Some parents consider school alternatives, microschools or 'pandemic pods'

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 07:54:36-04

As parents navigate the pandemic and the upcoming school year, some are considering alternatives like microschools or so-called pandemic pods.

The idea is to create a small learning environment for kids, some consider it a modern one-room schoolhouse.

Moms Sarah Feltes and Aubrie Granata have felt the challenge of remote learning with their own kids.

"I feel like we’re all in survival mode, and we’re all doing the best we can with what we have to work with," said Aubrie, a mother of two boys.

"The learning that they do is not just academic learning. It’s about getting along with other people, listening to adults that are not mom and dad, following basic rules," said Sarah, a mother of two girls.

Faced with uncertainty and mounting challenges of juggling remote learning and work some parents are considering microschools, where a pod of kids learns together, either in a house or another location with one teacher.

"The most common type of alternative that people are seeking is for students whose schools are going to be virtual this fall," said Liz Jackson, Director of College Counseling at Galin Education.

Galin Education offers tutoring services and academic coaching.

Some families hire tutors or experienced teachers for the pod as an alternative or to supplement what schools are offering. The groups are usually 10 students or fewer.

Jackson said it offers a few purposes.

"One is the sort of socialization for the children. It does kind of replicate school, a little bit more than sort of being individually on a screen, and then also it's more cost-effective to have to be in sort of a group setting," said Jackson.

"I think that’s a good idea especially if you have a group of kids that you kind of already spent time with. It gives them that socialization," said Sarah.

"It could be beneficial for a lot of families, but I understand that it’s not an option for all families," said Aubrie.

Pricing may vary depending on how it is set up, and families may not have the resources to take it on.

However, there could be ways to make it happen.

"Organizations, you know, like ours, occasionally, you know, offer opportunities like sort of pay what you can for certain services. And I think there's a pretty wide variety of the options," said Jackson.

Some online resources suggest families who can pitch in a little extra for costs to help those in the group who need help.

Here's your rebound rundown:
- Pandemic pods or microschools offer an alternative to school or supplement school curriculum
- Consider what your child needs and research your options whether it's a tutoring service or neighborhood group
- There are multiple Facebook groups where families and teachers are actively networking to form pods

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