Online Classes

Everyone Loves a Sale: 10% Off HSL Online Classes

It's a Flash Sale! Save 10% on HSL homeschool classes for two days!

It’s a 48-hour flash sale! For two days, you can register for any of our awesome online classes for just $247, -- 10 percent off the regular class price. Each high school-level class (we provide a written evaluation and transcript grade at the end of the class) is 12 weeks long and includes one, one-hour online class session per week and 24/7 access to a private class discussion forum. Classes are fun, intellectually engaging, and taught by passionate mentors with strong educational backgrounds. So here’s your chance to:

 

Register now! This sale ends Saturday, August 13 at 9 a.m.


Take a Peek at Our Fall Class Schedule!

home/school/life magazine's online homeschool classes for fall! :)

Oh, my gosh, you guys, I am so excited about the fall classes we’re offering through home/school/life! I think about what these kinds of classes would have meant to me as a slightly-too-well-read teenager longing to connect with other people who shared my obsessions, and I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to play a role in creating that kind of learning experience for homeschoolers. Our fall class lineup is full of nerdy goodness, from creating your own apocalypse to discovering the meaning of life to giving stink-eye to fairy tale conventions to making sense of Doctor Who’s ethics and more! Here’s your sneak peek at what’s coming this fall. (Classes start after Labor Day and continue through December 5, with a break for Thanksgiving.)

(A note: We describe these classes as “academically rigorous” because we do expect students to complete weekly reading and viewing assignments and to participate in class discussions. These are Socratic classes that run on student engagement and participation. They are definitely not traditional classroom classes nor should the workload be stressful or overwhelming.)

Online Class Spotlight: Wildcrafting

Great online class teaches how to identify, prepare, preserve, and use herbs #homeschool

We’re so excited about our new online classes, and we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what’s on the lineup for this summer. Today, Rebecca shares her plan for the Art of Wildcrafting—a really cool class that will let kids get hands on with identifying and using herbs.

 

What Is Your Class About?

Wildcrafting is the term used to describe the harvesting of wild plants for culinary or medicinal purposes. The main focus of this course is on identifying, harvesting and using herbs found in natural settings.

 

What Will Students Learn?

This class will be highly interactive with weekly opportunities to practice new skills through home-based projects. Students will be encouraged to share their results with the class. Together we will:

  • explore the history of wildcrafting and the work of contemporary wildcrafters.
  • discuss elementary botanical terms and concepts.
  • use a plant identification book.
  • consider sustainable methods used to harvest and process herbs. 
  • practice storing herbs.
  • cook with herbs.
  • prepare herbal infusions and decoctions.
  • consider plant conservation.

 

What Is Your Favorite Thing About Teaching This Class? 

Wildcrafting is such a fun and meaningful way to connect with the natural world. It’s exciting to discover that our humble backyard weeds actually have medicinal properties or taste great in soup! I love watching students’ excitement as their understanding of nature’s resources grows deeper. 

 

Why Did You Decide To Teach This Class? 

Summer is the perfect time to experience nature in important new ways. Wildcrafting gets us outdoors, slows us down and helps us to look more carefully at our surroundings. In doing so, young people gain an understanding of their place in the natural world and are more likely to become stewards of the environment. It’s a privilege to help introduce young people to the joy and rewards of wildcrafting. 


Online Class Spotlight: Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance

Great homeschool literature class online: Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance

We’re so excited about our new online classes, and we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what’s on the lineup for this summer. Today, Jeremy explains how he plans to explore the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. (Registration is open now!)

 

What is your class about?

This class will introduce students to some of the major poets of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langtston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Jean Toomer. We will read and discuss a selection of these poets' work with an awareness of the complex racial and socio-cultural currents that informed the movement of which they were a part. 

 

What will students learn?

I hope students will leave this class with an appreciation for the complexity of the Harlem Renaissance as a cultural movement. But this is a poetry class and students will also learn how to read and discuss poetry with an awareness of tone, meter, meaning, and ambiguity.  

 

What is your favorite thing about teaching this class?

What's so exciting to me about the Harlem Renaissance is that it encompassed so much. It wasn't just a literary movement – those associated with the movement included musicians, dancers, playwrights, political activists, and sociologists. Though we're going to focus primarily on the poetry, I hope to encourage students to explore the other rich traditions of the Harlem Renaissance on their own. 

 

Why did you decide to teach the class?

We're living through a cultural moment in which African-American culture is flourishing on television, in the movies, and in music, and yet, as the 2016 Oscars showed, questions of race, culture, and the place of African-American culture within the American mainstream still cause frenzied debate and hand-wringing in this country. What interests me about the writers of the Harlem Renaissance is that they were asking the questions we are still asking almost a century later and their answers are often surprising and thought-provoking.  


Introducing Homeschool 101 — And Enter to Win Free Enrollment!

Awesome online workshop for new homeschoolers. Great info for getting started, thriving, and figuring out the whole homeschool thing, tackles lots of homeschool FAQ. #homeschool

One question I get asked all the time is “How do I get started homeschooling?” It’s a big question, probably because homeschooling can look lots of different ways and every family comes to homeschooling with a different set of experiences and expectations.

That’s why I am so excited about Homeschool 101, our first-ever online workshop for new homeschool parents. The brilliant Suzanne Rezelman and I have worked so hard to put this class together so that it’s authentic, personal, and genuinely useful. Suzanne (who has homeschooled her four—incredibly diverse—children and counseled so many new-to-homeschooling families over the past 15-plus years) has put together five one-hour sessions covering the most common homeschool questions, from how to talk to your mother-in-law about homeschooling to finding opportunities for extracurricular activities to understanding how to make sense of all those different curriculum options. Even better, we’ve set up a totally private chat group for class participants where you can ask all those follow-up questions that wake you up in the middle of the night and bond with other new homeschoolers are just getting started, too. (Suzanne will check in frequently to respond to questions and offer insight.) Think of it as your own private homeschool support group. And your access to the chat room is permanent, so you can keep checking back for months (and years!) to come. 

To celebrate,we’re giving away one spot in this awesome workshop. To enter, just leave a comment here, telling us one of your biggest homeschooling questions. Be sure to check back on Wednesday, May 25 to find out who the winner is! (If the winner hasn’t claimed her prize by Monday, May 29, we’ll draw another winner.) Spread the word to your homeschool-curious friends, and feel free to share this hither and thither—it’s going to be such a great workshop!


Online Class Spotlight: How to Think Like a Philosopher

Great online critical thinking class/philosophy class for teens. #homeschool

We’re so excited about our new online classes, and we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what’s on the lineup for this summer. Today, Shelly’s got the scoop on why everyone should learn How to Think Like a Philosopher. (Summer registration opens May 1!)

WHAT IS YOUR CLASS ABOUT?

We think all the time, but we don’t always understand exactly what we’re thinking in why. In this class, we’ll start to unpack some of the reasons, assumptions, inferences, examples, implications, counter-examples, and truths that underly the way we think. We’ll start by putting these skills to work exploring a fairly straightforward television episode and gradually work together toward tackling a Socratic dialogue. 

WHAT WILL STUDENTS LEARN?

How to think! It’s a simple—and as complex—as that. You won’t walk out of a philosophy class with a list of facts and data. Philosophy doesn’t mean the love of knowledge—it’s the love of wisdom. You’ll be able to ask more and better questions and to think better and deeper about the questions we all think about all the time—life and death, right and wrong, how we become who we are. (At least, I think about those things all the time. Other people do, too, right?)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TEACHING THIS CLASS?

Honestly, I just love teaching philosophy. There’s a philosopher who writes about how when you’re actually teaching philosophy, it always feels too good to be true, like someone is going to come and tap you on the shoulder and say, “”We were just kidding—you don’t really get to do this for a living.” I totally identify with that. Teaching philosophy is so fun—I still can’t believe I’m lucky enough to get to do it every day. I wish I’d been able to take classes like this in high school, too, so I have really enjoyed getting to put together the kind of classes that I would have fallen in love with as a high school student.

WHO WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS CLASS FOR?

If you love thinking—really thinking, thinking deep, relishing the questions as much as the answers, embracing the notion that you can’t relax in absolutes, getting up in the middle of the night to look at the monsters under the bed—you will love philosophy. And philosophy is so open-ended. It equips you to be a philosopher, sure, but it also arms you to go back to science or history or art or whatever your passion is with the ability to think deeper and make better connections about it.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TEACH THIS CLASS?

I always say if I’m going to jail, I want it to be for blasphemy and corrupting the youth—just like Socrates.


Online Class Spotlight: Hamilton History

Cool online class about the history behind Hamilton the musical. #homeschool

We’re so excited about our new online classes, and we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what’s on the lineup for this summer. Today, Suzanne talks about how she’s bringing her obsession with Hamilton to the online classroom with Hamilton History.

 

What is your class about?

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
— Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton.

.As a history buff AND a long-time Broadway musical fan, I fell in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton (like much of America) when the cast recording was released. Not only is it incredibly entertaining, it's also a great introduction to the history of that period. We'll use the musical as a jumping off point to discuss the American Revolution, the Constitution, and Hamilton's role as a Founding Father.

 

What will students learn?

I hope that students will not only learn some basic history about the founding of our country, but also that many of the key philosophical and political questions of that time (strong federal government vs. states' rights, wealthy investors vs. the "ordinary citizen", intervention vs. isolation) still inform the political debates of today.

We will also discuss how the creative choices made by Lin-Manuel Miranda in his adaptation of Hamilton's history (casting, musical style, etc.) comment on issues like racism and immigration, both now and at the time of America's founding.

 

What is your favorite thing about teaching this class?

I now have an excuse to listen to Hamilton over and over again (which, okay, to be honest, I was already doing). Plus, I have a stack of great history books and biographies to work my way through as preparation for the class. (Any excuse to spend hours reading and feel virtuous about it is wonderful, as I usually just feel guilty about undone household chores.)

 

Who would you recommend this class for?

Anyone who enjoys musicals, or hip-hop, or really catchy pop tunes sung by a guy wearing a giant white King George III wig. And/or anyone who loves history—which really should be everyone, since history is full of entertaining and fascinating "truth is stranger than fiction" stories. Sadly, too many of us associate history class with a string of dates, when really history is full of people acting like people, being brilliant and cowardly and heroic and villainous and hysterically funny and petty and romantic and obnoxious and everything else.

One special note: Hamilton does contain explicit lyrics and adult sexual situations (the sexual content is primarily in the Act 2 song, "Say No To This,” which we will not be discussing in class). While I personally am comfortable with listening to the album with my preteen and teenage children, I understand that every family is different. I strongly suggest that if parents have any concerns, they should listen to the recording —which everyone should do anyway, for the sheer enjoyment factor. I'm also happy to discuss any specific concerns or answer more detailed questions about the class. 

 

Why did you decide to teach this class?

Amy made me. Also, as family can attest, I enjoy nothing more at the moment than endlessly discussing both Hamilton and Hamilton. Please sign up and join me—for the sake of my family, if nothing else.


Online Class Spotlight: A Study in Sherlock

Cool online class for Sherlock Holmes fans -- good intro to critical theory

We’re so excited about our new online classes, and we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what’s on the lineup for this summer. Today, Amy’s sharing the details about her high school Sherlock Holmes critical theory course: A Study in Sherlock.

What is your class about?

Over the five sessions in this class, we’ll be exploring four different imaginings of a single Sherlock Holmes narrative, beginning with the original short story “A Scandal in Bohemia” and moving on to more and less traditional adaptations of the mystery, considering similarities, differences, and questions generated by the different texts. We’ll finish by reading a critical essay about the text together.

What will students learn?

By the time this class is over, students will be annoyingly good at critically consuming media and discussing it intelligently. We’ll touch on some big picture critical perspectives, including feminism, post-colonialism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis, to give specific vocabulary to our conversations.

What is your favorite thing about teaching this class?

Geeking out over Sherlock Holmes with other people who are excited to geek out over Sherlock Holmes? That’s totally how I want to spend my summer vacation.

Who would you recommend this class for?

This is a great literature class for teens who are ready to make the leap into real critical theory.

Why did you decide to teach this class?

When I was in high school, I loved books but I found my English classes kind of frustrating. It always seemed like you were supposed to be following a specific map, stopping at specific landmarks, and arriving at a fixed destination. Books just seemed more fluid than that to me—so I was thrilled in college to discover critical theory, which is all about exploring texts from lots of different angles. (And often—gasp!—treating things like television shows or art installations as texts, too.) I thought digging into one particular story and looking at how it’s been explored across different time periods and media would make a great, meaty introduction to critical theory—and since I find the Sherlock Holmes narratives pretty irresistible and totally fangirl over the BBC’s transposed-to-modern-London adaptation, choosing Holmes as the focus of the class seemed, well, elementary.


The Scoop on Our Online Classes

home/school/life :: online homeschool classes for high school students

Back when we first started homeschooling, I interviewed a woman named Andrea Hermitt for an article I was writing about homeschool budgeting, and her words have stuck with me: “You should spend money on what inspires your kids’ passions,” she said. “Scrimp and save in the subjects that don’t get them excited.”

Because, really, isn’t this the whole point of homeschooling—the ability to go where our passions lead us and to dig in, as deep and as long as we want to? There’s learning for learning’s sake and learning for passion’s sake—and I know which side of that equation I want to end up on.

So when we decided this winter that we wanted to think about offering online classes through home|school|life, passion was our byword. Like so many of our homeschooling projects, this one started a little selfishly: My daughter starts high school in the fall, and researching classes wasn’t turning up anything interesting. Classes were either core-curriculum-generic topics (British literature, U.S. history) that would be easier and more fun to do at home together, or super-casual academic-lite classes that are fun for meeting people and getting an overview of something but not really very dig-in-able. So we thought about what kind of classes we wanted for our daughter’s high school experience: smart, fun, rigorous, obsession-worthy. And we decided, what the hey, let’s build some. Maybe we’re not the only ones wishing for these kinds of classes. Maybe our daughter won’t just find the opportunity to explore topics she’s fascinated by under the leadership of amazing teachers. Maybe she’ll also extend her circle of friends to include people who share those passions. 

So that’s the idea that launched home|school|life passion projects—our online course offerings that you won’t find in any traditional class catalogs. We’ve teamed up with some incredibly knowledgeable, incredibly passionate people to bring these classes to life—and really, not just classes but a whole online community where students can interact with their teachers and each other between scheduled class sessions. Over the next weeks, we’ll be sharing more details about our summer lineup—which we view as a fun sampler of offerings that will give you a taste of what you can look forward to in our semester-long classes this fall. Feel free to chime in with questions and ideas for future classes!