As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the country, many of our public schools will be enacting socially distanced online learning for the fall semester.
While parents vocalized concerns about these online school environments last spring, worried that their children were falling behind, some have started to look into new learning alternatives for educating their kids for the 2020-2021 school year.
So, what are the options out there for parents? If you can swing the tuition, a lot of private schools will be opening for in-class attendance. Other popular options are home schooling, if you can balance teaching your kids from home or hiring someone to do so, or the new phenomenon of forming or joining a shared learning pod.
What is a learning pod?
You’ve probably heard the term by now … but what actually is a learning pod? A learning pod is a small group of students who study together regularly in a shared space. These learning pods function as micro-schools, where a few families choose to teach their children together in the same setting each day, with the appropriate teacher leading these daily learning sessions.
The simplest way to form a learning pod is to find 4-6 learners in the same grade, with similar classes and learning levels, under the supervision of the same teacher or tutor.
Another option is to form a mixed age learning pod, with 4-6 learners, who vary in ages, schools, and classes. Just like the same grade learners, these children would meet every school day, under the supervision of a teacher or tutor, while taking their online classes together.
How do learning pods work?
In these learning pods, children get to socialize with other students who are close to the same age each day. Their learning pod teacher spends time each week gathering information on their students in the pod (i.e. the classes they are taking, their schoolwork, and their daily schedule). The teacher then maps out each day of classes and assignments for the students in the pod -- making sure every child is closely monitored as they complete their online classes and schoolwork.
In between their classes, their teacher will schedule time for breaks, free time, or other social activities.
Throughout the day, the instructor will support and assist in group learning or the independent work/study schedule of each student in the pod. The teacher’s primary job is to keep the students focused, organized, and to monitor their education while in the group setting.
Are learning pods safe?
When it comes to choosing who your child will be learning with, it’s important that everyone involved is taking the same safety precautions when it comes to navigating COVID-19.
Ultimately, who you choose to set up these socially distanced learning pods with is essential to the safety of everyone involved. To minimize your risk of catching and spreading COVID-19, you’ll want to look for other families who are being as careful as you are – that means they’re spending more time at home, limiting their social contact, and wearing protective face coverings when they go out in public.
The benefit of these pods is that children get to learn in a controlled environment, where an educator is keeping them accountable in school each day. These learning pods allow children to socialize with other kids their age, while still limiting their social contact to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
While there are some risks associated with learning pods, there are a number of benefits. Working with other students and being engaged in a form of group work has proven to increase knowledge and better develop a young person’s skills in communication, teamwork, and empathy.
Learning pods are a valuable option for parents who are working from home and don’t have time in the day to oversee their children’s online education. The cost of hiring an educator to oversee the work each day is shared among each family, which eases the financial burden.
How to get started:
Once you have identified the other families who will form your learning pod, it’s time to lock down your educator. Whether you’re looking for a teacher for a specific grade or an instructor with a background in numerous subjects, Jill’s Tutors has a wide variety of online tutors and educators available for all disciplines and all levels of learning.
Learning Pods supported by Jill’s Tutors helps connect your child to small groups of 4-6+ kids, led by a certified teacher or teacher-in-training. Get a superior, socially distanced co-op learn-at-home experience!
Simply visit our website jillstutors.com, call or text 512-598-5135 or email us at email@example.com, and we’ll set you up with one of our talented, remote educators.