Covid didn’t cause the creation of the concept but has hastened the examination and adoption. Apparently the concept started as Micro Schools at: http://microschoolcoalition.com/ The book that is the basis for the movement is: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids: A Step-by-Step Process that Empowers Frustrated Parents to Innovate Education
Pods can be a group of parents who hire a teacher to work with a small number of students (generally similar ages). It can also be a collective of parents who get together and share the responsibilities for delivering specific areas of education. In most cases public school curriculum is not used. There is an excellent article that walks through the aspects, pros and cons you may want to read: https://people.howstuffworks.com/learning-pods.htm
This site explains their view of Learning Pods: https://www.learning-pods.com/
This site talks about how LP’s can be used for lower income families: https://www.vox.com/2020/7/28/21340222/learning-pods-covid-private-pandemic-education-school
Editors note: It appears that some sort of “voucher” system needs to be put in place to provide some funds back to parents so they can implement their personal choices and not have to spend even more money beyond their current school taxes.
Before you consider whether a “pod” is the right solution for your family you nee to ask and answer some questions:
- Are you looking for all-day coverage?
- Do you need academic support?
- Is enhancement of online learning your goal?
- Do you need someone to set up a schedule for you or help with curriculum?
- What will success look like at what points in time?
- Are there any health and safety issues and concerns and if so what and how they be handled?
So what are some of the potential benefits and concerns?
- You choose the curriculum and focus
- Parents in the pod determine the pace
- More personalization and lower instructor to student ratio
- Collaboration may increase since student work more closely together
- Disruptive students in public schools are no longer an issue
- Unless your state has a voucher system (or you can help get one put in place) the cost is on top of your taxes
- You need a physical location for the classes
- You need to identify, acquire and support the curriculum
- If the parents don’t have the time or ability to teach you need to hire some
Are you interested in starting a “Pod”? We found a good outline of what to consider at: https://www.benzinga.com/money/learning-pods/
How to Set Up a Learning Pod
Setting up your own learning pod can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are the basic steps you’ll follow to get started.
Step 1: Design your school’s philosophy and curriculum.
Before you start creating your learning pod, you need to design your curriculum and set standards for when your learning pod will meet, who will be included, the price and more. Some factors to consider include:
- The ideal number of students
- How much you can afford to pay your teacher per hour
- How often and where your pod will meet
- Which age range of students will be grouped together
- Whether or not you’ll follow your student’s online curriculum from their school or design a new one
- Which language or languages lessons are in
- Local child care licensing laws and rules
Step 2: Set a budget.
After you’ve created your ideal school curriculum, it’s time to begin considering teachers in your area. If you already have a nanny or caregiver, he or she can act as the leader of your group if you have a preschool-aged child. If you have an older child, you may want to hire an education professional from tutoring websites like Wyzant. Note that your teacher may charge a flat-rate hourly fee or a variable fee, depending on the number of children in your pod. Consider your budget and the number of students you’ll be working with before you begin vetting candidates for teachers.
Step 3: Coordinate with other students.
After choosing a teacher, it’s time to coordinate with other students and form your pod. Ideally, you’ll want to group children together by grade level. However, if this isn’t an option, you might consider grouping children using the following standard system:
- Ages 5 and under
- Ages 6 to 9
- Ages 10 to 12
- Ages 13 and up
You can begin searching for students to join your pod in your local neighborhood, through your child’s school or through your church or babysitting co-op. Be sure to inform parents where your learning pod will take place, when children will be expected to attend and the cost per child per hour.
Step 4: Collect payments
After your pod is fully formed, set up a recurring payment method that parents can easily access and use. From here, all you need to worry about is getting your child prepared for the year ahead!
Final thoughts and questions:
- Will a Learning Pod solve your needs?
- Would On-Line learning courses do as well or better?
- Is daycare an issue and how does this help (if at all)?
Are Learning Pods a fad or does the concept have legs?
As you come across information and have experiences please share them with our readers.