Outschool: How to Use it For Teaching and Learning

An Outschool student enjoys a class outside. (Image credit: Courtesy of Outschool)

Outschool is a teaching platform that offers online classes for kids. The platform is used by homeschoolers, microschoolers, and children enrolled in traditional schools who are looking for additional support or learning opportunities. 

Outschool offers online classes and is always looking to work with new educators who can propose a course of their choosing and earn money through part-time work, says Outschool CEO Amir Nathoo. 

What is Outschool?

“Outschool is a marketplace of classes for kids that takes place online – these are live classes, via video chat,” Nathoo says. “We offer group classes with small groups of kids and teachers from all over the country and world, and also one-on-one tutoring, which we recently launched.” 

Students can sign up by choosing classes ranging from core academic classes to enrichment courses. For example, upcoming classes include AP Biology and weekly drama club. 

“We have over 150,000 classes that thousands of teachers have created on our platform, and these range from pure enrichments through to core academics,” Nathoo says. “The idea is to provide the greatest variety and most flexibility in finding out-of-school learning experiences using this online mechanism. And that allows families to personalize and find exactly what they need for their kids.” 

What Kind of Students Utilize Outschool

Outschool can help students in traditional school settings as well as those who homeschool or attend microschools, small schools that are started by parents or teachers and are often described as a midway point between traditional schooling and homeschooling.  

“So if you're a family, with a kid in school, but they're just not gelling with their physics teacher, or they are really excited about math but they’re not really challenged enough, then you can supplement with tutoring or group classes,” says Nathoo. 

Homeschooling, as well as microschools have surged since the pandemic, and Outschool is popular with students who learn this way. Nathoo notes that some homeschool parents might love teaching math but not have the time or inclination to teach 4th-grade English Language Arts. He adds that for similar reasons, Outschool can help supplement microschools.

How Can Educators Teach a Course On Outschool?  

Outschool works with K12 teachers and subject matter experts from non-educational backgrounds who might want to offer a course, for instance, a yoga teacher, who wants to offer an online yoga course. 

Educators interested in working with Outschool can apply through Outschool’s teaching page. “We're not a complete open marketplace, there’s a vetting process,” Nathoo says. “We ask you to complete a background check. There’s an application form that's relatively short and simple. What we're doing is just assessing that you have the expertise in the area that you want to teach. Then once you're approved, you create classes that you've always wanted to teach. We encourage you to unleash your creativity.” 

Each class is vetted against Outschool’s content policy, which requires that instructors follow secular education guidelines. For instance, a science class that should include the theory of evolution must include it, Nathoo says. 

Teachers set the price, which will generally range from $15 to $20 per student per week for group classes, and Outschool takes 30 percent of what the class earns. 

“You don't have to make a specific time commitment," Nathoo says. "You can set up and offer a few hours of classes a week to fit into your schedule. What we find is that some teachers ramp up their demand so much that they've become full-time online entrepreneurs.” 

Erik Ofgang

Erik Ofgang is a Tech & Learning contributor. A journalist, author and educator, his work has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and Associated Press. He currently teaches at Western Connecticut State University’s MFA program. While a staff writer at Connecticut Magazine he won a Society of Professional Journalism Award for his education reporting. He is interested in how humans learn and how technology can make that more effective.