To say that 2020 has been an interesting year would be a bit of an understatement. I’ve been extremely blessed that my professional life has seen little impact as I’ve been working remotely from my home in Southwestern Virginia for over 5 years. So I’m no stranger to online meetings and video conferences. They’re the every day norm for me.
As for my personal life, there have surely been some minor changes and inconveniences. My kids’ hockey season was cut short in the spring and is starting a bit late this fall. We have to watch our internet usage a bit more since both kids are attending school remotely for at least the first third of the school year and our only choice for internet at the moment is satellite (with it’s extremely slow speeds and data caps) due to our rural location. We also haven’t seen out of state family (primarily my mother and my wife’s sister’s family) as often as we normally would, and we couldn’t attend church services for most of the spring and summer.
For the most part, though, my family and I have fared just fine. We weren’t really impacted by any major business closures in our area. Besides, other than shopping for groceries, we don’t go out much anyway. We’re not shoppers. We very rarely eat out. In fact, if we had the basic grocery necessities we needed to do so, we could go months without leaving our property and be quite happy doing so. Case in point, back in April, we filled the tank in our car exactly one time and went five or six weeks without needing to refuel (and it’s a minimum 15-20 minute drive to ANYTHING from where we live). When it comes right down to it, we are serious introverts and homebodies, and we’re much more comfortable on our rural farm than we are in a crowded social situation.
But what I did miss this year was the opportunity to teach classes both privately and at the local woodworking school. While I may be an introvert at heart, I always look forward to the opportunity to talk and teach woodworking. So I was a bit disappointed that the classes that I was planning to teach this spring at the local school had to be cancelled. I had worked with the folks at the school and developed a series of weekend courses that we were going to offer, but higher powers had other plans (you can interpret that however you want).
At this point, I’m not sure when the school is going to be able to open back up for normal classes again. So I’ve been considering offering the series of classes that I was going to teach at the school as a series of online courses. There would be a total of six classes in the series, covering everything from sawing, planing, basic joinery, hand cut dovetails, hand cut mortise and tenon, and then a final project that puts it all together. Each class in the series would include some practice exercises as well as a project specifically selected and designed to focus on the particular skill being highlighted in the class.
If you were to take these classes in person, the first five classes would be two-day, weekend classes and the final project would be a five-day class. If you took these classes in a private setting at my shop, all six classes would cost you a total of $2850 ($400 each for the five two-day classes and $850 for the final five-day class). If you took them in a group setting at the school, they’d be slightly less than that, but still at least $250-300 per class for the two-day classes and at least $500-600 for the week long class. Of course you wouldn’t have to take all six. You could take only the ones you wanted to, but you get the point.
To offer these classes online is going to be a significant amount of work, because not only do I have to teach the class the same as I would in person, but I have to record it and then edit and post all of the video. So before I go to the effort of doing so, I’d like to gauge the interest in the series. If there’s enough interest, I’ll go ahead and start putting them together and put up a syllabus and registration page for each class. I’m thinking that each online class should be in the ballpark of $40-50, which is about what you would pay for a 2-3 hour DVD, but these classes will be much longer than 2-3 hours, and much more detailed than your typical 2-3 hour DVD.
If you want to get an idea of what each online class will cover, you can take a look at the class descriptions for the in-person versions of the Foundations of Traditional Woodworking classes. Then let me know either with a comment below, an email, or an Instagram DM if you’d be interested in any or all of these classes.