This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
With some exceptions, group lessons are mostly concerned with getting
you from the "learn to skate" stage, though basic stroking and edges
and then finish up with figures and edges (or dance), without getting
into the more advanced jumps or spins. Even if you already know how to
skate, this can be quite worthwhile, depending on the amount of
individual attention from the instructor and the degree of improvement
you feel from a disciplined, progressive review of the basic skills.
As far as group lessons vs. private instruction that's a difficult
call - each has some advantages. The group lesson provides peers and a
programmed sequence of lessons. If you hang in, you'll learn, if not
master, a lot of skills and be able to compare your progress with your
peers. If you do have difficulty however, you're more likely to become
Private lessons offer more flexibility, but lacking the fixed pace of
the group lessons, it's possible to get stuck on something that you
don't like or see the point of, but the instructor seems to feel is
important before proceeding. This occurs more often if the lessons are
infrequent or if you really haven't developed good 2-way
communications with the instructor. If this is a problem, try getting
some off-ice quality time to discuss your progress and goals - offer
to buy coffee or ask if there's a "a time when we can sit down and
talk for a few minutes".
Moving from private lessons to group lessons, or re-starting group
lessons after dropping out can be difficult. You can't slough off the
easy stuff or you'll just hit a brick wall where you had trouble
before. If this situation, concentrate on doing that easy stuff as
nicely as you can, using your hard earned "advanced" skills.
You can also supplement group lessons with private instruction or use
the group lessons to provide more "structured" practice time for what
you're also learning in the private lessons. It's hard to predict how
well this will work out for any given person, all you can do is plunk
down your money and try it. Again, talk to your instructor - many will
recommend more frequent lessons with them, but few will really object
to the group lessons.
Plenty of practice time is a wonderful thing, but too much
unsupervised practice between lessons isn't a good idea. Not that
you'll injure yourself, but you can end up doing things the "hard way"
and forming habit/balance patterns that can interfere with your longer
term progress. Invest in a little private instruction in addition to
your group lessons. This will prevent bad habits from becoming
ingrained and make your practice time more worthwhile and