Today, I want to chat about engaging online courses for your homeschool because, let’s face it, sometimes outsourcing can be a homeschool game changer.
It’s hard to believe it, but we are entering our 9th homeschool year. This year looks quite different for our family; my oldest two children have opted to try middle and high school, while my youngest is continuing his 6th-grade year as a homeschooler.
We have used countless resources over the past 8+ years of homeschooling. When I look at the resources we loved during our first two years and compare them to the resources we love today, very few have stood the test of time. I can probably count them on one hand.
I want to share an online resource that we have been using since the very beginning: Outschool. (And if you’ve had your eyes on Outschool, keep reading for a special offer!)
Easy Online Courses For Your Homeschool Unit Studies
*Disclosure: I was compensated for my time writing an Outschool review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only review resources that I have used with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy. Our family has been enjoying Outschool courses since the very beginning of our homeschool journey.
Lazy Unit Studies: Why We Love Them
I gush about Lazy Unit Studies often. I have countless examples of why our family loves Lazy Unit Studies, but the best example is one from very early on in our homeschool journey.
My oldest son is now 14 and a freshman in high school, but when he was a teeny-tiny homeschooler, he was fascinated with animals and the natural world. When he was little, his interests were not your typical run-of-the-mill animals and insects.
He preferred the more obscure creatures. Bushbabies. Ring-tailed lemurs. Cuttlefish. Crayfish. Caddisflies. Phyllobates terribilis. Pronghorns.
You get the idea.
When he was six years old, he was obsessed with the Humboldt squid. He talked about it all the time and often pretended to be a Humboldt squid. (This phase was downright hilarious!)
I’ll never forget the time I created a Humboldt squid unit study for him. True story. I found books featuring squid, documentaries that talked about Humboldt squids, a video of a squid dissection… and I even had a craft project!
Once I’d finally found all the books and documentaries and created the craft, I discovered that he’d moved on. In one fell swoop, he went from being obsessed with the Humboldt squid to losing himself- for many, many months- in the world of Greek mythology.
Has this happened to you, too?
Needless to say, I hadn’t yet discovered Outschool. And it’s a shame because YES they have courses on obscure creatures like Cuttlefish and giant squid! I just searched the site and this is what I found:
As a homeschool mom and educator, I know the importance of following a child’s lead. Children learn so much when we follow their interests! A wonderful way to embrace rabbit holes and follow your child’s lead is through unit studies.
Unit studies have many advantages including:
- The opportunity to cover multiple academic and nonacademic subject areas.
- Appropriate for use with multiple ages.
- Readers and non-readers can enjoy a unit study together.
- They help to create a family atmosphere of joyful curiosity and lifelong learning.
- The ability to document delight-driven learning for required year-end homeschool evaluations.
- The ability to follow a child’s lead and study an area of interest.
Traditional unit studies are fantastic, but they can be time-consuming to plan, prepare, and execute. At times, these conventional unit studies can also be costly… especially if you have multiple children and/or your child loses interest halfway through.
Lazy Unit Studies have all the advantages of traditional unit studies but without the overwhelm. With a Lazy Unit Study, you can focus on a child’s current area of passion without the hours and hours of planning and prep. The result? More joy for everyone involved!
And do you want to know one of my favorite resources to include in our homeschool unit studies? Outschool! Outschool has engaging online homeschool courses on a variety of academic subjects and topics of interest!
The Best Way To Add A Little Learning To Your Unit Study
Children are amazingly curious little people. They have unique and varied interests and these interests can sometimes change by the day! They can be hard to keep up with at times. If I had to create a unit study for every interest my children have had, I’d be pulling my hair out!
And that’s why I fell in love with Outschool during our first year of homeschooling! Outschool is such an easy way to follow your child’s interests and learn via unit studies!
Over the years, my children have enjoyed Outschool in several different ways:
- Fun courses across academic areas
- Book clubs
- Film studies
- Learning to cook
- Learning to bake
- Babysitting courses
- Chess clubs
- Dungeons and Dragons (learning how to DM, creating campaigns, playing, etc.)
And while Outschool is ideal for creating interest-based homeschool unit studies, I have relied on Outschool for other reasons, too!
In the past, I’ve turned to Outschool when facing the following homeschool challenges:
- Working with a reluctant writer
- When I’m feeling super burned out as a homeschool mom
- When my kids are feeling burned out
- During those wintry weeks when it seems like someone is always sick and can’t get anything accomplished
Easy Interest-Led Learning With Outschool
Outschool is an online learning platform that empowers kids ages 3–18 to learn on their terms with the widest variety of teachers, topics, and classes to suit any interest. The platform allows children and teens to connect with teachers and other learners from around the globe around shared interests.
(And I’m not kidding about the “around the globe” statement; my kids love to share where their classmates live. Outschool is available in over 173 countries!)
Outschool makes interest-led learning a breeze! There is something for every interest-led learner.
As I mentioned before, our family has dabbled in many homeschool resources over the years. My kids have taken oodles of online courses. I have yet to encounter an online platform with as much variety and choice as Outschool.
Outschool’s goal is to “set learning free,” giving control back to the learner and providing more choices for parents. Outschool wants children and teens to embrace curiosity and engage in lifelong, interest-based learning.
I have also found that homeschooling through Outschool is incredibly cost-effective. We only pay for the classes we want and need. It’s the best way to pick and choose curriculum options because you never have to pay for something you know you won’t use! (When you compare the cost of Outschool with tutors, after-school activities, and courses, you see how affordable and accessible it is!)
Outschool offers the following benefits for homeschool parents:
- You can let your children and teens pursue areas of passion and interest without any worries
Outschool was designed to prioritize learner safety and privacy
- Fuel independence
Let your children and teens take the reigns! By doing so, you are teaching your children how to learn joyfully, and that’s a life skill!
- Foster connection.
Outschool is a wonderful way for children to find their people. Connect with teachers and students from around the world over shared interests and passions.
- Learn from skilled teachers
Outschool’s courses are taught by vetted, diverse, and expert teachers inspired to teach what they love. I have found that my kids have benefitted greatly from learning from teachers from various backgrounds with various passions and interests. There’s something extraordinary about having other enthusiastic adults engage with our kids to help them learn.
Outschool In Your Homeschool
When we first started homeschooling in 2014, we fell in love with Outschool for all the reasons mentioned herein. Now, as we enter our 9th year (!!!) of homeschooling, Outschool remains a go-to and much-loved resource. Outschool has stood the test of time!
Want to learn more about Outschool? Sign up here and get up to $20 off your first class with code HOMESCHOOL22.
Outschool for Gameschoolers
And if you’re a gameschooler, you’re going to want to explore Outschool. The Outschool Learner Community is celebrating gaming in all its forms: board games, video games, role play, and more! Join us at our first-ever Outschool GameCon this September. Learn more and register here!