Learning at Home: Co-op vs Pod
Autumn is on its way and with it comes the start of the strangest school year we've ever had to consider. Public school parents everywhere are faced with the decision that many homeschool parents have already pondered: "How will my children learn at home?"
And like many homeschool parents before them, they think, "I'll need help."
That is very wise! Not only can you find help with actually teaching subjects, you can find and lend moral support, and your children can make and sustain friendships. To this end, a new term has sprung up in the online homeschool community - "pod." And it could stand a little attention.
Why? Because there is a point that needs to be made to clarify the intent and values of the group forming.
Forming groups to support homeschool life isn't new. Historically (from what I know) they've been called "co-ops" because the parents come together cooperatively and co-create learning experiences for their children. Structure, topics, and frequency of meetups vary. Parents do a lot of research into choosing activities, curriculum, and courses of study they want to complete. There is a lot of brain power and creativity poured into the co-op.
It seems like parents forming "pods" are also looking to work cooperatively. However, it seems like they intend to use the curriculum prescribed by the local school district. And they are likely to send their children back to public school as soon as possible. This is also a valid way forward!
All parents who will be teaching their children at home this fall deserve to find the comfort and confidence that comes with sharing space, ideas, and responsibilities of at-home education. But for the sake of being transparent and finding like-minded educators, how about this:
- Let's call it a Pod if your intention is to follow the curriculum chosen by your local school district and you will probably to go back to public school as soon as possible.
- Otherwise, if you intend to learn at home indefinitely and are exploring the freedom that comes with it including choosing whether or not to follow a prescribed course of study, whether or not to use a curriculum, and the wide variety of what learning and education looks like - use Co-op.
We're all in this together. Let's find like-minded people to walk the path with together. To do that, let's choose our words carefully, in truth, and with kindness.
For more ideas about forming groups check out "The Dicey Topic of Homeschool Co-ops."
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