Our family is trying a new arrangement music lessons and I've found the whole experience so humorous because it reminds me of the fox, goose, and beans logic puzzler.
We use a talented husband-wife team for piano and violin. Thus far, the husband R. came to our house one day per week and taught piano here. The baby was usually napping and I could supervise the lessons, which always helps with practice later in the week. That whole part of the arrangement was wonderful. Then, on one evening per week, Mary and I would fly through dinner and race to the home studio of the wife K. for violin lessons. The evening was very hard on us, but I didn't want to select a daytime hour because I wanted to leave the other three children at home with my huband: how could I have my own violin lesson while watching four kids?!
But violin was getting so complicated and, when Chris would be out of town, downright untenable (hire a babysitter? take all four children, littles in their pajamas?). So, we're trying something new.
Now, one afternoon per week, the four children and I are going to the home studio of R. and K. It is so complicated, but should run smoothly in the end.
Needful change: Do not do regular school on Thursday mornings because the children will already be exhausted before we begin 90 long minutes of music education. Instead, Thursdays will become our "free morning" for art or otherwise. Then on Friday mornings, we will do regular school before fun afternoon co-op.
The three children each have a backpack with their music binders in them; I share Mary's binders.
First half hour: Mary does violin with K. in the big house, John does piano with R. in the garage studio, I watch Joseph and Margaret in the car or playing in the sunshine. Be sure to pack Theory homework folder in Mary's backpack (not John's) because K. will begin grading it.
Second half hour: K. is finishing grading Theory homework. Mary and John do a Theory class with teenage son M. Margaret takes piano in the garage studio with R. with me and Joseph staying with her. Afterward, I walk Margaret up to the big house for babysitting and I retrieve the violin music books which I share from Mary's backpack.
Third half hour: Mary does piano with R. in the big house, teenage son M. babysits John, Margaret, and maybe Joseph, and I do violin with K. in the garage studio. (At our first lesson, it was so very cute that--very much unlike his active self--Joseph stood next to me silently holding on to my skirt with one hand for my entire lesson while I played! Oh, would that he would act that way more often!)
Maybe it seems simple how I've typed it out, but it took the music teachers and I much conversation over the course of a day to come up with the plan. Then during our first attempted day this week, we kept noting pitfalls and tweaks to make in future.
We're looking forward to the children performing in an upcoming recital at the end of January, then participating in Federation at the end of February. And Mama feels like a superhero if she can manage even two practice sessions of violin herself per week!