Families Who Tried Homeschool Pods Prefer It, But Their Kids Are Back In School Anyway

By Erika Hanson | Published

homeschool pods

No aspect may have been as greatly altered as our nation’s education system at the onslaught of the pandemic. For the first time ever, schools shut down with no definitive plans to reopen. Similar to a free-for-all, parents were forced into homeschool or remote school alternatives. And as much as we hear about its negative aspects, there were plenty of positive elements as well. Homeschool pods were one of those rare benefits that sprung from the pandemic, but now, many families who praised them have returned to public schools.

Homeschool pods became a popular alternative for many families. Homeschool pods, often referred to as micro-schools, pandemic pods, or co-pods, bring small groups of students together from different families to “homeschool” under one roof. Within these pods, students can be taught core classes, enrichment, and often a mixture of school ascribed standards.

The benefits parents saw in these homeschool pods were vast. They made for stronger bonds between teachers and students along with more attentive detail for each student. Sizes vary, but in most instances, pod sizes are no larger than 10 students. Some are as small as two to three kids.

homeschool pods

At the onset of the pandemic, researchers at the Center on Reinventing Public Education studied hundreds of homeschool pods. The results showed some surprising benefits to the alternative homeschool method. More than half of the observed families and three-quarters of homeschool pod instructors said they preferred the method over traditional schools.

It wasn’t only the parents and kids that enjoyed homeschool pods as learning centers. The instructors helming them saw the benefits as well. Four in five parents even said their child was as likely or more likely to receive a high-quality education in their pods than at school. Many homeschool pod teachers didn’t even have teaching credentials but still prospered in the environment. One-third of the instructors the survey interviewed said that they actually lost interest in pursuing traditional teaching credentials, which they often discerned as inordinately bureaucratic.

Many teachers in homeschool pods took different approaches to school. With a better focus on skills, pod teachers often touted teaching trade-like skills to students. Instructors often drew on their personal hobbies and trade skills to engage students through learning.

homeschool pod

Holly Daniels’ was one of the many parents that turned to homeschool pods during the pandemic. Like others, she also enjoyed the education alternative far more than the public schools her children attended previously. But Holly, like many parents, has now returned her children to public schools. This occurrence is leaving many wondering why.

There are likely many reasons why homeschool pod families returned to public schools. Disconnection could be one reason. Without public school support, pods are often left alone to come up with curricula. Likewise, special education needs and extracurricular programs often play into reasoning as to why parents leave the blissful pod life behind.

Parents and lawmakers have been battling to make homeschool pods, or simply school choice in general, more accessible to all. Some schools are already embracing pod-like initiatives. Many states are passing or considering legislation that would make education learning materials more easily accessible to parents. One thing is certain: as more parents turn to alternative education methods, lawmakers should seek to make the transition easier for parents and students.