To Pod Or Not To PodDec 05, 2022
Pods are a fantastic way for homeschooling families to get a lot of the benefits that come with being in a classroom without all the stress and the shady curriculums out there.
A pod is simply a group of parents who get together with the plan to homeschool their kids together as a group. These kids need to live in the same vicinity and they need to be in the same age category. For example, you can put kindergartners and first graders together, but you can't really put kindergartners with fifth graders. You would need two separate the pods because that's too big of a gap.
There are several different ways to do a pod.
Option number one: The easy way for parents who may work or and they need their kids to be in a way for that period of time. They can hire a teacher, a private teacher, to teach the pod. And in this option, the families need a dedicated space to make into a home classroom. So if one of the families has an extra bedroom that they don't use, they can turn it into a little classroom for the kiddos.
It's really important to have that dedicated space because you want the kids to feel they're going to school just as if they were going to a regular school. Then when they leave school, you close the door and they're out of school. Just like if you have a home office, you want to have a space where you can close the door and then you're not at work.
The advantage of this, of course, is that the teacher takes care of all the teaching and its most like regular school in terms of having a group of kids. This does involve cost because the teacher does need to be paid, but usually the families split it. So, for example, if you have five kids in the pod from five different families and the teacher was being paid $50,000 a year, then the parents would each pay $10,000 a year. They just split it. So that's how that could work.
In option number two: The parents teach the kids themselves and possibly bring in a teacher for just one particular subject. This option is really nice because you're in control of the curriculum that you teach. And the kids have that consistency, so they know Johnny's mom is going to teach them science and Mary's mom is going to teach them English, etc. And it gives you a lot of control.
The third option: If you happen to have a group of parents who really know what they're doing, then you can keep it contained and you wouldn't have to hire a teacher. But the advantage is that it breaks up. It puts the kids in a group. It's the most similar to being in a classroom where the kids are. Maybe they have a group project they're going to work on together or something like that.
One thing that I would like to say for the littles starting Pre-K going up to about Grade Three—which is what Barefoot Learning Club specializes in—this is so critical because those are your foundational learning years.
Foundational learning is learning how to read, including all the things that go into that—the phonics, the decoding words, the reading comprehension, etc—and foundational math, which is the four basic processes of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
You want to create for the littles that foundation that's so solid that by the time they get to fourth grade, you can do anything you want with them because they're solid readers. The way that we teach in our program, the kids are ahead of their fourth-grade level by the time they're in fourth grade. So you can do anything you want with them. Then you get this nice thing where you have this child who is super quick and very bright, and you can let them go like they stay in horse racing—let the horse have their head.
You can let the kid go, and they can go fast. They can get a lot of information.
If you have a child who’s—it's so unnecessary to label kids with learning disabilities because actually, in this scenario, they don't actually exist. You go at their pace. So if you have another child who needs to go slower, it totally works.
That’s a really important thing for people to realize that we're all different.
Your girls, they're in cheerleading and they do tumbling and dance, and someone else would look at them and go, I can't do that. It's okay to be different. We're all different. And that's the beauty of this, is that we get to honor our differences, celebrate them. But when it comes to foundational learning, we have to teach. They have to have it. They have to, because without reading, writing and math, they can't go on to do other things.
(Alysia) That’s what I love about this. It took me a while to sink into the beauty of it. I wasn't allowing myself to in the beginning, but now I've just opened up. I really get to make it how I want it to be, how my kids want it to be, and just make it flow for us. That's what's been the most satisfying about this.