by Peggy Ployhar
Before the COVID-19 crisis and there was such a term as a “homeschool pod,” this small personalized homeschooling community was how our family developed some of the richest and most meaningful learning experiences with other homeschooling families.
The Basics for Creating Homeschool Pod Community
Creating community is work, and often that is why we avoid it. But the advantages of creating community far outweigh the disadvantages. As we unite with others different from us, we have a great deal to learn from them and about ourselves, and we are always better off from the exchange. This goes for adults and children.
As a parent of a child with a special educational need, pods can be the most ideal community for your student and the other students involved because they may never have had a friend with a learning or physical challenge. Thus, don’t just try to pair up with other families who are homeschooling children with special needs, instead join up with those who are nearby and who need community just as much as you and your student.
How to Find Homeschool Pod Families
- Seek out other families in your neighborhood who are homeschooling this year
- Ask these families about how they are handling COVID exposure and ensure they and your family share similar views
- Ask these families how much they would like to meet in a given week/month and what types of shared activities they would like to do with other homeschooling families
- Determine if these families are willing to cooperatively share in running the pod and decide on general responsibilities for each family, parent, and child
- Ensure everyone coming into your pod has a willingness to learn and grow together, respect each person’s individuality, each family’s values, and work out conflict when it arises
“…this small personalized homeschooling community was how our family developed some of the richest and most meaningful learning experiences with other homeschooling families.“
Setting Up Your Homeschool Pod
- Start with an initial plan, maybe even just a parent meeting before you get all the kids together, and be willing as a group to consider your plan as a “draft in progress” for the first few meetings so you can make necessary changes it if needed
- Set up a way to communicate and change your initial and ongoing schedules to meet the needs of the group
- Be consistent and be there for one another, even beyond your homeschooling and student learning needs
- Create a homeschool pod oath, including the following elements: Respect for individuality; Being accountable; Helping one another in and out of meeting times; Be teachable; Willing to grow and learn; Understanding there is always something new for everyone to learn; Forgive and give mercy.
As I look back on the years our homeschooling pod met on a regular basis, I am thankful for the deep and lasting relationships my children and I were able to develop with other homeschooling families. Even to this day, these are some of the people we call our dearest friends.
If you are interested in learning even more about homeschool pods, check out this relevant article on the National School Choice Week website.