The other day my 16 year old daughter posted this comment as her Facebook status… “ughhh… sometimes I really hate the fact my mom teaches at home….”
If you are like me and teach out of your home, I’m sure you have experienced the same feelings I have over the years. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to give my kids the attention they needed because I was busy teaching. Both my kids are teenagers, one just graduated from high school. So they have grown up all their adolescent lives with listening to the piano day in and day out. I can imagine that it can get tiring. My husband is luckier than the kids in the sense that he has an office that he can escape to that we built out in the garage.
Teaching from home definitely has it’s ups and it’s downs. I’ve even thought about exploring a store front, but decided it wasn’t worth the added overhead costs. Plus I like teaching from home. I like seeing my kids walk in the door from school and knowing they got home safe. I like having everything I need at my finger tips whenever I might need something. I like being home for my kids, even though I can’t give them the attention right away. I try to pop in and talk with them briefly about school in between students coming in and out. I like that they don’t come home to an empty house.
Even with those positives, I can totally understand the negatives particularly for my kids. It can be tiring to hear the piano day in and day it. It can be hard to deal with higher noise level during group lesson weeks. It can be hard to want to share something that happened at school but have to wait. It can be hard to deal with nosy students that say they are going to the bathroom and then decide to peak into my kids room. (I put a stop to this one fast! Doesn’t happen very often thank goodness)
So what do I do to help make it more manageable for our family?
1) I only teach Monday-Thursday. I understand my family needs a break and honestly so do I. So we all get a break Friday-Sunday.
2) I hold group lessons once a quarter. The weeks I hold group lessons I only teach two days that week. No regular lessons are held the week of group. It’s a nice change.
3) I hold Camps during the months of December and June. This allows for some longer breaks. Christmas camp covers the first two week of December and then the studio is off for the remainder of the month. Summer camp is in June and we are off in July.
4) I try not to teach too late so we can have dinner together as a family. This has gotten trickier as the kids have gotten older and have more activities. Each of us has a night to cook. Mine is Sunday. My husband has Monday. My daughter is Tuesday. Wednesday is “on your own” night because of activities they have and Thursday is my son’s night. Friday night is date night for my husband and I so we go out to dinner and the kids are on their own. Saturdays we usually splurge and go out to eat with the kids. Wednesday is the only night that I teach past 6:45pm. And this is ONLY because of a conflict with a family after the schedule was done and they changed schools. I normally don’t teach past 6:45pm.
5) I don’t do make-up lessons. When my teaching schedule is done, then it’s family time.
While these ideas do help our family, there will always be times of frustration. I know there are times when I feel some guilt that I’m not 100% there for my kids while I’m teaching. But given the choice, I would rather be home than somewhere else.
I was talking with one of my teenage students that I have taught for over 5 years now the other day about her previous lesson years before coming to me. She shared with me that her previous teacher before coming to me taught from a commercial studio. I didn’t realize that before and asked her how she liked it. She said she actually prefers to come to my house then when she went to the commercial studio because if feels more “homey”, more comfortable, more welcoming. I thought that was interesting.
I would love to hear ideas what you do to help your family not get too frustrated because you teach from home.