Interview Feature with…is a new feature that I am so excited to introduce. Designed to encourage busy mom’s and dad’s by sharing interviews with homeschoolers that are not only homeschooling but juggling other things as well.
Today I am happy to introduce you to Crystal from Inspire My Artist. She is currently homeschooling her 5 and 3-year-old girls, chasing a baby, running a website and creating an online art course for homeschool teens.
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Question 1: What led you to homeschool your children? Or have you always wanted to homeschool?
Homeschooling for me is primarily a reaction against my own experiences in the public school system. I found school alternatively boring and unpleasant.
I experienced bullying, loneliness and the sense of apathy that comes from being ahead of the material. Ignoring the teachers and reading under my desk from grade three on, I stagnated as I served my time in the system.
Ok, a little too dramatic… but I wasn’t a big fan.
I did enjoy some of my time in high school, but ever since I heard of homeschooling I knew it was what I wanted for my kids. I want them to enjoy learning, be challenged continually, and have the freedom to be themselves.
Question 2: What does homeschooling look like to you?
I’ve got a five-year-old, a three-year-old and a baby so mine probably looks quite different than yours!
Our style is a combination workbooks and interest led learning. My husband’s an early riser so he reads stories and lets them play on their favorite learning website starfall.com until I get up.
Once I’m up they play together until I’m ready to be “teacher.” My five year old has three workbooks that she likes to do: Adventures in phonics, Jump math and Little Pilgrims in God’s world. My three-year-old has a brain games book she marks up with crayons. Baby just does her best to be right in the middle of things!
The girls spend the afternoons coloring, painting, looking at books, playing outside and making a mess of my living room. Baby is especially good at the latter as she enjoys pulling my books off the shelves!
Extras that we do erratically include: piano, snap circuits, french, science experiments and field trips to the museum of natural history to visit Gus the turtle.
Question 3: What is the hardest part of homeschooling for you, and how do you plan on overcoming it?
Structure. I’m a naturally spontaneous and unstructured person, but I recognize children thrive with structure and routine, so I’ve grown a lot in that area in recent years.
I’m going to overcome that difficulty by investing in quality workbooks and programs that have built in structure. In addition, I’m going to introduce self-led learning and time management tools early on so that their education is not riding on how good a day Mommy’s having.
Question 4: You are about to launch an art course, will you share with us how you came to be working on this project?
Blame it on Netflix. I’m a night owl at home alone while hubby works nights on call. So every night I’d be spending about 5 hours by myself alone… so I watched Netflix or puttered.
Watching Netflix was a rather unfulfilling way to spend my evenings, so I got back into my art big time. Even got involved with a gallery. Painting materials like canvas and high-quality paints aren’t cheap, and the expenses added up.
I started to wonder if I could possibly earn some money at home online. I stumbled on this boisterous fellow Ramit Sethi who had a course that promised to take me from no idea to an online business.
After reading his free material for a couple months I decided that Ramit knew what he was talking about and consulted my husband. He was comforted by the fact that Ramit had been featured in the NY Times and there was a money back guarantee. We registered agreeing that if it wasn’t working for me we’d get our money back.
After considering my abilities, interests and doing market research I concluded that I was going to build a homeschool art curriculum for teens. At that point, I built my website and focused on gathering an audience and developing the best homeschool art curriculum I could!Q&A: #homeschool #art course #blogger mom. Nothing worth doing happens overnight. #ihsnet Click To Tweet
Question 5: How do you balance time spent homeschooling and time spent working?
With homeschooling what works for me is tying it to the morning. Everything structured gets done in the morning. That way the afternoons are open for fun and errands.
Active breaks are another thing that works for me with my hyper 5-year-old. Do a worksheet then run around the room and do somersaults on the couch, then come back and do more. Crazy, but it works.
I have the time for an online business for two reasons:
I chose a subject I’m passionate about, so if the house is clean, the baby’s asleep and the girls want to watch a movie… I’ll work at it a bit like someone else might sit down and knit.
Also, I’m alone each night from about 7 to 12pm with the disposition of a night owl. What else am I going to do? Watch Netflix? Ha! I tried that and it made me feel like I was pouring my life down the drain. I really enjoy having a project that will help people!
Question 6: What tips would you offer to someone who wanted to do something similar?
If you’re going to get into an online business plan for the long term. Nothing except scams happen overnight. I started in February and my course will launch in August at an initially reduced price to maximize the number of reviews I can gather. I won’t be fully profitable until my first set of students have proven the value of my course. Nothing worth doing happens overnight.
If you’re going to build something do market research before you start building. Talk to real people and find out what they want. Build what they want and solve their problems.
Once you decide you’re in for the long term invest in a course to walk you through the process. There’s so much contradictory advice on the internet, you could suffocate trying to figure out what was good advice and what was bad advice.
Finally, everything you do from free content to paid content should be done with excellence and service as your goals. Nothing done half-heartedly will pass the test of time and an online business is a long term endeavor.
Question 7: How is your course different from the available art curriculum?
The primary difference is that my projects will allow for creativity and imagination while still teaching principles and techniques. Each student’s work will be unique!
Other video courses use a follow along with the teacher approach. I find that approach, while a fun activity, is too elementary to capture the interest and passion of artistic teens, and amounts to making copies of someone else’s art.
My curriculum will be a true art curriculum, not cut and paste, not crafts, and not follow along. It is also completely student led for independent learning. The lessons are flexible enough for beginners and advanced artists to participate and be challenged.
I have a unique teaching style that I like to call teach and challenge.
Teach refers to the progressive teaching of techniques and principles in small absorbable chunks.
Challenge refers to the art projects that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the techniques and principles while allowing full exercise of their creativity.
Art history will also be taught through research projects that encourage students to take a personal interest in art history.
In addition, I’m setting up a student forum where students can give and receive feedback, encouragement and receive marks for projects!
For more information check out Inspire My Artist 1.0
Question 8: How would someone interested in joining the course sign up?
I’m planning to launch my course for early registration in August as two half-credit courses that can be combined to make a full credit.
Everyone on my list will be invited to the launch when the course will be available at an early bird price of 50% off for a two-week window. After that, I’ll be raising the price and registration will stay open.
Question 9: While waiting for the course to launch, do you have other services available?
On my site, you can find free art tutorials, printouts, and art challenges to help you give the gift of art to your teens!
Most of my content is free because no matter what your budget, art is important to your kids. I send quality free material to my email list throughout the year!
And, when you sign up for my email list you will get my free ebook: The Minimum a Homeschooler Needs to Start Painting with Acrylics.
(To grab this book click on the photo below!)
Thank you, Crystal for spending some time with me and answering questions. If you are interested finding out more about Crystal at Inspire my Artist please check here:
Also find her on Pinterest here: https://www.pinterest.com/vertfromage/inspire-my-artist/
OR visit her FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/crystalparkerartist/
Read the rest of the series here!