California Out of the Box: “The Highlight of My Kid’s Year”

California Mobile and other Projects from Class (Ahmad, 5th grade and Aseel [above], 3rd grade)

Though online classes are available from a number of providers, we feel what we offer in our California history class – California Out of the Box – is truly unique. What makes our classes different? Not only do we use the literature approach which is unique to homeschool, but we go deeper through discussions AND common experiences as students complete activities together. Additionally, students turn in work that the instructor reviews. Not all classes have this feedback loop — many do not. Many classes are geared only for the in-class experience and do not give assignments or projects for extending knowledge.

End-of-Year Timeline (Iman, 4th grade)

Recent Google reviews

Wonderful class, amazing experience…
Engaged, challenged, exited, curious, interested in a study kids who want to do more… what else to say.. A year with California out of the Box online class made history the most loved subject.
Kind, creative, responsive, always there to help and guide, Christine did an amazing job…


Tracy Yeoh: Embarking on a journey

Join me for a journey through land, peoples, cultures, plants and animals in California through literature and hands-on activities.

Such a wonderful curriculum to help us learn about history and nature through literature and practical hands-on projects!

Ms. Christine creates a positive environment that is encouraging to all types of students. Her love of what she teaches is contagious and my son, though generally a quieter one in class, feels like he was part of a vibrant conversation each time the students meet. He was excited to find out that when the year of CA Out of the Box was over he could sign up for Earth Party! with Ms. Christine for the summer. Yay for enthusiastic summer learning!

~ Carolyn K

Christine Echeverri: Investing in student creativity

I see what my student’s interests are and I encourage them to always do things that are in line with those interests. If they like Minecraft, I let them do modeling in Minecraft. If they like writing short stories, I encourage them to make that a part of their project.

Instructor Christine Echeverri loves every moment of her California experience with her students. Though many online class programs offer short 4-6 week burst classes, we have found that after 30 weeks, not only have we dug in a bunch on a lot of important information, but we have really gotten to know each other and feel comfortable with each other’s personalities.

Some examples of organic learning

Second Semester Gold Rush Project (Julian, 4th grade)

An excerpt of “Heist’s Account” by Julian B. (4th grade)

Richard Heist was a happy young man who loved fishing and the outdoors. He wished to become a biologist, but he was often absent from school trying to find odd jobs to help his family earn money. A great opportunity popped up in 1849 when word broke out that gold had been discovered gold in California. Richard packed his bags and went on a three-month journey from New York to Rio and back up through the Panama Canal onward to San Francisco. Once there, Richard made his way to Hangtown, where he stuck a claim and struck gold. Richard wrote in many journals during his travels. Here are some excerpts of his most important entries:

  • “The gold rush started in 1848. I’m a year late!”
  • “Who needs a Chinese trap to catch gold when I have an umbrella!”
  • “I heard that John Sutter wanted to keep the gold discovery a secret. Glad news made it to New York!”

Our instructor’s goal is to make the class vivid, and hands-on. As we discussed California habitats, and the rugged plants that live within the desert habitat in California, students were given two choices and Sarah picked this choice to create a Desert Habitat Fairy Garden (pictured above). We love all the fun items she found that scale perfectly with the plants. Succulent plants and cacti in California do indeed have properties that allow them to spread and store water in this harsh habitat.

This year, with Tracy Yeoh coming aboard, we are expanding the number of days and classes we offer; families will have two awesome instructors to pick from. Pick your day. It’s gonna be fun! For more information on our fall classes, click here.

Thanks to Rania E. for allowing us to use her quote in article title and the photos of Aseel and Ahmad with their projects from their year of California history.

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