Why to outsource and how—plus which subjects to choose.
Getting ready to tackle homeschooling the high school years? This is a tremendous time of growth and transition for both you and your child, and it’s the perfect liminal period to think about outsourcing some subjects.
Why: Consider the pros of handing off even one subject
Just a few of the benefits that outsourcing just a single subject can confer on both you and your student include:
- More time for you to devote to homeschooling younger children (or to anything else you want!),
- Less stress over how to teach an advanced or specialized subject,
- No need to purchase an expensive compound microscope for advanced biology or a pottery wheel for that passing urge to create terracotta plates,
- For your child, the life experience of adapting to a different teacher and different learning ecosystem can be a fantastic preparatory step for college or future employment.
How: You have so many options!
Thanks to the rise of both homeschooling and technology, you have so many choices for outsourcing subjects. More traditional options include:
- Your local community college, either through dual enrollment options or simply as a part-time student,
- Online classes, or
- Homeschool co-ops. (Note: If you consider this option, you may lose some of the free time benefits of outsourcing since co-ops sometimes require shared teaching responsibilities.)
But, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Depending on the subject you’re looking to outsource, consider:
- Community enrichment classes—perfect for trying an artistic medium or technical skill to see if your child really likes it.
- Museums or libraries often offer classes, internships, or volunteer opportunities that can provide a wealth of specialized knowledge and skills.
- A private tutor might be your best bet for a child who is serious about pursuing a career that requires advanced math or going to college on a violin scholarship.
What? Choose your outsourced subjects wisely
Think about what you’re looking to achieve by outsourcing and choose a subject that will align with that goal. Good candidates to consider are:
- Art, music, or dance,
- Technical or highly skilled classes like computer programming or woodworking,
- Advanced math, science, or writing—if that is not your bag, or
- Foreign languages.
Done thoughtfully, outsourcing can be enriching and rewarding for both you and your child.
Highschool classes we have outsourced
Piano lessons: We found a local piano teacher and eventually a college professor for the student that was considering majoring in music.
Mathematics: I did teach algebra at home. When my older students started taking Algebra 2, I coordinated with some local homeschool moms. We pooled our resources and hired a math teacher for our combined kids. The class was held at a local church.
When my younger sons entered high school, we found a math tutor who taught high school math to homeschoolers. My youngest son takes precalculus with him online.
Homeschool Co-ops: Our co-op is a true co-operative. We give as much as we get. I teach literature and composition as well as SAT and ACT test prep classes to high school students. My friends who are nurses and love science teach my kids their high school science classes with labs and testing. Our co-op also offers drama which I could never provide my kids on my own.
Robotics: An extra enrichment course offered through our co-op: robotics. One of the homeschool dads taught robotics at the public school in which he worked. He offered a one-time summer session for the homeschool students.
Computer programming: Very much an intro class, but our math tutor taught one session, and two of our sons signed up for it. You can probably find a bunch of online lessons for free that would do the same.
Spanish: A friend taught a high school class to local students. She used Bob Jones Spanish. My two youngest sons took the course for high school credit.
Outsourcing classes has been a wonderful experience for us. It was especially helpful when our home flooded in 2017 and again in 2019. It was a super stressful time for all of us, but my kids did not fall too far behind in their studies because we had additional support through outsourcing.