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Learning Pods for the Rest of Us
Wealthy families across the country have been looking at their school
districts' Fall opening plans and finding them less than reassuring. In
response, they are joining with other families (who they trust are
following similar pandemic-protective guidelines), to hire a teacher
for their kids.
That's great if you can spare $500+/week, but not so great if you have
similar concerns, but not similar means.
Fortunately, there's another, much more economical strategy that many
families can use to assure that their kids get their social and
educational needs met this Fall: Homeschooling. And it's a surprisingly
flexible alternative that's been shown to work at least as well as
pre-pandemic public school.
In fact, a growing body of research shows that homeschooled kids tend
to out-perform public school students on pretty much all measures -
achievement tests, social, emotional, and psychological development.
They are more politically tolerant, and as adults, more likely to vote,
be active in their community, and attend college (and succeed there).
In other words, if you're worried that if you homeshool your kids, they
may "fall behind", the odds are they'll more likely than not "fly
ahead" of their peers.
If you're worried that something about your economic status, work
responsibilities, or educational qualifications would prevent you from
homeschooling, you might be surprised at the diversity of situations
under which parents are successfully homeschooling their kids.
So, if you're looking at the Fall schedule and still feel unsafe, or
are unable to accommodate your workplace requirements to match the
school's schedule, or having experienced 100% online learning, you feel
there must be a better alternative, homeschooling might be that
It worked for us.
We homeschooled our son K-12 and our daughter K-8. We loved the time we
got to spend with our kids. We loved the opportunity to re-discover the
world along with them. To explore topics deeply with them, to foster
learning by doing as well as by reading. We loved the friends we all
made along the way, and the experiences we had together.
We had the company of a bunch of other families of similar age as well
as meeting others who were further along in the journey than we were.
So, now we can point to a variety of grown-up homeschoolers who,
without the benefit of 12 years of traditional schooling, are
nevertheless doing fine: pursuing carreers in music, acting,
economics, teaching, and earning PhDs. We know successful law students,
video producers, librarians, restaurant owners, authors, engineers, and
Since then, I've often thought about creating some sort of resource for
people interested in homeschooling but, you know, a busy life, etc...
Now that we're in a pandemic, where a lot of us are looking for
alternatives, here's a start.
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About Homeschooling - A nice overview of
the many flavors of schooling outside the box, who
does it, the legalities, costs, socialization, college, and more.
to Homeschool For Nearly Free - A
walk-through of things to consider along with links to free curricula
array of resources in an equally vast array of
on a Shoestring - Homefires.com - A detailed Q&A with
the authors of the book. It covers a wide variety of topics, from
subject areas, to cooperatives, to curricula to life skills, all with
an eye to inexpensive solutions.
GUIDE TO HOMESCHOOLING DURING A CRISIS - This guide
is directed primarily toward families in California. However, The
sidebar, "Top 5 tips for Quarantine Homeschooling" is excellent and
applies to everyone. Also available from the Guide and applicable to
anyone is a LIVING
DOCUMENT OF HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES, 20+ pages of
"Educational Resources for Quarantine" Homeschooling.