The Rise of Homeschooling

These days the way we do many things has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools last spring and its effect is still being felt across the country. Many parents, maybe yourself included, still don’t feel 100% safe in sending kids back. You want to keep your children engaged and educated, but may be at a loss for how to keep that happening. After all, we’re all not teachers and know the areas that may not be our best. 

 

You may even feel like you are homeschooling even if your child attends virtual school sessions. Many times your kids have to ask questions during lessons and you’re the only real person there to ask. This can get tough!

 

While distance learning is an option in many communities, you don’t like the idea of your children sitting in front of a computer screen for hours. Yes, they “socialize” with other children and the teacher virtually, but it doesn’t measure up to the in-person experience of traditional schooling. 

 

More Parents Are Homeschooling

In a recent article, MPR news reported that there were about 2.5 million homeschool students in the United States last year in grades K-12. This counts for 3-4 percent of school-age children. But, that number is anticipated to increase by at least 10 percent.

 

Another interesting statistic comes from the National Home School Association that reports receiving more than 3,400 requests for information in just one day last month. That’s a huge jump from between five to 20 inquiries a day before the pandemic hit. 

 

Here’s another interesting fact. In the state of Nebraska, homeschooling applications are up 21 percent, and in Vermont that surged 75 percent.

 

While many parents are taking the job of homeschooling on themselves, others can’t due to work commitments. Even for parents working from home, the balance of watching and educating their children combined with their own workload is just too much to handle.

This has many parents looking for variations to homeschooling.

 

“Pandemic Pods”

 

One of those homeschooling variations is what’s being dubbed the “pandemic pods”. Parents are getting small groups of children together at one home to learn together. Some of this being done in conjunction with their school learning if it’s distance learning or a hybrid approach, while others are using this as their education source one-hundred percent. 

 

Parents pool together and hire a teacher or educated professional to lead the pod. Children get lessons taught by those in the education field while being able to socialize with their peers. Parents have the peace of mind of knowing that their children are in a safe environment while getting to either go to work outside the home or accomplish their tasks from home. 

 

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially those struggling for childcare as a result of the pandemic. Maybe you’ve even tried this yourself. With these pods, some teachers create their own lesson plans, while others look online for support. The appeal of the “pandemic pod” is that parents like yourself don’t have to worry about developing a curriculum for their children to follow. 

 

Many parents do not have experience in the education field which is part of the reason why distance learning can be a challenge at home. While some school districts offer live, virtual classes taught by the students’ teacher, other districts simply post lessons online and offer text-based messaging online to communicate. 

 

From “pandemic pods” to homeschooling issues, education isn’t the way it was when we all grew up. We are all learning to adapt to a new way of doing this and are learning to be flexible during these uncertain times.

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