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Is it possible to homeschool HS with little/no outsourcing?


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Hi friends!

 

My kids are still elementary age, so I don't frequent the high school board much, but I'm always thinking ahead and I'm wondering: Have any of you successfully gotten kids into college with little to no outsourcing of high school? It seems like most people homeschooling in my area outsource almost all of their high school academics. (Private classes, co-ops, etc.) Is that normal? Part of me is struggling to understand that approach because in my head I'm thinking...if you're just going to expensively outsource everything into a school-like environment, why not just actually enroll your kids in school? (I don't mean that in a judgmental way at all--I fully support people fitting pieces together to create the homeschool life they want!--I'm just truly just curious about it and trying to realistically picture our path down the line.)

 

So, I'm curious if that approach (tons of outsourcing) is standard for most people homeschooling high school, or if there are people here who DIY most of it. (For example, if my daughters down the line, want to take x, y, and z AP tests, is there any reason we can't just get those AP prep books and study for the tests on our own? Is that unrealistic? Or should we plan to budget for expensive outside classes for this sort of thing?) I used to be a high school English teacher myself, so maybe I'm just not so worried about high school? (Should I be more worried? lol) I mean, I am not suggesting that I plan to keep my future teens locked at home; for extracurriculars and work and interests, I fully expect them to be out in the world and taking classes and lessons in that capacity, but I've been planning to handle the actual academics (except for maybe foreign language) on my own. Is that a crazy expectation? Would love to hear what people here are doing/have done. Thank you!

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We did most of HS work at home with DS, except for a few college courses in senior year. Not because we had to outsource for academic reasons, but because we wanted to give him the experience and make transitioning to college work easier by starting slowly and developing the necessary skills before he moves away to college.

 

We did much of HS work at home with DD, but we outsourced some things to the university because she is a strong extrovert and thrives in a live classroom with class mates and a live instructor. She took foreign language starting in 10th grade (I don't speak French, and learning along with me caused a plateau after three years, despite a native speaking tutor); physics courses (not because we could not have taught the physics, but because she wanted to take the course with an instructor who was not me); English (special interest).

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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1. Teens and tweens are social - they crave time in groups. This could be co-op, scouts, sports, etc. But it is very hard to be a homebody with teens.

 

2. My kids both do/did community college because a) it's massively subsidized in our state b) with selective colleges, it helps to have outside transcripts saying your child is academically ready to be successful in a regular classroom.

 

3. Some of this will depend on your child's gifts and goals. My first child did a sampling of classes in various areas, but my second child has really used Community College to go farther and faster than she could have gone otherwise. Her brain is craving this experience. On the other hand, I know parents with even more gifted kids who have to use different avenues because our local CC would be way too slow for them.

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1. Can High School be homeschooled without outsourcing? Yes.

 

2. Is it desirable to not outsource a single thing for High School? Probably not for many kids, for a variety of reasons. (But it can be done and done successfully).

 

Usually there are specific needs for students by High School level that can be taken care of at home but the student might thrive better with an outside source. Think of it like if you were wanting to make a wedding dress but had not ever really learned how to sew well. You could work hard to learn at home and then make that dress but how much better would your sewing skills be if you tutored with a professional seamstress? Same with High School academics. Some things a parent may be great at teaching/facilitating at that level but maybe other things they really don't have the expertise. Foreign language comes to mind. Limping along together through a foreign language book when neither of you knows that language can work in elementary, maybe even middle school but if you want them to truly get good at a foreign language then having them work with a native speaker is far more likely to net positive results. Couple that with the fact that most teens are craving interaction with other teens and may also be really craving outside validation of what they are learning instead of Mom only feedback and outsourcing can be a much better option for at least some things. Plus, many places subsidize dual enrollment at local CCs, etc.

 

3. If someone chooses to outsource most things by High School why not just put them back in school? Because they can customize the classes and the schedule to better tap into their child's specific interests/strengths/weaknesses. Because frequently the local school may not be able to provide the depth/range of classes the child needs/wants. Because perhaps the local school has strong issues with drugs/poor academics. And a whole host of other reasons.

 

4. Plus, by High School sometimes a parent is burned out. They need someone else to handle at least some of it. There is a lot to cover in High School. It is a full time job.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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I think it's totally doable to homeschool high school and get kids into college with no outsourcing.  

That said, for my oldest 2 sons, once they hit 11th grade I've chosen to have them DE at the community college for math, English and science.  The costs are totally covered by tax dollars, and the CC system has guaranteed transfer agreements with the university my boys will most likely attend, the CC system is good, and they are still legally homeschoolers so I'm completely in control of their education.

In addition to helping them knock out some credits at no cost (other than the taxes we pay), there are other benefits.  Learning how to juggle outside classes and work while still under our roof, learning how to study for another teacher, and for my oldest, getting out of the house regularly has been huge (he's very much a people person).
 
If it were not free (besides tax dollars we pay ;) ), all academic classes, most likely, would've been done at home.
 

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On a side note, this doesn't have to just pertain to High School.  DD really changed her view of History when I enrolled her in an on-line Art History course at the end of Middle School.  She has now taken 3 Art History courses for different time periods with the same teacher.  She was exposed to many different kinds of art and finally was able to understand history in context.  This outside exposure has improved her art skills tremendously AND given her a love of a subject she loathed before.  Finally liking and understanding History have given her some terrific jumping off points for learning other things as well.  She has also made friends and gotten some wonderful support and advice from her teacher.  We could have just pulled out an art history book and worked through it but it would NOT have been the same.

 

Math is something we work on at home but I also found a great Euclidean Geometry on-line course that ties Geometry into art.  It has bee wonderful for DD.  She loves it.  I could not have taught that course and I doubt she would have wanted to have me teach it anyway since this is not something I am good at from either end.  She has thrived in this class and it has helped her in other areas of both art and math.  It is not a primary class but it has been a terrific outsourced supplement.

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Is it possible?  Absolutely!  In my small rural town, which actually happened to have quite a few homeschooling families, very few outsourced.  Most did it completely on their own, all the way through.  Sometimes a couple families would do high school science labs together, but that was about it.  Most families did it on their own.  There were no co-ops (there still aren't), and at least when my oldest ones were in high school, there really weren't even online options yet either.  My own kids ended up taking some classes at the local public school, because it was only 6 blocks away and our public school allowed that, but most families here live in rural areas quite a distance away, or just had no interest in taking a class at the public school.

 

The families I'm close to who did it completely on their own were very successful.  Their children went on to college and are doing very well.

 

I will say that's it's nice to have social outlets and opportunities for extra curricular activities as teens, if possible.  Even the families that didn't outsource at all had close groups of friends and were active in church youth groups, etc.  Our homeschooling community also met about every other week for picnics and gym time, or sometimes we'd just hang out with another homeschooling family for the day, which my kids always enjoyed.

 

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Yes, it is possible.  I fully expected to do it and do it well (Both dh and I are cert. teachers--him in high school math, we both went to excellent colleges, etc.)

 

However. . . .. outsourcing saved our homeschool. We probably could have limped along, but outsourcing was sanity saving.

 

1. There is no way to predict how your child will handle adolescents.  The child I decided to keep home for high school when he was in eighth grade was not the child "who showed up" in ninth grade.  He needed a lot more scaffolding and supervision than I expected or could give and went from being relatively calm and compliant to being moody and a bit explosive and not prone to working or taking direction.  We muddled through ninth, but I threw him in an outsourced writing class at the end and WOW what a difference.  Outside accountability was what he needed.

 

2. If you have a lot of children schooling (and I see you have 2, so you are probably okay) and high standards for having lots of discussions with your highschooler you may burn out or end up cutting corners. This may be okay for you.  It made me feel like a failure.

 

3. Both my teens  need social learning and social time for their mental health.  Leaving co-op was necessary for me a couple of years ago, rejoining a large one (we are still part of a tiny one) is necessary for them in a very, very real way.  YMMV

 

Also, English discussions are way more fun with a group.  Writing is fun with an audience. 

 

4. I found that although I *can* teach at least one year of Spanish and probably 2-3 of French, I hate it, hate it,hate it.  Dragging my ds, who hates foreign language, through Spanish when I hated it was NOT something I wanted to do if money could be scraped up to outsource.  Now I get to say, "Oh, well, you just need to get it done." And the bonus is that his Guatemalan teacher gets lasting results where all I got was cram and dump.

 

Now, we don't outsource everything.  I kept what was going well.  I arrange a history group and writing class/book club to hold me accountable and trade teaching duties with another friend with limited budget and teens.

 

So, yes, you absolutely could do it without outsourcing, but go into it with an open mind. You may not want to do it.  It is worth saving some money now to have to possibility open.  When my dd was 9-11 I never in 100 years imagined that going to a co-op would be so necessary for her.  She really doesn't thrive with lots of home time--even with 3 siblings and some outside activities.

 

Why not school? Neither teen wants to go to school and the schools around me are not healthy places (way too driven--the kind of schools with tons of homework and pressure to succeed and not supportive of our religious beliefs).

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My oldest did all of her academic work at home with me, though we did out-source art classes. She had no trouble being accepted to a few colleges, with nice scholarship offers from three of them. She is now 26, has her Masters, married - altogether doing well.

 

My youngest is finishing up 11th grade and we outsourced 3 subjects - Physics, Algebra 2, and a few writing classes. I am very pleased with how he is doing and I think it has been money well spent. Different children, different home/family circumstances, different financial situations = different choices.

 

So, yes, it can be done. But take it one year at a time. Be open to choosing what you think is best for your child - and you! - each year for each subject.

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Sure, you can absolutely DIY high school. You just have to be willing to put in a lot of effort and time, and if you aren't already competent to teach the needed subjects, you'll need to self-educate ahead of time. 

 

I've self-taught plenty of high school courses -- chem, bio, lit, writing, etc . . . We've only used outsourcing for a handful of courses . . . We make the decisions course by course, year by year, kid by kid. We're not financially constrained on this issue, so we just choose which is best each year. 

 

Next year, for my dd's 9th grade, I don't plan to outsource any courses at the moment (but that might change if I find something interesting to outsource). However, we did outsource AP Env Sci for this year, her 8th grade year. (She's advanced.) We outsourced it because I was familiar with the class/teacher and knew it to be excellent. We DIY'ed everything else this year. 

 

I'll be teaching honors biology next year. I've done it once before with my older kids. The first time, I probably put 6-8 hr/wk into preparing for and teaching the course. This time, it'll just be maybe 3-5 hr/wk since I'm re-using the tests/etc and I've relatively recently read the book and created my answer keys/etc. And, FTR, I have both undergrad and masters level degrees in the biological sciences, so reading the current text and preparing the exam keys, etc was/is easy for me since it's all stuff I know well, just needed to refresh my memory. If you weren't already a competent biologist, you'd need a *lot* more time to teach this course. Same goes for math, chemistry, physics, etc. 

 

Also, it sort of depends on which subjects you are strong in, etc. My kids study Spanish, and I have to outsource a lot of that. Dd14 is wrapping up the third and last "high school" level Spanish course we use this year . . . (Galore Park So You Really Want to Learn Spanish) . . . So, for the rest of high school, I'll need to come up with something good for her . . . She could do some more self-study and CLEP and be done with it . . . But if she wants to study it at a higher level (literature, etc.), she'll need a real teacher . . . and if I find one, I'll sign her up!

 

Why not full time brick and mortar high school? Uh, because with outsourcing I can hand pick teachers/courses/etc, and I can mix and match self-taught, out-sourced, and mom-taught courses. NOT that way with regular high school. At all.

 

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My high schooler takes one course at the CC per semester.  (math)  Other than that, we don't outsource anything.

 

BUT our plans are a bit unusual.  He plans to finish high school early (after 10th).  He'll take the GED (I know of no other way for him to graduate early in NY and go to a state school).  He wants to do 2 years at the CC and transfer to a 4 year school after.

 

He just wants to be done early.  If not, we'd probably just continue to do things mostly on our own. 

 

One thing I generally don't want to pay for are courses that don't lead to any meaningful credits.  Unless it was for something I'd consider extremely difficult to do at home (foreign language comes to mind). 

 

So..."sort of". 

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Yes, it is possible. My current 12th grader did almost everything at home. She took Russian with a private online tutor (no way Russian could have been done without a good teacher.) She started working with a Francophone last yr for conversation skills. She taught herself to a very high level in French, but she needed direct interaction for fluent conversation skills. She is taking stats DE online this semester bc she wants to double major with a minor and stats is a required course for her major and it was simple to fit into her schedule.

 

She was accepted with scholarship $$ to every school she applied to and was accepted into several elite honors programs as well.

 

That said, this is not an approach I would want to say is good for all students, bc it isn't. Our current college student maxed out high school math and science courses early on. If we believed in early graduation (which we don't), he could have easily graduated in 10th grade. He DE in math and physics at the local universities and had completed 5 in major courses in each by the time he graduated from high school. Before that, he took math online through AoPS or with a tutor and took AP chem online.

 

Completing advanced humanities courses at home was much easier for me to help my Dd achieve. We designed some research intensive literature courses that she loved. What she did for those and several history courses were more in depth and interesting than what she would have had access to as a DE student.

 

My oldest ds did band at a private school and took a couple of science classes from former AP teacher. He DEed for chem and math his sr. My oldest Dd didn't DE until she made the decision to attend a small (very small, about 90 total students) Catholic college for her sr of high school. She had to be officially graduated from our homeschool, so she took 2 classes each summer session after 11th grade.

 

All that to say, yes, it can be done, but it really depends on what your student wants and needs to answer if it is the right decision. For my kids, we do not do co-ops, and we don't outsource lightly. If I think I can offer a superior quality class at home, we do it at home. (Which really is most of the time for high school level content. With the resources available today, I don't find it difficult to create high quality courses for my kids.)

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Completely doable if you have the time and energy. 

 

I had planned to do that because I was classically educated myself and strong academically. I began my college in a Great Books program, and then transferred to a STEM public university. So there really wasn't any subject that I didn't feel that I could handle.

 

However, when the time came, I needed to outsource some high school subjects that would have required too much time on my part. DH's medical issues became overwhelming, and I was having to work full-time. The local high school was lacking academically and has a significant drug and crime problem, although it has since improved quite a bit that way. They are still infamous for not accepting homeschool credits even from outside sources; so the decision had to made one way or another for high school. We couldn't afford the local private schools that interested me ($30,000+ tuition).

 

Thankfully much of the outsourcing we needed was covered via bartering arrangements. I only paid out-of-pocket for one or two classes each year for each of mine. At that level, it was financially doable for us.

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yes - very possible.   If DD15 was not so involved in Music, we would not actually need to outsource any classes. Of course - if your student is to study a foreign language, it helps if someone nearby can actually speak it with them.....  we have all German speakers here, so DD is learning German.

 

With access to all the resources on the internet, I am very able to put together a solid syllabus for most any class.  We buy books mostly used off Amazon, so getting those is not a problem either.

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If you think about it, co-ops and even some online classes aren't always so different from a program you might do at home. It is really hard to design and "teach" all the courses needed for high school for every year, so the reality is that people who don't use co-op or outside classes end up using video courses or some sort of mostly-independent program for math, science, foreign language, or at least one of those.

 

How is that really so different than outsourcing to a live teacher? If you use Rosetta Stone or Fluenz or Chalkdust math or an MOOC, you are not doing the teaching. The main difference seems to be the cost involved.

 

I kind of agree that I would rather just send them to school, assuming good options, than do 100% outsourcing for grades 9-12. That doesn't make sense to me. But it is nice to be the home educator for the subjects you are best at and enjoy the most, and get some help and outside accountability with the others. I actually want my teens to experience having other teachers with expectations that perhaps are slightly different than mine. But I also want them to have the flexibility in choosing courses, teachers, and materials that home education allows.

Edited by Penelope
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If you think about it, co-ops and even some online classes aren't always so different from a program you might do at home. It is really hard to design and "teach" all the courses needed for high school for every year, so the reality is that people who don't use co-op or outside classes end up using video courses or some sort of mostly-independent program for math, science, foreign language, or at least one of those.

 

How is that really so different than outsourcing to a live teacher? If you use Rosetta Stone or Fluenz or Chalkdust math or an MOOC, you are not doing the teaching. The main difference seems to be the cost involved.

 

I kind of agree that I would rather just send them to school, assuming good options, than do 100% outsourcing for grades 9-12. That doesn't make sense to me. But it is nice to be the home educator for the subjects you are best at and enjoy the most, and get some help and outside accountability with the others. I actually want my teens to experience having other teachers with expectations that perhaps are slightly different than mine. But I also want them to have the flexibility in choosing courses, teachers, and materials that home education allows.

In terms of the bolded, our experience is that there is a huge difference. Pace and depth dictated by a classroom teacher is completely different than a student moving at their own pace and digging into subjects at their own depth. Having assignments dictated by a classroom teacher can preclude having the time to explore the subjects at the depth or proceed at the pace they can achieve outside of a classroom.

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Part of me is struggling to understand that approach because in my head I'm thinking...if you're just going to expensively outsource everything into a school-like environment, why not just actually enroll your kids in school?

...

I used to be a high school English teacher myself, so maybe I'm just not so worried about high school?

My kids were in public school. All they were willing to offer was grade skip for my asynchronous kids. The few private middle schools that could cope with my kids would have been lots more expensive than outsourced classes and tutors for whatever my kids need that go beyond our competency. My husband and I feels that not outsourcing when we could afford it is holding our kids back to our level of competency. Maybe if my kids are like the Brainy bunch kids (http://www.thebrainybunchbook.com), it might work.

 

My neighbor is a high school English teacher and I would say it depends on your child's needs. Her only child is at grade level for all subjects In upper elementary school so it is not as tiring for her and her husband if they choose to homeschool for middle school.

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In terms of the bolded, our experience is that there is a huge difference. Pace and depth dictated by a classroom teacher is completely different than a student moving at their own pace and digging into subjects at their own depth. Having assignments dictated by a classroom teacher can preclude having the time to explore the subjects at the depth or proceed at the pace they can achieve outside of a classroom.

I was referring to specific programs used "as-is" when parents don't feel like they have subject expertise, like the ones I mentioned for foreign language and math. I think a lot of people think choosing a DIY program is technically "not outsourcing", and I would agree, but my point is that I think if you are doing a program as-is independently where there is no input from the parent, then it is almost like the program is the teacher and so it isn't so different from outsourcing. People will say they don't outsource, but they use Rosetta Stone because they do not know the language, or Teaching Textbooks because they do not understand high school math. The student does the program but the parent isn't learning it and cannot assess competence.

 

I really don't mean the kind of home courses where I use a textbook but I and the student determine how the course will go, or the home humanities courses where we might use a book list similar to an online class, but what we do with the books might be totally different, and certainly not the courses where we choose materials from the ground up and design everything ourselves.

 

I would agree with you that pacing is an important difference, though.

Edited by Penelope
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I was referring to specific programs used "as-is" when parents don't feel like they have subject expertise, like the ones I mentioned for foreign language and math. I think a lot of people think choosing a DIY program is technically "not outsourcing", and I would agree, but my point is that I think if you are doing a program as-is independently where there is no input from the parent, then it is almost like the program is the teacher and so it isn't so different from outsourcing. People will say they don't outsource, but they use Rosetta Stone because they do not know the language, or Teaching Textbooks because they do not understand high school math. The student does the program but the parent isn't learning it and cannot assess competence.

 

I really don't mean the kind of home courses where I use a textbook but I and the student determine how the course will go, or the home humanities courses where we might use a book list similar to an online class, but what we do with the books might be totally different, and certainly not the courses where we choose materials from the ground up and design everything ourselves.

 

I would agree with you that pacing is an important difference, though.

Well, Rosetta Stone and Teaching Textbooks are not approaches I would take. ;). It really depends on how families approach things. If the choices were between that level of coursework or outsourcing to a classroom teacher, then I agree with you. The classroom teacher would be my preference as well, and I would not hesitate to put them in a class.

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It is possible. I have seen it done and done very very well.

 

It is not possible for my family. I am not equipped academically myself to handle all these subjects without massive review and prep time for myself. I lack the motivation to read these hard books with my kids. I am burned out by so many years of enthusiastically homeschooling from K. I cannot homeschool high school well at this stage in my life.

 

My kids do much better with outside accountability. I have an 11th grader that does well in de without any prompting from me. His practices tests indicate he will score about a 30 ACT. The two of us together struggle to complete the most basic high school courses at home together.

 

Maybe by the time my youngest is high school I will have hit a second wind and she will be more motivated to work at home. But so far, outsourcing has been necessary for my family to homeschool well.

 

Now, we could have done a passable job for sure. I have no doubt without outsourcing mine could have done okay and gained admittance to college as we have some in our area which are not competitive admissions and we have a community college system available to us. They could have done OK. They could not have done as well as they have.

 

But that is just for my family. I have seen it done well but know yourself and your kids and be honest about how it is working.

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It's possible, certainly.

 

That said, for me, homeschooling, even utilizing a fair amount of outsourcing for high school, is still way more flexible as far as scheduling than full time public school enrollment. My youngest is enrolled in the local middle school for 7th grade and I hate being tied to the school schedule! 

 

I did tend to choose curricula sources that maximized flexibility; classes without specific meeting times, programs that utilized books rather than the computer (so it was easier to do on the go.)

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Well, yes, it's possible.  I never thought I would outsource anything.  We have dabbled in some online classes, but not jumped on the co-op bandwagon around here.  I don't know any other homeschoolers doing high school at home completely.  I have lived in 2 states and the last state was less co-op dependent, but where I am now seems like no one could homeschool without it.  It's really interesting to see smart moms feel so inadequate and only homeschooling with the co-op.  

In middle school we had the opportunity to try some online classes.  My kids both do foreign language online.  I think having someone to speak with is important.  Dd does ASL so she needed to have people to practice with.  Both have done some fun electives as well.  I was so impressed with their efforts in those classes!  I could have done some of it at home, but they wouldn't have put so much effort into it nor enjoyed it as much.  There is something to teens doing class without mom.  However, money is tight and we are doing less online for the rest of high school.  My priority now is math.  Both kids hit Alg 2 next year and while I've enjoyed relearning algebra and geometry with them, my brain is done.  I'm still learning German with my son, but math is being outsourced.  One kid has 1 more language year left as well.  After that I don't expect to outsource except math and maybe physics.  none of the local co-ops do physics b/c by then all the HS students are in dual enrollment and they don't have Jr/Sr kids in the co-ops.  

My kids will be 9th/10th grade next year.  I'm considering putting them in co-op for fun classes so they can make friends.  We are homebodies.  It's hard.  My kids do play with one neighbor family some during the week, but my ds has nothing else.  My dd has scouts, and a group she emails with often.  But my son...he needs some interaction and not just online.  

I think the right family who is involved in sports and activities could skip co-op or online classes.  Mine aren't involved in much and my boy doesn't want to be involved with anything, so I'm making the decision to force him out of the house in hopes of some good friends.  Who knows, we already dread the idea....  

I like the online classes my kids have done.  I think there is value in doing them.  Maybe one or two a year.  It forces them to have deadlines and projects.  They get real grades that mommy can't be swayed by love. ;-)

I personally don't need to outsource(except foreign language) but I think having some outside classes has been great for my kids.  In fact, I put my son in a writing class last fall and it was a disaster...horrible results on his end, but by the end he figured it out and ended up with an A.  HUGE improvement.  After years of writing programs he got it together for someone else.  And I'm ok with that :-)

 

 

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Is it possible- yes. Is it the best option? That depends on the family's situation and the student. Aside from piano lessons and Rosetta Stone language, we have not been able to outsource any subjects. (1 yr. left of HS) There are several we wish could have been an option to do at a local college or with someone else. If you have the means and resources it could be helpful. Having some outside classes may also be helpful to get them prepared for taking college classes.

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I know what you're sayin'...the homeschoolers here outsource everything - it seems like!  Two of mine are teens and we're not outsourcing for high school.  Our family just doesn't have the financial resources to pay for all those classes.  We have 7 people living on one income.  We're not planning to do dual enrollment, either.  I just want high school to be high school.  I'm not looking to rush college into the high school years.  The teens are happy...so far, we've been able to find stuff for them to do/study...I mean, we don't have a reason to rush it and they don't want to, anyway.

 

If they were unhappy or in a hurry, I would change our plan. 

 

The only thing I would possibly consider in the future for outsourcing is French.  My 3rd kid is teaching herself French and I could see needing to put her in an outside class later.  The other teens do Latin and German.  I have a minor in German, so there's really no reason to outsource that...and Latin resources are everywhere.  I think there are more homeschool Latin resources than any other language.

 

My kids do an incredible amount of volunteer work, so they aren't in a hurry to graduate (they're happy with what they do) and they don't want to spend more time on school than we already do.  We're even thinking about doing the Gap Year thing.

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One of my children needed the pressure of an outsourced class and the accountability of an outside teacher to develop some "executive function" skills that were lacking.   Deadlines, knowing where your homework is, having to send an email or make a phone call when you need help, keeping track of what work was assigned, remembering to bring everything to class that you need.....all of those are skills this child struggled with until we started outsourcing.   I have seen a tremendous amount of maturity with the executive function of this child because of outsourcing.    My other child is much more naturally organized and didn't need outsourced classes to develop these skills.   

 

Honestly, I never thought much about outsourcing anything until my oldest reached middle school.   I was a chemistry major in college and studied math up through Calculus 3.   Which classes did we choose to outsource?   1.  Foreign language - because I know almost no Spanish.     2.  Math - because I've forgotten everything I learned in high school above basic algebra, and because the combination of Pre-Algebra, puberty hormones, and "Mom as math teacher" didn't mix well.    3.  Science - because labs are (sometimes) difficult to do at home, but more so because working in lab groups facilitates more scientific inquiry than doing labs by yourself at home.   

 

Now that my oldest is finishing 9th grade, I actually see more outsourcing rather than less in our future.   We are fortunate to have multiple homeschool class providers in our area, a statewide virtual school that offers AP courses, a liberal Dual Enrollment policy with a college in our area (no tuition, 9 semesters, up to 10 credits per semester may be taken at no charge, with our only costs being for books), and we have an A-rated public high school with more AP courses offered than the virtual school.   We have a "general plan" for high school but also decide year-by-year which provider (Mom, asynchronous curriculum, online class, homeschool class provider, DE, public HS) is the best fit for each child and their goals, and which options work best for our family as a whole.   

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You might take a look at this thread. 

 

We planned to do high school without outsourcing. Ds took 2 DE classes (Japanese) and then 2 AP classes through PAH. We could have lived without them, but they were all beneficial.

 

With dd I outsourced English for 2 years just because she put in such minimal effort when working for me. Then she did DE for almost everything her junior year and graduated a year early. Again, We could have kept going without outsourcing, but she wasn't putting forth her best effort for me at that point and was really motivated by the idea of starting college early. 

 

I think academically it is very possible to homeschool high school without outsourcing. The challenge comes in motivation and maybe social opportunities. Outsourcing can help with both, but not all kids need it. Only you and your kids can determine what will work best in your family.

 

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Yes. For my oldest three(all boys) I outsourced writing during 1 high school year using an online class.  I outsourced Calculus at a CC second semester of senior year for the oldest two. My 3rd son did AP Calc at home with me but did take a local history course. My 4th will take an online writing course. Everything else is planned by me and taught by me or self-taught.

 

It worked well for us with regard to academics, to our relationship, and to our finances.  

 

In my experience it does take a lot of my time to do it well.  Not every course is done at the highest level, but I am always working on teaching something better. I am always trying to learn something so that I can better help them. I don't begin do do everything I want or to be as prepared as I want. It probably can be done without that much work, but I haven't tried it.

 

 

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On a side note, this doesn't have to just pertain to High School.  DD really changed her view of History when I enrolled her in an on-line Art History course at the end of Middle School.  She has now taken 3 Art History courses for different time periods with the same teacher.  She was exposed to many different kinds of art and finally was able to understand history in context.  This outside exposure has improved her art skills tremendously AND given her a love of a subject she loathed before.  Finally liking and understanding History have given her some terrific jumping off points for learning other things as well.  She has also made friends and gotten some wonderful support and advice from her teacher.  We could have just pulled out an art history book and worked through it but it would NOT have been the same.

 

Math is something we work on at home but I also found a great Euclidean Geometry on-line course that ties Geometry into art.  It has bee wonderful for DD.  She loves it.  I could not have taught that course and I doubt she would have wanted to have me teach it anyway since this is not something I am good at from either end.  She has thrived in this class and it has helped her in other areas of both art and math.  It is not a primary class but it has been a terrific outsourced supplement.

What and where is this geometry course? I have an artsy kid who will need to take geometry but I don't think traditional is going to work with her.

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Thank you all so much for all the responses so far! This is very, very helpful in my long-term planning. You all bring up so many great points and ideas. I want to be able to continue along our path with a clear vision of where we're headed, and I want to have a realistic idea of the financial costs as well, so thanks to everyone who has chimed in! 

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Also, I don't know if this has been touched on already, but I don't think a full day at public school is used efficiently.  For a variety of reasons, I enrolled my oldest, who had been homeschooled from pre-k to 8th grade, in an great public high school nearby for 9th grade.  I have no complaints about the academics or social environment and this is a good experience for her.  However, she's at school from 7:30-3:00, then has 3-4 hours of homework at night (sometimes 5-6 hrs).  This leaves her with very little time to explore her own interests or just be a kid, which is why she's coming home for 10th grade this fall.  We're planning on outsourcing 4-5 of her classes because she works better when people other than mom are holding her accountable.  Also, while I feel competent to teach most of her subjects, I don't have a passion for certain classes and I think I would be doing her a disservice teaching her myself.  Yes, it's $$, but it's within our budget and we feel it's well worth it.

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Hi friends!

 

My kids are still elementary age, so I don't frequent the high school board much, but I'm always thinking ahead and I'm wondering: Have any of you successfully gotten kids into college with little to no outsourcing of high school? It seems like most people homeschooling in my area outsource almost all of their high school academics. (Private classes, co-ops, etc.) Is that normal?

 

Yes, normal.  

 

 

Part of me is struggling to understand that approach because in my head I'm thinking...if you're just going to expensively outsource everything into a school-like environment, why not just actually enroll your kids in school? (I don't mean that in a judgmental way at all--I fully support people fitting pieces together to create the homeschool life they want!--I'm just truly just curious about it and trying to realistically picture our path down the line.)

 

Because then you have to give up ALL the schooling.  I was considering signing my son up for a homeschool tutorial so they could handle Alg II, Spanish, and Chemistry...but then I realized I'd have to give up the parts I love as well as the parts I don't love. I'd have to give up English and History and Electives.  I wasn't willing to give up the parts I love best.  I've waited 9 years to get to high school level English and History and Electives!  Not giving them up now when it's finally getting good!

 

Also, my son has a part time job now.  I can make sure that on the nights he works he has a lighter school schedule than on the nights he doesn't work.  It's not exactly like real life where you sometimes have a bunch of work piled on one day, but he's only 14, so I'm ok shielding him from that for now, so that he gets down time and time for sleeping.

 

So, I'm curious if that approach (tons of outsourcing) is standard for most people homeschooling high school, or if there are people here who DIY most of it. (For example, if my daughters down the line, want to take x, y, and z AP tests, is there any reason we can't just get those AP prep books and study for the tests on our own? Is that unrealistic? Or should we plan to budget for expensive outside classes for this sort of thing?)

 

I'm 100% sure that you will find there are people who did it all at home. Some did it willingly and well.  Some did it out of financial constraints.  Some probably did it and did it poorly.  

 

The classes don't have to be terribly expensive.  There is a range.  Expect it to be at least $400 per class, not including books/supplies, which is on the low end.  If the classes are twice a week for about 32 weeks, that's 64 classes, so it's only $6.25 per class for a $400 class, so it's pretty reasonable.  But again, that's on the low end from what I've found.   

 

I used to be a high school English teacher myself, so maybe I'm just not so worried about high school? (Should I be more worried? lol)

 

You don't need to be worried, but it can be a matter of time.  My 9th grader is studying 6 subjects now and will study one in the summer.  My 6th grader is studying 10 subjects.  I've outsourced 2 of my 9th grader's classes, so I am only teaching him 4.  

 

My 9th grader's 4 subjects take me 10 hours a week to prepare.  My 6th grader's 10 subjects take me about 1-2. This might not be true for everyone, but planning at the high school level is time consuming.  I just don't have the hours in a week to take on 2 more classes of planning---especially in a language I don't even speak (Spanish.)

 

I mean, I am not suggesting that I plan to keep my future teens locked at home; for extracurriculars and work and interests, I fully expect them to be out in the world and taking classes and lessons in that capacity, but I've been planning to handle the actual academics (except for maybe foreign language) on my own. Is that a crazy expectation? Would love to hear what people here are doing/have done. Thank you!

 

It's not crazy and it's good to think of it now.  It's soooo easy to look ahead and be sure that all the other people are barking up the wrong tree, until you get to the tree and find yourself staring at those yummy squirrels in the top branches and start barking along with the rest of them.   :)  Three years ago a friend with kids in high school told me her daughter didn't want to do co-op (only 4 hours every other Friday) because she had so much work to do.  She gets anxious at thinking of having to make up the work.  I thought, "How ridiculous.  That girl should be getting out of the house!  They're doing too much!  They're homeschoolers; they don't have to make up work!"  And now I'm in that boat. Four hours every other week would be too much for us. And my son would have to make up the work somewhere--either on weekends or by having to work into summer.  

 

And as always in these threads:  what I've written isn't true for everyone.  It's just been my path.

 

Edited by Garga
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Just a few thoughts:

 

Yes it's possible. I don't know a single person that made it all the way without using a co-op and some kind of distance learning for several subjects. But it's definitely do able.

 

I now outsource everything but it's still 1/5 of the cost of private school and also my kids have a less hectic, busy life and it's tailored much more to them. We have more time together and when they are sick they can rest, they get more sleep than their private schooled counterparts and more sibling time. They have more free time to pursue interest and no fear of bullying or peer pressure for drugs, name brand clothes, and se*x. So I feel like they are the most blessed kids on earth. They have teachers who are masters in their field, high level academics, accountability, and all at the same time all of the benefits of homeschooling' so that's why people don't just put their kids in school :)

 

Now all that said, IMO of all the subjects you should not plan to do at home completely is math, unless you are a math major. I cannot tell you how many of my friends did a great job in all subjects but totally failed their kids in math because they expected their high schooler to self teach. Usually by Geometry it would become so frustrating they'd all give up. Ans the kids would feel like failures and never really pursue math again :( so, start saving now. :)

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Also you CANNOT put "AP" on your transcript unless you apply to the College Board to have your syllabus approved. (People have done that here of course) so the student would lose a GPA point because an A in AP is 5 but an A in. Regular course is 4. Those extra GPA points really make a difference with so many kids applying with a 4.5 GPA nowadays.

 

And you may find your kids enjoy that outside accountability even if it's an online teacher they do get to know your student and your student may enjoy the competition.

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We did not outsource in high school until 11th and 12th grade for Ds. And even then it wasn't as much as many people do.

 

In 11th and 12th we had a tutor for Latin. I was able to teach it from 3rd through 10th grade but those last two years needed someone more proficient.

 

Ds outsourced Alg 2 and physics.

 

So far I have not outsourced anything at all for Dd. And since she's taking Japanese and I'm proficient, I don't anticipate needing any help there.

 

We had occasional tutors for math and science before 11th but they were hired on a one time basis only if we got stuck-which was about 3x a year.

 

We have never tried to meet social needs through academics. My kids had outlets for that after school.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Just a few thoughts:

Now all that said, IMO of all the subjects you should not plan to do at home completely is math, unless you are a math major. I cannot tell you how many of my friends did a great job in all subjects but totally failed their kids in math because they expected their high schooler to self teach. Usually by Geometry it would become so frustrating they'd all give up.

It is possible to teach math at home without ever having been a math major. It is probably more dependent on the kids and the parents than an absolute one way or the other. I had to relearn alg up alongside my oldest. I am now pretty solid through the 1st 1/2 of alg 2. After that I am pretty weak. But, I sit with them and we figure things out together. If we can't figure it out, we google explanations until we find an explanation that makes sense. You might find that a horrible idea which is perfectly your right. But most of my kids are incredibly strong math students.

 

My oldest ds DE at our local university in cal in 12th grade and made the highest grade in the class. (He is now a chemE.) Of my older kids, only my oldest Dd, my weakest student over all, didn't take cal in high school. (She took pre-cal with a tutor and then stats.) With my ds who took his first alg course at age 10, he started using with AoPS after alg 2. For him, AoPS was perfect followed by DE at the local university after the BC exam. My current 12 th grader did not like AoPS at all. We found resources to make it through cal at home. She took the cal CLEP well over a yr ago and scored in the tippy top range. (She is as strong in math as her older brothers, but she doesn't really like math.)

 

Also you CANNOT put "AP" on your transcript unless you apply to the College Board to have your syllabus approved. (People have done that here of course) so the student would lose a GPA point because an A in AP is 5 but an A in. Regular course is 4. Those extra GPA points really make a difference with so many kids applying with a 4.5 GPA nowadays.

Have you confirmed with universities that this is a real concern? I know nothing about CA universities, so addressing the whole a-g, AP, GPA issue with those schools may be completely different. Most universities recalculate GPAs and do not treat school GPAs as equal bc there are so many different scales. Some schools give a .5 boost for honors and 1 for APs. Some give 1for honors and 2 for APs. Some schools don't weigh at all.

 

While you cannot call a course AP XXX, you can call it XXX compatible with the AP exam. Include the AP score on the transcript. For schools recalculating GPA, I doubt that they only value the AP course label.

 

Fwiw, I am not convinced that AP exams and weighted GPAs are necessary for homeschoolers. Again, this may not apply to CA schools. You would need to speak with the schools. (Some schools do not reweigh and parents should understand the policies of individual schools their student is applying to.) But every school my Dd applied to had a homeschool admissions officer. All applicants from non-traditional brick and mortar backgrounds, not just homeschoolers, were evaluated by that admissions officer. No APs or DE credit did not negatively impact her admissions or her competitiveness for scholarships. I did not weight her transcript. The vast majority of her courses were advanced. I included thorough course descriptions describing the level of work she had completed.

 

TLDR version: There is no single, one-size-fits-all answer. Homeschooling can be done without AP labels, without DE, without weighted transcripts. How individual universities view those transcripts needs to be understood exactly like that, individually. Schools using SRAR (self-reporting academic records) should be contacted before filling out the courses. We found SRARs did not work for our situation at all. In that case, appts with admissions officers may be warranted. Fwiw, I would have no problem calling an admissions officer as a guidance counselor and asking questions. I would just make sure that I knew exactly what it is that I wanted to ask and have answered bc generic questions will receive generic answers.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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It is possible to teach math at home without ever having been a math major. It is probably more dependent on the kids and the parents than an absolute one way or the other. I had to relearn alg up alongside my oldest. I am now pretty solid through the 1st 1/2 of alg 2. After that I am pretty weak. But, I sit with them and we figure things out together. If we can't figure it out, we google explanations until we find an explanation that makes sense. You might find that a horrible idea which is perfectly your right. But most of my kids are incredibly strong math students.

 

My oldest ds DE at our local university in cal in 12th grade and made the highest grade in the class. (He is now a chemE.) Of my older kids, only my oldest Dd, my weakest student over all, didn't take cal in high school. (She took pre-cal with a tutor and then stats.) With my ds who took his first alg course at age 10, he started using with AoPS after alg 2. For him, AoPS was perfect followed by DE at the local university after the BC exam. My current 12 th grader did not like AoPS at all. We found resources to make it through cal at home. She took the cal CLEP well over a yr ago and scored in the tippy top range. (She is as strong in math as her older brothers, but she doesn't really like math.)

 

Have you confirmed with universities that this is a real concern? I know nothing about CA universities, so addressing the whole a-g, AP, GPA issue with those schools may be completely different. Most universities recalculate GPAs and do not treat school GPAs as equal bc there are so many different scales. Some schools give a .5 boost for honors and 1 for APs. Some give 1for honors and 2 for APs. Some schools don't weigh at all.

 

While you cannot call a course AP XXX, you can call it XXX compatible with the AP exam. Include the AP score on the transcript. For schools recalculating GPA, I doubt that they only value the AP course label.

 

Fwiw, I am not convinced that AP exams and weighted GPAs are necessary for homeschoolers. Again, this may not apply to CA schools. You would need to speak with the schools. (Some schools do not reweigh and parents should understand the policies of individual schools their student is applying to.) But every school my Dd applied to had a homeschool admissions officer. All applicants from non-traditional brick and mortar backgrounds, not just homeschoolers, were evaluated by that admissions officer. No APs or DE credit did not negatively impact her admissions or her competitiveness for scholarships. I did not weight her transcript. The vast majority of her courses were advanced. I included thorough course descriptions describing the level of work she had completed.

 

TLDR version: There is no single, one-size-fits-all answer. Homeschooling can be done without AP labels, without DE, without weighted transcripts. How individual universities view those transcripts needs to be understood exactly like that, individually. Schools using SRAR (self-reporting academic records) should be contacted before filling out the courses. We found SRARs did not work for our situation at all. In that case, appts with admissions officers may be warranted. Fwiw, I would have no problem calling an admissions officer as a guidance counselor and asking questions. I would just make sure that I knew exactly what it is that I wanted to ask and have answered bc generic questions will receive generic answers.

I think someone should always contact the universities! Agreed there. And I also think students should aim high, and if parents want to add a few AP courses whether self designed or online why NOT?

 

I think you are an unusual homeschooler, even in this board as someone who is NOT a Math or engineering major yet can teach TRigonometry and PreCalculus. I still maintain 100% that it is best to save up money and plan on hiring tutors for high school math (or outsourcing in some other way) ...i know SO MANY iRL moms that thought they'd patiently sit there and work through it and that all that wonderful self teaching would make their kids hard working problems solvers only to give up on math !!! Why not rather plan ahead and save a little to be prepared.

Edited by Calming Tea
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When we began homeschooling, I wondered about these same questions.  This is our first year of high school homeschooling, and we ended up outsourcing two classes - biology and algebra.   We could have done all of our high school courses at home between DH and I (he is a math/science whiz and I love history and language arts), but in the end we outsourced those two classes.  

 

The major benefit I've seen this year is that our DS has found a passion for biology.  His teacher LOVES science and our "I hate science" student has become our "what jobs can I use biology with?" high schooler.  Could I have taught the material and done the labs?  Yes.  But I don't think I could have done as great a job awakening a passion for biology as his teacher has.  DS doesn't know for sure what he might be interested in pursuing down the road, so for us it is worth it to outsource the subjects we could do the academics with, but not convey the joy of as well... if that makes sense.

 

At this point in our homeschooling journey, we take every decision with each of our homeschoolers a year at a time.  So much changes in a year's time when they are teens.  

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I think someone should always contact the universities! Agreed there. And I also think students should aim high, and if parents want to add a few AP courses whether self designed or online why NOT?

 

I think you are an unusual homeschooler, even in this board as someone who is NOT a Math or engineering major yet can teach TRigonometry and PreCalculus. I still maintain 100% that it is best to save up money and plan on hiring tutors for high school math (or outsourcing in some other way) ...i know SO MANY iRL moms that thought they'd patiently sit there and work through it and that all that wonderful self teaching would make their kids hard working problems solvers only to give up on math !!! Why not rather plan ahead and save a little to be prepared.

I suspect more often than not the issue is what is selected as curriculum. I am a curriculum snob through and through. I won't just use anything, and I certainly won't use something just bc other homeschoolers use it. Researching resources and making sure that they absolutely meet the definition of academic thoroughness is the first issue I address. For our homeschool, having the right resources makes a significant difference in what I would consider academic success.

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I only know three families who homeschooled through high school, but none of them outsourced. Out of 9 kids between these families, 6 are successful college students/graduates, 1 was employed right after hs graduation, 1 is taking a gap year while working to save for college, and 1 is in limbo (waiting for a husband... sigh). That makes me think that it absolutely can be done without outsourcing.

 

Having said that, I plan to outsource a bit. I am outsourcing physics next year in 9th grade for dd. I most likely will outsource science again in 10th and probably Latin as well. She will take the majority of her 11th and 12th grade classes DE since it is free in my state. I'm bummed to completely outsource those last two years, but it would be foolish of us to pass up free college.

 

I'm not sure yet how much I will outsource with my younger kids. It depends completely on their needs and our finances. I don't feel like I *have to* outsource anything, though.

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Yes it is possible. My oldest went to college with only one CC course on his transcript. Our cc courses aren't subsized, so we had to be careful about courses. He played sports (club and at a private hs)  and had a nice group of neighborhood friends, so socially everything was fine. Next kid did more at the cc and my current junior is taking his first (and he will definitely take more). 

My next two will graduate from ps high school.

 

The dividing line between them is first three are introverts with specific social groups, good ( and willing) readers, and a general appreciation of few friend vs. large groups. The last two are my extroverts for whom school is a vehicle to play sports and hang with friends.

 

Whether or not you outsource depends on the kid, your budget, your location, and their interests. Success can come anywhere along the outsourcing continuum. 

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I guess a lot of homeschooling depends on how you define things. Are music lessons with a professional considered outsourcing? Are scouts/4H/cadets outsourcing? Is an internship, volunteer or work experience considered outsourcing? Are using on-line programs and videos considered outsourcing? If so then, absolutely, I outsource and wouldn't deprive my dc of these opportunities whether we homeschooled or not. 

 

If my dc had the option of taking DE I'd definitely jump at the opportunity if it made sense for the individual.  I don't see anything wrong with utilizing opportunities available when the fit is good and it helps the student achieve their academic and personal goals.

 

Edited by wintermom
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I think I'm part of a new breed of homeschooler. If I'm literally outsourcing everything it's kind of like my kids are at all carte private education, directed and steered by me. It really is very different from what I thought I'd be doing. And it is expensive, but for us it is wonderful. I think you'll see more and more of this outsourcing as time goes by, but I also think the old homeschooling model of well

Chosen textbooks with well written TMs will

Not ever disappear.

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I am also a bit of a curriculum snob, though I am not exactly proud of that.

 

Whether outsourcing is better is relative. Better to DE math at a cc where the courses are remedial, or work at home with mom who isn't as knowledgeable of a teacher, but with a stronger textbook? Better to butt heads with a teen who doesn't want to do all the academics with engineer mom, doing the strongest math program at home, or sign up for a maybe not quite as thorough course with a teacher who isn't mom and provides deadlines? Fortunately, we have a range of choices available to us, but not everyone has every option open to them. Sometimes we only realize what the better option was in retrospect. I wish I had outsourced math this year, and I had no problem with the math.

 

In the nineties before I had children, it seemed like the homeschoolers I met were DIY through high school. It does seem like there is much more outsourcing now.

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I think I'm part of a new breed of homeschooler. If I'm literally outsourcing everything it's kind of like my kids are at all carte private education, directed and steered by me. It really is very different from what I thought I'd be doing. And it is expensive, but for us it is wonderful. I think you'll see more and more of this outsourcing as time goes by, but I also think the old homeschooling model of well

Chosen textbooks with well written TMs will

Not ever disappear.

8 and I have already outed ourselves on another thread as dinosaur homeschoolers. Outsourcing is not really part of my overall reasons for homeschooling. I'm not looking down on those who do. It's just a different approach.

 

Even if I had wanted to though we didn't/ don't have the money for a lot of outsourcing or private school.

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I think I'm part of a new breed of homeschooler. If I'm literally outsourcing everything it's kind of like my kids are at all carte private education, directed and steered by me. It really is very different from what I thought I'd be doing. And it is expensive, but for us it is wonderful. I think you'll see more and more of this outsourcing as time goes by, but I also think the old homeschooling model of well

Chosen textbooks with well written TMs will

Not ever disappear.

This is me. Outsourced everything for my 8th grader this year and will for 9th grade as well. I feel more like he is "independently privately educated" or something. Not homeschooling. It is great. He is learning so much while retaining most of the freedom. We are very happy.

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8 and I have already outed ourselves on another thread as dinosaur homeschoolers. Outsourcing is not really part of my overall reasons for homeschooling. I'm not looking down on those who do. It's just a different approach.

 

Even if I had wanted to though we didn't/ don't have the money for a lot of outsourcing or private school.

And you and 8 will be the first I turn to if I have to Give up my outsourcing :)

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