By Kate Merrill

MEDWAY (CBS) – If your child has some catching up to do as the new school year begins, there are a number of resources that can help, including live online classes with teachers.

Maggie Olson of Medway loves obstacle course training, the kind made popular on shows like American Ninja Warrior. She even built an intricate course in her own backyard. She did it using the skills she learned on the online education platform called Outschool.

“We have helped more than 300,000 families, just in the past few months, transition to online learning and fill in the gaps with their kids’ education,” explained Outschool founder Amir Nathoo.

While many public schools are still getting up to speed on online learning, Outschool has been at it since 2017.

“There’s the basic classes on Outschool in math, English, algebra, the five paragraph essay, everyting you would expect from school,” Nathoo said.

But the classes go way beyond the basics.

Maggie’s older sister is a big dog-lover and she took a class on how to start a dog walking business.

“These teachers are so incredibly gifted tapping into something that kids already love and using that as a way to help them develop their skills,” said mom Nicole Olson. “There was just a whole range of things from math to language arts to just life skills,” she added.

Some of the enrichment-type classes meet just once for an hour. Others meet several times a week for an entire semester. There are also clubs that meet once a week continuously. The fees vary.

“I found one on there that was $7, all the way up to $100 or more,” Nicole explained.

There are a number of other online resources that offer instruction to kids.

Kahn Academy offers courses that cover basic math for second graders to calculus and biology for high school students. The classes are free, but not live.

Brainpop uses videos, games and drawing to reinforce skills and teach new concepts. Brainpop charges a monthly fee.

The Crash Course is a site covers all kind of topics. It is hosted by popular young adult author John Green. Much of the content is free, but there are also some premium offers that charge a monthly fee.

Fiveable focuses on advanced placement content.

Izzit covers social studies concepts.

Epic is for new readers.

Nicole loves that many of Outschool classes are live and the teachers use her kids’ passions to develop a love of learning.

“It’s amazing the skills that kids will pick up because so many academic skills are embedded in play and in pursuing what you are interested in,” she said.

Outschool has pledged to offer $1 million in free classes to families in need during the pandemic.

Kate Merrill

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