Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Other Thoughts

    Thoughtworthy (BLACK FRIDAY Edition, Plus: Using Online Tutors)

    November 23, 2018 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    Yes today is BLACK FRIDAY! That’s good news if you’ve had your eye on something in the Afterthoughts Shop. Use the coupon code santa20 to get 20% off anything (or everything)! (Coupon code is good Black Friday through Cyber Monday 2018.)

    This includes Vibrant! That’s right! Growing Vibrant Charlotte Mason Communities is back as a pre-recorded 3-session seminar so if you were disappointed that you didn’t get to join us over the summer, you can purchase it now.


    :: 2 ::

    Of course it’s Black Friday elsewhere, too. Here are a couple deals to check out:



    :: 3 ::

    I’ll be writing a full post about this next week, but the newly (and beautifully!) redesigned winter Mother Culture Habit Tracker is ready to go and you can grab yours TODAY! You know what I love about this one? It’s just so cheerful. It makes me happy to look at it. Also it catches the eye enough that I’ll remember it a month after I hang it up on my cork board. Just fill out this form to get yours free via email:


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2010:

    Can Greek mythology have lessons that apply to my home? Oh, yes.


    :: 5 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 6 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question: I’m curious what your thoughts are regarding when to use online teachers vs “real” (in person) teachers? I would like to supplement our homeschooling with online piano and art lessons (subjects I value but which I’m not very confident teaching), but my husband is concerned about the increasing dependence on digital relationships vs in person relationships in our society. He would prefer that our children be taught by people they can interact with rather than just a computer screen. I understand his concerns but also see the benefits of online lessons in terms of cost and time saved by not having to drive all over town. Any thoughts?
      • Answer: Interesting question! And yes … I have thoughts. 🙂 Technically, I agree with your husband. I think real-life relationships are preferable. But I’ll share a number of reasons we have used and do currently use online teachers:
        • Cost. Something like Hoffman Academy for piano or ULAT for Spanish doesn’t even begin to compare in terms of price. With Hoffman, a year of piano lessons costs what about a month of lessons would cost here — and that’s not consider gas and car maintenance. With ULAT, the savings are even greater when compared with what a Spanish tutor (in real life) would cost.
        • Time. We cannot put children in more out-of-the home activities without sacrificing other things we value, especially free hours spent outdoors. Online piano lessons are seamlessly integrated into our homeschool morning so they don’t take away from afternoons the way piano lessons normally would.
        • Energy. I don’t have to plan for lessons, drive to lessons, teach the lessons, wait for lessons, entertain all the people not taking the lessons, or any of that. I taught my oldest piano back in the day, but I’m way busier than I used to be and something had to give. Out of the house lessons didn’t really provide a solution to the need to conserve my energy so I could use it elsewhere.
        • Transportation. My oldest has afternoon or evening activities almost every day during the week, which means a lot of the time I don’t even have a vehicle.
        • Enough. We do have out of the house relationships. They have senseis and a renshi at the karate dojo. They have youth leaders and pastors. They have teachers at co-op. I think it’s important for them to have adults who aren’t me in their lives, but I don’t think they necessarily need more than they already have.
        • Skill. In this case, I’m thinking of Latin. There was a day I realized I was holding my son back — that he could go farther in Latin if he just had a teacher who knew more than I did and had the time to invest in him. A teacher like that wasn’t available locally. It’s been three years since I first hired Dwane Thomas and I’ve never regretted it.
        • One thing to mention is that sometimes there is interaction with the teacher. Dwane Thomas, for example, grades homework and gives feedback, plus he takes questions during class if you take it live rather than using the replays. We hope to meet him in real life when we’re in Tennessee in the spring. There various types of online tutors that interact because they are live via Skype or similar platform.
        • Ultimately, we had to balance our priorities. It goes without saying that every family will be different. In the case of Hoffman Academy, the decision was really between piano and no piano — we had already decided I didn’t have time to teach them myself, nor did I have time to put in an afternoon driving and waiting during out-of-the-house lessons. In many ways, I think of these things the way I think of books. Does it bother me that the author of the book is teaching my child rather than a live teacher? No, it does not.


    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Chris McGinn November 23, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I just added your sale to my list of Black Friday deals for homeschoolers. Love your blog–long time reader 🙂

  • Leave a Reply