Here I’m going to share my experience with Outschool and what I love about it and what I think could be changed. This is my honest review about Outschool for homeschoolers and how it can change the way you teach in your homeschool.
Homeschooling has become the new sensation of learning for millions of families. Most parents want to engage and educate their kids by making screen time more meaningful. If you wish to do so, enter the world of Outschool.
We have been using Outschool for the last year and I have to say I love it and better than that my daughter loves it as well. But for those of you that don’t know what Outschool is here is the defninition.
What is Outschool?
Outschool started in 2015 for the homeschool students to enhance their extracurricular activities. At Outschool, most classes are taught via ZOOM. As an international site, it offers classes for the whole day (twenty-four hours day and night) and covers every subject you want to study. Isn’t it a fantastic thing?
It is for homeschooling families; they can sign up for classes and pay as per enrollment. You can even make a tiny payment of $5 or $6 for a 1-time session! The Average time of each session is half an hour. But this changes according to the class.
You can enroll for weeks or semesters after paying charges. There is a facility of Drop-in clubs that offer weekly subscription classes for your convenience, completely asynchronously.
Outschool its a great tool for homeschoolers, online students or anyone that wants to learn something new. My daughter who is a 4th grader this year has been using it since she was in 2nd grade and she loves the science experiment classes as well as the flexibility she with them.
MY Experience with Outschool for Homeschool
Before Outschool, we used Khan Academy for teaching, and this is great. But when we signed up for the first time in an Outschool class, we bounced happily because there are a few different learning options that offer teaching through video conference! It is much better than automated online learning.
When we first started, my daughter was in 2nd grade, and keeping up with academics was essential for her. We did want her to experience live classroom experiences like hand-raising for answering and asking questions. She badly needed learning skills, and how to keep patience in the classroom.
How We Use Outschool in Our Homeschool
The way use Outschool in my homeschool is as a supplement. Let me explain, I sign my daughter up for classes I know I can’t teach or that is boring to me. That way I don’t have to teach or I only have to supplement the teaching from Outschool.
I work and homeschool full-time so I don’t have the time to teach all subjects my self that’s why Outschool has been such a great investment for my homeschool experience.
The classes are interactive and my daughter gets to see other kids and also engage with them. Most of the experiments materials you already have at home or are accessible at the dollar store.
I have used it to help my daughter with math. She was having a hard time learning her multiplication and fractions I signed up for a class and that has made a huge difference.
The best thing about the site is that is very user friendly and you can search classes, by going on the search bar and typing in what you want, or search by time, day, live or flex. But I do think you get the best experience with live classes because again the child gets to interact with the teacher and other kids.
My daughter uses computer nothing fancy that used to be mine and uses google chrome and so far no issues there.
How Many and What Type of Courses Does Outschool Offers?
Outschool offers various academic and artistic subjects and over 100,000 Interactive Online Classes for every age group from 3 to 18 years. Here, learners can choose their favorite one and dive deeply into their interests. Below is the vast list of subjects your kids might be show interest in:-
- Arts – Drawing, photography, dance, Theatre, Film, Sewing
- Coding & Tech – Coding, Video Game Design, Robotics, Engineering, Internet Safety, Animation
- English – Creative Writing, Grammar, Spelling, Book Club, Essay Writing, Poetry, Literature
- Health & wellness – Hygiene, Emotions, Exercise, Mindfulness, Nutrition
- Life Skills – Cooking, Financial Skills, Study Skills, Social Skills, Critical Thinking
- Math – Algebra, Numbers, Geometry, Fractions, Calculus, Statistics, Probability
- Music – Guitar, Piano, Singing, Composers, Music Theory
- Science & Nature – Chemistry, Biology, Zoology, Physics, Astronomy, Anatomy, Marine Biology, Psychology
- Social Studies – Geography, World History, American History, Anthropology, Economics, Politics
- World Languages – Spanish, American Sign Language, French, Japanese, Latin, German, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Mandarin
- Leaner Favorites – Dungeons And Dragons, Fortnite, Lego, Pokemon, Minecraft, Cats, Dogs, Unicorn, Adventure
The best thing about Outschool is that they complete the list of the new topics and subjects requested by parents.
How Are Teachers at Outschool?
In general, you can find varied teachers with different personalities and backgrounds. You can choose a teacher that fits best with your teaching preference and style. Some of the teachers are retired teachers and others are passionate parents who dominate a subject and are really good at teaching.
To me that it’s okay because some of the classes are not academic which means they don’t need a teaching degree.
On a personal level, I’d instead prefer an outgoing teacher who’s more fun to teach around and will keep my daughter engage and wanting to learn more about what is being taught. Most teachers offer a demo class for $20 or even less—ranging between $10-15. You can use multiple trial and error demo classes to choose the best teacher that suits your requirements.
Most of these teachers are either retired professors or phD holders, while others have everyday experience with students and are exceptionally good with kids.
Often, teachers don’t allow parents to attend Outschool with their kids. However, you can always see and be next to your child to see what is being taught. Parents usually demand youthful teachers that make teaching fun, especially if your kids are in kindergarten or pre-school.
Outschool offers small size classes and recommended class size to teachers as below:-
- For kids ages 6 and below – class size should be up to six learners in one class
- And for kids ages between 6-12 – maximum of 9 kids at a time is a pretty good class size
- Finally, Kids ages 12 and above – up to 12 learners are recommended
- The flexible schedule classes are capable of teaching 18 students at a time
See below how some teachers prepare themselves.
How Much Does Outschool Charges Per Class?
Classes are not free but start with a minimum fee of $5 to a maximum fee of $20. But if you want the 10-week long semester classes, the price starts from $100 to $600. Teachers’ charges vary as per subject, age range, content, and time.
All Outschool classes are filmed by their teachers and can be accessed again online. The kids’ names are part of those sessions if you don’t want or are uncomfortable with these online sessions. Outschool has an option and disclaimer that no recording should be downloaded or shared.
The site is designed to work with Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. For safety concerns, they require learners to connect over video chat with each teacher to make it easier for teachers to verify the learner’s identity.
Outschool encourages learners to enable their audio/video during the class to promote social experience. For this reason, learners should use a device placed with a microphone webcam like a computer, laptops, tablets, and phones. Because sometimes teachers don’t even know if their student is there or not.
It is the reason Outschool uses the app Zoom for all classes through video and web conferencing. Zoom has a messaging function and a “raise your hand” feature in many classes.
The second choice would be Kindle Fire if you downloaded Zoom beforehand. If you’re work-from-home parents and can’t share your laptop for your child’s learning then a tablet can save your day.
Here Are Some of the Classes My Daughter has Tried and Loved!
- Creative Writing Classes – 50 minute per class for ages 8-10-year-old -kids
- Fun & Playful Fitness Classes – 20 minutes per class for ages 4-9 year-olds
- Introduction to Amphibians – 60 minutes per class for ages 4-9 year-olds
- I Am A Scientist Classes for 6-7 years-olds This was last year, I loved this class.
- Phases of the Moon with Oreos
- Making Friends (Ages 5 -7)
What Might Not Like About Outschool
Like everything in life there is a good side and a bad side to everything we do. Here are some of the issues we have encounter with Outschool.
#1. Teachers: Some of the teachers are individual contractors which you might not like because this makes the classes a hit or miss. You might be lucky to get a certified teacher but you also run the risk of not getting one.
#2. Special Needs: If your child has specials needs they live up to the teacher to decide if they will accommodate the child in their class. This is very inconvenient since some kids have different learning disabilities at different levels.
#3. Payment: Payment is required upfront. This is not a problem with you signed up for the class and the teacher’s shows ready to teach and on time. But if you encounter a problem and want a refund, it’s almost if not impossible to get one.
#4 Technical Problems: If you forget your password and try to sign in multiple times you will get block out by IT and let’s just say it’s a hassle to get the problem solve. You might have to wait over a week for a solution.
Is Outschool Right For You?
In my opinion, Outschool is a unique way and opportunity for education; it’s the best way to enhance your child’s ability, interests, and learning levels. Personally, I love that Outschool is a part of my kid’s learning process. My daughter enjoys both the classes, the group classes as well as one-on-one classes.
But I will say proceed with caution and always try the class before you choose an 8 weeks program. Sign-up for a one-time class and see how your child does and if the teacher seems engaging. See how this teacher teachers her class.
Outschool is a great time-saver tool and a unique way of learning. Many parents book a class every day, and it helped them to take some of the pressure off during the COVID-19.
My best advice to parents if they want to enhance their kids’ learning during this quarantine is to look into the classes they have available and if you and your child approve go for it.
There are many classes kids can do together. Many kids enjoyed the science-themed classes at Outschool. It’s a fun experience for kids! Whatever you’re looking for, Outschool has a class for it. Most of the teachers are amazing, I highly recommend Outschool!
Outschool keeps kids excited and happy with their learning experience at Outschool.