SS #131 – Outsourcing in High School (with Jami Marstall!!)

Many families stop homeschooling once their kids reach high school. After all, high school is harder and much more is at stake. Homeschooling high school is understandably intimidating.

Of the families that do homeschool high school, most use at least some outsourcing of classes in one way or another. Outsourcing classes is a great option to help our kids get the level of instruction and accountability they need as they become young adults.

Today, Brandy and Abby chat with Jami Marstall about using outsourcing while homeschooling high schoolers.

Listen to the podcast:


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Managing High School

  • [3:10-15:20] Scholé Everyday segment
  • [16:56] What is homeschool outsourcing?
  • [20:29] Why outsource in high school?
  • [25:38] Bad reasons to outsource
  • [38:23] Examples of outsource options
  • [45:20] Gurus not needed
  • [1:07:49] You can homeschool high school!

Today’s Hosts

Brandy Vencel
has outsourced some classes locally and online in her 16 years of homeschooling.

Abby Wahl
both outsources and has been the outsourced teacher in her 13+ years of homeschooling.

Today’s Guest: Jami Marstall

Jami has been homeschooling with Charlotte Mason’s principles, primarily following AmblesideOnline, for the past 17 years. She has graduated three of her four children from the family homeschool and has one high schooler left. Jami loves to read about and discuss educational history and philosophy. She always dreamed of being a professional student and homeschooling continues to be the perfect career to fulfill that ambition.

Scholé Everyday: What We’re Reading

How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture
The Battle of the Classics: How a Nineteenth-Century Debate Can Save the Humanities Today
Tried & True: A Primer on Sound Pedagogy by Daniel Coupland (Hillsdale Press)

Battle of the Classics: How a Nineteenth-Century Debate Can Save the Humanities Today, Eric Adler

Jami is reading this title due to the recommendation of Dr. Gamble during a conversation with him inside Sistership.

How Should We Then Live, Francis Schaeffer

Abby is rereading this title to remind herself why beauty is objective and art is important, especially in the stream of Christendom.

Tried & True: A Primer on Sound Pedagogy, Daniel Coupland

Brett Stroud asked Brandy to read this book so he didn’t have to and Brandy is obliging. It’s specifically for training classroom teachers in classical schools.

What is homeschool outsourcing?

It’s not wrong to admit that you’re out of your depth when it comes to certain subjects. But there are options besides giving up homeschooling if it’s still the right choice for your family.

Outsourcing while homeschooling is piece-mealing some subjects in your homeschool, not outsourcing the whole program to an online or local school. Today we are not discussing choosing to enroll teens in college early or in other ways fully delegating education, but only adding in some outside options for some classes.

Reasons to outsource classes for high school

It can be very beneficial for teen sons in particular to have to be responsible to someone not-mom and also hear from outside voices.

Sometimes mom is too preoccupied with other responsibilities and younger students or babies and toddlers to adequately offer a high school program, so she might bring in some outside teachers.

On the other side, sometimes it’s helpful to find a class or two for a youngest child, last left at home, so they can experience the camaraderie in learning that older children might have more naturally had in the family environment.

Although it’s healthy for small children to have mostly home time and long stretches of quiet family time, it’s also healthy for teens to branch out and stretch their independence and social muscles away from mom’s hovering eye.

Outside classes provide teens an opportunity to differentiate as individuals.

What principles inform your outsourcing?

Some subjects depend more on the authority and knowledge of the teacher than others. It is often most helpful to outsource discipline-based subjects so there can be instruction and accountability in work.

In more ideas-based, humanities courses, the theology and character of the teacher matters more.

Examples of outsourcing classes

Language study is one kind of discipline study where a knowledgable teacher makes all the difference in actually learning the language.

Online tutors providing the instruction and help with math is another common thing to outsource.

Lab sciences are great to outsource locally when possible.

How do you know if it will be a good fit?

Every family has to deliberate what would be a good fit for their student because they will have different options and different resources and budgets.

Watch out for undue influence from a charismatic and compelling teacher. Just as we shouldn’t read one author only, our students shouldn’t have one teacher only.

Can moms homeschool high school?

Homeschooling, especially in high school, is not all or nothing. We can put together a program with many different options that will serve our particular child.

Other Episodes

Several names mentioned in this episode have been guests on previous episodes –

Mentioned in the Episode

Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy of Education (Book 6 of the Home Education Series)

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Read More SS #99: The Ordinary Homeschool

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Want to talk about the ideas presented here? The conversation is happening inside Sistership.

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