Homeschool pods are a growing trend among families who want to share the homeschool experience and responsibilities with other families who live in the same community.
What are homeschool pods?
Homeschool pods consist of a small group of students who study and complete homeschool lessons together in one or more homes on a regular basis.
These are separate from public school pods where small groups of students are actively enrolled in virtual learning programs and may complete lessons in a location with other virtual students. Students completing remote or distance learning are still considered full time students at a public or charter school.
Pods are becoming more popular as more families seek school choices that fit their lifestyle and budget. The teachers of homeschool pods could be parents who take turns teaching all instruction or one or more subjects, or it could also be hired individuals as long as it meets specific state homeschooling requirements.
Homeschool pods depend on location and finding one or more family where there are mutual agreements about how to homeschool.
How do you find a homeschool pod? Local co ops may be able to help with information about homeschool pods. Facebook groups for a local area can also be a source for finding homeschool pod opportunities. The best way to find these opportunities is to network in your local area with other homeschooling families.
How do homeschool pods work?
Homeschool pods are part of a growing movement where small groups of homeschoolers choose to work together. Pods are set up according to a schedule determined by the families involved. They may include students who are in the same grade levels or they could be students in multiple grade levels. If students are in multiple grade levels, the schedule is structured so that some students are doing independent work so others can get individual support.
Some homeschool families have pods just for specific subjects and not a complete curriculum. This might allow the opportunity to cover a particular subject in depth and utilize, for example, a learning coach who could provide expertise in STEM learning.
Who teaches the students in homeschool pods? The teacher for a homeschool pod may be one parent, or it could be a shared role by multiple parents. In some instances, parents may hire a tutor or qualified individual.
What are the benefits of a homeschool pod? Homeschool pods provide an opportunity for students and families to connect in a meaningful way. Students can learn from one another and experience school in a unique way. Pods still provide parents choice in curriculum and instruction. If state laws permit students to be taught by someone other than the parents, a certified or pre-service teacher may benefit from this opportunity as well. Families can bounce ideas off each other and share the responsibility for planning instruction.
Homeschool pods provide an opportunity for learning outside the home and students could take part in field trips or extra-curricular activities. They would have a group to play organized games.
What are the disadvantages of homeschool pods? If a certified teacher is utilized to oversee the learning, this could be expensive. If students were previously used to more one on one attention, there could be some obstacles to overcome.
Can homeschool pods work for public school? The only way a homeschool pod could be utilized for public school is if the school offers a virtual learning program and all students in the group participate in the virtual learning program. This would be doing public school at home within a small group, but it would be better referred to as a public school at home program and not the same as a homeschooling pod.
Homeschool pods are a great option for some families. They are becoming popular as homeschooling becomes more mainstream and families seek options that work with their specific situations. Families must choose what works best for them and homeschool pods may be a great solution!