Since quarantine became the new norm, parents from like-minded families have decided to come together and create an alternative environment to traditional schools, by keeping it as close to actual schools as possible. While it will still be counted as a form of homeschooling, this new phenomenon known as homeschool pods, are created with the aim of continuing school curriculum along with professional teaching guidance for children.
While homeschooling parents have been bringing their children together on a local community level for quite some time now, these new homeschool pods – also known as micro-pods or micro-school pods – differ from traditional homeschooling in two main ways: these pods follow traditional curriculum and they include professional teachers who lead a group of like-minded families. Homeschooling generally involves parents deciding on specified curriculums or self-teaching their children, and such groups are also relatively smaller. With homeschool pods, the participating parents continue with traditional curriculums, hire expert and professional teachers, and expand their network and capabilities based on their needs and financial resources.
How Homeschool Pods Are Structured
Much like a regular classroom, such pods have students of similar age groups and more importantly of similar educational grade. The teachers for such pods remotely monitor classrooms, usually from actual schools, and the regular classroom schedules and coursework is completed by the students. Sometimes, depending on the participating parents’ capacity, the school curriculum is augmented with further subjects of physical fitness classes and separate instructors are hired for them as well. In simplest terms, these pods are classrooms without the school building, and usually remote learning instead of the teacher being present physically along with the students.
How to Determine if Homeschool Pods Are Right For Your Child
The fact remains that homeschool pods came in the aftermath of the need to shut down schools due to fear of Covid-19 spread. Another significant reason that contributed to the birth of these pods is the complete disaster of online learning that initially began with each student studying online from their own homes. Very few students and parents have been able to keep up with their studies in an individualistic learning environment. And finally, those parents who are not in favor of homeschooling altogether, also feel that their children require some normalcy of environment, interaction with their peers, and disciplined and scheduled education. On the flipside, these pods are definitely expensive and require a certain level of hard work from parents as well. So if you are deliberating the relevancy of homeschool pods for your children, ask yourself these questions:
Has distance learning been able to provide your child with the necessary education?
If your children are among those who have succeeded in continuing their education, then perhaps you don’t need to go out of your way and arrange a homeschool pod for them. If, however, like so many other parent, your children and you have found it incredibly difficult to continue the school work at home then perhaps it is a good idea to get them with a group of their peers around your home, so they are not exposed to public and are also able to attain their education in a protected and scheduled environment. Furthermore, distance learning is not effective for younger elementary school aged children. So if your children are of that age, it is better to choose a homeschool pod for them anyways.
Has Distance Learning Interfered With Your Day Job?
While the primary aim of homeschool pods is to ensure smoother and better education for children, they also have certain spillover advantages that cannot be ignored. Homeschooled children need a lot of extra care and attention from parents so they do not lose interest in their studies. There is no competitive environment, direct involvement by the teachers, or any fun aspect of hanging out with their peers for children in distance learning. Parents need to provide all these to ensure smooth education. This also means that the regular day job – even if it is work from home – is also affected. So instead of having to sacrifice one for the other, if you have the option of homeschool pods, it is prudent to use it.
Final Thoughts on Homeschooling Pods
There is no denying that the risk of the pandemic is not yet completely over. This is an important consideration for parents, especially if the area of your residence is still a risk zone for Covid-19. On the other hand, if there have been no reports of virus from your locality, then maybe it is time to consider the negative impacts of isolation and quarantine on the young minds and psychology of children. Homeschool pods are made and arranged by parents themselves which means that the level of caution and protection is undoubtedly much higher than regular schools and classrooms. It is a choice between complete safety or taking a calculated risk. So if you deem that the situation around your house is safer, then it is recommended that you choose a pod for your children and let them have some sense of normalcy again in their lives.