Pouring into a Passion at Home: TakeLessons


Blog She Wrote: Pouring into a Passion at HomeThis is a post sponsored by TakeLessons in keeping with my philosophy on low impact ways to pour into our kids’ interests. I hope you will enjoy taking a look at what they have to offer.

Pouring into a child’s interests and finding ways to do it that will be most effective for my student with minimal impact on the family as a whole is a family priority at Blog, She Wrote.

It’s a matter of finding opportunities and venues which allow you some flexibility on how you pursue a particular interest.

Finding Unique Opportunities for Pouring into a Passion:

We all want to find ways to help our kids explore their interests. Some of the ideas you come up with might introduce you to a person who can a mentor either right away or sometime in the future.

In addition to people and organizations you know locally, there are many online experiences such as classes, videos, clubs, and forums. There are many formats to fit your learning styles, your needs as a student and the family as a whole, and your budget.

Spending More Time at Home So There is More Time for Pursuing Passions:

I’m a huge proponent of spending more time at home. The more time we are out running kids to even the best activities, the less time our kids have to really explore their interests.

Regular, frequent days of being home allows us the freedom to explore more in our school and in our kids’ passions. Then we aren’t in a constant battle to hit the 3Rs before we run out the door.


Using TakeLessons as an Opportunity to Save Time on Pursuing Interests:

TakeLessons is an option in the effort to slow down and spend more time at home without leaving behind a beloved activity. It’s also a great way to engage your children if you are remote and finding quality lessons is difficult.

They provide In Home and In Studio lessons, as well as Online Lessons.  Online lessons are a popular option for busy families – all you need is a computer with a webcam, a Skype account, and a good Internet connection.

The purpose of TakeLessons is to connect students and families with private music teachers, arts instructors, and academic tutors throughout the US. They’ve been around since 2006 and have worked with over 30,000 students. The instructors are safety screened annually and undergo extensive interviews and training.

There are over 30 lesson types available including: guitar, singing, piano, drums, violin, harp, acting and academic tutoring. I’ve had two friends recently tell me they have kids who want voice lessons and they cannot find a good instructor. What a great opportunity if you have a shortage of local teachers or want to play a less popular instrument.

The cost of TakeLessons depends on the location and duration of the lessons. The most popular lesson package is quarterly (book 12 sessions, get 1 free). You can also go month to month or Flex (coordinating lesson times as you go with the instructor).

There are no long term commitments so you can switch teachers and lessons any time and they offer a 100% money back guarantee- if you are unhappy with the lesson, you can choose a different teacher or request a refund. In addition, there are instructors available for all ages and experience levels.

This free ebook “Getting Started with Music Lessons” will give you an idea of when to start music lessons and which type of lesson is best for your child and family- in home, in studio, or online.

Take lessonsA Few Helpful Tutorial Videos from TakeLessons:

How to buy your first guitar– One of the TakeLessons instructors goes through the basics of guitar types and how to know which is the right one for your student. I could have used this when we bought a guitar for lessons back in February!

Finding Your Voice Type– Another TakeLessons teacher shares how to find your voice type.

A special offer for Blog, She Wrote Readers from TakeLessons:

As a bonus for my readers, TakeLessons is offering 20% off music lesson or tutoring packages when you use the promo code: BLOGSHEWROTE at the checkout. The offer is good through July 6, 2013.

Fiercely protecting our time enables us to be more adventurous and it provides the time for us to invest in our children. How does your family discern which activities are best and how you will make the most of an opportunity with the least impact on the family timetable?

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  1. I feel terribly inadequate whenever I read your blog. Like, sick-to-my-stomach inadequate. How do you find the passion, the time, the get-up-and-go to do all of these activities that require so much time and make such big messes? I’m a fantastic planner and have the best of intentions, but when it comes time to DO the experiment, craft, or game, I’m like, “I have a headache / The house is a mess and I need to get chores done / The kids are looking at me like, “Mom, do we really have to do this? I’d rather go play.” / I just mopped the floor and don’t want glitter all over it / There isn’t enough time left before I have to start making dinner / I can’t find copper wire in this tiny town we live in–there is always a reason to skip it. And I almost always end up skipping anything that isn’t necessary (core subject lessons.) But I read your blog and feel so, so guilty knowing that my kids could be getting so much more. I ask my kids, “What is your passion? What do YOU want to learn about? We will do it, whatever it is!” and they say, “Um, I don’t know.” Sounds like they lost their passion right along with their Mama, doesn’t it?

    I’m coming off of a rough homeschooling year (our 7th) and don’t want to repeat whatever burned me out. This is not what I want our life to look like! I want them to be inventing and creating and exploring! My many little efforts in the past have flopped. For example, last year I made a bird watching kit for my oldest. Got all the supplies, and was so excited. We ended up looking at a few of the items once, then the binoculars disappeared during a spy game the kids were playing, and then life kept on moving and the kit slowly got disassembled and now my kids still know nothing about birds!

    Have you ever felt like you didn’t have it anymore? I don’t want my kids anywhere else but home with me. I love being with them. I am just so terribly burnt out on school! Maybe I’ve lost focus? I can’t even believe that I am at this point. When we started out homeschooling, I had a fire under me! I had passion and drive! And this morning I was actually telling my husband that I didn’t think we’d pick back up again with the core subjects until mid-September. How did I get here? Do you have any advice?

    1. I’m so sorry Sarah! PLEASE do not feel badly when you read my blog! Remember that we have our ups and downs just like any other homeschool. Our school doesn’t look like a lot of other blogging families I’ve come to know either. We are much more relaxed than lots of others.

      You didn’t say how old your kids are and that might tell you a lot about interest, etc. I would say operating with what kids are passionate about takes time especially if you are new at building it into your family culture. When kids are so used to doing things one way, it takes time for them to buy into and relax with doing things another way.

      My biggest piece of advice is to let your kids play and really take notes on what they spend their time on and what energizes them. You can ask the older kids what they think. It sounds like they are burned out too. So perhaps giving them some good time off and using the time to recoup your passion would be good.

      You might choose a relaxed unit you all can do when you begin again. Or just spend time reading aloud and enjoying some research related to your good read. My kids respond to this really well. If yours balk, you can always say you’re trying something new and just try to enjoy the story. Let little ones color quietly or fill in maps that go with the story while you read.

      As for time, I’m not sure what else you have going on. I like to practice planned neglect! I purposely table some things so we can have the time to work on a project. or whatever. The way I see it, my full time job is really schooling my kids. If they were in school they’d be getting the teacher’s full attention on the job (meaning that’s what the teacher is about while they’re in class). Home doesn’t have to be different. Just because there is work to be done, doesn’t mean I have to address it during school hours. I try to give our school activities priority over housework, etc while school is in session.

      That said, our school is all spread out. My kids work in various places and take plenty of breaks with permission so it may take them the better part of a day to finish the tasks they have.

      When I read blogs that remind me of something I’m not as good at, I try to think what is that I want to take away from it and to turn that into a goal. and sometimes I just know that whatever it is looks good but would not really work for me.

      I might use the summer to reevaluate the goals you have for your homeschool and what steps you could take to reach them. Sounds like you want more fun and you want your kids to be excited to dig into projects. I really think changing how you view your time during the day and making the cool things you want to try the priority for the day, you’ll see some results. But, it takes time to reestablish what’s important in your school.

      Thanks for your comment. I hope something in response is helpful!


      1. Thank you so much, Heather. I don’t want you to think it is you that makes me feel inadequate, rather it’s my falling short in an area that I want to be good at and have tried many times and failed. I enjoy my children so much. We laugh and play, hike and garden…we really do have fun in every aspect of life EXCEPT our school time. And there is no complaining or crying, just blah attitudes all ’round. I always revert back to instruction, worksheets and then house chores. But you are right. If I really want to change the way we do things, I need to make it a goal and figure out what keeps getting in my way.

        I know the main issue is my unwillingness to let chores go undone. I am excessive with cleaning. You are right about focusing on teaching during school hours. I think that has caused so much frustration. My head hasn’t been in it. After I instruct the kids in math, language, or spelling, I zip upstairs to change out laundry while they do their worksheets. Then I get distracted and end up cleaning the bathroom and then the kids are hollering up that they need help with something and I run down frustrated to be interrupted with the cleaning! Just typing it out makes me realize how backwards I have gotten myself. Teaching my children should be the only thing on my mind while they are doing their work.

        There are other things that you said that I am thankful for. I need to keep reading blogs like yours, get inspired, and get where I want to be with homeschooling!

  2. I am curious what your weekly schedule looks like. Really in terms of time away from home vs. time at home.

    1. Ok Jocelyne!

      I’ll work on that and see what kind of post it turns into. In general it depends on the season. Our fall is much busier than our spring and summer. We have a two hour co-op on Monday afternoons for ten weeks each semester.

      FLL practice for E14 and Dan (who coaches) is twice a week for 3 hours each in the heart of the competition season. The rest of us are home.

      I host sewing camp here and I’ll be hosting a writer’s workshop this year as well.

      Soccer has been our sport and only takes a couple hours a week. It’ll be less since we’ll be doing pick up games rather than leagues this year.

      So, we’re home most evenings. We only have one very regular weekly activity. The rest of the time is random events- appts, field trips, etc.

      Our children are not in regular music lessons and we do 4H as independents. Which means we don’t have meetings to attend and pick and choose events. Even with a club meeting I prefer 4H because it’s unifying…rather than taking our girl one way and our boys another and having to split up ages.

      So, pretty much we are home far more often than we are not.

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