Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Extra Curricula - You Can't Do Everything

Goodbye classical music career
(My dream, not DD's)
At some point in your life you learn that you need to make choices. You can't do everything. No one can. There might, often, be some wriggle room to change times and dates, or fit one thing in after another, but no one goes through life without, at some point, confronting the inevitable choice of one thing over another. And sometimes it's not a matter not being able to fit it all in. Sometimes it's simply a matter of what feels comfortable.

All the above to say, we gave up clarinet. Neither of us was 100% happy about it. However, there were a number of issues that made continuing less than comfortable:

The Art Class that DD loves moved from a different day to just before Orchestra in a way that made getting to the minibus on time a source of stress every week.

Orchestra is held in the Valley of Death and totally inaccessible without private transport.

They do have a minibus from two schools but they wanted the parents to take over the organizing of it and for one of us to go with the bus every week. No parents volunteered.

They said that we needed to have private clarinet lessons if we wanted to continue in the orchestra. The one other clarinetist from DD's school dropped out and private lessons on our own would be very expensive. If DD was passionate about playing the clarinet I could find a way to have lessons. The music teacher even said he would find a solution for us (they are desperate for musicians as the school cancelled the music progamme this year so no new players are coming up and five of DD's school friends from last year pulled out this year). But she kept saying she didn't like it and wanted to stop, now that the social element from last year has gone.

Only one other kid from DD's school is still going to Orchestra and he's a boy. (He's a really nice boy and DD gets on very well with him, but she insists that they're not friends. "We only talk together because it's convenient.")

It's a real shame that the music programme at school was cancelled and that there is no school orchestra this year. But we made our decision given the circumstances. I hope we won't regret it.

We also pulled out of Swimming in the end. Both of us are 100% happy about it. It was only a five-lesson course and we agreed to it because it was still hot at the beginning of October. The lessons were postponed and postponed and by the time we had a date, the weather had changed.

Twice a week we go out in the evening, whatever the weather (we weather the weather whatever the weather), for Gymnastics - DD's new passion. We take a taxi there as we don't have a car. I won't lie, when it's cold and dark outside, we'd prefer to stay at home but we don't. We go and DD loves it once she gets there.

But to go out for swimming with all that involves - wet [now very long] hair, undressing and dressing when it's cold out, even leaving the house on a Sunday as soon as I get in from my work and having to rush to the pool to get there on time... And DD can swim to save her life so it wasn't essential. We just didn't want to so we pulled out and we'll maybe have more swimming lessons next spring and summer.

This week we were offered a place on a programme whereby 3rd Year students from the local teacher-training college (where I happen to work) volunteer to tutor weak pupils in Hebrew and maths. We're fine with maths although I would have taken maths too if we had both days free, however, one of the days is at the same time as the Art Class. So once a week DD will getting a private tutor for Hebrew, at school after school hours. Free.

The weekly schedule has settled into a routine that we can work with and are comfortable with. We have gymnastics, art, and Hebrew tutoring after school. We're both a bit sorry about the clarinet but you can't do everything. You just can't.

P.S. Please God, don't give DD the student who hates me because I made her do all the work assignments when she hates English and thought she could scrape a pass with no little effort.


  1. Sounds to me as though both of you weighed all the pros & cons and have settled on what is necessary, what is fun, and what will comfortably work for both of you! I am constantly horrified at the non-stop activities that some friends have their families involved in - it is a constant juggling act that only seems to exhaust everyone involved - but for one reason or another feel that they just can't give up on even one activity. I think it's madness but not my place to say (except a bit when I'm the shoulder they are leaning on when it all gets to be too much)! I know that all these people mean well and want the best for their children but I think that it has gotten out of hand for many. Can you imagine what it must be like for those with two or more children! I've often wondered how often schedules get mixed up and a child is left waiting somewhere because one parent thought the other was doing that run! Hope you both have a wonderful term.

    1. When I think bac to my childhood I am amazed that we had activities three nights a week from 5pm till 6.30. Two nights a week we had Hebrew classes and one night we had Brownies (my sister and I) or Cub Scouts (my brother). Otoh, they were all at the local synagogue community centre and we walked there straight from school and there was often a rota of parents for pick up. Thise were the days when you were allowed to squash 10 children into your small family car.

    2. *back *These. (I must proof read before sending).