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Perhaps I expect too much


itsheresomewhere
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Lately, I have decided I expect too much with in person classes for my teen.  So I am curious to see if I am just old with the expectations.

Do you expect the teacher to actually teach the class or it to be led by each individual’s feelings? We actually had this one happen for an art class. It was comical.  

If the class has changed it’s original plan, do you expect the teacher to have an idea on what they will be doing for the class?  Had this happen this week.  I find it ridiculous to have to show up on day one to find out due to issues they can’t do the class as advertised but they will be teaching something.  Apparently, it was “rude” of me to ask what they would be teaching instead.  The other parents were the ones who found it rude of me to ask.  If I am paying for it, I want to know what I am paying for.  
 

Am I odd in my expectations of classes? 

Hopefully, next year we can do these type of classes at the college in person but they are not offering it this year. So we had to find some other alternatives. 

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All the art classes that my kids attended at a Music & Arts center had followed a syllabus. The instructors might deviate slightly but even the substitute instructor (when the instructor had a medical/family emergency) would follow the lesson plan. 

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Just now, Arcadia said:

All the art classes that my kids attended at a Music & Arts center had followed a syllabus. The instructors might deviate slightly but even the substitute instructor (when the instructor had a medical/family emergency) would follow the lesson plan. 

My favorite was the place who had a syllabus but said they never followed it.  Why have it then? 

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Just now, itsheresomewhere said:

My favorite was the place who had a syllabus but said they never followed it.  Why have it then? 

Here it would be likely due to being a charter school vendor. The syllabus is more of a paperwork requirement. 

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2 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

These are not charter schools.  Actual businesses who advertise these classes.

I don’t mean they are charter schools. I meant they accept payments from charter schools. Here we have charter schools that reimburse vendors (businesses, self employed) in their approved vendor lists.

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I just expect scope and format to be clear before I pay.  I did pay for some loosey goosey classes when they fulfilled some sort of need (social, covering something we weren’t excited about etc).  
 

My expectations also might vary by price point, setting, teacher, etc.  

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If I am signing up for a class, yes, I would expect to know what they are teaching my kids. I think this is a reasonable expectation. If it’s through an organization (say a museum), they might not have s syllabus, but they should have a solid description of the course. 

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You know, I never got an art class in school that taught any form of technique or skill - it was ALL "art based on your feelings" excepting one term of art history. (Required course.)

Presumably it's different for students who go to arts schools, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's the expectation for enrichment classes for non-serious students as well... at least in some areas. You may need to shop around if you want an actual lesson, is what I mean.

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3 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

You know, I never got an art class in school that taught any form of technique or skill - it was ALL "art based on your feelings" excepting one term of art history. (Required course.)

Presumably it's different for students who go to arts schools, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's the expectation for enrichment classes for non-serious students as well... at least in some areas. You may need to shop around if you want an actual lesson, is what I mean.

Sadly, we have and just are finding crap.   Maybe the good ones moved to all online but DD doesn’t want that.  She wants it to be in person. I can understand as art is one of those things I feel some really need to be in person to learn best.   The feeling lady seriously when DD asked for an opinion handed her a book and then performed a reiki session on her to help clear her mind.   Poor kid was looking at me like what the heck going on. 
 

This art school we are trying came highly recommended to us. We signed up for art film history only to find out it was changed to making a film.  Ok.  That one we can deal with the change as it something else DD was interested in. But the one that peeved me off was we also signed up for ceramics and it is now some type of art class. The teacher doesn’t know what she is teaching yet but it will be art related. That is not what we signed up for.  I don’t want to be paying for a finger painting class for a high schooler.  Maybe we expect too much?  All I want is a class that actually teaches or helps her grow with her skills. She is looking at a possible career in art and wants to improve in some areas. 

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8 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

These are not charter schools.  Actual businesses who advertise these classes.

Like, business-business, not co-op? Yeah, I’d expect it to follow the plan.

I’ve had my own issues as a co-op teacher with small classes where, if two kids hadn’t done their work, it was nearly impossible to teach the lesson as planned, but that seems much different to me from an art studio of whatever sort.

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1 minute ago, Carrie12345 said:

Like, business-business, not co-op? Yeah, I’d expect it to follow the plan.

I’ve had my own issues as a co-op teacher with small classes where, if two kids hadn’t done their work, it was nearly impossible to teach the lesson as planned, but that seems much different to me from an art studio of whatever sort.

I won’t do any coop classes as we have the same experience.  These are actual businesses.  How they are still in business running like this is surprising. 

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I run a business teaching science classes to homeschoolers and that's ridiculous.

Our k-2nd grade classes may be a little loose in that they are hands-on exploration so may not have a syllabus, but our 3rd and up or MS/HS classes that are academic (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc) all have a syllabus that is followed unless their is an issue with supplies or something and then it's just a case of classes switching order.  The same material is still covered throughout the year.   

I think I would have gone out of business a long time ago if people showed up expecting Biology and I suddenly told them, 'nevermind we're going to do chemistry instead'.   

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2 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:


 

This art school we are trying came highly recommended to us. We signed up for art film history only to find out it was changed to making a film.  Ok.  That one we can deal with the change as it something else DD was interested in. But the one that peeved me off was we also signed up for ceramics and it is now some type of art class. The teacher doesn’t know what she is teaching yet but it will be art related. That is not what we signed up for.  I don’t want to be paying for a finger painting class for a high schooler.  Maybe we expect too much?  All I want is a class that actually teaches or helps her grow with her skills. She is looking at a possible career in art and wants to improve in some areas. 

That is a differrent class entirely. That is like signing up for American History and it gets changed to Ancient History. Not ok!

 

Now if the teacher gets a sudden inspiration in a painting class and changes the syllabus because the weather is lovely and the fall colors are just begging to be painted - then one should be fine with going off the syllabus. 

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I think it's ridiculous as well from the outside... but I can also easily imagine a scenario where... from the inside... it makes sense to the people involved. As in, a group of parents has done classes with this teacher at this local art school many, many times. They go back because they like the teacher, not because they're looking for a specific skill. They know she's flighty, but she's always encouraged their kids, the kids love it, it's mostly a social activity for them. So when she comes in and says, we couldn't get watercolor sets so I thought, let's do collage, everyone is like, oh, that's just how Miss Teacher is, and the kids are like, cool, whatever.

I honestly don't think that an art class that's more about "doing it" and inspiration is necessarily bad. I've taken classes that were more technique and classes that were more about showing up and doing a thing and getting inspired and some that were a mix. Inspiring people to do and feel positive about art is a skill that I'd value in a teacher. What's bad is that you were very specifically looking for a technique class and it wasn't what you wanted and their communication about that was poor or downright misleading.

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2 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

The feeling lady seriously when DD asked for an opinion handed her a book and then performed a reiki session on her to help clear her mind.   Poor kid was looking at me like what the heck going on. 

Yeah, that would certainly have me withdrawing my child and asking for a refund. Not what you signed up for and clearly not a good fit for your student. 

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Agreeing with everyone else. 

I teach K-2nd Grade at a paid homeschool "co-op" (we aren't a co-op, but I don't know the best word for us....a la carte homeschool classes). Even for my classes, I have and provide a syllabus to the parents, and yes, I may deviate -- for ex, this past week we were supposed to be looking at our shadows and noting the differences throughout the day, and begin noting amount of sunshine in a day. Well, we had a tropical storm/hurricane blow in, so, not a good week for observing sunshine.  I emailed the parents, fast-forwarded a few weeks to something that fit better, and class went on as planned otherwise (we do all the subjects, so a tweak to science only). 

Or, I get into the math, and the kids are moving much more quickly, or slowly, than I anticipated/have slated....if it's one kid, we continue on and I give that child extra attention/time in class. If it's the whole class, I accelerate (or slow) the schedule to catch up to the kids. Changes like that. 

But to offer ceramics and change to......some unknown art course??? Nope. That's crazy. I hope she refunds you (or the alternate is worth your time/money). 

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11 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I definitely do classes without much of a syllabus, actually. That’s mostly because I do try to teach kids where they are, and I can’t predict that ahead of time 🤷‍♀️.

But I individualize the work, so maybe thats different??

But you still teach the same subject, and just adjust the level/pace/specific activities, right?  And whatever you do fits the initial description “Math games for elementary age students” or whatever.  You wouldn’t advertise a class on probability and then tell students on the first day you’d decided you’d rather teach geometry.

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50 minutes ago, Danae said:

But you still teach the same subject, and just adjust the level/pace/specific activities, right?  And whatever you do fits the initial description “Math games for elementary age students” or whatever.  You wouldn’t advertise a class on probability and then tell students on the first day you’d decided you’d rather teach geometry.

No, I just advertise "advanced topics for kids" then teach whatever I feel like 😛 . But you're right that I wouldn't advertise something specific and then simply refuse to do it. 

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5 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

But the one that peeved me off was we also signed up for ceramics and it is now some type of art class. The teacher doesn’t know what she is teaching yet but it will be art related. 

That would upset my kids as well. They went for a ceramics class when they were too young to use the pottery wheel but they love the pieces they hand mold and the instructor fired in the art center’s kiln for them. 
Video a demo video from their ceramics teacher posted by the art center. The older kids and the adults get to use the pottery wheel.

 

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I definitely do classes without much of a syllabus, actually. That’s mostly because I do try to teach kids where they are, and I can’t predict that ahead of time 🤷‍♀️.

But I individualize the work, so maybe thats different??

We have that for lower elementary math circles and its more free and easy. 

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

No, I just advertise "advanced topics for kids" then teach whatever I feel like 😛 . But you're right that I wouldn't advertise something specific and then simply refuse to do it. 

But you are advertising a very broad undefined class.  So it is allowed to be a very broad undefined class.  Even so, if you advertised "advanced topics for kids" and then only taught finger counting, then people would have a right to be mad.  Or if the advanced topics were advertised as all math (as I would suppose) and you then taught Shakespearean sonnets, then they would also have a right to be mad. 

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Just now, Jean in Newcastle said:

I wonder if the teacher of any of those would consider "tutoring" her in technique for one year?  Just trying to think outside the box. . .

Thanks.  I have put out feelers for this.  So far, the only one who responded was over 2 hours away.  I have a few people who are keeping their ears open if they might know of anyone. 

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15 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

Lately, I have decided I expect too much with in person classes for my teen.  So I am curious to see if I am just old with the expectations.

Do you expect the teacher to actually teach the class or it to be led by each individual’s feelings? We actually had this one happen for an art class. It was comical.  

If the class has changed it’s original plan, do you expect the teacher to have an idea on what they will be doing for the class?  Had this happen this week.  I find it ridiculous to have to show up on day one to find out due to issues they can’t do the class as advertised but they will be teaching something.  Apparently, it was “rude” of me to ask what they would be teaching instead.  The other parents were the ones who found it rude of me to ask.  If I am paying for it, I want to know what I am paying for.  
 

Am I odd in my expectations of classes? 

Hopefully, next year we can do these type of classes at the college in person but they are not offering it this year. So we had to find some other alternatives. 

I want to know how the flaky teacher got the other parents to back her up. It’s a little unsettling that they have you questioning something as basic as providing the service as advertised. I’m assuming you paid for this. 

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25 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I want to know how the flaky teacher got the other parents to back her up. It’s a little unsettling that they have you questioning something as basic as providing the service as advertised. I’m assuming you paid for this. 

I paid a good amount for this.  I live in an area where the free/cheap/don’t make me actually teach it myself homeschoolers is huge or sports for public school kids ( I rarely ever see the kids in the neighborhood as they only do sports never any free time).  There doesn’t seem to be a middle here ( where’s Toto knows this as she has seen the local FB groups crap).  I really think these parents don’t care as long as the kids are out of the house and socializing.  They will pay for it without a thought.  It got worse here with the pandemic.

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6 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I paid a good amount for this.  I live in an area where the free/cheap/don’t make me actually teach it myself homeschoolers is huge or sports for public school kids.  There doesn’t seem to be a middle here ( where’s Toto knows this as she has seen the local FB groups crap).  I really think these parents don’t care as long as the kids are out of the house and socializing.  They will pay for it without a thought.  

Definitely.  Especially in the past year or so.   If you were closer to me, I'd say I knew exactly the place you were talking about because I know of one very close to me that fits the flaky description too.  

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24 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I paid a good amount for this.  I live in an area where the free/cheap/don’t make me actually teach it myself homeschoolers is huge or sports for public school kids ( I rarely ever see the kids in the neighborhood as they only do sports never any free time).  There doesn’t seem to be a middle here ( where’s Toto knows this as she has seen the local FB groups crap).  I really think these parents don’t care as long as the kids are out of the house and socializing.  They will pay for it without a thought.  It got worse here with the pandemic.

Which does explain why the other parents aren't complaining.  They really aren't interested in their kids advancing in their art skills.  They just want something mildly interesting to pass the time and give them a social outlet.  Which is ok if that is what you are up front about offering, but not ok if it's advertised as specific art instruction - especially in a specific medium. 

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Just now, Jean in Newcastle said:

Which does explain why the other parents aren't complaining.  They really aren't interested in their kids advancing in their art skills.  They just want something mildly interesting to pass the time and give them a social outlet.  Which is ok if that is what you are up front about offering, but not ok if it's advertised as specific art instruction - especially in a specific medium. 

Exactly.  

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1 hour ago, itsheresomewhere said:

Exactly.  

I've definitely done classes like this, where I didn't care what was happening except that the kids got to hang out. 

Come to think of it, though, there WAS a math class at our local homeschooling center where they charged a bunch and advertised covering a good range of topics... and really what it was was a bunch of kids running around and shrieking, with the teacher occasionally "demonstrating" something with C-rods (with the class mostly not being able to hear her, anyway.) 

That one did annoy me. We were only sitting in that class because I was going to take it over next term, but I was kind of shocked by the difference between what was promised and what was delivered. 

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We tried a co-op that routinely pulled these stunts. Sign up for watercolor painting, get told it will be calligraphy instead. Sign up for ASL, get told it's now "Movie Day" and there will be no ASL.  And then get yelled at and told my "negativity was not wanted" when I complained that I wasn't getting what I paid for.

We bailed on that mess. 

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4 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

We tried a co-op that routinely pulled these stunts. Sign up for watercolor painting, get told it will be calligraphy instead. Sign up for ASL, get told it's now "Movie Day" and there will be no ASL.  And then get yelled at and told my "negativity was not wanted" when I complained that I wasn't getting what I paid for.

We bailed on that mess. 

Wow. That's something else, lol. 

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6 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

We tried a co-op that routinely pulled these stunts. Sign up for watercolor painting, get told it will be calligraphy instead. Sign up for ASL, get told it's now "Movie Day" and there will be no ASL.  And then get yelled at and told my "negativity was not wanted" when I complained that I wasn't getting what I paid for.

We bailed on that mess. 

We had that happen.  One of the many reasons we gave up on co-ops. 

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53 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

We had that happen.  One of the many reasons we gave up on co-ops. 

Regarding art instruction for your child, have you googled "Fine art instruction" for your area? My son takes a mixed media class that is more "art for fun" than formal instruction in, say, perspective or composition. He's learning some fun techniques and how to work with different media, but he's not specifically going to be taught how to draw portraits or anything like that. 

Is there an art museum, gallery, or college with an art program in your area? I would poke around in those places and ask if they know of anyone that teaches teens.  

I hope you can find something! I know the frustration you are feeling, as I have been pushing against the same sort of thing where I live. 

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2 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Regarding art instruction for your child, have you googled "Fine art instruction" for your area? My son takes a mixed media class that is more "art for fun" than formal instruction in, say, perspective or composition. He's learning some fun techniques and how to work with different media, but he's not specifically going to be taught how to draw portraits or anything like that. 

Is there an art museum, gallery, or college with an art program in your area? I would poke around in those places and ask if they know of anyone that teaches teens.  

I hope you can find something! I know the frustration you are feeling, as I have been pushing against the same sort of thing where I live. 

I have. We have a wonderful art museum and a few other programs.  Either they only do classes for young kids and adults or the teen program if they offer one is online only.  This area has a serious lack of things/classes for teens and always has.  I did have one lady recommended by the art museum but she only teaches toddlers. 
 

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52 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I have. We have a wonderful art museum and a few other programs.  Either they only do classes for young kids and adults or the teen program if they offer one is online only.  This area has a serious lack of things/classes for teens and always has.  I did have one lady recommended by the art museum but she only teaches toddlers. 
 

Gotcha. We have the same issue here. Lots of things for littles, nothing for kids older than 10. It's baffling, IMO. 

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8 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Gotcha. We have the same issue here. Lots of things for littles, nothing for kids older than 10. It's baffling, IMO. 

It is. I have never understood the lack of teen things. One would think they would realize how teens need something too.  Not all schools can provide a lot of clubs or art/creative classes.  It is an area that needs stuff. 

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6 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Wow. That's something else, lol. 

This is normal for around here, lol. There's another co-op that won't tell you any class information until after you pay the membership fee. The membership fee is separate from fees for classes; it's the fee you pay to get on their email list, see what classes are offered, and be allowed to attend their park days.

I and another woman pointed out that we didn't want to pay just to find out there were no classes available or of interest. No dice. Pay $20 if you want to find out.  They have lots of people willing to pay just to look at the schedule.

Nice work if you can get it. 😒

 

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Almost all my teen piano beginners are homeschooled high schoolers who need fine arts, and the first question I ask mom is "do you want to count this for credit". Because I am fine teaching "just for fun" and as an extracurricular, but if you want credit on a high school transcript, I will happily give you a high school credit worthy class-but while "just for fun" might be a 30 minute lesson a week and practicing when you feel like, If you tell me you want credit, I'm going to assign and support based on that. 

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I'm so sorry so many of you have struggled to get good art instruction.  Through a combination of our location, and sometimes pushy persistence, my now-at-art-school daughter has been very fortunate to get excellent skills instruction.

Try museums / galleries / art guilds, if there are any nearby.  That's where she's gotten the bulk of her technical skills.

Her earliest (and priciest) classes were at a nearby gallery/ guild / school, that runs both fun camp-like programs and also more serious instruction.  She started doing summer camps and afterschool classes there as a kindergartner.  Through that, she found one early painting teacher and thereafter another true mentor.  She took (and continued this last summer, post-high school) to take tons of classes in all sorts of media there.  She's also had the opportunity to compete and show in first youth, and then adult, shows through that.  (They also theoretically limit the adult classes to 16+, but once she'd shown her work they allowed her in from age ~13-14 on.)

We're close to Weir Farm, one of only two National Park sites that focus on visual art (here's the other; they have programming as well).  They have visiting artists in residence, who run (usually adult-only) classes.  At my pushy dance-mom request, one such visiting artist went over her "portfolio" when she was in seventh grade and let her take his adult class, which actually was one of the turning points in her development.  That octogenarian, immensely gifted, immensely kind man is another true mentor.

We're also close to an outstanding contemporary museum that really punches above its weight, which -- like Silvermine -- runs open sketching nights with live models.  Her participation in those sessions -- while not teaching skills -- delivered her another mentor; and also gave her access to a *different* guild in a different town in whose shows she was able to participate.

And the last place she's taken *extremely good* and jaw-droppingly affordable classes over the last few years has been at the Art Student League of New York... but she's fortunate to have grandparents, aunts & uncles, and an older sister who've been able to house her and help her navigate the subways to get there.  (Since COVID they're doing some online classes, as has Silvermine; but I understand your strong preference for in-person.)

She also plans museum visits around open sketching hours and docent talks, and has learned a LOT that way, usually at no cost at all.

 

So I guess my ultimate advice would be: don't look for a "class."  Look for nearby institutions -- museums, galleries, guilds, contests -- and hoover up whatever open-sketch or gallery/docent talks or whatever -- they have to offer.  What S found is that her training and opportunities sort of hopped from one mentor figure to another.

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I was able to get a teacher for an adult extension class to make an exception for my artist kid by contacting her directly & signing us both up (but my kid was 3 yrs younger than the minimum age at the time). I'm assuming you tried this & the teacher wouldn't work with you, but I am posting for others who maybe hadn't thought of going directly to the teacher.

 

My husband later found a local artist who gave my kid private lessons. We were very fortunate -- but it was pre-covid & at a good time in the artist's life. 

On 9/17/2021 at 11:56 AM, itsheresomewhere said:

They won’t let her take these until she is 16.  She is only 15.  

Good luck!

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12 hours ago, Pam in CT said:

I'm so sorry so many of you have struggled to get good art instruction.  Through a combination of our location, and sometimes pushy persistence, my now-at-art-school daughter has been very fortunate to get excellent skills instruction.

Try museums / galleries / art guilds, if there are any nearby.  That's where she's gotten the bulk of her technical skills.

Her earliest (and priciest) classes were at a nearby gallery/ guild / school, that runs both fun camp-like programs and also more serious instruction.  She started doing summer camps and afterschool classes there as a kindergartner.  Through that, she found one early painting teacher and thereafter another true mentor.  She took (and continued this last summer, post-high school) to take tons of classes in all sorts of media there.  She's also had the opportunity to compete and show in first youth, and then adult, shows through that.  (They also theoretically limit the adult classes to 16+, but once she'd shown her work they allowed her in from age ~13-14 on.)

We're close to Weir Farm, one of only two National Park sites that focus on visual art (here's the other; they have programming as well).  They have visiting artists in residence, who run (usually adult-only) classes.  At my pushy dance-mom request, one such visiting artist went over her "portfolio" when she was in seventh grade and let her take his adult class, which actually was one of the turning points in her development.  That octogenarian, immensely gifted, immensely kind man is another true mentor.

We're also close to an outstanding contemporary museum that really punches above its weight, which -- like Silvermine -- runs open sketching nights with live models.  Her participation in those sessions -- while not teaching skills -- delivered her another mentor; and also gave her access to a *different* guild in a different town in whose shows she was able to participate.

And the last place she's taken *extremely good* and jaw-droppingly affordable classes over the last few years has been at the Art Student League of New York... but she's fortunate to have grandparents, aunts & uncles, and an older sister who've been able to house her and help her navigate the subways to get there.  (Since COVID they're doing some online classes, as has Silvermine; but I understand your strong preference for in-person.)

She also plans museum visits around open sketching hours and docent talks, and has learned a LOT that way, usually at no cost at all.

 

So I guess my ultimate advice would be: don't look for a "class."  Look for nearby institutions -- museums, galleries, guilds, contests -- and hoover up whatever open-sketch or gallery/docent talks or whatever -- they have to offer.  What S found is that her training and opportunities sort of hopped from one mentor figure to another.

Wow, the prices for the Art Student league are really good! I am paying the same price for "just for fun" art classes for kids and teens. 

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