Hey – we are homeschooling moms and dads. We know how to take a curriculum, read the instructions, and use it with our kids. If they are old enough, we can give it to the kids themselves and be the helper and the accountability partner. Why outsource anything? Everybody else is outsourcing – am I hurting my kids if I don’t?
In the early days of the modern wave of homeschooling, it was rare to even consider putting your student in a class taught by someone else, other than a homeschool co-op. After all, the whole idea was to take on the education of our children ourselves. Academic success resulted as homeschoolers often received top results on evaluations. The one-to-one tutorial situation foundational to homeschooling is powerfully effective.
Why you should outsource part of your homeschool
In today’s world of homeschooling, the family doing all the education at home without outsourcing anything is the oddity. Many families take advantage of online learning through live classes or self-paced classes, local tutorials, dual enrollment and early college opportunities. There is a blended methodology that encompasses traditional schooling and homeschooling – the blend has superseded the original model.
In our family’s homeschool journey with six kids, we sort of did it all – no outsourcing, a little bit with one subject, occasionally a lot when we met a difficult year – and I have been teaching other homeschoolers for almost our whole homeschool life – in person and online.
Should you outsource your homeschooling
To answer the original questions—no, you definitely do not have to outsource. That one-to-one teacher/student ratio is powerfully effective. With too much outsourcing, we lose the benefits of that arrangement and start to look like traditional schools. Parental involvement, even when outsourcing, is generally the strongest indicator of student success.
Sometimes outsourcing is convenient and even a blessing– a parent wants outside accountability and evaluation for their students. Often job requirements, time demands with other children, or medical issues interfere. Sometimes there is a subject that a parent does not have the interest or skills to teach effectively.
How to outsource part of your homeschool
As one of those instructors who offers classes to other homeschooling families, here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you winnow through the myriad of resources.
1. Self-paced or Live Classes: A student with great self-discipline and motivation is a good candidate for a self-paced class, or a student with a parent who is willing to be the accountability factor. They give students the opportunity to plan their own schedule and work at their own pace. If your student struggles with motivation, or needs accountability from someone outside the home, a live course would be a better plan. Even free, video-based resources are most successful when some sort of accountability is part of the plan.
2. Live instructors – teacher certification or certification in a subject is almost inconsequential in evaluating how effective an instructor is. In this homeschooling world, an instructor with a passion for the subject, an understanding of homeschooling and homeschooling families, and a willingness to reach the student are critically important factors. Nothing is worse than watching someone on the screen who just reads from the text that your students can read themselves or offers just a disembodied laser pointer! As said in the beginning, we homeschool parents know how to use curricula – an outsourced class you pay for should give you more than the curriculum. It should always be a “BTT” experience – “Beyond the Text.” As an instructor, I believe it’s my responsibility to go beyond the simple text information and include personal research, reporting, resources, and experiences outside those offered in the text. My job is to offer passion and interesting activities in a variety of choices, as well as expanded instruction beyond the textbook.
If you can find one of these methods that best fits your student, and an instructor that offers “BTT’ teaching, a true reason for outsourcing exists and can enrich and enhance your family’s homeschooling journey.
// View the 100s of options for homeschool families available at The Academy—including live and self-paced classes, homeschool clubs, and more.
Author Marji McIlvaine (and her husband Rick) homeschooled all their six children from K-12, even though she was just going to “try it for one year” with her first five-year-old. The children are all graduated and several are college graduates (Summa Cum Laude). She has a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Florida, with graduate hours in linguistics and testing and assessment (ECU). She began her college career as a pre-veterinary major and garnered many college hours enjoying science. Growing up in south Florida, she went to SeaCamp in the FL Keys where her passion for marine science was ignited through snorkeling, scuba diving and the hands-on study of ocean life. Marji has studied seven languages (Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, and Arabic) and worked at UF as a bilingual secretary to a professor in the Animal Science department, thereby fusing her interests in science and language. A favorite among teachers at The Academy, Mrs. McIlvaine believes, “There is always more to learn and more to explore – every subject we study is an adventure into some facet of the world and of God!”
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The Academy at Bright Ideas Press is a virtual school, offering both live and self-paced classes for middle school and high school students, taught from a Christian perspective. With an array of course offerings and 30 plus teachers. The Academy is perfect for homeschoolers as part of their regular course load or for others who wish to supplement their learning with our vast array of course offerings.