Tales from the Trail of a YA Author – The Art of Homeschooling

Over the past year, I’ve had some great times teaching workshops and talking about my books to members of the homeschooling community at http://www.creativelearningplace.com/ and at http://www.la-arts-collective.com/.
Parents and kids choose this learning method for various reasons, from religious or philosophical to needs based on their own specific abilities. But it’s not hard to imagine that many folks here in southern California take this path because they have the acting or performing bug. Being in the epi-center of Show Biz, homeschooling frees up both the parents and kids to pursue their dreams, get to auditions, land parts in TV shows, stage productions, commercials and dance companies, just to name a few.
I’ve recently heard back from a few of my homeschooling students and thought I’d share some of the amazing things they are doing.
A few weeks ago, Madison Browning, a homeschooler and local South Bay dancer from Dance Peninsula Ballet performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in its production of Le Corsaire. Not too shabby!.
Prior to that Madison in June attended a Ballet Summer Intensive with San Francisco Ballet.
“Dancing at San Francisco Ballet this summer was an amazing experience! I loved meeting new friends from all over the world and learning new ballet techniques. When I wasn’t dancing or resting, I was touring the city!” she said.
“This experience has definitely made me train harder and want to be a Principal dancer when I’m older,’ she said.
Another homeschooler I know, Francesca Farina, is making huge waves in the theater world. She just completed performing in a long run of “My Mother’s Keeper” in Venice, California’s Electric Lodge and garnered great reviews. The show moves fluidly back and forth between 1914 and the present, taking place within the memories of four generations of women in a show-business family. Francesca, who has landed the lead in several stage productions including “Annie” and “The Miracle Worker” played 11 –year-old Janie in “My Mother’s Keeper” and learned Yiddish, the violin and a Brooklyn accent for the show!
And Madison’s younger sister, Makenzie, is also pursuing her dream of acting in between her homeschooling lessons. Makenzie was recently cast as Veruca Salt in the play, “Willy Wonka” at the Torrance Theater Company.
“I love how I get to be so mean and nasty and not get in trouble for it! Haha! I’ve had so much fun rehearsing for the show and I can’t wait for opening night!” says Makenzie.
So homeschooling may not be for everyone, and everyone who homeschools may not go on to be a mega star, but it’s wonderful to see how some people seem to be working the system to the point that their kids are pursuing their dreams and flourishing in the art world. Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.


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