Are you looking for Outschool Alternatives for Homeschoolers? Or are you thinking about signing up your child for Outschool classes?
Whether you’re homeschooling or looking to enrich your child’s education, online classes, such as those offered through Outschool, can be incredible learning experiences.
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What is Outschool?
Outschool offers classes in real-time, ranging from short (from less than 30 minutes) to semester long classes for students through 18 years old via Zoom. Students interact live with teachers and students from around the globe.
You pay per class. There are no registration fees, registration process, or long term commitments to take classes at Outschool.
Teachers teach classes on nearly every subject imaginable. Outschool also offers “study hall” classes, game clubs (like D&D & Roblox) and “clubs” for tweens and teens. Outschool also features flex classes featuring flexible schedules. As well as classes for students who need extra teacher support or one-on-one teaching, such as spelling classes for students with Dyslexia or Dysgraphia.
My homeschoolers have taken classes through Outschool for years now. They’ve taken classes on drawing, science, languages, writing, classes, money and investments classes, cryptocurrency, history classes–you name it, they’ve probably taken something on the topic.
Why My Family Loves Outschool
My family loves Outschool because there are really no commitments. You can sign up for a short, one hour class, say on Ancient Egypt, and then it’s over. Done. If your child loved the class, great. And, if they didn’t, no big deal.
When you sign up for a longer class, like a 4-week class, if you aren’t happy with it, Outschool is pretty good at working with you to give you a refund.
Outschool now also offers class subscription options, which means some classes continue on indefinitely for as long as you want to stay in the classes. For example, one of my children is taking a yoga class that is subscription based. She will continue taking the class each week until she’s had enough (or the teacher stops teaching). Another child is taking a recurring vocabulary building class. My credit card is charged each week until I cancel.
Outschool also has some incredible teachers. I highly encourage you to consider reading teacher and class reviews before you register for a class. I don’t think my kids have ever been disappointed in a well reviewed course. If anything, they pretty consistently have very good to awesome experiences.
Personally, as a homeschooling mom, I also love Outschool because classes taught by someone else from time-to-time frees up a little of my time. It also gives me a break to recharge and gives my children a chance to learn from someone who knows a lot on a particular subject.
Also, if my children seem like they are “bored” or need a little something extra to do during the day (or need something to keep them busy or off screens), I can look for a class anytime and almost always find one. There are typically classes available, at most any given hour of the week because teachers are spread across time zones.
Disadvantages of Outschool
I think the disadvantages of integrating Outschool into your homeschool life are few. Money…course cost…is probably the only real downside.
Teachers set their own course pricing, so prices can really vary. Some classes are as low as $6 USD. There are some really good values to be found. Once in a while, however, you might find a course that seems to have an outrageous cost.
If you have more than one student interested in a course, ask the teacher if she or he can extend a multiple-student/sibling discount.
I have read that Outschool takes a fairly sizable cut off the top of each class, and I think that might explain some of the price variations. When my children first started taking Outschool classes, classes were priced much lower, but at the time, Outschool took a lower cut off the top of each class.
The only other disadvantage that pops into my mind is that sometimes classes can be cancelled if a teacher’s student minimum isn’t met. This has probably only happened once or twice for my children. In fact, my children have had a few absolutely incredible experiences when teachers continued a course despite low enrollment.
Oh, and Outschool uses Zoom. Zoom allows teachers and students to interact with each other. I know some people aren’t fans of Zoom, especially given past security concerns. However, my homeschoolers love Zoom because they like the feeling of being in an online classroom with a teacher and students from around the globe. Outschool teachers do require students to have their cameras on–or at least show their faces at the beginning of a class, for obvious safety of children reasons.
Alternatives to Outschool
Outschool is a clear leader in the marketplace for online classes, including “drop-in or last minute registration” for children and homeschoolers.
Seriously, the selection of classes is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. And the fact that students have the opportunity to interact via Zoom with a teacher and other students is really fabulous. Another great opportunity too for homeschooling parents looking to deflect those annoying do they socialize with others questions.
However, there are other low commitment, flexible online offerings, schools, and programs that offer classes for homeschoolers and students seeking enrichment classes.
Next Level Homeschool. Offers short classes, such as classes on the Scientific Method, Women’s History, and Literature classes.
Athena’s Academy School. Offers individual, self-paced, classes on a range of topics, including languages, a teen homeroom, and Money Sense classes.
Writopia. Offers online classes, camps, and workshops for young writers. My children have taken classes (in person) over the years at Writopia, and I think their passion for writing today has a lot to do with writing experiences here.
Khan Academy. Offers free, self-paced courses and resources for students and anyone interested in learning.
EdX. Offers courses for high school and college students. Many are free, like How to Write an Essay, a 5 week course by UC Berkeley.
Gotham Writers. Offers teen writing classes (via zoom, videoconference and also classes not in real time), like video game writing and creative non-fiction writing.
Drop a comment below. What are your thoughts on Outschool? What are your favorite Outschool Alternatives for Homeschoolers? Do your children like learning online via Zoom?