I recently had the opportunity to try out a new company called Learnivore! This Boston based company provides a space for parents and instructors to meet and connect for the purpose of lessons which range from sports to cooking to music. Once you have created your profile on their website, you can begin researching instructors and post your lesson request. The terms of the lesson, cost and location is determined by the client and instructor. Learnivore strongly encourages the client to do their research, be clear in your needs and expectations and if possible, to deal with matters of payment through their site directly. After spending about 3 weeks working on this project, I have found that you need to be patient and understand that you may need to connect with multiple instructors before finding the right one, but there is someone out there for you!
This is quite a different experience from signing up for lessons with a local YMCA or your town’s recreational center. I was unsure how I would feel about using this as we have typically used group lessons with an established organization. With those, signing up for a class is pretty easy-you get a tip from a friend or see something online, pay and show up. I know from experience that even the most well promoted and highly rated program don’t always work out. For example, we signed up for soccer last year in hopes of giving our son a fun outlet for his high energy. At the time, our son couldn’t follow instructions, kicked soccer balls in all directions and basically ran crazy the entire time. He was three and perhaps that was a little young, but he was always excited to attend so we stayed with it. Fast forward one year and he’s still too young for our town’s Youth Soccer program, but, we were unsure about doing another group class. When asked if I would like to try Learnivore, I felt like it was a great opportunity to give soccer another try!
What I loved about Learnivore was that the instruction for my son was completely based on him, his needs and abilities and not that of a large group. I wondered if a one-on-one experience would help better prepare him for a big class. Being able to speak directly with the instructor prior to the lesson was a great advantage. I was able to explain some of the ups and downs of our previous experiences and what I was hoping to gain from the encounter. My main goal was to find out if my son actually enjoys this sport and should we keep trying! What I discovered was pure joy! Our instructor, Djibril was patient, kind and encouraging! Finn felt comfortable right away and they just began playing. Djibril used lots of high fives and gentle redirection but also understood that he was working with a 4 year old who sometimes needed to veer off track and have some moments to just play. It was really wonderful to have my son running and laughing and feeling confident! I discovered that one-on-one is a great way for him to stay focused and engaged and with the correct type of teaching style, he can be successful!
Our overall experience was positive, but, I did have a couple of hiccups along the way. Before beginning your search, read through all of the tips provided on the company website this will help guide you through the experience. Below are a few of my own suggestions so that you too can find an instructor and success using Learnivore!
1. Be clear in your request.
What you are looking to gain from the lesson? Do you prefer one on one or a group? Are you willing to travel? Don’t be afraid to make changes to your request if you aren’t getting the responses you were hoping for.
2. Follow up on all of your replies, you learn more about the instructor than what is in their profile.
I received two replies and it ended up that the instructor with a little less teaching experience was a perfect match for us!
3. Ask lots of questions to the instructors who respond to your request, ask for references and share some background with one another.
This person will be teaching your child, it’s just as important for you to know about them as it is for them to know about your child. Ask them what you can expect from your time together, do they have a lesson plan in mind?
4. Make sure you set a meeting place that works for you both and be specific about the address.
I made the mistake of not verifying the address of our agreed upon park. I felt terrible because I ended being an hour late and we had to pick a new spot to meet. Luckily our instructor was very understanding and the Boston Common was an amazing spot for a lesson!
5. Work out payment details prior to meeting.
Our instructor wasn’t set up on the Learnivore site for online payment so we agreed upon a rate and I paid him directly, after the lesson was complete. The recommendation by the team is to pay online so as not to have to worry about this detail at the time of the lesson. I had absolutely no issues paying directly as we had discussed everything prior. Ultimately, it falls to you and the instructor you hire to work out the best way to handle these details.
If you’re looking for a unique opportunity for you child, whether it be sports, voice lesson, even language, I highly recommend checking out the Learnivore site for yourself! Life is busy, organized lessons and sports don’t always fit into our busy work schedules and this provides an opportunity to make something work for you!