I think a trap that many homeschool moms get into is believing that in order to be a REAL homeschool mom, they have to do it all themselves. This isn’t true–it’s a lie–and it causes well-meaning moms to burn out. As a homeschool mom, you’re in charge of your child’s education, but this does not mean that you have to teach every single subject.
What is your passion? We all have our favorite subjects. For me, it’s history. All of my kids love history because I love history. We have spent hours on the couch reading about history and looking at maps. I confess that in the early years, I loved teaching history SO much that I did not spend as much time on the subjects I didn’t love: Math, Science, and teaching phonics to my son when it felt impossible to teach him to read. I did spend time on these subjects, but I did not give them as much attention as they deserved. I don’t recommend this–and at the same time, I don’t judge myself for this (or you, if you’re doing the same thing). My son got exactly what he needed and learned how to read exactly when he needed to. Maybe he needed extra time to learn without the pressure of trying to understand the words on the page himself.
My kids have all tended to be one year behind in math–is that my fault? Probably. Are they going to be ok? Probably. At some point, though, I realized that my dislike for teaching math was a disservice to my kids. All of my boys, at some point or another, have shown interest in careers that would require a lot of science or math: electrical engineering, aviation and zoology. I wanted for them to have the same passion for math and science as they have for history, and I knew that I wasn’t providing that.
So let’s go back to the question: what is your passion? What subjects do you love to teach? It might not be history. You might enjoy math, or grammar, or science. Choose your favorite subjects and instill that passion of yours into your children. You will bless them by doing so.
What subjects do you really, really, really dislike teaching? What are the subjects you do last, or maybe don’t get through at all? What are you struggling with? Is it time, maybe, to seek other resources or people to cover this subject for you? Pray about what would be best for your children and for your family as a whole. If “outsourcing” a subject or two is going to bring more peace to your home, please think about it.
When I first considered the idea of “outsourcing” some of my kids’ education, my biggest concern was “How much will that cost?” You might be asking the same thing, as it’s a perfectly reasonable question! I’ll share various methods of “outsourcing” below, with their costs, so that you can make the wisest decision for your family.
If the cost of “outsourcing” is holding you back, I suggest working with some friends who have different strengths and weaknesses. Meet together once or twice per week and teach the subjects you each love. If you are sharing skills equally, this shouldn’t cost you anything extra.
If you are interested in finding local classes or online programs to “outsource” your child’s education, here are some suggestions:
Basic Skills is in Oregon City and offers full day classes 2 days per week for grades 3-4 or 5-6, called their “Supplemental Homeschool Program.” We had kids in this program over the last 2 years and really enjoyed it. In this program, our kids learned math, writing, spelling, reading, history, geography, science, art and drama. The subjects may vary by year or term. The teachers are Jesus-loving and encouraging to kids. It was a blessing for me when one of my kids was so difficult to educate at home because of moodiness. That child had love and encouragement poured into their life at Basic Skills. If you want to homeschool completely, this is not the program for you–your child would be in a traditional classroom with other students 2 days per week, and you would not be choosing the curriculum. You may supplement at home 3 days per week, or simply help your child with the homework from Basic Skills. The cost for this program is $225 per month plus application and materials fees.
Basic Skills also offers high school classes. Current course offerings are in Algebra, Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Literature, Old Testament, Writing, Interpersonal Communication, World History and Art. The cost for these classes is around $400 to $500 plus materials fees.
In the summer, Basic Skills offers the SEE program through the month of July, working on basic language arts and math skills. The cost is $135 plus an application fee for classes 3 days per week for 1 month.
There is also the option of tutoring at Basic Skills. Group tutoring is $18 per hour and individual tutoring ranges from $36 to $45 per hour.
First Class Clackamas Teens
FCCT is located in Damascus and offers courses for students ages 12-18 on Mondays. There are two “Core” subject periods in the morning and two “Elective” subject periods in the afternoon. Core classes are offered in science, math, writing, government, history and literature. Elective classes are offered (for Fall 2017) in PE, home economics, photography, choir, CAD, etc. Classes are between $100 and $120 per term. Students may take one class or 4 but are encouraged to stay for lunch and worship.
I took one class at Village Home several years ago (a Freelance Writing class for moms), but other than that I do not have experience with their programs and cannot offer a review. Note that Village Home does not appear to be a Christian program.
Village Home is in Beaverton, but also has class locations in Portland and Salem. The appear to have a one or two day school program like Basic Skills, for ages 6-13. The one day program costs $1,600 per year and the two day program is $3,200 per year.
Village Home appears to offer many courses for various grade levels, from ages 5 through 18, in core subjects like math and science as well as several electives courses, for $108 per course.
Tutoring at Village Home costs $35 for a 50 minute session.
Living Waters Spanish
Foreign languages are a perfect subject to “outsource,” unless you happen to speak multiple languages fluently. 🙂 Living Waters Spanish offers Spanish classes for various levels of learners in Beaverton, Canby, Salem, Vancouver and Online. The courses cost $57 per month, and students learn Spanish while also studying the Bible. At the end of the year, there is usually an optional Mexico missions trip. My family has not taken these Spanish courses, but we know the Reiggs, and Brad Reigg teaches these courses. Because we know them and several of our friends have enjoyed these classes, we can highly recommend Living Waters Spanish! 🙂
Veritas Press Self-Paced History
One of my good friends used this program for a few years and her kids enjoyed it. History was not her favorite subject, and this program through Veritas Press is entertaining and educational. You’ll need stable internet access to use it as it is a streaming program. The cost is $199 per student.
Homeschool Science Classes at OMSI
We participated in these homeschool classes at OMSI for a couple of years and enjoyed them. Note that these are not Christian courses and the theory of Evolution and “billions of years ago” will likely be introduced, depending on the subject of the class. Courses are offered on Tuesday mornings and/or afternoons. Tuition is $100 to $300 for 12 weeks, depending on the grade level. An OMSI membership is also required, which is $80 per family.
Some of our friends have used Abeka Academy while the mom had to work but still wanted the benefits of homeschooling. The program covers preschool through high school. There are teachers on the screen teaching and directing every course subject. It is a streaming program and requires a consistent internet connection. The cost of this program is between $300 (pre-K) and $1,000 (high school) for online access plus books.
Teaching Textbooks is probably the most cost-effective method of “outsourcing” math. It requires a computer and can be done in your home. It starts at grade 3, which is really probably grade 2, because Teaching Textbooks seems to be about a year behind other curriculum. The software plus a textbook costs around $120 at the time of this writing. That’s comparable to or cheaper than other math curriculum.
Masters School of Art
If you want your child to study painting, drawing, cartooning, etc., but you don’t desire to teach these things, MSOA might be a good option for your student. Masters School of Art classes are offered in Clackamas and in West Portland. Students can enroll for a whole school day or for 1 or 2 classes on either Thursdays or Fridays. Tuition is $150 per month for a full-time student (3-5 classes), $50 per month for 1 class or $100 per month for 2 classes, plus supply and registration fees. Sibling discounts are available.
Alliance Charter Academy
I hesitate to post ACA here because technically, it is not homeschooling. If you want to have the freedom to homeschool your child completely, I do not recommend enrolling your child full time at ACA. It is a public charter school and because of that, they must adhere to state guidelines. Two of our kids attended ACA part time last year, and while we enjoyed many aspects of the program and liked the people we worked with, we did not go back this year because we wanted the freedoms that come with homeschooling.
Note that it is possible to attend a class here and there as “Community Education” without actually enrolling in the school. I think this is a good option, especially for moms who intend to hang out in the classroom and observe what their child is learning. The current offerings for Community Education classes appear to be mostly electives: music, PE, and art, with a couple of core subjects for younger kids (math, science). Community Education classes cost around $100 to $250, depending on the class.
I will post more about our experience with ACA soon, and why I don’t recommend enrolling your child full time.
I hope this is helpful! I know there are probably many resources I have missed. What ways do you “outsource” your child’s education? Share below!