How Tamara's family finds "rare and wonderful gifts" through online learning

How We Outschool Nov 05, 2020

More family time, more meals around the table, more fun learning experiences. These are things many families want. But life gets busy, and it's hard to fit everything in.

For Tamara and her four kids, this was their experience, too. Then, 2020 happened. Unexpectedly, they've had to change their schedule. Along the way, they've been able to make more room for what matters most to them.

For our latest edition of How We Outschool, we spoke to Tamara about how her family uses Outschool to supplement their children's online public school education, and how embracing online learning has brought their family together in surprising new ways.

Hi Tamara! Tell us a little bit about your family.

We he have four kids Noah 17, Eleonora 15, Sarah 11, and Ian 6. We also have two dogs, Esa a Maltese/Pekingese mix and The Duke (named after John Wayne) a German Shepherd. We live in the great state of Texas - Texans are proud to be Texans!

How does your family approach schooling?

In the past, we have attended public school and then supplemented our education outside of school with various classes all over town. And I'm not kidding - all over town!  Education is very important to us and we strive to make it a priority.

Now, the kids attend a public school online, and also supplement their learning with Outschool classes before and after school.

What role does Outschool play in your family’s education?

Outschool has been phenomenal for our kids' education. First, it has helped with the mileage on my car! Not having to run around all over town has been very beneficial. Sarah has a rare disorder called Elhers-Danlos, which causes pain. It also puts her at high risk for complications from common illnesses.

With Outschool, Sarah is able to learn and explore subjects from home, or even on the go as we travel to doctor appointments, without additional risk.

Tamara's daughter Sarah taking an Outschool class, which the family uses to supplement their public schooling

What does a typical day at home look like?

A typical day looks crazy, but life is crazy! 😃 We wake up early, and the kids start with Outschool classes. Typically, each child is taking their own Outschool class. We do morning kickboxing, acting, reading, photography, etc. Later, online public school starts, and I work from home.

The kids help cook by using one of the recipes they have learned from an Outschool cooking class.

Once online public school is over for the day, we start with other Outschool classes like art, music classes, math tutoring, and foreign languages. Outschool offers language classes that are not offered by our public school district.

Then, we start dinner, and the kids help cook by using one of the recipes they have learned from an Outschool cooking class.  Throughout the day, the Outschool reminders and emails are very helpful in keeping us organized and on time.

Tamara's daughter Eleanora enjoying a live online class with Outschool on a recent afternoon.

What have been some of the most helpful resources or tips for you when it comes to your kids’ education?

Learning to stop and take a breath! It's hard juggling work and four kids with very different learning styles and personalities. Outschool has definitely helped to fill in the educational gaps.

They attend a great public school online, and I am happy with it, but there are additional educational subjects that are important to me. The ability to also learn on the go has been a phenomenal asset to our learning.

What have you learned since your kids started learning at home during quarantine?

Quarantine has opened my eyes to a different style of learning. Before, we had to be restrictive of what types of classes the kids could take outside of school due to time and travel constraints.  I have learned that each child can take the classes that they need or are interested in without having to leave home.

Quarantine has opened my eyes to a different style of learning...I have learned that each child can take the classes that they need or are interested in without having to leave home.

This has been a game-changer for us, and I feel like their educational goals have hit new levels.  They are learning new things that would not have been an option before. We also have more time together as a family.  In the past, dinners in the car on the go were part of our normal routine. Now, we are able to learn more varied subjects while making more time to be together as a family.

Tamara's s son Noah finds a quiet place to focus on his Outschool classes.

What else would you like to share with Outschool families?  

Life is crazy, it just is. Remember to stop and take a deep breath.

Outschool has first-class customer service, too. I very rarely need to reach out to them, but when I do, the responses are quick, friendly, and helpful. The teachers we have worked with are first-rate.

Each Outschool teacher seems to be masters of the subject they are offering. We were worried that our education would suffer during quarantine, but the opposite has been the case.  

We have a varied list of subjects that we attend through Outschool, and every teacher has strived to offer a quality education. Each Outschool teacher seems to be masters of the subject they are offering. We were worried that our education would suffer during quarantine, but the opposite has been the case.  

When the quarantine is over, we will continue to take our education online, not only due to Sarah's Ehlers-Danlos, but due to the fact that it gives us more time together as a family, which is a rare and wonderful gift nowadays.  Just keep calm and Outschool! 😃

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Gerard Dawson

Gerard Dawson is a teacher, parent and writer for Outschool.

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