When it comes to education, the private sector and individual families generally do a much better job of innovating than the government. That will remain true during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a world when many government schools are moving to online learning only or implementing rigid policies concerning face masks, social distancing, and extracurricular activities, we have seen an interest in something else. For many that has been homeschooling, but that might not be for everyone.
Enter microschooling, or more simply, pods. This isn’t exactly new. Just much more relevant today than years past.
While this may take many shapes and sizes, the premise is that a small group of families pool their resources to hire a teacher for their children. With this, children are able to get a “school setting,” have a teacher hired by the parents, and parents are able to work outside of the house. And by being in a smaller setting, the thinking is you are less likely contract COVID.
All the while, you have the ability to customize your child’s education in choosing a learning style that you feel best meets their needs and interests. Much like private school, you opt-in after reviewing the various options available and what the specific schooling entails.
How do people find out about local pods and get help in starting one? There are structured microschooling organizations, but if you’d like something more informal, Facebook groups are a great starting point to find the right fit. The Pandemic Pods group now has 30,000 members asking questions and sharing ideas.
Pods can also be a great option for current teachers who either don’t want to go back to school under current conditions or are looking for something different. In this setting, teachers would have a significant amount of autonomy to teach children without the current reliance on test scores and restraints of the state and federal government mandates.
In many ways, pods are similar to co-ops, which have long served homeschool families, but come with some differences. Co-ops largely rely on parents to take turns with instruction and are generally only one or two days per week, with parents filing in the rest of their child’s education. The pod allows an outside source to handle all (or most) of the education during the day similar to a traditional school.
The best part about what we are experiencing with education today is that we are finally seeing a move toward individualism to meet a child’s needs at a large scale. So much of education is just a closed decision. You send your kids to a school when they are five. Thirteen years later they graduate with a certificate saying they learned…something. It requires as little effort as you’d like to make. Usually the hardest decision is finding a place to live within government created lines that dictate school zones or districts.
Today, we’re making hard decisions about our child’s education. A lot of this is about safety and socialization, but it’s about what’s best for them, and what will lead to the best outcomes. That is good. Because the one thing we’ve always said is there is no one-size-fits-all approach that is going to work the same for every child.
For you, that might be a pod.