Wow! I didn't realize how hectic my week was going to be! I started lessons again this week and as you know, that means geiting used to new students and everyone's new schedule! I thought I was prepared only to realize that I have to make a few adjustments in my planning!
I also started a weekly homeschool music class. I was contacted over the summer to see if I would put together a 6 week class for a group of 13 homeschoolers. Even though the grade levels vary from Kindergarten to 6th grade, the class is working out surprisingly well. I adapted a camp I did last year and they are loving it! The kids were all very attentive and excited. With that in mind, I thought I would share why I believe this is a good investment and would recommend it for any independent teacher.
1. It's an additional source of income.
I charged for the class and added a materials fee to cover the expense of booklets I put together for the kids. I did some quick research to find out what other programs in the area were charging groups like this for their classes (art, nature, etc.) and charged the same. Within less than a week I had these 13 kids signed up AND all of them paid for the class UP FRONT! Be sure to insist on this so that you aren't stuck paying for materials you won't be reimbursed for. I also made sure they understood that it was a non-refundable fee which is common for every other business offering special classes.
2. It's a way to fill timeslots earlier in the day.
I have found that generally homeschooling parents like to do lessons in the morning and then take their kids to special classes right after lunch. As you know, most students are looking for "after school" lessons so filling the time before school ends is an easy fit.
3. It's a way to build your reputation.
I was thrilled to hear that my reputation as a teacher was extremely positive on this homeschool forum. Of the eight families represented, seven of them were new to me so the additional goal is to give these seven families the best experience I can. Hopefully when they are looking to do music classes in the future, I'm the first contact. Another way to ensure this...offer the coordinator of the event something free. I let the coordinator of this homeschool class bring one of her children for free. She was thrilled! It's a great way to add more "buzz" about who you are and what you offer.
4. It's a great marketing tool.
Remember that every family/person that you interact with is a potential student. If you can get them coming to you on a weekly basis, they get to know you, your teaching style and the quality you offer. One parent has already contacted me about putting her two children in lessons...after only one week of class! Believe me, if you offer a quality program, you'll gained several marketers - free of charge! It's also a way to "interview" the child and her parents. You see them in action for 6 weeks and you'll probably have a good idea what to expect from the child AND the parents!
5. It's a way to keep you thinking creatively.
It takes time to put together the material, but besides benefiting the "attendees" of the class, your students will gain from it as well. All that creativity easily transfers to your own workshops and weekly lessons. When you put together a game/activity for a homeschool class, you've just added to your arsenal of games/activites for your studio. A win-win!
I'm thrilled with the results and hope you consider trying something similar. If you do, please let me know how it works for you!