When my children were born, I knew I wanted to homeschool them. To me, homeschooling meant me, at home, teaching them with books and hands-on projects. Of course, time changes things, and our perspectives grow. Six years later, a lot of the education my children receive does not come directly from me, and it doesn’t happen in our home. My definition of homeschooling has transitioned into something broader than I originally envisioned.
I spend a lot of time chatting with fellow homeschoolers, and one thing that often comes up, especially as children get older and subjects become more intense, is feeling overwhelmed. We want the best education possible for our children, and often we simply cannot do that on our own. Luckily, as homeschooling goes on into higher grades, our options increase. Here are some of the best ways to outsource homeschool.
1. Family and Friends
You don’t have to look too far to find a hobbyist or expert in a field that you personally don’t know much about. Take advantage of the other important adults in your child’s life to help teach. If your child has an interest in woodworking and your uncle is a cabinet maker, ask if you could visit his workshop. Most people are happy to share their knowledge with others, and involving your extended family in your homeschool journey can create a special bond. As an upside, family will often engage in this kind of mentoring without charging you any money.
2. Homeschool Co-ops
Co-ops offer a great opportunity for you and your children to connect with other homeschooling families. At a co-op, kids learn in a classroom setting, often working cooperatively in groups of their peers. Parents or hired educators with expertise expose children to subjects you might not have the knowledge or interest to teach at home.
Learning from an enthusiastic teacher who is a specialist in her field may light a fire for an academic area that you aren't so keen on. It would be a shame for your child to be turned off of a certain career path or college major because you have a personal aversion to it. Homeschool co-ops lessen the likelihood that your own preferences will negatively impact your children.
3. Museums and Libraries
As homeschooling grows in popularity, many local museums and libraries are offering classes specifically for homeschoolers. For a small fee, your child can participate in a class taught by experts in fields that you might not even consider. Some of these classes are one-time classes while others are once a week, continuing classes. Give your local museums, parks/zoos, and libraries a call to see what they offer. For example, I heard of glass blowing and coppersmithing classes available to the public at a metal museum. Althought the cost is a bit pricey, it's the kind of activity you could never provide your child on your own.
4. Private Teachers
Private lessons are not only for piano and violin anymore! Tutors can be hired to teach anything from art and foreign language to creative writing! Some teachers work one-on-one while others will instruct a small group. Most of these teachers are found via word of mouth, so ask within your local homeschool community. Another option may be to inquire at a local college.
As homeschooling parents, we have taken on the responsibility to provide our children with the best education possible. However, this mandate does not mean we have to bear the burden solo. There are a multitude of options available, and we owe it to ourselves and to our children to explore as many as possible.
Foster Independence with BookShark
BookShark curriculum can lead your teens towards more independent learning with three History & Literature Packages that include both Student and Parent Guides:
- 20th Century World History & Literature for high school
- History of Science & Literature J for ages 14-16
- American History & Literature I for ages 13-15
Your guide still includes the reading assignments, discussion questions, mapping and timeline assignments, all of the answers, and notes specifically for the parent. But your teen gets a guide, too!
Student Guides help them stay on track with assignments and make them accountable for more of their own learning.