What do you get when you take a class? A grade? A certificate?
Take one of Meagan Tauber’s online baking classes, and you might get your first baking gig.
At least, that’s what happened to Ava, a learner in one of Meagan’s classes. After taking the popular Beautiful Buttercream class, thirteen-year-old Ava was asked to make the cake and other baked goods for a family friend’s baby shower.
Ava’s Mom contacted Meagan to ask a few questions about converting measurements because of the larger scale of the shower cake. Other than that, Ava had learned all she needed in Meagan’s class to create a beautiful (and delicious) cake for the special event.
A passionate baking teacher
“I’ve enjoyed culinary arts since I was a teen or tween. We didn’t have YouTube, and we didn’t have social media,” Meagan said about her own history with learning to bake.
As a child, Meagan noticed that kids' baking classes were for fun, not for learning technical skills like decorating with icing.
But Meagan now offers young learners a chance to develop real baking skills in a supportive, age-appropriate environment. It doesn’t hurt that the classes cover awesome topics like Cake Mix Magic: Mind-Blowing Cupcakes.
“The kids want to learn technical skills, and they want fun,” Meagan said.
While not all of Meagan’s learners end up baking for a big event, sharing "lessons" in public is not uncommon. Learners have shared their goods at local 4-H fairs, and others sell their products at local farmers’ markets.
This practical, passion-driven learning mirrors Meagan’s philosophy as a Mom, too.
“I view these classes as an extension of my homeschool. I wouldn’t teach these kids any different than I teach my own.”
Online baking classes: how do they work?
If you’re a learner in Meagan’s Beautiful Buttercream class, the process starts the day before.
You receive a message from Meagan reminding you to do two important tasks: take the butter out of the refrigerator so it's ready for your homemade buttercream, and, of course, bake and level your cake. Tomorrow, Meagan will teach you how to decorate that cake via live video.
Once class begins, the first step is to review the techniques you’re using on your cake. Meagan shows you a few “inspiration cakes” on Pinterest or Google Images. Then, Meagan guides you through the steps to make a batch of buttercream.
After that, it’s time to begin building the cake. First comes the “crumb boat,” which is an initial layer of frosting. Next it’s “dinner plate practice,” where - you guessed it - you use a dinner plate to practice the piping techniques Meagan demonstrates. Lastly, you practice this same technique on your actual cake.
Appropriately, Meagan teaches in her own kitchen while standing in front of two cameras she uses to make †class instructive and engaging.
She keeps her laptop camera on gallery view and encourages learners to do the same. This way, everyone can see her cameras and their classmates. Meagan’s second camera provides an up close shot of her countertop, so learners can watch her piping icing and performing other techniques.
Managing expectations in a Pinterest world
The list of life skills Meagan weaves into her classes is impressive: kids learn resilience, how to make a “plan B,” and, much to parents’ approval, the art of cleaning up as you go. Meagan jokes that kids wouldn’t be taking too many second baking classes if they left the kitchen a mess.
And in today’s age of photo filters, social sharing, and FOMO, managing expectations is one of the most important topics of discussion during Meagan’s classes.
“Is this the first time this person has ever done this technique?” Meagan asks learners as they view beautiful cakes on Google Images or Pinterest. The choral response is always a resounding "no." But that doesn't mean kids don't need the reminder.
Learners may watch baking shows on the Food Network or Netflix and then compare the work of professionals to their own creations. Meagan leads learners through discussions to develop realistic expectations and positive mindsets.
“No one’s posting on Pinterest the first time they try a technique,” Meagan reminds them.
Meagan's recipe for successful learning
As a homeschooling mother of three, Meagan has a clear vision for her children’s education. And, not surprisingly, it allows for much creative freedom for her kids. The family considers themselves Unschoolers, and they believe in interest-led learning.
“It’s like Marie Kondo - whatever sparks joy. We’ve been operating that way for a while. Not necessarily about physical things, but about learning,” Meagan said.
Additionally, they travel for about five months of the year. On her Outschool teacher profile, Meagan notes, “We've set a goal to visit all 50 states by the end of 2020 and we are steadfastly checking them off our list!”
Ultimately, Meagan’s journey as a mother shows in her teaching.
“If kids are having a rough day, if they’re getting frustrated, I meet each of them where they are. I mentor the kids in my classes, and I teach them the way I would teach my own.”
Like Meagan’s supportive teaching style? Think classes about cupcakes would be great for your kid? Take the first step and get your free Outschool account today.