I'd been hearing a few friends talking about their kids using Outschool to compliment their homeschooling learning so I was keen for us to sus it out.
We tried it for ourselves. Here's how we've found it so far.
Recently, Zippi signed up for her first Outschool Group. And the verdict is: 'OH MY GOSH MUM! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH' and the only regret for her is that we hadn't found it sooner.
What is Outschool? It's an online platform where classes and groups are hosted by teachers who supervise each class. Now, we have been intentional as a family with setting boundaries about online access (like even the Minecraft servers are all private and I won't let them play on one with even just friends of friends yet unless we've met them in person. Yep. I'm that mum.) So you can imagine that I was a little hesitant over the online learning component.
Privacy Anyone who knows me in this space knows I will only endorse or share resources that I think are useful, safe and that I would (or in this case DO) use here in our homeschool too. I am proud to be partnering with Outschool* because I've seen first hand how great it is!
Here's the great thing that I love about Outschool: once I registered Zippi, she had to do a little video saying her name and age so it could be verified. I love this because it means some rando over the other side of the world isn't signing up and pretending they are a child taking a class. I also love that Outschool specifically walks you through (we did this bit together as parent/child) how to stay safe online: not adding gamertags, addresses, personal info into bio etc.
Choosing Classes or Groups
Zippi loved that straight away she could browse through all of the classes and groups and could see how many people were in each one (she didn't want to join a HUGE group but she didn't want to be the only person in a group either.) We found a group just for neurodivergent kiddos run by a neurodiverse teacher! Yay! The teacher profile made me feel at ease straight away. Zippi chose to join a group straight up rather than a class which has worked out well for us. She loves writing to her penpals but has wished she could get more immediate responses sometimes and this is basically like that! Within the first day, she had 5 girls write to her from this group she'd joined and she couldn't stop smiling at their responses. They were so warm and welcoming as was her teacher/group facilitator.
I love how kids have choices over things in Outschool such as selecting their avatar.
Clear Class Descriptions
The descriptions show exactly where the class/group is headed and I love this. It gave me clear guidance as to whether this class would be too complex or just right for my child.
Class and Group Details This is another feature Zippi and I both like. You can see upfront how much the class costs, when it is on how long each class goes for. The only thing you probably need to be aware of is that these are usually run on USA/UK time so be sure to check the times first. You can set your time zone so that you can see all the classes available at your time though which is handy! More Aussies joining the platform means more classes suited to our time schedule too which is encouraging to hear.
I love that Outschool is fostering a stage that I'm always working towards with my kiddos: encouraging them to be independent. In learning, this sometimes looks like giving them the tools to access something, walking them through it and then allowing them time to have a go at the activity by themselves. Outschool is perfect for this. Zippi knows now how to log into Outschool with my permission. She is able then to reply to responses in the group.
Interest Based Learning
Of course, this group is just one example of things that are available on Outschool. There's a class or group for almost any and every interest you can imagine! I was gobsmacked when I started looking through all the options. Minecraft, Lego, Cooking, Sewing, History, Creative Writing classes and groups were all there and that's just starting to scrape the surface!
Helping on the Hard Days
We've had a few hard days lately. These are days where chronic illness symptoms are tough and life is just a bit more challenging. On those days, it helps my kiddos to have something like our 'Something To' printable on hand. I created these myself (and you can access a simple free version HERE on my freebies tab or you can join our Australian Homeschool Hub Membership HERE and get access to the full PDF). As you can see on the photo above, Zippi added 'Outschool emails' to her something to write section. I love that this is something she wants to do and knows she can add this to her daily list now.
Zeeki made this today: a medieval castle with a cowboy, bless! He's thinking about joining a Lego building class on Outschool now.
Have you tried Outschool as yet? Go and have a look. I reckon you'll enjoy it! Let me know. Lusi x