While some families homeschool high school entirely on their own, most explore outsourcing at least some high school subjects. Outsourcing simply means using an option other than the parent teaching the course. Outsourcing possibilities may include college dual enrollment, tutors, online courses, and homeschool co-op courses. Some families choose to outsource all high school courses but most opt to outsource just a few subjects, such as math, foreign language, or lab science.
Why Families Choose to Outsource
One of the main motivations for seeking outsourcing is the desire to be done with particular subject. Just because you love homeschooling doesn’t mean you want to study high school geometry or Latin again. Outsourcing can also be helpful for students who have had long term struggles with a particular subject.
Desire for Advanced Work
Some high school students are far beyond 12th grade in their areas of interest and outsourcing is one way to help students access advanced work. Homeschool students often develop great depth in their subject areas of interest. For example, if your student is exceptionally talented in math she may need a teacher who can support an interest in differential equations or number theory. Students with a strong interest in foreign language may benefit from having a teacher who is a native speaker of the language.
Improve Student Motivation
Many teens listen better to anyone who isn’t their parent. The outside teacher may be saying exactly the same thing the parent has said for years, but the student is more willing to listen to another adult. Outsourcing a subject may help the make a student more accountable to produce quality work and meet deadlines. Group learning situations may also improve motivation for some teens.
Time and Resource Limits
Homeschooling parents are busy people. It is a huge amount of work to balance the needs of multiple children, a household, and other commitments such as volunteering or employment. Outsourcing can be more time efficient than trying to stay up until 1 a.m. to relearn high school chemistry. Paying for a course that includes a chemistry lab may also be less costly than trying to purchase all the supplies to duplicate what is available in a lab course.
Experience Different Teaching Styles before College
Especially for families who have homeschooled for many years, it can be easy to be used to each other to the point where we don’t have to stretch ourselves. Parents can unconsciously lower standards or work around weak areas. Sometimes an outside class can provide new learning opportunities that are important for college success. It may reveal a need to work on test strategies, note-taking, or checking email in a timely fashion.
In part two of our look at homeschool outsourcing we discuss options for outsourcing and potential drawbacks of this approach.