Throughout the year, parents around the country are looking for ways to keep their children active and engaged—whether that means using vacation time to keep up the progress they’ve made during the school year, or following their interests in other subjects. But it can be tricky to arrange schedules and handle travel to in-person clubs and classes. That’s where Outschool comes in.
The platform, which started in the United States in 2015, found its first supporters among homeschoolers. But it truly took off during the pandemic, when parents around the world were searching for activities and classes that kids could do from home. The platform now offers more than 140,000 online classes to over 1 million learners in 183 countries.
Outschool offers a wide variety of classes:
- One-time classes, which are great for trying out something new, or working on a particular project
- Ongoing classes, which allow learners to focus on a particular topic, in a club-like setting, without a set end date
- Short classes, which meet one or more times each week for up to four weeks
- One-on-one classes, which offer the opportunity for learners to receive personalized instruction on a variety of subjects
- Semester courses, which meet one or more times each week for eight or more weeks
- Camps, which are ideal for long breaks as they offer a chance to focus on a topic for two or more times a week over several weeks
Subjects range from traditional school subjects to music lessons, art projects, and clubs dedicated to Minecraft, Pokémon, and Harry Potter.
As Yoko Ohtani from the Outschool Japan team explained, live small group classes tend to be the most popular, but flex classes are also available, which don’t need to meet in real time and allow learners to focus on material at their own pace. But these classes still offer a great deal of interactivity, including online discussions, projects, and chances for teachers and fellow students in the class to engage with each other and share feedback.
All teachers who are registered with Outschool are required to perform sample lessons before being chosen to teach and are regularly evaluated, which sets a high standard of quality for the platform.
Diversity and Choice
As Ohtani explained, Outschool can be an excellent complement to in-class learning: “We hear lots of amazing stories from Japanese and international families who use Outschool in Japan. Some kids even wake up earlier and take their favorite classes before school to pursue what they love. Some take Outschool classes in the subjects they have a hard time with at school. This is where Outschool’s one-on-one tutoring can really help. Classes are available for children of all ages, so anytime they might be struggling with a subject, they can get help.”
There are many active learning courses taught by experienced teachers at Outschool. In addition to academic subjects, there are a wide array of options to enrich kids' learning—gaming, music, sports, and more. Some courses are also suitable for neurodiverse students. “Outschool provides a very safe place, where people of all backgrounds and opinions are welcome to share their ideas. The platform is really grounded in a sense of respect and openness,” Ohtani said.
While very young children may need their parents’ help in finding the classes that suit them, older children can easily browse through course listings and find exactly what they’re looking for. Ohtani explained this is what she found with a mother who is homeschooling her child here in Japan: “Her daughter is really busy taking classes. She just started last winter, but she discovered that it's really fun and she can choose classes based on what she’s interested in. She has a lot of interests and is proactively seeking out new classes—her mom didn’t need to push her at all.” Outschool also allows parents to give their children digital “wallets” that they can use to pay for the classes they’d like to take.
Some of Outschool’s most popular classes and clubs in Japan include creative writing, Lego and spelling bee clubs, an ongoing course in science, and a high-level class in critical and ethical thinking. But with so many choices on offer, there’s no doubt that the young learners in your family will find something that sparks their interest. And until January 9, 2023, Outschool is offering a $15 (about ¥2,000) discount on your first class. Use the code WHLD15JP at check out.
Discover the world of learning that Outschool offers for yourself at Outschool's official website.