Published Date: 07/27/20
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Pods and microschools can be a great way to support your child’s academic and social education. For many parents, it also serves as much-needed childcare. When forming or joining a pod or microschool, there are many considerations to take into account. You need to find space for your pod, establish your COVID-19 protocols, figure out if you’ll use your school’s curriculum or if you will supply your own, find a tutor or pod facilitator, determine payment methods, create a contract, and more.
One such consideration is whether all of the children in your pod will be in the same grade or if you will have a mixed-age pod or microschool. Mixed-age groups have both benefits and drawbacks to account for when establishing your pod.
Benefits to mixed-age/mixed-grade pods and microschools
1. For families with multiple children, setting up multiple pods can be a scheduling nightmare. Keeping children together takes stress off the parents.
2. The fewer people you are in contact with, the lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Joining or forming a pod with a family with multiple children can help keep your circle small.
3. Mixed-age groupings are how humans evolved. For thousands of years from the time of the cavepeople to the death of the one-room schoolhouse, children weren’t separated by age. It’s an entirely modern construct.
4. Older children become natural leaders when they’re among younger children. It gives them the opportunity to build skills they’re missing out of when not physically in school and activities.
5. Peer-to-peer tutoring is proven to help children learn. Older children can step in and aid younger ones.
6. When older children can help tutor, it provides younger children more one-to-one attention.
For all of the benefits to a mixed-grade pod or microschool, it can have drawbacks as well.
Drawbacks to mixed-age/mixed-grade pods and microschools
- If children are in the same family and the family decides to leave the pod, you are left with several spots to fill.
- If socialization is a key component of your pod, older children may become bored playing with younger children.
- Scheduling sessions may be difficult if the pod tutor is expected to be present for live distance learning sessions. Children will be on different schedules and they may not all align with the pod time.
- If the tutor is using a homeschool or supplemental curriculum, it may be difficult to utilize across age groups and grades.
Pods and microschools can support both parents and children while COVID-19 requires either full-time or part-time distance learning. They can be a great way to supplement learning, provide childcare (note, be sure to check local laws regarding operating childcare out of your home), and give children much-needed socialization while away from in-person school. Mixed-age and mixed-grade pods and microschools have both benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered. Search pods, microschools and tutors free now on Paper Pinecone.
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