Who would have thought we would be talking about learning pods for public school kids? Spoiler alert, it is not a new concept. Homeschool groups often use learning pods (aka. guided study groups) to increase group interaction and learning. This not-so-new concept for public school families is a sign of the times. A direct result of the ongoing issues around COVID-19 school challenges as well as the health and safety for staff, students and families.
What is a learning pod? According to an article in National School Choice Week, “Micro-schools, pods, pandemic pods, and learning pods all refer to the same concept, one that is pretty easy to understand: students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Usually, pods are formed when families in a neighborhood or vicinity bring children similar in age group together.”
Are learning pods a good thing? YES! As a 28-year teacher turned tutor, I can tell you first hand that the value of small group interaction (inside and outside of the classroom) reaches far beyond just learning the material presented. It helps create mind muscle memory through healthy, supportive listening and group discussion. Learning pods or study groups promote confidence for students to raise questions in a smaller setting that feels safer emotionally and academically.
Learning pods can also be a great resource tool for families. Many school districts are utilizing hybrid models and asynchronous learning, which can be a challenge for working families. Parents are finding themselves having to manage their children’s learning time in addition to their work responsibilities. Creating a learning pod and sharing resources among families can help kids benefit from social interaction and shared learning while taking some of the load off parents.
What are some other strategies to keep kids engaged in learning at home? The question I often get from parents is: “What can I do to support my kids during down time – I am not a teacher and I’m not sure exactly what to do?”
Here are a couple suggestions…
- Take a DEEP Breath. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your child’s education.
- Keep a long-range perspective and don’t sweat the small stuff! Remember some of the skills taught in the elementary grades, especially in math, spiral throughout the curriculum and are revisited often. Mastery of every skill now is not necessary…or possible!
- Practice on the go to keep certain skills top of mind. (In the car, at the table during meals, in casual conversation)
The next question is usually – “WHAT do I practice?”
I’ve got you – Covered! Check out these grade level resources I’ve gathered from trusted professionals all in one place!