Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday's Artists

Last week I posted about some of the classes my kids are enrolled in this fall to both lighten my load and broaden our learning through trained teachers. When I found Monday's Artists, I knew that this program was exactly what we needed! This program was launched last year by a homeschool mom who just wanted to provide her children with regular exposure to the arts-- you know, all that stuff we want to teach but struggle to find time for. She put this program together and it filled up quickly! After a very successful first year, she had the opportunity to expand the program into a nearby city (where I live) and is now franchising the program for anyone who is interested.

The program offers fine arts taught all in one morning in one place with reasonable pricing. My kids will be taking art, music, drama and public speaking. We are very excited about this new venture in our area, so I thought I would share a bit about it with you all, in case 1) there are some of you in the Charlotte area who might want to register or 2) some of you would be interested in starting a franchise in your area. I know that Kate would love to help you if God leads you to do so. Below is my interview with Kate Bach, founder of Monday's Artists:

How did Monday's Artists get started?
We have six children and none of them stand out as The Artist or The Musician. So, in wanting to provide fine arts for them, it seemed an all or nothing scenario. We found several different teachers who would accept students of certain ages. This meant quite a bit of schlepping about. We found the most affordable teachers as well, but that still added up to quite a bit of money….and this just covered art! One evening while lamenting that fine arts was never going to make it’s way into our family life (I do have the typical husband. Well not so typical, he’s a teacher and a football coach and a baseball coach and eats up anything sports. For him one Lollipops concert and a few plays a year was plenty of fine arts- we do have five boys.) A brief pointing out of the imbalance between those three events vs. the many sports we are involved with led to, “You can figure this out. Make what you need.” Hmmm, the wheels began turning and three weeks later Monday’s Artists was holding its first class.

Where did the name come from?
We played with names but found nothing that was all encompassing until we decided we would host it on Monday’s and I began playing with the Monday’s Child poem. It was a great fit that allows for altering our course load as each director wishes. Ex. Pottery instead of art.

Why do you think it was so popular?
I’m not sure why it is so popular aside from the fact that, as homeschoolers, there is tons offered to us but nothing at such affordable rates, at one location one day per week and available to all of our students.

What are your goals for students enrolled in Monday's Artist?
Each family has their own goals. This year we will include a curriculum syllabus for those families that wish to dive deeper into our weekly material. For most, I believe it is just the artistic experience/expression in a classroom setting with a professional instructor.

How did you set your fees?
Our original fees were set simply to cover a very fair wage to the instructor, classroom supplies and a ‘thank you’ tithe for the church. We hit the mark within dollars. When Kelly was interested in directing a second Monday’s Artists program in South Charlotte we realized the possibility of growth beyond just a little larger class for our main program. This meant a director’s fee as well as administration fees. Wanting to keep it affordable meant these two fees would be enough to cover our time but not enough for non-homeschool moms (wanting fine arts for their children) to look at it as a business opportunity.

How do you find teachers?
We find our teachers through word of mouth. Our family has owned/operated businesses forever and the ‘great ones’ always come through a friend or a friend of a friend. Our plans for Monday’s Artists were to achieve affordable (time and cost) fine arts for our children. God has taken this beyond our plans and we are just running to keep up with Him. When Kelly came on board it became apparent that a curriculum would be needed in order to assure program quality and Kelly was excited about getting her thoughts down on paper. Our art teacher, Stacy was also intrigued and excited.

What are your plans for Monday's Artist?
We are not pushing forward with any plans but rather allowing His plan to be revealed. This Thursday I will meet with another mom who is interested in starting another Monday’s Artists in the Pineville (NC) area and last week several moms asked me to begin one in the York, SC area. There is also a mom interested in the Charleston, SC area. We are a homeschool family (that’s busy enough!) that owns/operates a SC Accountability Association, that is our business. Monday’s Artists was just a little program to get what we needed for our children. Who knows where this will lead?? We are open to franchising all over the nation, but will only do so as interested families seek us.

What would you recommend for moms who feel led to start a Monday's Artist in their area?
If you feel led to start a Monday’s Artists I would definitely recommend you start with prayer. It is a fairly easy program to get up and running, our re-sign up rate has been greater than 80% which means your second year will be easier than your first. It does require gumption and the desire to create this program for your children. If that desire is not there, the director’s fees are not worth hosting information/registration meetings, locating a facility and instructors, keeping up with your bookkeeping, etc. It truly is not much but it is enough that one has to be interested for the intrinsic value rather than the extrinsic value.

If you want to know more about Monday's Artists, you can email Kate, and she will be happy to answer your questions!
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