Note from Outschool: Laws about homeschooling vary from state to state. Be sure to learn about and follow all state laws and guidelines, including public health orders, before beginning any program.
Parents all over the U.S. are talking about pods.
No, they’re not discussing the latest tech from Apple. Instead, they’re planning their children’s school year.
As parents deal with health concerns about reopening schools or seek to supplement their child’s distance or hybrid learning plans, many families have decided to pursue homeschool alternatives for this fall. Some have banded together with other families to form “pods.” These informal groups share resources, learning plans, and, often, tutors and teachers.
Yet, with COVID-19 cases still spiking around the country, these in-person meetups may pose increased health risk to pod participants and their families.
A safe alternative is the digital learning pod. In this model, families still plan and interact together. However, in place of in-person activities, the kids’ learning takes place online in live, video-chat classes.
It’s not too late to create a digital learning pod. Here are 4 tips to help you get started
- Form your pod. Gather 4-10 learners who share interests and/or skills. It helps if learners have similar academic abilities, too. Not every member of the pod needs to be best friends already. As kids learn together, they get the added benefit of socializing and building friendships.
- Assess your needs. Consider each family’s learning goals, and talk about the resources you have to work with. What curriculum might you have from your school? What subjects or enrichment are most important?
- Pick a schedule. Agree on the days of the week, times of the day, and dates when your pod will take classes. Also decide on how many classes you’d like to take per day and week.
- Discuss your budget. As families plan group child care and other solutions, it can be challenging to keep kids engaged and learning at a reasonable cost. Small-group classes can be more affordable than hiring a private tutor or in-home teacher. For families in need, consider seeking financial assistance with Outschool.org.
Enrich your digital pod with Outschool
Outschool was founded with the mission of connecting all learners with passionate teachers and like-minded peers to create fun, inspiring learning experiences - live and online.
COVID-19 has made these connections even more important. And as families scramble to find creative solutions to meet their needs, Outschool is here to support you. By incorporating Outschool’s live online classes into their pods, families can expect:
- Experienced teachers - Since 2015, Outschool teachers have supported families exploring alternative education options through live online classes.
- Diversity - With small group classes, families can connect their learners with new people and perspectives. 92% of Outschool classes have learners from multiple time zones.
- Variety - It’s challenging for any adult to teach all subjects and provide enrichment options. Outschool’s community of 5,000+ experienced online teachers offer a breadth of subjects they are passionate about.
- Customization - Another challenge is finding a teacher that “fits” your learner or your pod’s needs. When your pod takes classes on Outschool, you can take one-time classes to get learn about a teacher's style before making a longer commitment.
Get ready for digital learning pods with Outschool!
Discover thousands of classes to fit your pod’s needs (including semester classes on core subjects)
Decide on classes to take, then enroll as a group (coming soon) so you know you’ll all be learning together - virtually!
Safely learn from home and connect with experienced teachers over live video chat.
More “pod” resources from Outschool
Many families are struggling to find teachers and tutors to meet their needs at a price that fits their budget. Additionally, in-person classes are not an option for some families because of health concerns.
That's why digital learning pods are the safe, affordable, high-quality option to keep your kids learning and growing this fall.
Outschool's team is building new (and collaborative) tools to support learning pods and help you:
- Enroll as a group with the learners in your pod, so you can guarantee that your kids in your pod will be learning and growing together
- Share saved classes with your pod, so you can keep everyone in the loop about the classes that spark your interest
- Search for empty classes only so you can find the classes with the space for your pod more quickly and easily
- Plan private classes or "parties" by reaching out to your favorite Outschool teachers individually
Ready to start browsing? There are thousands of exciting class options in several formats for your learner and their pod.
Check out these semester classes, which are filling up fast
Try ongoing classes - perfect for bonding with your pod!
There’s still time to build the perfect schedule of classes for your group's digital learning pod.
Get your free Outschool account today, and you’ll get instant access to our full library of live online classes. Plus, we'll let you know about Outschool's new pod features as soon as they’re available.