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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).[1]

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 alternative.

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 electricians.

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.

-Alan Wagener

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Questions About Homeschooling  - A nice overview of  the many flavors of  schooling outside the box, who does it, the legalities, costs, socialization, college, and more.

How to Homeschool For Nearly Free  - A walk-through of things to consider along with links to free curricula and vast array of resources in an equally vast array of subject areas.

Homeschooling 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.

QUICK 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.



1. https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/