What is a Learning Pod?

What is a Learning Pod? - Playgarden Online
BY Miss Julia May 08, 2024 homeschooling

Following the 2020 shutdown of schools, home became our little ones’ classroom, and you may have stepped into the role of teacher. It was a challenge, and some families were relieved to have schools open up again. Some families found learning from home to be a better fit for their kids. However, with homeschooling, some students do not get the socialization they’d get in a classroom with their peers. The solution? Learning pods!

A learning pod consists of families who have chosen alternative schooling for their children, so those students can learn and socialize with others at or around their age. Your pod can meet as often as your pod wants to, usually anywhere from once to a few times a week. Creating your own learning pod is great for families who have chosen to use online school programs or homeschooling. With projects and activities, students can learn how to collaborate and solve problems with their peers, and the parents can support each other, as many are starting alternative schooling for the first time. 

Here are some benefits to creating your own learning pod:

Benefits:

  • Group work – with a learning pod, you have the opportunity to do group projects, lessons, or activities that may not be achievable with just one student or homeschooling alone. You can also book field trips to museums or have park days to work together outside the classroom. 
  • New friends and ideas – with weekly meetings, all the little ones will spend lots of time together. It’s a great opportunity to create and nurture friendships, for the students and the grown-ups!
  • Shared responsibility – parents and grown-ups can work out what subjects or activities they would feel most confident teaching, and taking turns also allows for breaks for each homeschooling parent.
  • Shared expenses – in your learning pod, you can split costs of materials, curriculum, activities, and anything else you may need.

Build Your Learning Pod

Ready to create your own learning pod for your homeschooling student? Below are some tips to help you get started:

Create Your Pod

Maybe you have some close friends with children around the same age as yours who are also homeschooling — ask them if they might be interested in collectively organizing a learning pod with you! You can also connect with families through places in your community, like the library or playgroups. Either way, you can collaborate and throw around ideas for general learning pod goals, or specifically what the focus of the group will be.

Logistics

There are homeschooling laws that may require you to “organize as a private school,” especially if you plan to meet with your pod every day of the school week. Once you create your pod, discuss with all the parents how to approach instruction. There’s the option to divide up the homeschooling teaching and activities between the parents. You can also reach out to experienced teachers for tips, or students in teaching programs who may need to accumulate teaching hours working with students. Negotiate a budget within your pod and figure out what will work best for your group.

Learning Pod Focus

If your learning pod is going to meet a few times a week, pick a focus for the group. It could be field trips, science experiments, reviewing learned material, a specific subject, or any other focus your group may be interested in. The focus can also change week to week (or day to day) depending upon what works best for your group.

Supplies and Support

For activities and project ideas, look no further than Playgarden Prep Online! We have DIY projects and printable activities that support the curriculum you choose. Plus, there are networks of learning pods that offer support, especially for first time homeschooling parent-teachers, as well as the chance for socialization with students in other pods.

If you are trying learning pods for the first time, know that the way you plan it out may not be the way it goes. Your group needs to be adaptable and work together to make the pod successful. Take insight from the students about a desired focus — the more interested they are in a subject, the more engaged they will be with the information and activities. For families looking for a social and collaborative learning environment for their little one, as well as flexibility in schedule and study-focus, learning pods are a great place to start!

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Miss Julia Pencil

Hi, I'm Miss Julia!

Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.

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