Education Pandemonium: Schooling in the Age of Covid‐​19 (Part 2)

Featuring Kerry McDonald

When the pandemic we hit last spring in the U.S., shuttering schools across the country, homeschoolers’ lives changed just as dramatically as school children’s lives. Tremendous resources for online education are sprouting, and families are beginning to see that they are able to facilitate their children’s learning outside of a conventional classroom with these digital resources.

There are many available online resources, such as Khan Academy, Varsity Tutors, Duolingo, as well as low cost organizations like Outschool​.com, which offers video‐​based live classes over Zoom in a wide variety of content. A “pandemic pod” is a new term for a traditional homeschool co‐​op, a parent co‐​op of families getting together to help facilitate their children’s learning, or bringing in outside educators to help with that process.

Micro schools are similar in that in many cases they occur in small multi‐​age groups in someone’s home, typically with a parent guide or a hired educator. Micro schools had really been growing well before the pandemic hit.

One of the differences that with the micro school networks is they often have an established curriculum associated with that micro school, whereas the “pandemic pods” and the homeschool co‐​ops are more emergent, organic, families getting together to decide how they want to facilitate learning.

Families are getting together to allow their children to learn remotely, but with other children. There are some outdoor activities through the homeschool groups starting to be announced for fall, such as homeschool soccer and other activities, for example hiking groups, trips to the beach.

There are lots of opportunities for outdoor exploration and if parents can connect with their local homeschool groups, that would be one way of determining what’s available in their local areas.