If you haven’t already heard of Outschool, then this post will give you an insight into how Outschool can enhance homeschooler’s education via their online platform.
You may already know from following our family here on the blog or via Instagram and Facebook. But we take a very mixed approach to educating our children.
There are numerous terms such as homeschooling, unschooling, Worldschooling, and even deschooling. We don’t really fit into one category and seem to merge into a combination of the first three.
But what we do do is follow our kids interests, hobbies, and play based learning.
If they want to complete a worksheet, we make one and do it together.
If they want to learn about sharks, we might watch Octonauts, videos of sharks on YouTube, and Google what sharks eat.
If they want to learn about different animals, we might complete our ABC animal jigsaw, categorise them by what they eat or where they live. Or we might just watch a good old David Attenborough documentary together.
If they want to learn about a particular country, we might cook a traditional dish together, paint the country’s flag, listen to traditional music, and learn basic phrases in their local language.
Country-themed Busy Books
Visit our GeorgiMae Learning shop to view our selection of pre-made printables for you to purchase and use at home suitable for toddlers to kindergarten-aged kids.
Here’s the thing with this method of learning, it’s fantastic because we can explore so many different things together and are constantly learning no matter the activity. The downside…. It’s constant and my husband and I are the only people to educate them and certainly not an expert in all topics. Plus, sometimes my kids just don’t want to learn with me and would appreciate a break, learning with someone else.
This is where Outschool comes in and we have found hugely beneficial.
If you follow a similar method of learning to us, then definitely carry on reading to see the benefits of Outschool and how it fits into a flexible learning schedule.
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What is Outschool?
Outschool is an online platform which enables teachers and students from around the world to connect with each other online.
Teachers must go through a basic application process and then complete a background check with a partnered company. For example, teachers from the UK must complete an online DBS check to ensure the safety of students accessing the platform. Currently, teachers are only accepted from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, the US, and Canada.
However, students can access the platform from all over the world and are aged between 3-18 years old.
How to Access Classes on Outschool?
Teachers each have their own profile on Outschool and can list verified classes in any topic suitable for children.
Classes can either be singular, a full course spanning numerous weeks, a number of classes within one week, or in the form of being able to access materials and communicate with teachers, but not actually attending a live class.
When you sign up to Outschool, you can search by class type, length of the class, age group, or even a particular topic.
For example, if your child enjoys Minecraft, you can complete a search listing Minecraft and all classes focused around this topic will be displayed.
When you have chosen a class, you simply enrol your children and pay for the class.
To access the lesson if it is a live lesson, you will be sent an email with a link to the class. Classes take place via zoom but you don’t need any codes or login. Simply click that class link sent via email and it will load automatically.
Benefits of Outschool
For our family personally, we have gained numerous benefits from using Outschool.
Numerous Teachers with a Variety of Backgrounds
Though previously Outschool only accepted teachers from the US or Canada, they have recently expanded and now hire teachers from the UK, New Zealand, and Australia too.
This enables your children to be taught by teachers from an array of different backgrounds and with a variety of accents.
We like to use Outschool to not only offer the chance of being taught by a variety of teachers from around the world. Especially since lockdown, we have been unable to travel so this provides a lovely way of meeting others who live in another country.
Experts in Different Topics
Teachers using Outschool to market their classes do not have to be formal qualified teachers.
Now I know you’re probably thinking this is a negative. But here me out!
Many homeschooling families do not have teacher parents.
This just goes to show it isn’t that sheet of paper with your qualifications that determine if you make a good teacher or not.
It’s based on your experiences, ability to break down concepts into smaller chunks for learners to follow and understand. It’s being able to inspire young learners, teach them skillset, and develop a lust for knowledge themselves.
I myself am a qualified teacher here in the UK. But I am not the best person to teach my kids about what plants are edible in the garden or coding.
So using Outschool enables my children the opportunity to learn from an expert in their field.
Variety of Methods used to Teach Kids
With Outschool using a variety of teachers to offer courses, they each have their own teaching style and methods for teaching kids.
This can be great if you know what type of learner your kids are. For example my daughter loves to be hands on and learn through crafts and movement. She’s constantly on the go, making her own games up or creating her own drawings.
Whereas my son will quite happily sit for 30-45minutes at a time engrossed in one particular activity. He loves to listen and interact too when completing a task.
So for my daughter, any lesson that involves a craft or lots of visuals rather than calling on her to participate verbally suits her learning style best.
Compared with my son who loves sharing his thoughts and interacting verbally to questions or show and tell type activities.
On Outschool, you’ll find so much variety to suit your kids learning styles. Including storytime where they listen to stories and participate in an activity at the end, classes involving movement, discussion and social skills focused lessons, and observation style lessons such as observing an experiment.
Gives you 30mins Break
This point is more for the parents out there who just need a 30minutr breather or that chance to drink a hot drink whilst it’s hot!
No need to feel guilty, we all deserve a break from time to time and homeschooling can be intense.
Outschool has live classes anywhere from 15minutes to an hour long. You can even complete a search for classes starting soon for that last minute need of some parent time out.
We have been really grateful for Outschool, particularly joining last minute one off classes when the kids have been fed up and fighting more due to lockdown.
They’ve really helped everyone to just calm down and have some space of their own.
Meet other Students from Around the World
This point I feel pretty strongly about. Since lockdown, we haven’t been able to travel like we’d hoped to and our kids haven’t been able to attend different local groups to play with other children.
Although online classes aren’t quite the same as face to face interactions, it’s still an opportunity for my kids to interact and meet other kids from around the world.
When they greet each other, it’s wonderful for my kids to hear each accent, interact with other children, and work together with them during the lesson.
We often have completed just one off lesson as they fit best around my husband and my own work schedules.
But many teachers offer longer classes which last a few weeks or several times a week. These are great for building relationships with the same set of children who attend and getting to know one another across the weeks the course occurs.
Ideally, when we are able to, I’m hoping to enrol my kids on a few of these longer courses and to get to know other families and build relationships with them.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to then become pen pals and learn about other families’ way of life, the country they are from, and their traditions.
Unlike other online educational resources available, Outschool doesn’t require you to commit or subscribe in order to access lessons.
Since it’s solely a platform where independent teachers can market themselves, it’s up to parents to select what lessons they want their kids to participate in.
For example, we personally like joining last minute one-off classes. My kids have varying interests and different learning styles, so for us, this works really well to accommodate all of that without them getting bored or losing interest. We personally book classes that last no more than 30minutes for this reason also.
You can book classes as and when you like, plus, Outschool will sometimes send money credits which can be used for classes if you book within a certain amount of time.
No Set Curriculum
I know many homeschoolers prefer to invest and follow a set curriculum, but it just doesn’t suit our family.
So we love that we can dip in and out of Outschool, booking a variety of classes based on what the kids are into that day.
Outschool offers a variety of classes from story times and book clubs, to phonics and numbers. Or even themed lessons based around learning a language, STEM experiments, or even interests such as Pokémon or Harry potter.
For those who do look for more structure, a longer course might suit you best. These meet either several times a week or once each week for so many weeks.
As an example, I myself offer classes on Outschool and offer one off lessons to give students and parents a taster of my teaching style and topics. If they enjoy the lesson, they have the option of booking a multiclass course which spans several weeks within that topic area.
Break from Siblings
For parents of multiple children that spend all day long together, you know just how intense it can get.
My kids are in and out of each other’s pockets all day everyday.
It’s wonderful because they are the bestest of friends. They have each other for company, to laugh and play, and to learn from one another.
But, the only break they get from one another is when they sleep. It’s intense, they don’t have any space of their own.
So I really like utilizing the platform so that they can have their own space whilst engaging in something of interest to them that’s educational.
Outschool, for our family, has been a fantastic educational resource, especially whilst we have been in lockdown due to the global pandemic.
Our children have thoroughly enjoyed the classes they have joined and being able to learn from different teaching styles whilst meeting peers from all over the world.
Though every class will not suit every learner, there is something that can be found for everyone. Outschool even provides a section where parents can request topics to be taught if they aren’t already offered.
If you’d like to try Outschool for yourself, you can sign up and join here and receive $20 credit towards your first class.
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