Virtual In-Home Lesson Guide

Thank you for being one of our awesome CoachArt volunteers! We want you to feel equipped to handle any situation that might come up during your volunteer work. In-home lessons typically take place in-person, but that’s not always convenient — or even possible. [NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person lessons must adhere to the guidelines at the bottom of this page.]

Below are some tips for successful virtual lessons. Haven’t been matched yet? Log in here to request a student to work with virtually.

Tip #1: Communicate with your student’s parent/guardian

It’s always great to be on the same page! 

  • Start by giving the parent/guardian a call or respond to the introduction email we will send. 
  • Find out what they are interested in and what materials they have on hand. If there are materials they need, see Tip #2.
  • Decide what technology you are going to use to meet. We will send you a link to a password protected “Zoom Room” you can meet at. Or you can use another app like “FaceTime” or “Google Hangouts”.  A good old fashioned phone call works too!
Tip #2: Prep your lesson

Most importantly, make sure a parent/guardian is present with the student for the entire duration of the lesson.

Think of activities that don’t require going out to buy a lot of new materials. If your lessons require materials the family does not have on hand, feel free to order them for the family (up to the allocated budget amount), or contact your Program Manager who can order on your behalf. If you need to buy any materials yourself, see instructions here on how to process your reimbursement.

When using a phone call: Ask your student why they’re interested in the subject or skill. Do they know of any famous artists or athletes that excel at it? How do they feel when they try something new? You can ask your student to write down some of their goals for this particular skill. Are there ways they can practice it throughout the week? What other resources are available to them?

When using a video call: Make sure to engage with your student while you’re instructing them. Check in with them and see if anything needs repetition. Ask them what they’re curious about and see where that takes you. Also, provide options for them to practice when you’re not together. We love this article- it’s chock full of helpful tips on keeping kids engaged on video calls!

Virtual Lesson Ideas and Tips by Subject:

  • Cooking/baking
    • Here are some great dessert recipes that use typical pantry ingredients
    • Send the recipe you’ll be making a few days in advance to make sure they have all ingredients and kitchen tools.
      • If they need additional ingredients, let us know and we can send them via Amazon if they’re available.
    • Cooking and baking will require the student and you to be mobile in the kitchen, so make sure you and your student are able to prop your phone or computer up in a place where it has the widest view possible.
    • Make sure a parent/guardian is participating with the student for the entire duration of the lesson, for their physical safety.
  • Visual Art
    • Decide what visual art project you will complete within a total of 8 lessons. (For example knitting, painting, drawing, writing, reading, etc.)
    • Share your ideas over a call with your new student’s parent/guardian, and make adjustments as needed.
    • Order the materials you think your student will need to complete the project.
    • Make sure your student is using materials responsibly with the supervision of their parent/guardian.
  • Sports
    • Find out what equipment they have and order what they need (you can use our reimbursement form, or ask your Program Manager to order it on your behalf)
    • Show an example of yourself or a friend doing a popular drill. You can even record it and send it to your student so they can practice when you’re not there. Explain why athletes use this particular drill (is it for warm up? For agility?) and give them instructions on how to incorporate it into their routine.
    • Highlight an athlete. Do you have a favorite athlete from your sport? Your student probably does, too! Spend some time talking about your favorite athlete(s) and what you admire about them. You could even watch video of the athlete! It’s always fun to draw inspiration from the professionals!
    • Make a “game plan” – becoming a great athlete doesn’t happen overnight. Work with your student to create an 8 week plan that includes exercises/drills that can be worked on even when you’re not meeting in-person. Adjust accordingly to your student’s ability and desire to practice. It’s a great opportunity to show them that your skills are malleable and constantly evolving.
    • Dial in on technique. Virtual lessons are a great way to focus on form and assign verbal cues to perfect your student’s technique. You can tell them to practice in front of a mirror so that they can see what you see.
    • Break it up. If it feels like an hour lesson is too long, break it up throughout the week or schedule 30 minute check-ins instead.
  • Music
    • Ask the family if the student needs an instrument, and if so, tell them that CoachArt will provide it to them.
    • Submit a request for the instrument to your designated program manager.
    • CoachArt representatives will order the instrument and deliver it to the family.
    • Help guide the student and their parent/guardian in how to use, tune, and care for their new instrument.
    • Explore music theory.
    • Learn to play their favorite song.
    • Have a performance at the end of the lesson — record and share their accomplishment.
  • Performing Arts
    • Make a movie, write a script, or learn a new form of dance. We’ll support you and your student in the activity you both choose.
    • You’re also welcome to submit a “wish list” to your designated program manager if you have a rental or material cost that may exceed the allotted activities budget. (For examples camera, lights, microphone, etc.)
Tip #3: Anticipate some awkwardness

Technology can make communication easier and harder at the same time! You might encounter some awkwardness or shyness in the beginning and that’s totally normal. One thing that you can do right away is focus on getting to know your student better and seeing what they are passionate about. 

Ask questions and incorporate icebreakers in the beginning of your lesson so that you can ease into the material.

Virtual Ice Breakers:

  • Share a fun fact about yourself, and ask if your student will share one too (this can be a way discover things you have in common)
  • My Favorite [X]: During each lesson, you can introduce a detail about yourself by describing your favorite thing in a category (examples: food, musical artist, season, etc.). Encourage the student to do the same, and take a few minutes to talk about why you like your respective choices.
  • A classic: Two truths and a lie! Tell the student three things about yourself — one of which is false — and see if the student can guess which is false. Then switch roles.
  • Never have I ever. You and the student each hold up 10 fingers. Tell the student something you’ve never done, and if they’ve done it, they put down one finger. Take turns. The game ends when either you or your student have put down all fingers.
  • What animal describes you and why?
  • Name alliteration: Have your student spell out their name. For each letter, find a word that starts with the same letter that describes their personality or passions. For example: 
    • A is for Active
    • M is for Mischievous
    • Y is for Yogi
  • Give a brief explanation of what you have planned for the upcoming lessons.
  • Ask if the student has any questions.
Tip #4: Embrace flexibility

It’s okay if you only have half an hour instead of a full hour. It’s also okay if your student is having a bad day and doesn’t feel like doing the activity you had planned. Just the fact that you consistently show up for the lesson is a positive and meaningful thing. 

Example of what an hour may look like:

  • 5 minute check in with parent/guardian.
  • 10 minute introduction to student.
  • 30 minute lesson.
  • 15 minute closing summary, cleanup, recap and assignments. 

Assigning “Homework”: You’re encouraged to invite your student to continue (practicing their instrument on their own, trying cooking a recipe again with a guardian, writing their story to discuss at your next virtual lesson) if you think this might be useful and welcome.

Over time your student will probably open up to you, and you will really get to know each other. If a child ever shares anything about their lives that is uncomfortable for you, please let us know. If this does happen, do your best to steer the conversation back to the activity at hand. Keep an open mind and know that your mentorship is just as critical as the skill you’re teaching.

If you wish to meet in person

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CoachArt recommends that all lessons take place virtually. However, if a family and a coach would like to meet in-person, we ask that the following guidelines be followed:

  • Local government policy must permit people to meet in-person, utilize parks or courts, and do the activity at hand.
  • Both parties must agree that they want to meet in-person, and notify CoachArt.
  • Lessons must take place outdoors.
  • Coach and all family members must wear a face covering.
  • All balls, equipment, and hands must be sanitized before and after the lesson.
  • Any participant with a cough, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, temperature over 99, or trouble breathing within the last 24 hours (or anybody in a home with somebody experiencing any of these symptoms) may not attend.