How & Why to Outsource Your Teen's LearningOnce our children enter middle school, it’s important that we begin stepping back from being their sole teacher. We have to be willing to bring others into their lives to teach some of the classes they need. By the time they graduate from high school, kids need to have been exposed to a wide variety of learning opportunities for a few reasons.

First, many of our children will head off to college where we won't be alongside them. Every teacher they have will be different, with a unique teaching style. If we don’t start exposing our teens to a variety of teachers now, they’ll struggle when they have someone other than us teaching their classes.

Second, a goal of most homeschoolers is to raise lifelong learners. After our children leave the structure of school, they will still learn things, just as we do. We need to equip them to be able to find the education they need in the style that works best for them.

Third, it’s important that our older kids begin to take ownership of their own education. For very specific topics, a teen may need to create her own program and study on her own.  

Here are some alternatives for outsourcing homeschool high school that give you a break from the teaching while offering your tweens and teens a fresh learning environment.

Homeschool Co-op Classes

To share the responsibility of teaching, consider joining forces with other families by joining or starting a homeschool co-op. There are quite a few positive benefits to working through classes within a group, one of which is you don’t have to teach each subject. It’s a great way to get your child exposed to different teaching styles.

Online Homeschool Classes

Online learning has become a dominant force in our culture, and is a successful method for learning. This is why I think that once kids enter middle school, they should begin taking at least one online class per year. Since they’ll most likely use these types of classes throughout their lives, it’s important that they’re comfortable with the format.

If you do a quick search, you’ll find a ton of middle and high school level classes that are available online with more being added all the time. There are usually both live and self-paced options.

When teens take a live class online, they enter a portal on a website at the same time each week, along with the same group of students. They will watch the teacher teach the lesson on the screen and will be able to chat immediately with both the teacher and classmates through a chat box.

Online courses that are self-paced are similar in that all of the lectures happen online; however, students watch the lessons and complete the work when it suits them. While they won’t be able to interact directly with the teacher and students during the lesson, they can usually get any questions they have answered through email. This is a great option if you want your teens to have the experience of an online course but don’t want to adhere to a strict schedule for class times.

Independent Homeschool Study

Once they enter middle school, kids have already been taught hundreds of lessons. They know the basics of how to learn. Consider giving them the curriculum you’ve chosen and let them work through it on their own. They should still come to you with questions and for clarification, but you take on the role of a coach as opposed to the lead teacher.

Hired Experts and Tutors

For students who have a desire to go deeper, especially with electives, you may need to sign them up for private lessons or group classes outside of your home. As an example, if your teen is interested in art or dance, look for a local studio that offers classes. If music or acting is their passion, find someone who can teach them the advanced skills they need. There's no better way to learn a foreign language than with a native speaker. 

Personally, I believe that by the end of middle school or at least by the early months of high school, kids should be using a mix of these methods to get their coursework completed. It’s a great way to set them up for success after graduation.

In fact, this plan is what I'm doing for my tenth grade daughter. She is taking two online classes with Florida Virtual School, three classes with our local co-op (one of them with a professional artist), going through her math textbook on her own, and is working with me to complete her language arts and history classes. It’s turned out to be a wonderful combination that both challenges and motivates her.


About the Author

Megan Zechman

Megan Zechman is a veteran homeschool mom of two girls. Over at Education Possible, she shares creative, hands-on learning activities for middle school.

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