exercise and use of extra time, I'm not sure that having such a narrow focus in recreational activities is best for them. While they may become excellent ballerinas, would it be better to put that money toward a variety of quality recreational activities (playing tennis, cross country skiing, etc.) for them to try out? Should they be focusing solely on ballet at the ages of 10 and 11, or should they learn to enjoy a reasonable variety of activities at a much less serious level?

Answer

Hello, and thank you for your question (to which there isn't one correct answer). The answer depends on the girls and your budget. If your girls are dedicated ballerinas and have no interest in other extra-curricular activities I see no problem with continuing. However, if either one of them is less than completely enthusiastic and willing to put in the intense and time-consuming effort that becoming a ballerina requires, I would start looking for other opportunities. You're home schooling and your girls don't get the opportunity that other kids get at school to try different sports, so you'll have to get creative. If their ballet classes don't take all of their extra time (and hopefully they don't), you can incorporate other forms of recreation as family activities. Miniature and disc golf are great recreation, as are the sports sampler programs many community centers offer which may expose your girls to activities they have yet to try. Many community centers also have tennis courts open to the public.

I understand your reluctance to encourage their "specialization" at such a young age, given the variety of options. Lots of kids don't become masters at any one sport, but learn to enjoy many. Some kids fall in love with one sport and have no interest in others. Let your girls lead on this, as they are the ones who will have to put in the effort. Give them the choice to continue in ballet, or try some other things that they think may be interesting and fun (and are approved by you and your budget).

Please write again if you need further clarification or support.

Warmly,
Wendy Faucett
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
wendyfaucett@gmail.com

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