Homeschooling     Hot Topics     Home and Family     Early Education     K-12     Education Guide    

Like one room schoolhouses again

New movement finds parents ‘podding’ kids’ education

podding, parents, kids, school, homeschool

Pod used to be a sci-fi term. Now it’s an organizational tool, and a societal goal: you build pods among close friends, with other families, who all share outside-the-home experiences.

You define procedures that create a safe unit where you feel okay about things like taking one’s mask off. Think in terms of dining outside around a table. Or who gets to come over to your house, as well as whose houses you’ll venture to, or allow your kids to visit.

The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal recently published a piece by Lindsey Burke on how to organize a pod. It speaks to a growing trend among some to hire teachers outside of the education system to teach their kids more safely than what they’re imagining schools to be once they reopen.

As Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson of The Washington Post observepandemic pods are “a 2020 version of the one-room schoolhouse, privately funded,” Burke writes. “As one mother named J Li wrote in a viral Facebook post last week, thousands of parents are scrambling’ to form pods through an explosion of Facebook groups, matchups and spreadsheets. Suddenly teachers, who are able to co-quarantine with a pod, are in incredible demand.”.

Parents seeking teachers to direct pods

One pod tutor interview by Meckler and Natanson, Christy Kian from Broward County, Florida, formerly a private-school teacher, said she will earn more this year teaching two families (with four total children) than she did in her prior teaching position. She said as soon as she had set up the arrangement with those two families, she was immediately contacted by five others.


The pods approach is analogous to micro-schooling, which allow small groups of students to work together in flexible learning environments alongside older and younger students, sharing resources and teachers.


Unions will lose their clout because parents need to find new directions

Burke posits that,While union policy demands are leading many district schools to remain closed, podding is reinforcing the old adage that the market finds a way. Understandably, equity and access concerns have arisen as quickly as podding itself.”

She believes that states will have to open up emergency education savings accounts for families, allowing them to take a portion of their child’s public education funds for private tutoring or online options of choice. Freeing up those dollars is the policy reform needed to make access to pods, micro-schools, and cottage classes in reach for all families.  

“It’s time for policy to catch up with families,” the article concludes.

Learn how pods are changing education

What are the unintended consequences of pods?
The discussion is not over, because faced with all this, parents are panicking. And for parents in our community, home-schooling pods are emerging as the attractive idea.

This world where some families hire their own teachers may seem extreme, but is it that much more extreme than funding schools through property taxes?

Developing pods is a new direction that is part of active discussions on mom’s groups.

But as parents worry about their kids’ safety, there is another consequence of this movement. The school-pods development may put educational inequality in people’s faces in a way that is simply harder to ignore than it might be otherwise.

The pods become active learning sources for those who can afford it. Maybe best used by parents living closely within a community. But what about those who cannot afford this alternative? Or for parents living in cities who cannot commute to a pod group? This new direction creates inequity and inequality. We, as a county, will lose many bright kids, who if nurtured, would be an artist, an engineer, or the leader of our country.  

What do we do with this anger we feel?

I know that many of us are angry at the virus and our government’s inability to find a safe space for our kids. But author Emily Oster suggests that we hold on to our anger and later see if we can use our frustrations to encourage major reforms in learning.

Parents, who have had their kids home for at least three months, have developed their own individual learning resources. Especially since our schools were not prepared for this immediate shutdown. How can we use what we have learned while being home to reform learning?

Also, parents should look at what schools are proposing for the fall. Have schools used creative inspiration to offer unique directions for the fall that we can use once this pandemic is over?

More Homeschooling

  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • 6 tips to mitigate mental health risks for youth

    The surgeon general highlight the urgent need to address Youth Mental Health Crisis

    Today’s kids are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety at home, school and in their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic, which affected kids in all those places, only exacerbated the problem. read more »
  • How to prevent cyberbullying with technology

    Who is at risk and what you can do

    Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent among children and teens, as young people now spend more time on phones, computers and digital devices. About 6 in 10 teens have been bullied or harassed online, according to Pew Research Center. read more »
  • Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program

    Adventure Awaits Students Ages 6-9

    The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program for children ages 6-9 has quickly become one of the Nature Museum’s most beloved programs. Originally created out of the needs of families undertaking distance/learning, the program has proved so popular it has remained in place by demand. read more »
  • Indoor spots for teens to play

    Older kids need exercise too

    Teens need places to go that aren't lame and won't bore them to tears. We have the best in the Valley listed just for you. read more »
  • World's No. 1 STEAM Program Launches New STEM/STEAM Book Series

    New Challenge Island chapter book series with a spectacular, hands-on STEM/STEAM twist!

    Challenge Island has been providing kids with award-winning STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning adventures for almost two decades. On National Stem Day (Nov. 8), the magic of the world's No. 1 STEAM program will combine with the magic of reading to launch the first book in the Challenge Island STEAM book series. read more »
  • Mother Shares Her Journey with Heroin-Addicted Daughter

    Read the gripping new book about this family

    September is National Recovery Month and one mom has shared her journey with her daughter struggling with addiction. read more »
  • Learn How to Help Your Struggling Adolescents Navigate Change and Overcome Anxiety

    Parenting expert Erica Komisar has a new book that can assist you

    Adolescence is a notoriously complicated time for kids as well as their parents. Plus, the epidemic of mental health disorders in young people has made parenting today even more challenging. But it’s not too late. Parents of adolescents can still have a profound impact on the health and well-being of their children. read more »
  • The Mama Bear Effect Launches New Resource to Combat Child Sexual Abuse

    Parents of young children and those with special education needs now have a free tool to educate children about their bodies and boundaries

    Parents, caregivers, teachers, and therapists now have a new tool to educate the most vulnerable population of children, those who need specialized assistance with learning and communication. read more »
  • How to help high-achieving students manage stress

    Tips and insight for parents

    School administrators at Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) in Maryland were surprised to learn that high-achieving students wanted to get rid of class rank—a measure of student success that weighs higher-level classes differently when calculating grade point average. The class ranking system created an unnecessary burden, students said, and discouraged them from taking the classes they really wanted. read more »