Teaching out of your home

Rebekah said: Jan 6, 2013
Rebekah Hanson
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
9 posts

I have been teaching in the same town for over ten years and have a wonderful studio of families. I rent a space that works well, but not perfect. I am interested in teaching out of my home and am curious what advice any of you have. I plan to teach in a space that has a separate entrance and not connected with my home. I know there are pros and cons and I would love first hand advice.
Thanks so much for your insights!

Carrie said: Jan 7, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
58 posts

I love teaching in my home. I know some hate the thought of having to keep the house clean. I love the reason to keep it up.

I have had only two families that abused the situation. One had two boys who terrorized my cat while I was teaching their sister, so I require them to stay in my little studio instead of “doing homework” in the next room. Another family wandered around touching things they had no business touching, breaking things… I also required them to stay in the studio and would have to put them in time out for what they were doing in the studio. Fortunately, they only stuck around for a couple of months. Other than those two instances, I have had nothing but a wonderful experience teaching in my own home.

I’m a very nurturing person who loves having people into my home, so it fits me well. I could see how it could be difficult for someone who needs their work and home life separate, though it sounds like you already plan to keep it separate. It’s just so convenient.

Enjoy!

carebear1158

Lori Bolt said: Jan 7, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

I’m envious ~ how I would love to have a separate entrance and teaching space to make my own!! One of my challenges is with activity at the front door, whether my family or someone ringing the bell. My students and their parents come in on their own, so no disruption of the lesson going on. I don’t answer the phone during lessons. I request that students and siblings stay in the “studio” area except to use the bathroom, no food, etc.

The pros for me are no travel, getting a tax deduction for use of home as an office (partial write off of utilities, rent), I was available for my two kids when they were younger (I also home schooled them, so loved working at home). I just enjoy not going out to work. Cons are the noise from the neighbor’s gardener, noise from my family (communicate!!), the door bell or phone (but not a daily issue).

Carrie ~ I can totally relate to your comment about the house cleaning…I too am glad for the very good reason to keep things tidy and clean!

Be sensitive to the parking so that neighbor’s aren’t impacted. Also how/where your students arrive and depart so that isn’t a problem for neighbors. Will the sound of lessons be an issue for neighbors? Just think these all through…and check on rules if you have a HOA.

Lori Bolt

Barb said: Jan 8, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I love being able to stay home. I wish I had a separate entrance or even a separate room! Using the living room limits my teaching hours as I put family first, but that has only prevented a few adults who work full time from being able to take lessons with me. Also, my insurance limits me to three students at once—as does space (cellos take more space than violins!), so we need to meet elsewhere for larger groups.

Do make sure your insurance covers your home business, and check on any city issues as well (ours requires one additional parking space).

My neighbors tell me they don’t hear anything, but then again, they are hard of hearing…

I can echo most of the above from Lori and Carrie. An additional thing I like about being at home is that if there is a hole in my schedule for some reason I can use that time for anything around the house, not just sitting in a studio waiting for the next student. Granted, with the internet I’d likely be able to keep busy enough!

Just set out boundaries in advance (some may assume anywhere on your property is a good place for siblings to play, etc.). If your home is your office, you might want to set office hours for any between lesson issues. I don’t mind being phoned or emailed any time (though I don’t pick up while teaching), but I have a small studio so it’s not a problem. You may also need to set boundaries for family members who may be prone to interrupt lessons.

Gorgeous dog, btw! We have a cat who growls at new students and scratched a younger overly-friendly sibling once… but mostly he just wants to climb inside the cello cases.

Oh, just thought of one other con—having to keep the driveway free of ice and snow. I use more ice-melt or traction stuff than I would with our family. (I have first hand experience of slipping and falling on top of a cello!)

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Lindsay said: Jan 9, 2013
Lindsay LogsdonViolin
55 posts

I owned a music school where I taught, and now teach from a home studio. I much prefer having my teaching in a separate space and plan to open a school again in September. I find that many families don’t take their lessons as seriously when they come to my home, as opposed to a more formal school setting. I also don’t have room for group lessons in the home setting, and that was a huge component of my program when I had the school.

There is a cat in the home, and two students are highly allergic. They spend their lesson time sneezing and sniffling :(

Lindsay—Violin teacher, homeschooling mama of four, small-time publisher
http://www.essextalentacademy.com
http://www.talentpress.net

Caitlin said: Jan 18, 2013
Caitlin HunsuckViolin
Merced, CA
41 posts

I teach out of my home too. It’s nice to be home when a lesson is missed! I have a front room designated for the studio. I have a couch and arm chair facing my desk and music stand. Next to the couch I have a small side table with student rosin, extra rubber bands and sponges, my business cards, children books and magazines, my monthly newsletter and a jar with pens and pencils. I also have my credentials and awards on my wall with other violin and music posters. On lesson days I clear the bathroom of any personal items and put a box of towlettes from Costco for my students use. I shut the doors to all the rooms I don’t want my students to go into (or even look at). I keep the front living room set up for parents and students to sit in/pack and un-pack. I found the traffic control is the biggest issue with home studios. Make sure you leave your front porch light on when the sun goes down. Also, make sure there is space infront of your house for at least two cars to park (let them also park in my driveway, keep your neighbors happy!). I ask my family to be quiet while doing lessons. IF they can to stay out of the main portion of the house and to keep noise level at zero. With all of this, my students respect me as though it was a business. Afterall, it is, and it also feels like it.

Lori Bolt said: Jan 19, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Your set-up is similar to mine, Caitlin. In my earlier post, I forgot to mention the challenges of the bathroom being appropriate…it’s hard when it’s the same bathroom family members use (personal items, cleanliness), but we cope don’t we. I think I need those towelettes you mentioned. I also shut doors to areas I don’t want anyone to see, or little siblings to enter. It helps set boundaries w/out saying much.

As Lindsay said, it’s also a challenge to host groups as our front room is small. As much as I’m working hard to regrow my studio, I have that to consider too.

But with the inconveniences to family, etc. comes the convenience of being at home….able to throw in a load of laundry or get some of dinner together in the down time!
It was a real blessing to be able to teach piano at home and home school for 16 years : )
I know God provided for us by my being able to do so.

Lori Bolt

Rebekah said: Feb 2, 2013
Rebekah Hanson
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
9 posts

Thank you so much for your wonderful and positive responses! It has made me much more excited to move forward with this. Thanks for all your insights- they are very helpful!
I hope you each have a great week of lessons!

Anne Brennand said: Feb 3, 2013
Anne Brennand
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Boulder, CO
37 posts

Hi. It was great to read this correspondence. I too love teaching at home, and I second all the advice and ideas here, which I’ve found to be true. I must say it can sometimes get lonely so I also teach elsewhere, but the rewards are many. I don’t feel less respected at home than when I teach at a school—all depends so much on the immediate student-teacher relationship and impact.

My space is small, my home is only 575 sp. feet, but I find I can hold cello group classes by pushing all the furniture to the wall. The consequent space in the middle is about 11×11 feet—fine for up to 10 cellists and beats the rental costs of space elsewhere.

My question to everyone is about insurance. My homeowners’ policy will not cover business concerns, so I need to buy separate business insurance, something I have not yet investigated. I am curious if anyone else has this, and a company to recommend? —Anne

Anne Brennand, cellist and cello teacher

Lori Bolt said: Feb 4, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

If you can’t get a rider attached to your current insurance, try the Auto Club in your state to see about homeowners insurance (I have a Renter’s policy w/ an inexpensive business activities rider through AAA in CA).

Lori Bolt

Celia Jones said: Feb 4, 2013
 Violin
72 posts

From a parent—if you have a play park, a cafe and a grocery store near your home, but not obvious, tell your parents where they are. For parents who travel some distance, or who don’t have time to go home between school and lesson, or all of them for the odd time that they arrive too early to come in and wait. Also for after the lesson, sometimes it’s nice to let the kids play outside in the last of the afternoon sunshine before driving home.

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