Learning beyond the classroom
Homeschooling has its advantages. That might mean waking up late or wearing pajamas while learning, or having the freedom to create your own schedule. But one of the best things about homeschooling is the opportunity to do school on your own terms. One day you’re working from the kitchen table. The next, everyone is sprawled out on the floor. On other days, you’re learning math at the grocery store, biology at the local farm, or immersing yourself in local culture. The learning opportunities are as vast as you’re willing to make them.
On the other hand, the desire to incorporate learning outside the homeschool “classroom” is left up to you, the parent. Whether you’ve been homeschooling for many years or this is your first, there are always those subjects outside your comfort zone that need to be filled.
So what’s a parent to do?
Here are five ways you can supplement your homeschooling.
1. Find fun field trips
Do you remember how much fun field trips were when you were younger? It didn’t matter where you were going as long as you weren’t sitting at a desk and got to hang out with your friends. Fast forward to today, and your kids probably feel the same way.
Nothing is more fun for kids than taking a break from classroom-style learning to explore the world around them. Plus, all members of your family can join in.
Field trips allow you to see and be a part of something outside a book. There are lots of reasons to include field trips to your child’s curriculum:
- Field trips can add to the curriculum you’re using (history or science as examples).
- They introduce new things that kids may not be exposed to.
- Field trips bring learning to “life” (for example, history).
Even if you don't have a museum or historical site nearby, that’s okay. Outschool has you covered! Enroll in one of these classes for your next virtual field trip:
- Join “the Traveling Teach” and discover new locations.
- Pack your virtual bags and explore landmarks throughout Tokyo.
- Stay “local” and visit the California Science Center exhibits from home.
- You can even take a farm tour and see animals in real-time.
- Learn about ancient toys currently in museums around the world.
2. Explore your child’s passions and interests
One of the best ways to nurture a love of learning is to help your children explore their passions. Homeschooling allows you to get out the textbook or a set curriculum and spend time on what your kids love.
For example, if your kids are into animals, you can volunteer at a dog shelter, read to cats, or try some goat yoga. Your future engineer can join a lego league or a robotics club.
If you want to spark their curiosity but you’re having a hard time finding convenient opportunities that fit your schedule and budget, check out our virtual options on Outschool.
- Future veterinarians can learn all about large animals and livestock.
- Aspiring astronauts band together in space-based groups to discuss interstellar ideas.
- Your budding artist can grab a sketch pad and begin designing their dream apartment with a professional interior designer.
- Got a beauty buff? Enroll them in mini-cosmetology school, where they can learn new tricks and tips.
- Have a kid who likes to work on cars? There’s a class for that too!
Remember, supplementing your homeschooling program doesn’t have to mean more textbooks. Hands-on experiential options make for amazing learning opportunities – and memories.
3. Join a club or co-op
One of many parents’ biggest worries around homeschooling is whether or not their kids will get enough socialization. Enter the homeschool co-op. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find several formal and casual options. For example:
- Classical Conversations, Claritas, etc.
- STEAM clubs (science, technology, engineering, art, and math).
- Art clubs (often offered at local libraries or art centers).
- Book clubs - starting or joining a book club is an easy way to help your child foster a love of reading through homeschooling.
- Or join a virtual club on Outschool! From book clubs and art clubs to chess clubs and social clubs, Outschool is a great place to meet new people who share your passion.
- Looking to make long-term friends? Enroll in a learning pod and join a group of kids who learn at least two subjects together in a set cohort, with one or multiple teachers.
You can also join online homeschooling learning groups and co-ops.
4. Get outside!
Don’t be afraid to venture outside your classroom or take your learning outside. One of the best ways to learn is through nature. Below are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Go backpacking, camping, and hiking whenever you can. You can prep your kids with a wilderness class or outdoors class.
- Take an in-person or virtual road trip to the National Parks.
- Join a nature journaling club and practice your artistic skills while learning more about nature.
- Help kids hone their survival skills by joining a wilderness class – even if you live in an urban jungle. Let Grow is another fantastic resource for helping your kids build their confidence and independence.
- Sports are a motivating way to get kids learning and moving. In some states and countries, homeschooled kids can join a local public school’s sports team. However, that is not always the case. If you do not have access to a youth sports team or are looking for something not offered in your area, be sure to check out what’s being offered on Outschool. We’ve got sports classes, dance classes, fitness classes, and more.
- Trade screentime with outdoor activities. 1000 Hours Outside has awesome suggestions and a curriculum to help you get outside all year. Even if you can’t do them all, there’s something new to keep you inspired and your kids asking for more.
Getting outside can be as simple as doing lessons or reading in the backyard hammock – whatever works.
5. Online learning
There’s a common misconception that because you homeschool, you have to teach every. Single. Subject. But, thank goodness, you don’t. Try “outsourcing" topics you don't love teaching.
For example, Outschool started as a resource for homeschooling families who wanted support and community on their learning journey. Whether you’re looking for weekly or semester courses, we’ve got you covered.
As a homeschool parent, the world is your oyster. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to supplement. Your job isn’t to be the end-all for your children, rather, it’s to curate resources and opportunities. Outschool is here to help. Let’s learn together.