During the covid-19 pandemic many schools have been closed for safety reasons. Often parents feel that their child being taught in a Zoom meeting is not enough of an education but also don’t want their child to be exposed to any unsafe environments. Additionally, schools may require that a child undergo certain requirements that their parent does not agree with. It may a teaching style or system, or a school mandated vaccination that a parent feels is unsafe for their child. For many reasons, a parent may find it necessary to look for alternative educational options.

Home schooling pods offer a better solution for many parents, especially those who choose to home school but have to work a few days of the week. Parents can trade off on days to teach and assist another parent on the days they have to go to an outside workplace.

Your child can get educated and socialized from home with home schooling pods. They are also sometimes referred to as micro-schools. They began their popularity during the pandemic, but now becoming widespread throughout the world, students are learning together in homes. Traditionally, the number of children is in groups of three to ten. Sometimes it is three or four families that get together and organize it. They are being taught by parents, many who are accredited from a college degree, or from a hired teacher.

A group of parents comes together to coordinate a local pod. The pod is held in the home or in the outdoor yard of any one of the parents and can be rotated for parents needs. When one parent needs to work then another can be the lookout parent for that child on that day. The parents can trade off depending on the individual needs and work schedules of their own. This offers freedom of learning options, time, cost availability for improved education for children whose parents prefer not to be in public school or are cast out if the parent does not comply with all school and government needs that they deem unsafe for their own child. This way they can rotate houses.

Home schooling made easy. Pods can be anything from independent study to personalized all-inclusive programs, or blended. Time of year is of no concern either. Education and classes can begin or a pod can be started at any time of year. Children can learn social skills, and have fun, while offering parents a break. It can be a complete curriculum or a supplement to what you’re doing at home otherwise. You can choose how many days you want your child to go to the pod or learn from home.

To keep kids safe it is suggested during the pandemic that the families within the pod are not socializing outside of it, or are wearing masks to minimize exposure when going out is necessary.

How To Find Or Create A Home School Pod

Facebook has a growing number of groups. Go to Facebook and in the search bar type the name of your town, along with the keywords, “home school pod”, or ‘micro school”. If you live in a very small town and nothing appears, then type in the name of the nearest larger town near you. It may require a drive for some depending on where you live but you could also become the facilitator of developing a pod in your own town along with others interested. It’s not hard to create your own. Check out all of your options and go with the one that works best for you. The San Francisco-based Facebook group Pandemic Pods and Microschools, for instance, now has more than 9,500 members.

In early July 2020, the website Selected For Families launched to connect families with a professional teachers and tutors. Schoolhouse provides a similar service. 

Learning-pods.com is helping to organize pods for families around the country. 

Nextdoor.com is where communities come together to greet newcomers, exchange recommendations, and read the latest local news. Where neighbors support local businesses and get updates from public agencies. Where neighbors borrow tools and sell couches. It’s how to get the most out of everything nearby.

Mycoop.com is a neighborhood platform designed specifically for apartment dwellers. MyCoop is dedicated to “improving communication between residents of multi-unit buildings as well as with property owners and business managers.” Users share real-time updates with one another and use the site to share and swap.

ioby.org is a crowdfunding platform that focuses on community-led positive change. This is a great site for uniting neighbors around innovative new projects and initiatives for neighborhood improvements.

If you know of other families in your neighborhood or in special services in your area and ask them if they’re interested in forming a home-school pod with you, and if they know of others who may be interested too. You could also explore adding an aide to the mix if there is a need for one to help with any special needs in the group, so that learning can be maximized in this setting. 

Ultimately, think about your child’s strengths and challenges to determine the best option for your child. You can discuss the options with your child’s therapists, teachers and anyone else who may have some good insight for you to better understand how your child can maximize their potential from all existing options that can be the best for learning, supporting special needs, and with health and safety in mind.

JULY 11, 2024 AT 9AM PT / 12PM ET

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