Do You Struggle to Teach Everything?
One of the things I enjoy most about homeschooling is the flexibility, including the flexibility to approach and meet our goals through outsourcing. While outsourcing in the tech world tends to be about saving money, we’re using it to broaden Duncan’s opportunities. We’re not (and have no desire to be) experts in everything. So, it makes sense to us to find professionals that complement our skills (rather than overlap them). Plus, it frees us up to focus on our own core competencies.
Of course, outsourcing means that we must manage a variety of appointments, regularly cultivate new relationships, and pay for services. But, this seems like a great tradeoff and an opportunity for learning in and of itself—it’s life in action!
How We Outsource
Outsourcing has led to some fantastic opportunities through camps, community education, and private programs. These opportunities have given Duncan the chance to participate while developing his collaboration skills through different venues, including the following:
Coding, Design, and Animation Courses: Through a variety of online courses, Duncan has had the opportunity to learn from other teachers and pursue his creative interests which now extend beyond our ability to teach him—especially, when it comes to animation.
Java Projects Class: A Community Ed class provided Duncan with an opportunity to work and learn from another teacher and other children around his age. It fostered a journey from self-doubt about his abilities and morphed into confidence and a realization that he and his classmates all had various skills, knowledge, and insight to bring to the table.
Various Interest-Based Topics: Duncan is looking forward to taking a variety of Master Class classes in the 2017-2018 school year to learn about architecture and broaden his learning in music (composition and electronic music production).
Fine Art: Through Medallion Art School, Duncan developed drawing skills, learned from another teacher, and made new friends.
Nature Awareness: Though we spend a lot of time studying and enjoying nature, the program at TreeSong provided Duncan with a chance to engage with nature in new ways, make friends, and learn from other teachers.
Project Based Learning Camp: This was a two-week, 9am to 3pm experience that challenged Duncan to work with and learn from several other teachers and children. The purpose of the camp was to test run a new PBL middle school. We wanted to challenge Duncan to work with a different schedule, allow him to consider the new PBL school as an option, and give him the chance to mingle and experience life as a typical student.
Tools and Resources: In addition to the above opportunities, we make decisions about what to design and develop ourselves vs. outsource in terms tools and resources. Things we have strong design-related convictions around, we’ll develop ourselves. The other stuff, we:
- Purchase—such as, the soils lab in the photo above that we purchased from Delta Education
- Download—like, the Portland (Oregon) self-guided tour for viewing rock and brick walls in Portland.
- Leverage—for example, tasks from YouCubed.
Outsourcing has been a great way for us to expand Duncan’s opportunities!
An Idea to Try
Truth is, while an indie education means you get to do everything yourself, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it all by yourself. A lot of solid offerings exist to help you engage your learners. Meanwhile, you can focus on aspects of homeschooling that interest you most.
In the Comments Below…
Please share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with outsourcing—how do you decide what to outsource or keep in-house?
Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and sharing!
Wishing you many good things,