What is Outschool?

How does this work?  How do I get started?

Outschool helps you find online classes for your kids.  We feature all kinds of online classes - for core academics or for enrichment - from hundreds of independent teachers.  Outschool makes it easy to enroll in one or more classes.

How do online classes work?
The format varies based on the teacher and the class.  Most are live online classes, meaning they involve set meeting times and use video chat.  Most classes use messaging through Outschool to handle other communication. Some teachers also use other apps to help run their classes, in which case they will let you know. Parents are often surprised at the fantastic learning experiences that can occur through an online format.

Are my kids safe at Outschool?
Yes. Learner safety is our top priority. Click here to read more about how we make sure Outschool classes are safe and secure for every learner.

What kind of quality or vetting do you do for your classes?
We screen all our teachers to feel confident they are offering a legitimate and quality educational experience.  The on-boarding process includes a phone conversation, background checks, and manual review of all listed classes. Rather than attending all the classes ourselves, we offer a review system so parents can share their experiences and learn from each other.  We don't require any particular teaching credential, because we believe that many adults can offer great learning experiences based on their interests and expertise. 

What technology do I need for online classes?
You'll need to use a device with a microphone and a web cam. Most laptops, tablets and phones come with built-in camera and microphone these days.  If you enroll multiple learners in one class, each should have their own device.  Read more about the technical requirements.

What's your refund policy?
Classes are fully refundable up to a week in advance, and are backed by our Happiness Guarantee.

Can Outschool classes count for credit at my school?
Yes, Outschool classes may be able to count for credit.  Schools and districts vary widely in their rules for providing credit for external classes.  You will need to check with your school.  

Can adults take your classes?
Our classes are intended for learners age 18 or below, so adults may not join. We have these limits to ensure the safety and quality of the learning for our students.  One day in the future we may have an Outschool for adults, but right now, it is only for kids. If you are a parent supervising a learner during class, we ask that you stay off-screen as much as possible. If your learner requires more active participation or supervision from you during class, please reach out to the teacher to let them know prior to class. 

Can my child attend class without their video/audio enabled?
For safety, we do require that learners meet with each teacher over video chat at least once. This can be a quick check-in at the beginning of class to allow the teacher to confirm your learner’s identity. We encourage learners to enable their audio/video during the rest of class to create a more social experience for all learners, but it’s not required. 

We don't homeschool - can I still use Outschool?
Absolutely!  Outschool is for everyone who likes learning.  There are plenty of families who use Outschool for supplemental learning outside of their regular school curriculum.  

I'm just getting started with homeschooling.  Can you offer some advice?
We know that people choose to homeschool for many reasons, and we hope that Outschool can be a helpful resource to everyone.  We don't offer consulting services, but we'd be happy to talk with you about what we do offer.  Feel free to write to us at support@outschool.com with any questions!

Are you a charter school vendor?
We support charter school funds for some charter schools, and are working to add more.  See our page on Charter School Funds for more info.

Do you provide discounts for siblings or multiple kids?
Outschool offers small group classes that are focused on interaction. Because of this, each child should be enrolled individually. Some teachers are willing to provide sibling discounts, so you can always message a teacher before signing up for a class to see if this would be a possibility.  

Are payments secure?  Can I pay with Paypal?
Payments with Outschool are secure.  Payments can be made via credit card and are processed by an industry-leading processor, Stripe. We do not accept payments via Paypal, but we likely will in the future.  If that's important to you, please let us know why you prefer using Paypal.  

How does Outschool handle timezones?
For every user (teacher and parent) we calculate their timezone based on their location in account settings, or if that's not available then based on their browser timezone. We show all times to each user based on their local timezone. If the timezone is a handful of standard ones like America/New_York, America/Chicago, America/Los_Angeles, we'll display it as "5:00 am Eastern" or "Central" or "Pacific". In all other cases, we'll use the name of the city that the time zone is named after, e.g. "5:00 am Shanghai time" or "Sydney time".  One detail to keep in mind about timezone changes: if an Arizona teacher has a class series that crosses a daylight savings boundary, they may see their class as happening at 10am every week, but for parents in California that class will be at 10am before the change and at 11am after (or vice versa). Read more about time zones and time changes.

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