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Are you wondering what on Earth you are going to do when kids go back to virtual school? Check out these school solutions including the increasing popular micro-schools.
Before we dive into these school solutions I feel I must defend not only public schools but teachers as well.
I believe in public schools. They have a value that simply can not be measured. They aren’t just a place for kids to go while parents work.
For many kids they are a sanctuary. A place where they go to be fed and to be loved. Every day that goes by that they aren’t in school is another day they go hungry or go without a loving word or touch.
Can you imagine this for a minute? There are kids right now who are hungry and abused and this could be alleviated if they were in the classroom,
This brings me to the teachers. Why we are still having to defend teachers is beyond my understanding but here goes. Teachers want to be back in the classroom. They want to be back for many reasons including the ones I listed above. Teachers miss their students. They miss their work.
However, they want to go back safely.
No, it’s not just about the kids, but it is about the kids, their families, their colleagues, and their jobs. Teachers have the right to their opinions and feelings about what is happening, just like everyone else does.
There are many professions and essential workers (thank you, hospitals, grocery stores, and restaurants) that continue to function during this pandemic. There is not one that I can think of that requires one adult to be close (in one room) with 20-30 people all day long.
Mr. Doctor doesn’t walk into one hospital room to greet 20 patients. Ms. Accountant doesn’t go into her office to meet with 20 clients. In almost all other areas of life, except education, workers are not only dealing with adults (minus the Karens and Kyles of the world), but they have the opportunity to distance themselves from others, wear face masks, and practice good hygiene.
After reading this, you still want to debate this point, well then friend, we will have to agree to disagree. But this post isn’t really about the problem; it’s about finding solutions.
None of the ideas below are perfect. They all come with their own set of pros and cons. In an ideal world, we would be happily sending our kids back to school. But that isn’t a choice we get to make right now. Now is a time to think outside of the box and find some solutions.
Clever School Solutions Including the Increasingly Popular Micro-School
Above I stated that I believe in public school, and that is true. But I also believe that public school isn’t the best fit for every child and family. We have chosen to homeschool our child for various reasons.
This option is probably best for the family who has a parent that is home and can dedicate the time to it. Choosing the right curriculum can go a long way in helping new homeschool families adjust.
We chose The Good and The Beautiful for both its challenging academic standards and its ease of use. However, there are lots of choices out there. It’s just a matter of finding the best fit.
I would also recommend getting plugged into a local homeschool group or find one on Facebook. I really like the Hip Homeschool Moms Community group on Facebook.
Homeschooling can offer a lot of flexibility for parents that work from home. Instead of being tied to a virtual classroom schedule, you can decide when and how much time to devote to schooling.
If your kids are late risers, then get a jump on your workday before beginning the school day.
Perhaps schooling in the evening is a better fit. You can do that with homeschooling.
Many work-from-home families I know are opting to homeschool rather than deal with the unknown of a virtual classroom schedule right now.
- offers consistency
- choose what is being learned
- family bonding
- not great for working families
- feels overwhelming
- pay for your own curriculum
Learning Pods at Work
Instead of offering any advice on this solution, I am going to send you to Pod School Prep.
This article lays out how to start a learning pod at work with suggestions on space and management. Maybe all that your employer needs is someone to spearhead this project.
- kids can attend virtual classes while parents are at work
- increase productivity with parents knowing their kids are learning
- liability issues with the employer
Micro-schools are popping up all over the US. Parents are banding together to find their own solutions to the delayed start of school.
What I like about the idea of micro-schools is that there are many ways they can run. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can do with a micro-school.
Here are some set-ups I have seen in my social media feed.
Certified Teacher Led
Parents group together and hire a teacher to either facilitate virtual learning through their children’s school or to teach the children.
I have personally seen parents choose the virtual classroom as they hope schools will be back to business as usual sooner rather than later.
Finding a certified teacher that isn’t employed by a school district might be a little tricky, but they are out there.
Again, with this scenario, the parents group together, and another parent teaches kids. Maybe a homeschool mom or just anyone willing to take on the challenge.
Co-ops are all run differently, but usually require the involvement of every parent in some way.
With this option, you may choose to rotate houses where the learning occurs.
This frees up time for the other parents when it is not their day.
Co-Ops can run any way your group sees fit and that is the beauty of them.
- very flexible
- small group
- social interaction with different ages
- homeschool or virtual school options
- little or shared cost
Micro-Schools Co-Op Cons
- finding a group that meets your needs
- finding a teacher
What am I doing?
I had decided to homeschool my daughter before COVID, but once it was clear that schools would not be opening as usual, I felt that I needed to do something to help.
So I decided to start a micro-school.
In my micro-school, I will be offering to either homeschool or facilitate each child’s virtual learning (most popular choice). Parents will drop their kids off with me for several hours a day, three days a week.
In addition, I am working with another homeschool mom who will bring her daughter to me once a week and in return will take my daughter once a week.
This will free up a little time each week because I do work from home.
There really is no right or wrong way. Only the way that works best for the families that are grouped together.
Parents, we are in an impossible situation. Having to make choices that might either affect our kiddo’s mental or physical health is not a fun position to be in. But together we can figure this out.