If you had school age kids during the pandemic, you’ve probably heard about Outschool. Started in 2015 and primarily catered toward homeschooled kids, Outschool's classes popularity exploded during COVID. They offer live classes for a huge variety of subjects. Some reviews complain about a lack of customer service and technical support, and some complain about the quality of teachers, and not doing enough to protect kids’ privacy. Teachers at Outschool are screened and are required to pass a background check. While Outschool offers a wide breadth and variety of classes, the depth of each subject and the quality of instruction is sometimes lacking. To that end, in today’s article, we wanted to share some of the best alternatives to Outschool for educating kids.
Discover alternatives to Outschool for fun online learning
All of these online educational platforms are similar to Outschool. They offer classes in a variety of subjects, though some are more focused on certain areas like STEM and Computer Science. Explore fun online learning options!
Founded by coding professionals from Silicon Valley, Create & Learn was started with the mission of making Computer Science and STEM more accessible to kids of all ages. Recognizing that coding skills are becoming a prerequisite for science education, this award-winning education platform's mission is to make coding fun to learn for any kid who wants to try. Create & Learn offers a variety of live online classes for kids of all ages, ranging from coding in Scratch, Roblox, and Minecraft to the basics of coding in Python, AI, and robotics. Create & Learn also offers summer camps, where students can gain greater depth of understanding. For older students, there are specific courses to prepare them for AP exams and university. All teachers are experienced coders, and they are also vetted as excellent teachers with extensive teaching experience. All teachers are required to pass a comprehensive background check to ensure the safety of kids. Start with a free coding class here.
Best for: Computer Science, STEM, Robotics, AI, Coding, Creativity
Kids should be excited about quantum physics and how it affects our lives. Modern technology is founded on quantum physics: computers, batteries, solar energy, wifi, and electricity. Kids naturally have an interest in these cutting-edge tools. The STEM fields of quantum computing, electrical engineering, biotechnology, astrophysics, material science, and other expanding industries all benefit from an understanding of quantum physics. These live online classes are scaffolded to allow kids to learn complex topics gradually in a fun and supportive environment. At Quantum Physics, kids learn about this exciting subject from screened teachers with backgrounds in STEAM, who prepare kids for exciting careers in tech, renewable energy, and other science led professions. Check out some of their upcoming classes here.
Grades: 2 - 6
Best for: Quantum Physics, Chemistry, Biotechnology
The largest art school in the San Francisco Bay Area with five campuses and an emphasis on remote instruction, CalColor offers instruction in Fine Arts to kids, taught by current and former BFA and MFA students. There are a wide variety of classes for kids ages 8 - 18, ranging from Color Theory to Digital Art to AP Fine Arts. Classes are 180 minutes long, allowing students to gain confidence in their skills of creative expression. Classes are taught both in-person and live online. Explore upcoming art classes here.
Grades: 3 - 9
Best for: Fine Arts, Digital Art, Art History
Structured around giving students total intellectual freedom to explore their interests, Steve and Kate’s camps offer summer and winter camps, where each students chooses, minute by minute, what they will study. In a structure similar to Montessori education, these camps trust kids to make informed decisions about what they learn while providing them with enthusiastic support and encouragement. Teachers share a love of kids and must pass a background check. They even offer a variety of scholarships to support kids from underserved communities and from different economic backgrounds.
Grades: K - 8
Best for: Young Students, Summer Camps, Broad Range of Interests
Activity Hero is less of an online school and more of a platform for reviewing and comparing different in person and online educational activities for kids. Founded by Bay Area moms who were frustrated by the varying quality and sheer variety of programs offered. Started in 2012 in the Bay Area, they have since expanded to a national level. Their platform takes the guesswork out of planning after-school activities for kids of all ages by offering details about online and in-person classes, workshops, and summer camps.
Best for: Broad Range of Interests, After-School Activities
NextGen is focused on bringing students into the future of education and research by helping them to better understand topics ranging from informational literacy, multimedia and multimodal writing, to design thinking, and research skills. Their teachers and mentors are accomplished authors, leading professionals, and university teachers who have graduated from and taught at schools like Harvard, UC Berkeley and UT Austin. The skills kids learn at NextGen can serve them in whatever interests they have, but they are especially useful for STEAM motivated students who want to gain talent in research.
Grades: 3 - 8
Best for: Writing, Design, Research, Social Media
Modeled on traditional after-school programs, 6Crickets works with parents, teachers, students, and local school districts to provide extension schooling for kids from both homeschooled and traditional schools. Recognizing that most parents work 2000+ hours per year, while most kids are only in school for about half that time, 6Crickets is motivated by a belief that every child deserves the best opportunities to thrive and learn, both in school and without. Providing courses in Computer Science, STEAM, Sports, and Language Arts, the platform is perfect for students who need tutoring in specific subjects and for advanced students who want to pursue a particular interest more deeply. Their teachers are comprehensively screened and come from traditional teaching backgrounds.
Grades: K - 12
Best for: Broad Range of Interests, After-School Activities
Partnered with Create & Learn, Central NY Chess is a registered educational non-profit and an affiliate of the US Chess Foundation. Through chess, they teach critical thinking, logic, reasoning, and communication skills through chess instruction. Aimed primarily at younger students, their meetings combine live lectures, discussions, and organized play between students. Begun in Central NY, they recently expanded their Summer Camp offerings in collaboration with Create & Learn.
Grades: 1 - 8
Best for: Chess, Logic, Critical Thinking
9. 3P Learning
Using a gamified approach to learning, 3P offers instruction, tutoring, and grading services to students, parents, and teachers with an emphasis on math and literacy. Working with schools, school districts, parents, and students, they offer a one-stop shop for pairing kids with great learning resources, helping struggling students to love Math. Their Mathletics program is top rate. They offer free trials so there’s no reason not to try it out.
Grades: K - 10
Best for: Math, Literacy
10. CG Spectrum
With the support of leaders within the film, video games, and digital arts industries, CG Spectrum provides classes in digital art and animation, where students learn and refine their skills in digital design. Motivating students to study complex topics can be a challenge for parents and teachers alike, but since kids love video games, using them as a platform for education is a no-brainer. If you have artistically inclined students or those who love animation and gaming, this would be a great option for them. Offering private, 1-on-1 or small group instruction, their courses include weekly meetings with a live instructor as well as opening opportunities for them by bringing them into a community of over 100,000 creative students. While they are catered to older students and even young adults, their program is open to younger students as well. Their graduates have gone on to internships and jobs at major gaming and animation companies like Blizzard and Pixar.
Grades: 6 - 12+
Best for: Computer Graphics, Game Design, Film Animation
Try alternatives to Outschool
Now you know some other online platforms similar to Outschool! These programs can sometimes offer more focused instruction in specific subjects, like Create & Learn, while others serve to support or replace traditional after-school programs. Still more programs model themselves on degree or bootcamp programs meant to teach specific industry skills in a short period of time, like CG Spectrum and Create & Learn. If you would like to learn more or if you’re ready to get started, get started with a beginner-friendly popular intro coding class: free Scratch!