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How important to encourage a range of interests in Yr7?

(57 Posts)
Bramshott Tue 13-Jan-15 10:22:24

DD1 started Yr7 in Sept and is settling in well. Music is very much her thing, but counting up this morning I realise that of 3 clubs in school and 2 clubs out of school, all are music-based. She did used to swim but stopped lessons in Yr6 and isn't that keen on joining a swimming club (although probably would if pushed). She tried Drama club at school for a bit but didn't really enjoy it.

SO - how important do you think it is to encourage a wide range of interests at age 12? Or do you accept that by this age they have by and large found their 'thing' and are focussing on it? She enjoys most of her subjects at school and reads fairly widely.

Bramshott Tue 13-Jan-15 10:23:29

Oops - sorry, just realised its 4 music clubs in school. Not really looking to cut down on the amount of music, but just wondering if I should be pushing her to do other stuff.

Hulababy Tue 13-Jan-15 10:25:27

I found that once dd was at secondary the amount of clubs she chose reduced. She had already tried out various things and knew what she enjoyed. And tbh she had far less time due to homework etc.

Seeline Tue 13-Jan-15 10:25:30

I think it is important that they have a bit of a range - most schools encourage this. Are there any other sports clubs at school she could try for fun - perhaps something she hasn't really had a go at before eg badminton/table tennis? Or how about a debating club, chess, art, or gardening (or whatever the school have?)
Outside school there is always the scouting/guiding route which encompass a wide range of different activities.

Bramshott Tue 13-Jan-15 10:37:26

Thank you for differing perspectives. I am genuinely torn on this one.

When she started Y7 we agreed that clubs and after school activities should probably take a back-seat for a while, and she was just doing 2 out of school clubs and 1 in school one. But Christmas fired up her enthusiasm for all things musical and she's now picked up a few extra!

I guess maybe the best idea is to continue to gently encourage her to give new things a try (although no chance unless friends are doing them!) and to go swimming with a friend at the weekend to keep active.

TheWordFactory Tue 13-Jan-15 10:46:55

IMHO I think everyone of all ages should be encouraged to have a range if interests.

Some physical, some intellectual , some creative.

I think everyone needs to try new things too in order for life to remain satisfying.

I consider this part and parcel of being a parent; encouraging new interests/projects/ endeavours.

TeenAndTween Tue 13-Jan-15 11:09:56

I think that as long as there is some extra curricular activity it doesn't really matter on the range. She is a more interesting person because of the additional activity she does, and by doing music in a group she is sociable. She has an answer to 'what do you like doing out of school' that isn't 'chatting on the internet' or similar. Though I agree about keeping some physical activity too.

Takver Tue 13-Jan-15 11:21:32

I'd agree it's important to keep active, but apart from that I don't see that it's a bad thing to have a focused interest once they're into secondary. You could equally say that she's doing a range of activities, they just all happen to involve music! If her friends are all musical too, it's even less surprising.

My DH sings medieval church music, performs in musical theatre/panto and is currently learning a new instrument - I would say to me that seems like a varied range of interests . . .

GentlyBenevolent Tue 13-Jan-15 11:46:32

I would say, if asked, that DD1 has a range of interests (although in truth I think her interests currently start and stop at zombies) but as for her huge amount of EC activities - all of them are to a greater or lesser extent music related (even her drama group is focussed on MT rather than straight acting). But I think that's fine. Similarly DD2, who is the same age as your DD - just started Y7, does a lot of stuff (after school activities every day and stuff at weekends) all either music or dance but her true focus in life is honing her knowledge of Friends in case she is ever on mastermind and has that as her specialist subject (I assume that's why she knows every episode off by heart. Can't think of any other reason). I think that's fine. I run, but I'm not going to drag any of my kids out running with me if they don't want to (they don't) just so that I can say they have a varied range of interests.

Hakluyt Tue 13-Jan-15 14:46:34

I did my best to ensure that my sporty one maintains a non-sporty club and vice versa. Apart from that, once they got to secondary school I left thm to it.

Bramshott Wed 14-Jan-15 10:43:24

Thank you everyone - this is really useful.

I take your point about a range of musical interests Tavker. Yesterday's new thing was percussion club which is a completely new departure for her grin!

I think I'm going to let it go for now, encourage her to keep active at the weekends, and see how it goes. It may be that she will pick up a new activity by herself (always the best way!), and in the meantime she has more than enough to keep her busy!

BrendaBlackhead Wed 14-Jan-15 12:13:54

5 clubs is a miracle!

The dcs are not "joiners" and it took me some years to work out that in complaining about it it was a good case of the pot calling the kettle black. I hate clubs! I join with good intentions and then have that depressing sinking feeling of, "Oh, no, it's Wednesday and I have to go to (eg!) Scottish Country Dancing..."

Dd actually tied herself to the banisters with two dressing-gown cords to avoid having to go to Brownies, and my bright suggestions of various clubs and societies are always met with glowers and groans.

I think it is important though to keep physically active - but what do you do if you're the sort who is always picked last and a sofa lover? I would be glad of suggestions for my dcs!

lemonhope Wed 14-Jan-15 12:20:26

I think a range is best in year 7 but also that sports clubs are invaluable.

Also years 7 and 8 should be years when they are still finding their likes and dislikes - by year 9 they have more work and by year 10 it is hard to fit clubs in.

lemonhope Wed 14-Jan-15 12:21:47

brenda i can't help because mine are relentlessly sporty but if my children did no sport whatsoever I would insist on something. Swimming is a good one. But ask them what they would like to try.

BrendaBlackhead Wed 14-Jan-15 12:59:30

It was enough of a triumph to get ds to learn to swim at all. Have you ever seen anyone swim in slow motion?!

steppeinginto2015 Wed 14-Jan-15 13:17:31

ds has started year 7. He did football club and drum lessons. (both out of school)

When he started year 7 he decided to give up drums, and now does just football.
His school encourages them to do lots of clubs and he has now joined the table tennis club which he loves. That's it.

He loves his new school, but has found the change quite a big upheaval, he was exhausted in December, and he really doesn't want to add anything else. I a working on getting him some drum sessions in the holidays to give him a boost, but he is adamant he doesn't want to add drum lessons on one evening.

He has never really done much, I have offered lots and he has declined. At some point I decided to trust him with what he actually needs. he needs down time out of school, which for him means no organised activities.

I would say let her choose.

GentlyBenevolent Wed 14-Jan-15 14:49:17

Lemon - do you insist on your DC doing something musical?

lemonhope Wed 14-Jan-15 17:52:49

No (although 2 of them do), because learning music and wanting to play an instrument is almost impossible if you are hopeless at it or don't enjoy it, but there's loads of different sports and it is vitally important for children to be active for their health apart from anything else.

Hakluyt Wed 14-Jan-15 18:18:01

I am strict and old fashioned and made mine learn an instrument and have loads of other accomplishments. I didn't give them much choice in the matter til they were in secondary school- and even then it was choice with limits.......

muminhants Wed 14-Jan-15 18:19:56

My ds in Y7. He has moments with homework but it's been much more manageable than I feared before we started secondary school.

Mondays are free except for a piano lesson in school, Tuesdays he goes to an after-school homework club and in the evening an athletics club. Wednesday he has scouts. Thursday is free. Friday swimming. I was keen to give him a range, but leave him time to be lazy and watch TV as well. Last term there was a Spanish club after school, next term he'll do cricket, so this term is a little quieter. I suspect he'll drop swimming in due course as he's achieved his ASA gold and seems to be swimming just for the sake of it now, although it's obviously great exercise and he has a big appetite so the more sport he does the better really!

Bonsoir Wed 14-Jan-15 18:21:12

I think it is really important for DC to be encouraged to have wide-ranging interests but I don't think the medium has to be clubs at school. For the more introverted DC, extra clubs on top of class can be oppressive and not all interests require group interaction.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 14-Jan-15 18:35:12

Agree completely, Bonsoir.

Ds's main interests (yr 9) are all creative: art, drawing, reading, writing, making etc etc. These are not the kind of things that you can necessarily do in a 'club'. He does do reading and art club at school, but they're at lunchtime.

When he was primary aged, I insisted on a range of clubs: cubs, swimming lessons and the odd bit of cricket. He also learnt an instrument for three years.

But there's no way I'm going to force him to continue with these past yr 7 when they're just not his bag, and the more solitary pursuits of arts/books are.

Having so said that, I do feel bad that he does nothing physical out of school and we are always on the lookout for something non team based that's suitable (he has AS and hates team stuff). Also, we do try and make him do a one week summer school which is slightly out of his comfort zone, such as drama or sailing.

summerends Wed 14-Jan-15 19:38:04

I agree that it depends on the nature of the DC, also what they are drawn to changes as they and their friends get older and clashes in the timetable. One of my DCs thought debating was very uncool in year 7 but a few years on has a keen interest. Choices often have to be made between the commitments and practice for higher level music, drama and sport as they get older.
As a parent I would definitely strongly encourage my DCs to have an at least weekly physical activity if school sport was infrequent or unenjoyable. Holidays are definitely good times to try new pastimes but the enforced jollity of activity camps is not always what DCs want or need.

lemonhope Wed 14-Jan-15 19:39:30

One of my dds has AS - she much prefers solitary sports like swimming running riding going to the gym. She's in teams but has very little concept of working together so she's usually not a favourite...

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 14-Jan-15 19:48:22

From yr 10, ds will be able to choose what he does in PE lessons at school and he can't wait. He's hoping to choose running, gym work, maybe squash/badminton, maybe rowing. No more team sports. Yay!

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