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Homeschool Unrefined

Nov 14, 2022

Join us as we talk all about outsourcing in our homeschools with Amir Nathoo, CEO of Outschool.

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Outschool and use code Unrefined for $20 off your first class 


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Complete Episode Transcript


[00:00:10] Angela: Hi, we're Maren and Angela of homeschool, Unrefined. Over the past 25 years, we've been friends, teachers, homeschool parents and podcasters, together with our master's degrees and 20 years combined homeschooling. We're here to rethink homeschooling, learning, and education with an inclusive and authentic lens.

[00:00:29] Maren: At Homeschool Unrefined, we prioritize things like giving yourself credit, building strong connections, respectful parenting, interest led playing and learning, learning differences, mental health, self care, and listening to and elevating LGBTQ plus and 

[00:00:44] Angela: bipo voices. We are here to encourage and support you.

[00:00:48] Whether you're a new homeschooler, a veteran, you love curriculum, you're an unschooler. Whether all your kids are at home or all your kids are in school, or somewhere in between. Wherever you are in your [00:01:00] journey, we're the voice in your head telling you, you're doing great, and so are your kids. Please excuse our voices 

[00:01:06] Maren: today as we, both Angela and I both have colds that we are recovering from.

[00:01:10] We're getting over it, but it's they're lingering . Yeah, for sure. We're gonna make it through. But this episode is bonus episode 200, Outsourcing with Amir Ou and we'll talk all about our favorite way to outsource and then we're gonna end like we always do with our lt. Ws loving this.

[00:01:29] We know 

[00:01:30] Angela: teaching reading and writing can be a challenge.

[00:01:32] That's why we are excited to introduce you to Night Zookeeper. Is your child a reluctant writer? Do they struggle with reading? If your answer to either of these questions is yes, the Night Zookeeper may just be what you've been looking for. Night Zookeeper is an online learning program for children, ages six to 12 years old that uses a gamified and creative approach to help keep kids engaged and focused on develop.

[00:01:55] Awesome reading and writing skills all while having fun at the same [00:02:00] time. Some of the features we love include the educational games, the personalized feedback on writing from real tutors and the super safe community pages where children can work with each other and learn together. If Night Zookeeper sounds like the perfect learning program for your child, you can try it for free by clicking on the link in the show notes.

[00:02:18] When you register, you'll get a seven day risk free trial as well as a huge 50% off an annual subscription. That's a great deal 

[00:02:25] Maren: if you ask me. Did you know my family spent a year traveling around the United States? Yep. I, and I wish I would've known about Blossom and Root back then. Blossom and Root is a nature focused secular homeschool curriculum focusing on creativity, science, nature, literature, and the arts.

[00:02:46] Boston Root has been gently encouraging in supporting homeschool families around the globe since 2016. Blossom and Root currently offers curricula for pre-K through fifth grade with new levels being added [00:03:00] in the future. Additionally, a three volume inclusive history curriculum told from a variety of viewpoints is currently in development as of August, 2022.

[00:03:11] Volume one is available for purchase, and volume two is available on pre. All profits from this history curriculum. A river of voices will be used to support storytellers and artists from historically excluded communities. You can find samples, scope, and sequence. And information about each of their levels online at

[00:03:35] You can also find them on Instagram at Blossom and Root. Blossom and Root has created a special discount for our listeners. Use the code Hs. Unrefined 15 at checkout for 15% 

[00:03:48] Angela: off your purchase. My kids have taken a variety of out school classes throughout the years, from math to grammar, to Star Wars, the Old Republic.

[00:03:58] We know kids who love to learn [00:04:00] don't just prepare for the future. They create it. That's why Out School has reimagined online learning to empower kids and teens to expand their creativity, wonder and knowledge. Empathetic, passionate teachers encourage learners ages three to 18 to explore their interests.

[00:04:15] Connect with diverse peers from around the world and take an active role in leading their learning out. School has created a world filled with endless possibilities for every schooling journey. Explore over 140,000 fun and flexible live online classes to find the right fit for your family and join us as we set learning free.

[00:04:35] Sign up today at Out unrefined, and get up to $20 off your first class when you enroll with the code Unre. 

[00:04:44] Maren: And we are so excited to have Amir Nathoo the CEO of Out School on our podcast today. I did not have a cold when I did this interview, so it's gonna sound a lot better for you.

[00:04:57] But it is just an inspiring [00:05:00] conversation about thinking differently, about about learning. And so I really hope you enjoy this conversation that 

[00:05:08] Angela: I had with Amir. 

[00:05:09] Maren: Thank you so much, Amir, for being here today. We're just so excited to have you. 

[00:05:13] Amir: It's a pleasure. I'm really excited to be talking to you. 

[00:05:16] Maren: That's just awesome. Okay, so why don't we just get started where you can give us a little bit of information about yourself, your background, and some of your experiences that 

[00:05:25] Amir: you've had.

[00:05:26] Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, as you shared, my name is Amir Nathoo. I'm co-founder and head of out school. I am speaking to you today from San Francisco. Nice. Where I live and have lived for the last 12 years. You can probably tell from my accent that I grew up in England, so originally from the, the.

[00:05:42] And you know, moved over here in, in 2009. Okay. And I've always worked in technology and in software from a very young age. That's what I wanted to do. Mm-hmm. and I, I wanted to be an entrepreneur for a long time, and so out school is my second company. Mm-hmm. and moved out to the. Bay area initially [00:06:00] for work and then, you know, fell in love with with the area and and, and the culture and the opportunities here and yeah, I've always been interested in education because both my parents were teachers and I benefited enormously.

[00:06:12] Yeah. From that when I was growing up, and not just in terms of like my formal academic education, but even my career in. Software because, you know, they helped me pursue that as a learning experience outside of school. And so really kind of, you know, my own learning experiences and the influence of my parents has, has guided migration of out school.

[00:06:34] Maren: That's amazing. So your parents were teachers or educators? What did they 

[00:06:38] Amir: teach? Yeah, my father was a high school physics teacher, and my mom taught part-time. They had met in London, you know, studying for physics PhD. So, you know, they taught these technical subjects. But actually my father came back to teaching.

[00:06:52] He had worked in the family business for a period of time and then created his own business running a kinda a TV and HiFi shop. [00:07:00] So he, he always had this combination of, Entrepreneurship and, and learning. That was, yeah, really valuable to me growing up. 

[00:07:07] Maren: Okay. Yes. Cuz I was going to ask you, I know your father really did have influence in you in, in starting out school.

[00:07:14] Was it those experiences or were there other things too that helped you decide to start out? 

[00:07:21] Amir: Yeah. You know, it's, it, it's really interesting when I look back, you know, I, I, I've always known he's had a very big influence on me. Mm-hmm. , when I look back, it's, it's now kind of amazing how much you know, the fact I think that he was, you know, an entrepreneur himself.

[00:07:35] So we're always talking about business ideas around the kitchen table. And the fact that he was a teacher not only helped me with my. Learning. But then as I was reflecting later about what kind of business I wanted to start and what kind of area I wanted to work in you know, it was, it was, you know, very influential from that perspective.

[00:07:52] But I think one specific thing that, that happens that was incredibly influential for me in the founding of out school was that when I was [00:08:00] about someone between five and seven years old, my father bought me a computer. Old BBC Micro to play games on and, you know, he ran this high-fi shop and TV shop and so, you know, computers were sold through shops like that.

[00:08:12] So he, he could see these kind of technologies. Oh, that'd be cool. And, you know, I started playing with it. And back in those days you kind of had to program it in order to Yeah. And then the key moment was like, you know, him finding him and, and my mother. Spotting that I was interested in that and helping me get resources to pursue their interest.

[00:08:30] And, you know, that that's kind of key to the inspiration behind Out school was we were reflecting on that, that learning experience that they helped me find was just so valuable right to my life and career. And it was completely outside. Like normal curriculum, like nowadays. Exactly. Computer science, these things that, that, you know, people know they're valuable.

[00:08:47] Back then it was just a toy. They didn't do it because they didn't help me pursue their interest cause they thought it was gonna turn 

[00:08:52] Maren: into anything. Right. They didn't say, We would like you to learn coding. We, we know this is a the future and you need to learn this. 

[00:08:59] Amir: They [00:09:00] didn't like that. And you know, the lesson I take away from that isn't that everyone should learn coding then days.

[00:09:04] I think that's, you could probably treat it as a core subject that, you know, maybe kids should learn, but instead it shows the power of the pursuit of. Both in terms of kinda motivating children and in terms of some of those interests are gonna turn out to be extremely important and valuable. Right.

[00:09:19] It's very hard to 

[00:09:20] pick 

[00:09:20] Maren: which. Yep, exactly. And we don't know today what our kids are going to latch onto and and pursue as a career either. And we, you know, we can't know and we. Shouldn't, and that's okay. But we do, we do have this power to give them like the freedom to pursue their interests and learn how to learn.

[00:09:41] How to learn is really what we talk about a lot or lo you know, learning how to love learning . We talk about that on our podcast a lot. Just enjoying the process of learning because when you have that, when you have the experience of enjoying learning you know, learning is limit [00:10:00] limitless. You can, you, the world is your oyster when you love learning.

[00:10:04] Amir: Hundred percent could not agree more with that. Yeah. And you know, the other, the other part of that is also we don't know where the world is gonna be in 20 years time. Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, we have to prepare our kids with kind of not only with kind of knowledge that we think they, they need to know based on our own experience, but we have to.

[00:10:20] Recognize that our own knowledge is limited. We can't predict the future, and we have to prepare them for an uncertain changing world, which for me involves like much greater breadth and focusing on the ability to learn and the confidence. Yes. The love of learning, as you say. Much more so than you know historically in education we've been talking 

[00:10:38] Maren: about.

[00:10:38] Exactly. Okay. And so this, these were the experiences you had as a child, and then you went into the tech world and you decided to start out school. How did that come about? And how does it, how did it start? How did it, how did it start working too? I know that it's evolved throughout the years, so what, what was the beginning about?

[00:10:59] Amir: Yeah, [00:11:00] totally. It, it's really fun to reflect on that for me. Mm-hmm. , you know, I founded out at school in 2015. Okay. Yep. You, I've spoken a little bit about some of the inspirations, but you know, a key motivation going in was I knew I wanted to have my own kids . Yep. Didn't have kids then now I have a a three and three quarter year old and a, and a 16 month old.

[00:11:18] Oh, wow. And I, you know, I wanted to, you know, build something that they might use and to integrate in my future family life with my work. And that got me reflecting on education, my own education, what I would want for them. And some of the topics we talked about, about, yes. This realization that, oh, what's needed in the future doesn't seem to.

[00:11:38] You know look like the traditional education that I went through, as well as recognizing this discrepancy between what has been most impactful for me versus my, my formal education. And then combined with that, you know, insights from the tech world, you know, at the time we were seeing marketplace models really change how various industries were.

[00:11:59] Were structured and [00:12:00] you know, Lyft, an Uber, you could order like a ride share just to click on a button. Right? And, and it became, you know, this realization came like, why is it that when this technology clearly can make that work, I can't click a button and get a class my, instead, I have to think about enrolling them in an institution.

[00:12:22] Where you months and months in advance, where there's a set curriculum that's centrally set, this makes no sense, right? Clearly we could do better, do better a technology perspective. But then I started thinking, well, why, You know, the technology's there and I started to realize the limiting factors were, you know, I guess.

[00:12:38] People's kind of concern about how that would actually work. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. People care so much about kids' education and, and school and, and traditional schooling is so embedded in our society. Yep. And I started forming this thesis that, you know, that's why that it's been kind of slow at a change. And that, but at some point the pressures and the you know, on it, were gonna become too great.

[00:12:59] It would [00:13:00] have to find a difference and better way that's more suited to the future. And so I started looking around saying, well, who's innovating? Not from a technology perspective, but from a social perspective. Right. And that's why I discovered homeschooling and, you know, I had certain preconceptions about homeschooling, which, you know, I'm sure you and your listeners are very familiar with and lots of.

[00:13:19] Have those preconceptions. Yes. But when I learned about it more, I realized, oh, this isn't what I expected. Yeah. And not only that, but I thought that there were many parts of it, which looked like what the future of education should be, and that no one from a technology perspective was helping enable.

[00:13:36] This kind of you know, this kind of activity. And that's really, you know, when yeah, the light bulb moment came off. There's a match between what technology can provide, what is needed for the future, and there's this existing community who was already kind of living in the future. 

[00:13:48] Maren: Can I ask you, what were the things that you saw in homeschool that you thought, Oh, this is different than what I thought This is actually, these are actually really great things that I'm seeing in homeschooling.

[00:13:58] What were some of those? [00:14:00] 

[00:14:00] Amir: Well, first off, the realization that, you know, homeschooling was not people staying at home. Hello. Yeah, exactly. Parents, I mean it's, I mean, it's more obvious now that more people have experienced you know, learning at alternative forms of learning, you know, through the pandemic.

[00:14:16] But you know, it wasn't obvious from an outsider then. And I know like, you know, now it just seems kind of, you know, silly that people think about Yeah. . But you know, that was first. Like, it was like, oh, like people aren't just at home. They are collaborating with fellow parents, they're bringing in teachers having a social experience.

[00:14:34] And then, you know, the other pieces were you know, parents reporting that they could keep up with. The standard curriculum, standard requirements with much less effort. Yes. If you are more willing to go with the flow, like, don't try and get kids to learn at 8:00 AM if that's not what they wanna do exactly.

[00:14:51] Instead wait until they're ready and then you get rid of a whole bunch of kind of resistance or issues. And then, you know, you don't have to deal with constraints [00:15:00] of an institution that has to have like this, you know, rigid schedule. And, you know, you know everything that comes, comes along with that.

[00:15:06] Right, Right. And so it was just, it was just like really eye opening and really inspiring. And then one more thing, Sorry, I can wax lyric about this for ages. That reflection on the, So, well, one more thing was just like, I get it. The ability to pursue interests. Like the, you know, a parent told me, you know, Hey, my kid wanted to learn about volcanoes for a week and instead of just doing like one session on volcanoes, we just spent the entire week on volcanoes.

[00:15:30] But yes, and we study science through volcanoes. We study geography from geology through volcanoes. We did art, We drew volcanoes. It's not like you're not doing the subjects by focusing on that interest, but allowed them to kind of create an arc with a family that really used the fact that the kid was so interested in it.

[00:15:47] Exactly, and that just seemed like so different and so much better. Than what a traditional system could offer, at least back then. 

[00:15:55] Maren: Yes. And it's also internally motivated too when, when your child [00:16:00] is interested in volcanoes, they would, you cannot help but learn all about everything about volcanoes. I mean, just everything.

[00:16:06] It's just they want it all and it's all just so natural and the most motivating way to learn, and it's efficient. It's like the most efficient way to learn. It all just happens. So effect. Yes. So that's awesome. Okay. So then you, when you started out school, you had a few classes or how did it start? 

[00:16:29] Amir: Well, you know, even before founding the company mm-hmm.

[00:16:31] you know, best practice, it's like test the idea, you know, is this, it can work, Is this something that anyone would be willing to kind of pay for? Sure. And the theory was that, you know, if there could be a platform that could take some of the burden away from organizing these learning experiences from families, then that's something that that will be valuable and that will be yeah.

[00:16:47] And you know, I found a friend who was at the time, a postgraduate researcher at U C S F who was doing just really interesting research in stem cell biology. And I said, Hey, could you te, could you. [00:17:00] Teach this, but to a group of gifted 12 year olds who I know are like interested in science.

[00:17:05] They're interested in science that they couldn't necessarily get in the regular textbook. Great. And he said, Yeah, I can do that. I told him all about like what the theory was and yeah, what we're trying to do here. And then you, It's so amazing. I got connected with a group of you know, gifted homeschoolers in the Bay Area and I asked one of the parents this, Hey, hey, would you mind sounding out your community whether they'd like this?

[00:17:25] Like, And then the resounding arts came. Yes, it was sold 

[00:17:28] Maren: out. I'm sure it was. I'm sure it was and 

[00:17:31] Amir: sounds amazing. And then the next one, and yeah, we started with these in person experiences. We were just like testing the waters Sure. In the local area. And then I think the second one was, Tour of a local business.

[00:17:42] Mm-hmm. , another friend had this warehouse where they were making iPad cases. And I thought, Well, this is cool. Like he's an entrepreneur. Like I also, this is like a visible physical good. So you, you know, let's take a group of kids around, just show them the manufacturing processes, you know, all the teams interested in [00:18:00] entrepreneurship and interested in craft.

[00:18:01] Again, just like sold out like , I believe that's you. Before there was even a website or a product, it was just like emails saying, you know, back and forth and these lists. And at that point I realized there was really something here that if we could create a marketplace of these kind of experiences, and not just those that I described, but like any kind of experience, whether it's like.

[00:18:22] Academic or career based or social and emotional or you know, anything then that was gonna be very valuable and no one was doing anything like that at the time. The initial early steps 

[00:18:34] Maren: that reminds me of this is what I love about out school too, is that there. Everyone is an expert. All the teachers on there are just so amazing at what they do, and their little niche is it's priceless.

[00:18:50] I mean, you are not gonna get that in even a school setting because teachers, I've, I've been one of them, . I was a public school teacher for eight years, and you just [00:19:00] can't. You can't be an expert in every topic that you teach. You just cannot. It's impossible, but I, one of our favorite classes, Two of my kids took, was this, it's an out school class called the Biology Coloring Club, and I actually posted about it on Instagram a couple or last week.

[00:19:17] And Oh, especially my oldest daughter, absolutely loved it. It was super interactive. Without pressure though, because like there was no test, there was no final project that needed to be presented. It was just about this internal learning and. Kids got to color these very intricate, beautiful like systems of the body.

[00:19:38] And the teacher who is a doctor to, you know, took, gave a, gave the kids like these super interesting facts about this, this system of the body. And my daughter learned so much that like, it's actually she's been inspired to pursue science. Career and Wow. Like, you know, she's just like thinking [00:20:00] about all these.

[00:20:00] She's just, because she's actually was like such an artist before we knew that. But like this class really brought art into science and it was just kinda like this explosion of learning and growth and like awareness that she could be. She could use her creativity in science actually too. There's a, I mean, science innately is, you have to be pretty creative to, you know, like think of possibilities.

[00:20:28] Yeah. And outside the box and things like that. But this class kinda like brought it all together anyway. I could just I can see the value of all the varieties of ways you can learn on out school cuz we've experienced them personally, ourselves. So you, can you tell us about like some of those options and how they've you know, what you can choose from and, and how kids might be able to learn on 

[00:20:51] Amir: old.

[00:20:51] Yeah. And you've really captured so much of it, and I'm so grateful that your, you, your daughters enjoyed that, that class. But you know, you, you [00:21:00] captured it in that we have these teachers who create these really unique, compelling classes that really play to their strengths. Mm-hmm. and their skills. And in fact, we encourage teachers as part of their reward.

[00:21:10] Hey, Like teach things that you personally are passionate about in ways that you are excited about, but that will come through in the class, and that's how you get, you know this you know, doctor teaching, biology, biology color. Right? And You know, we have now 140,000 class on the sites. There's tremendous variety.

[00:21:28] It's amazing across all, all subjects. You know, anything that you can imagine, some stuff that you, you can't imagine. And you know, some of the classes that jump out to me are things like the science of bots. Parents love it, but it's actually really good sciences. Kids love it because FARs are hilarious.

[00:21:47] and so everyone's happy. Exactly. You know, that's the thing. Often in education, it's the case. Oh, you know, parents feel like they have to make the kid do this. Kid's not really interested. Yeah. Yeah. Like we try to avoid that. It's possible to avoid that. You just need to have like a bit of [00:22:00] creativity as a, as a parent and a teacher, and you know, The approach where we take this marketplace based approach where we don't insist on any particular curriculum, lets that to happen.

[00:22:09] So that's one example. I'm, I'm picking through a couple of others on the site right now. Great. There's one called Being a good Friend. I love that. And the power of confident communication and getting along. Yes. So socially and emotional learning. The weirdest things animals do and why

[00:22:24] Let's bust some common animal myths. You know, you see how this is both interesting for kids and involves some cool learning. And then we have classes on trigonometry, you know? Exactly. Advanced trigonometry. And you know, if your kid is. Head on that this is an opportunity to kind of double down on an interest in, in math create a business to help humanity, an entrepreneurship course.

[00:22:45] So we have just this tremendous sobriety and, you know, like you, you know, I've now seen it work for myself because you know, I founded out school. I didn't have kids yet. I wanted to have kids, you know, Now I have a three and three quarter year old. And on his third birthday, of course, what did I do? I took the airplane.[00:23:00] 

[00:23:00] Yeah, no, out school. So let me try this out. And thankfully he loved it. awesome. There was this potential kind of path where I'd created this and company and, and then he didn't like it. But thankfully he loves it and he's now in lots of classes. And it's incredible to see the development. You know, I did not, That's so, Sign him up to class.

[00:23:19] You know, I'm with the intent of like making him more advanced. That's not really how I think about education. My aspirations for him, you know, I I'm, I'm not trying to get him into a fancy college or like be ahead anyway, but, and at the same time, taking these interest based classes is just upleveled him in terms.

[00:23:38] Confidence, interaction and some of the, some of the content that he's learning in terms of reading and writing and, and numbers. And so, you know, I, I see that firsthand 

[00:23:48] Maren: too. Yes. That's awesome. I, I see that, I see the value in, like I said, like this process of learning. Our, our kids are practicing learning and loving to learn too.

[00:23:58] Because like I was [00:24:00] thinking of some other classes, like my kids have taken city planning. But it's all based on Lego Legos. So Cool. That was awesome. Also, my kids have gone down phases of like, they're, they've been really into frogs and so we just, we signed up for like a life cycle of frogs class, and then also got to show our frogs to the class, you know, the, the frogs that we've been catching until it just, you know, It actually, I think, also gives value to what they're interested in.

[00:24:29] It gives 'em value. It's like this is actually an official learning. This is learning. And so it, it, you know, it's just so empowering and so that's one another reason why I absolutely love out school. And then something like trigonometry where I, you know, would be so overwhelmed to even think about teaching a class like trigonometry.

[00:24:47] To be able to hand that over to someone who really does know and love trigonometry down a tree is very relieving to me. . 

[00:24:56] Amir: Absolutely. Absolutely. And there's definitely room for that. You, you don't, [00:25:00] Don't have to and you shouldn't have to do it all 

[00:25:01] Maren: yourself, is that? No. And that's the great thing about homeschooling now in today, today versus, you know, 20 years from now you can sign up for a class that it's all encompassing.

[00:25:12] It's just so, it's just right there and then, and the people who teach these classes are just really passionate about it. So it's just a win-win for sure. I know there are lots of kids, including my own, who have learning differences. Who really do well in out school classes. Can you tell us more about that?

[00:25:30] How you keep kids in mind, who learn differently and how they can be successful with out school classes. 

[00:25:38] Amir: A hundred percent. And you know, there's multiple parts to that. And, and you know, we have many kids and families in, in out school classes with you know, identified learning differences. But I also like to say that every kid is different and unique.

[00:25:51] Exactly. So true. And the power of recognizing the identified learning differences and catering. For them is that you actually benefit all kids. [00:26:00] Yes. And so, you know, a large part of it was just like how the community developed because, you know, the initial set of teachers were very familiar with those learning differences within various you know, homeschooling communities and sub communities.

[00:26:11] Right. And families were sensitive to 'em as well. So the very start of our school, you know, always had that built in. And then you know, over time that attracted more and more families and teachers who were able. Handle those learning differences and, and we've now built in, you know, training into our, our teacher programs on, on, on how to do that for teachers that might have less experience coming in and and serving learners with unique needs.

[00:26:32] Right. Some of it's also just innate in the model because with a marketplace based approach, people are self selecting in. Yes, you'll learn a, depending on how they want to interact and what the subject is, can pick the right class and teach you, and it's low stakes. So if you try it and it's really not, Gelling, then just take another class floor stake, one time classes or ongoing classes where you just go week by week rather than kind of committing up front to something that you don't know might work for your, your learner.

[00:26:58] So all of that helps [00:27:00] support you know, kids with learning differences, whether, whether explicitly identified or or otherwise. And, and also I also one of the benefits of this live online, this online mode of learning over video chat is again, it's lower stakes, it's still social, but you know, you, you know, you could, the different ways to engage through chat or through speaking, you don't have to unmute.

[00:27:21] Yes. And, you know, worst case, you know, it's on a computer, you can always just shut the laptop if you, if you give, become very, very, So . So I think all of that lends itself to being you know, positive a positive way for kids with learning differences to engage. And that's something that we really want to keep as we grow out school as community and as 

[00:27:41] Maren: business.

[00:27:41] Yep. That's awesome. And I also, I also think it's just so focused on the experience rather than the outcome. I think that's a really big part for, for kids with learning differences. It's just about the learning. It's just about you know, either the connection or the content. You're learning the interest, and We're not worried about, [00:28:00] like, we're not gonna give you a grade or tell you Right.

[00:28:02] What, you know, what your outcome really needs to be necessarily. I know there are some classes where you share things, which is really community oriented too, which I love. Yeah. We've done writing classes where we just. Everybody brings a piece of writing and we share it, and then they learn how to give like, positive feedback and it's just amazing.

[00:28:22] So I love that too. Yeah. But it's never about like, there's no shame in your, in your, in your outcome. Which is I think, what a lot of kids learn in school. , unfortunately. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, Yeah. Yeah. So, and then also I think like you, you just, you just mentioned you had you do have some like mental health classes as well.

[00:28:43] Well, there was like a social, social emotional learning class that you talked about. Can you tell us more about that too? What those classes might, how they might support kids, especially today. You know, after, you know, we've gone through a pandemic and kids, [00:29:00] I think right now a lot of them are suffering, you know, with mental health issues.

[00:29:05] And just wondering how out school can support. 

[00:29:09] Amir: Yeah. You know, it's a huge area and it's a huge problem right now. Mm-hmm. . And you know, I, I don't think it's just the pandemic. I think there's anything about our society and education, which are, which are causing this. And you know, as a result we see on our school tremendous demand and also, you know, supply of classes around supporting kids.

[00:29:28] For example, I'm just looking at class right now. Worry university strategies to increase calm and reduce anxiety. So these kind of social and emotional learning classes groups where there is support and advice and identity based groups that kids can connect with. Others where they might not have that connection or support locally for various reasons.

[00:29:49] We don't do medical kind of therapy. Sure. Or, you know, and if kind of individualized learning plan that falls into the, the realm of medical services, which will, which various reasons, Yeah, this [00:30:00] isn't quite the right format for those services. But in terms of social emotional learning, that's a very big part of what, what our school offers with these classes that, again, you would not typically get.

[00:30:09] In normal school. 

[00:30:10] Maren: Right, Exactly. Yep. Yeah, that's what, that's what another thing I love about old school is that there, it's like there are classes for the whole, it's for the whole child. Not just academicy things that are required of them, but just it's really supporting the whole child, which I love.

[00:30:25] So do you have any favorite classes? School that you really love. . 

[00:30:31] Amir: I, I talked about a few, like the science of thoughts. You know, one real surprise for us was there's one well there's, there's now several, in fact, many on Dungeons and Dragons. Oh, fun. The first one was learning critical thinking skills through Dungeons and Dragons.

[00:30:46] We ever thought that a class like that could become successful, but when it was first posted it, it became one of the most successful classes on the platform within just a few months. It just goes to show that people really dig this combination of kind of, Yeah. [00:31:00] Important kind of hard skills. Yes. With fun.

[00:31:03] That was a great example of that. And then another set of classes, and then several different kinds of them are, are like writing workshops, creative writing. Mm-hmm. talk through Minecraft. Minecraft on the side, as well as like, you know, the Zoom kind of video chats, talk to the teachers and. And 

[00:31:20] Maren: that, that is 

[00:31:21] Amir: so great.

[00:31:22] Yeah. And it just, again, it's just matching kids interest with, with with kind of skills or Yes. That, that, that parents are excited for their kids to learn and keeps everyone happy and engaged and, and promotes the love of 

[00:31:35] Maren: learning. Exactly. Yeah. You're meeting your, the kids where they're at and going from there which creates.

[00:31:42] Phenomenal environment. I just love that so much. What do you see as the future of out school from here on out? Where is it going and maybe even in general of education, Where is education going? 

[00:31:56] Amir: Yeah, and you know, I, I hope the two are quite linked cuz we [00:32:00] hope to have like a big positive impact on right.

[00:32:01] You know, the future of our school that I wanna see is to create this global learning community where, you know, kids and parents are able to find like exactly the right learning group for their kid at the right time with the right teacher to really engage them and move them forward. And the larger our community gets, the more classes we can offer, the more teachers we can support, and as a result, the kind of better match we can find from four kids with all kinds of needs.

[00:32:27] And, you know, we have been, you know, very fortunate to serve about a million learners to date which is a, you know, amazing. Large number. And you know, I'm so grateful for all those families. I also recognize that there's, you know, 58 million K-12 age learners in the US and, and so many more worldwide.

[00:32:44] And we have an opportunity to create, you know, a a a different kind of learning experience for, for many, many kids. And one part of that that's really inspiring to me is that. I believe that if kids around the world had positive learning experiences with each other at a [00:33:00] young age, with others from different socioeconomic backgrounds or, you know, different countries or different parts of society, then that would create a lot more empathy and would help towards some of the issues that we see in the world today.

[00:33:13] So that's what I hope for out school and, and the hope for the, the impacts that we, we have in education more generally. You know, I hope for. I hope for change in how we think about what's important in kids' education to focus on this love of learning and the ability to learn rather than being so fixated on performance against specific rubrics or subjects.

[00:33:33] Yes, and you know, I hope we can you know, have education change to be you know, more dynamic in kids work focused and future looking. 

[00:33:41] Maren: Absolutely. Ugh. I hope so. I hope, I hope there are, I hope out, out school influences , the way we educate all of our kids because it is a model. I think it's a model.

[00:33:54] And I hope, I hope Schools see that? I hope that schools see that. Because it would just, what a, what a [00:34:00] great combination that would be. I don't know, just to be able to utilize out schools so much more. Ugh. Yeah. I get excited about this kind of stuff. I 

[00:34:07] Amir: get so excited about it. I do too. And, and that's what I hope.

[00:34:10] And, but I think we have a lot of work to do. We do use, education is so entrenched that it's gonna take time and it's gonna take examples to shift. And that's why I'm, you know so grateful to be. Part of it along with your community and grateful for the work that you are doing to kind of spread some of these messages about you know, what education could be.

[00:34:30] Yeah. 

[00:34:30] Maren: Thank you. Thanks so much. Appreciate it. All right. Where can we find you? 

[00:34:36] Amir: So I always love hearing from our community. Feel free to email Out is you know, the, our website I hope many of you're familiar with it. If you're not, would love to, love to see that.

[00:34:48] You also find me on, on Twitter, Amir, and so those are places where I, I 

[00:34:51] Maren: live on. Great. And then also just a reminder, if you sign up with our personal link it is out [00:35:00] School. Unrefined. You will get up to $20 off your first class if you enroll with a code unrefined. So keep that in mind.

[00:35:09] I highly suggest it's . You probably won't stop at one class, just so you know. All right. Thank you so much, Amir. We appreciate you so much and everything you're. 

[00:35:20] Amir: Thank you, and likewise. It's been a pleasure to talk. You too. Bye 

[00:35:24] Maren: bye now.

[00:35:25] Angela: All right, let's move on to our lt, Ws our loving this week. Yes, Myron, what are you loving this week? All 

[00:35:31] Maren: right. Okay. So I am loving a new laundry detergent, and I got this specifically for a certain, this, like certain need that I had. So it is called hex, h e x performance fragrance, Fragrance free laundry detergent.

[00:35:46] And I picked it out because it's specifically for. You know, 

[00:35:50] Angela: sports gear and things like that. Oh, 

[00:35:52] Maren: yeah. And I got it because, you know, these, you know the shirts that you get for working out, It's like this material. You know what [00:36:00] I'm talking about, you know, performance. Yes. And especially like my husband and I both actually have, like, have these shirts and for some reason they like, they, the odor stays in them even after I wash them with any kind of laundry detergent that I've ever used.

[00:36:17] Okay. I mean, I, I'm going for like the strongest stuff, like whatever, you know, And nothing has worked to get, like, it's even sometimes not even a bad spell. It's like deodorant, smell or something, you know? Oh, yeah, yeah. It's just not coming out and so's just the material. I guess. I don't know, maybe other people have had this issue too, and they must have, but I found.

[00:36:40] Angela: Hex performance 

[00:36:42] Maren: laundry detergent, and it's so great. I use it just for Sean in my shirts like that because Oh, okay. It's like, it's like the, the only thing that gets out this, this odor and it's, and it's fragrance free, which I really like because I don't actually want lingering [00:37:00] other odor either.

[00:37:01] Although I think you can get different fragrances if you. 

[00:37:05] Angela: Okay, so yeah, So you don't use it on all your laundry, just 

[00:37:08] Maren: your I don't, I really don't. I just use it for specifically for our, for our shirts, . 

[00:37:14] Angela: All right. Where do you get it? Amazon. I got it on Target. Okay. Oh yeah. Mm-hmm. , thanks for sharing.

[00:37:21] I'm gonna have to check that out because actually I'm running out of my laundry deter, and I was just thinking I need to find something new, so. Mm-hmm. , you might like that out. 

[00:37:28] Maren: Yep. All right, Angela, 

[00:37:30] Angela: what are you loving This. I'm loving a show that's back and I'm not even embarrassed about it. It's Love is Blind.

[00:37:36] Three. Okay. Season three . Mm-hmm. . And I'm wondering if anybody else is watching. If you are, hit me up because I'm gonna need to discuss As of right now, I'm like one or two episodes from the end, but I'm gonna finish it. Probably by the time this comes out, I'll have finished it. Okay. Yeah, because what I like about it is Jeremy and I binge together mm-hmm.

[00:37:55] because he's just as into it as I am and I'm always looking for a show [00:38:00] that grabs our attention and makes us wanna keep going to the next episode. Yeah. Yeah. If you've been around, well, you know Jeremy, like he goes to bed early. Doesn't, He's very he has good boundaries around sleep. He has really good boundaries.

[00:38:12] He doesn't let a binge get to him, . And even this, so, but like the show he'll watch with me, not super late, but he'll watch like an episode and a half, or he'll like, stretch it out a little longer than he normally would. And so I'm happy about that. So it's totally you know You know, just for 

[00:38:28] Maren: fun.

[00:38:28] This is just for fun. It's, It is, yes. Yeah. Have you watched? Well, I've actually, I think I only watched season 

[00:38:34] Angela: one cause I know, I'm trying to think. There was a season 

[00:38:37] Maren: two. Yeah. How did I miss that? 

[00:38:42] Angela: Well, now I have more to watch. I also like it, this is gonna sound really weird, but, but like, we talk about relationships when we watch it and like you know, how.

[00:38:53] We, we connect it to our relationship or that's gonna work or that's never gonna work. I dunno. It's just fun to like, [00:39:00] discuss relationship dynamics with your . That's so great. So it's on Netflix, You should watch it. I like it because it's, it's contained, it's 10 episodes. Mm-hmm. And you can binge.

[00:39:09] That's easy. It's a binger. Okay. It's a bender. That's great. All right, 

[00:39:13] Maren: well, thank you Angela. Yep. And thank you to our three sponsors, Blossom and Root Out School and Night Zookeeper. Be sure to check out their links in our show notes. 

[00:39:23] Angela: This podcast is created and hosted by Angela Se and Mar Gorse. We are listeners supported to get extra content and the Back to School Summit free with your membership.

[00:39:33] Go to unrefined. Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free top 100 inclusive slash newsletter. You can find on Instagram at unrefined and at always learning with you can find Angela at unrefined. Angela.

[00:39:52] [00:40:00]