Pandemic Pods Are Here, Are You In?

By: National School Choice Week Team

Last Upated: April 5, 2021

If you’ve stumbled into an education conversation or joined a parent discussion group recently, you’ve surely heard of pods or micro-schools. As families grapple with a changing education environment, some hope to find the flexibility, safety, and community they desire in small, local learning arrangements called learning pods. Whether you have your heart set on joining a pod or just want to better understand education choices for your child, we’ve broken down all types of pandemic pods here.

What you need to know about learning pods and micro-schools

 

 

What’s a Pandemic Pod?

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. If you’re considering starting your own pod, read on to find out the different types you can choose from and the factors to consider for each.

Regardless of the type you choose, parents and students in a learning pod have significant flexibility. Based on the needs of the community it serves, a pod may gather for just 10-20 hours a week or only certain days. Families may work independently the remainder of the time.

Why pods? Interest in pods has spiked due to the pandemic. In pods, many families see an education environment where their children can learn and socialize with fewer health and safety concerns. In a recent poll of families nationwide, just 1/3 of parents said they were comfortable sending their child back to school under the present circumstances. This means there’s a lot of parents who are looking for alternative learning environments. For many, pods seem like a way to both prioritize safety and engage in much-needed in-person learning and community. In fact, the Chicago Tribune described pods as Equal parts traditional homeschooling and Mary Poppins-style nurturing — with a COVID-19 sheltering-in-place twist.”

Whether you have your heart set on joining a pandemic pod or just want to better understand education choices for your child, @SchoolChoiceWk has broken down all types of pods here. Click To Tweet

Beyond health concerns, learning pods also offer the potential for extreme personalization. They’ve often been described as the modern version of a one-room schoolhouse, where everyone knows your name.

“The third thing that micro-schools tend to have in common is that they provide a much more personalized and self-directed learning experience for their students. If you did some research on small schools you’d likely find as many varieties of micro-schools as you do something like coffee houses, yoga studios, or nonchain restaurants.” – Mara Linaberger

A History of Podding Before It was Cool

Did pods exist pre-pandemic? Yes. In fact, the “pods” that are currently forming are basically new variations of existing school forms, like homeschooling co-ops, online school, and private school.

Even before the pandemic, there were micro-schools and other small, creative learning environments that share some similarities with the learning pods forming today. QuantumCamp and Acton Academy were founded in 2009, and are two examples of early micro-school learning programs. Outschool was founded in 2015 to offer small group, live online classes for K-12 students. That same year, Education Next wrote about how “from San Francisco to Austin, Texas, to New York, new forms of schooling termed micro-schools are popping up.”

More recently, in 2018, an Arizona dad started using a micro-school learning model he’d call Prenda. Under the Prenda model, small groups of just 5-10 kids collaborate on project-based learning with the help of an adult mentor or guide. From one micro-school in 2018, the Prenda model has spread to more than 200 micro-schools for fall 2020.

While many families today seek a short-term pod that meets their need for community during the pandemic, many pre-pandemic micro-school educators and families were drawn by different motivations. Pre-existing micro-school families and educators were drawn to the micro-school model not from necessity but from a desire for a freer, more creative learning environments than were otherwise available.

As Mara Linaberg, an education consultant at MicroschooolBuilders.com, described, educators who established micro-schools before the pandemic were focused on creating viable, sustainable education communities that would leave a lasting legacy. Often these micro-schools were inspired by a desire for students to be much more self-directed, and educators to have much more freedom in teaching methods. “What we’re doing in the pandemic is more of a—I don’t mean it in a negative way—it’s a knee-jerk, it’s a reaction to this situation,” she said. “As far as parents now, what they’re doing is grouping kids together for a temporary learning opportunity.”

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Self-Directed vs. Learning Support Pods

Pods can take a variety of legal forms. Some pods are private micro-schools, others are support groups for online schools, and some are simply homeschool co-ops. It’s important to understand what kind of pod you’re signing up for and whether it meets your child’s necessary school requirements.

When it comes to joining or developing a learning pod, parents have two distinct options:

Self-Directed Pod (Homeschool, Homeschool Collaborative, or Micro-school): In this type of learning pod, parents un-enroll their children from their existing traditional public school, charter school, magnet school, or private school. They are solely responsible for determining their own curriculum, lesson plans, and methods of instruction, in accordance with state laws and regulations. In many of these self-directed learning pods, parents serve as teachers. In others, parents pool resources to hire teachers, tutors, or instructors. Each state has its own rules for homeschooling. Keep in mind that homeschooling is not just a style of instruction, it’s also a legal term that means that parents have taken full responsibility for educating their children in the home.

In some states, there is a limit on the number of students who can learn together before your pod might be classified as a standalone private school. If a pod offers a more formal education arrangement and families officially enroll in the micro-school and exchange money for services, this may indicate that the pod is functioning as a private school. Acton Academy micro-schools, for instance, are usually established as private schools that charge tuition and use state-certified teachers.

screenshot of Facebook discussion of pods and micro-schools

Learning Support Pod: In this type of learning pod, parents keep their children enrolled in their local public, charter, or private school. The purpose of these pods is to help students better acclimate to remote learning provided by existing schools so that students can learn together and parents can accommodate their individual work needs. Under the supervision of a parent, several parents, or a guardian, students work together on lessons, classes, and activities provided by the children’s existing schools.

screenshot of social media discussion of learning pods and micro-schools

Learning-Pods.com, for example, is a platform that facilitates learning support pods for families that remain enrolled in distance learning through their current school. 

Keep in mind that, in some cases where pods or micro-schools are regulated as distance learning programs, arrangements that families make to regularly meet in person for their children to complete assignments together may be classified as in-home childcare. This is the case, for example, with some Prenda micro-schools in Arizona.

 

Questions to Ask if You’re Starting a Pod

If you are considering joining or starting a new pod or micro-school, there are many questions to ask along the way. Here are a few:

1. Which type of pod do you fall under: self-directed or learning support? If you’re in the self-directed category as described above, you and your pod’s families will need to take appropriate actions to either register as homeschooling families or comply with private school regulations, as described in your state by state breakdown below.

2. What space will you use? Will learning take place in one family’s home, rotate through homes, or take place in a rented or common environment? Have you planned for traffic and parking? What about meals?

3. What liability policies and additional agreements should you put in place in case something unexpected happens? Have you set clear expectations for all pod participants? What health and wellness policies will you set? What channels of communication will you use?

4. What curriculum will you use? Thinking about what is important to your family and other participants in the pod can help you choose the curriculum and learning style. Curriculums can range from arts, vocational, STEM, humanities, etc. Whichever curriculum you choose, make sure it is well-rounded and gives students a balance between learning and enrichment activities. Or, streamline things by looking into the online schools available in your state, and let them guide your students’ learning for the year. Some learning pods even plan to partner with the new National Summer School Initiative, which offers ELA, math, and enrichment courses.

5. What kind of accountability structures will you want in place? How will you ensure children who participate are truly learning and growing? Some states do require annual assessments of learning for homeschool students, so check out your state’s homeschooling rules below.

How Much do Pods Cost?

There isn’t just one kind of pod. Some can be completely free to create and design, while other families might spend hundreds of dollars each month. Both local communities and national organizations are working to support all families who wish to participate in micro-schools or pods. For instance, the National Parents Union gave $200,000 in direct grants during August 2020 to parents and family-led organizations to support homeschool pods and micro-schools.

In some areas, such as San Francisco, cities have created pod-like “learning hubs” at libraries, recreation centers, and other community locations. These free hubs seek to provide low-income students with a safe space for education support and social enrichment outside of their homes.

“A micro-school is not the right environment for every student, but there are students of all income levels who could potentially thrive in a micro-school’s highly relational, personalized setting.” – Melissa Steel King

Lastly, there are some private school scholarship programs that help offset the cost of homeschooling. If your pod or micro-school is taking the homeschool track as described above, make sure to check it out.

two kids and teacher smile with school choice banner

State Policies for Pods

Every state has different requirements on records, reporting, and registration of different types of schools. Check out the flow chart above to determine which type of school your learning pod falls under, then see your state’s regulations linked below.

If your learning pod qualifies as a private school in your state, you can check out the state registration, accreditation, and licensing cheat sheet. You can also see a cheat sheet that touches on teacher certification and curriculum.

If your learning pod qualifies as homeschooling, you can see a cheat sheet for how each state regulates them and what public services you’ll be able to access.

See the difference between self-directed pods and learning pods.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alabama:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Alabama. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains multiple families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Alabama classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Alaska:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Alaska. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Alaska may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Alaska classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in online courses through the Alaska Digital Academy for a fee. 

Arizona:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Arizona. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Arizona may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Arizona classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two permanent, full-time online schools that are available to K-12 students statewide. 

Arkansas:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Arkansas. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students with disabilities in Arkansas may be eligible to access special education services from their local school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Arkansas may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Arkansas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

California:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in California. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what California classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two permanent, full-time online schools that are available to K-12 students statewide. In some areas, like San Francisco, libraries and other community centers have been transformed into learning pod-like hubs to support students who are distance learning.

Colorado:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Colorado. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Colorado may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Colorado classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. In Colorado, there are even some district-run learning pods, such as those run by the Adams 12 District. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Gov. Polis has issued an Executive Order with temporary guidelines for pods and childcare, saying that pods that serve up to five kids between the ages of six and nine, or up to eight kids who are ten years of age or older, did not require a license. 

Connecticut:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Connecticut. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Connecticut classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Connecticut’s Department of Education has issued a memo recognizing that many families are considering pods this year, and that in many cases these pods are distinct from homeschooling

Delaware:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Delaware. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Delaware classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Florida:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Florida. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students with special needs are eligible to receive “testing and evaluation services at diagnostic and resource centers” in Florida. Additionally, homeschooled students in Florida may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Florida classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Broward County officials have issued guidance about learning pods, saying, “Programs that provide care and supervision to elementary school aged children must be licensed as child care unless they are registered as a private school with the Florida Department of Education or qualify for an exemption with our office.”

Georgia:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Georgia. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students with special needs may still be eligible for additional support from the State of Georgia.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Georgia classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Hawaii:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Hawaii. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Hawaii classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in part-time middle school or high school classes in Hawaii’s e-school

Idaho:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Idaho. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Idaho may be eligible to take classes at local public schools, or participate in sports or activities, through the state’s dual enrollment programs.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Idaho classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Illinois:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Illinois. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers with special learning needs may be eligible for services and support from local school districts in Illinois. Additionally, homeschooled students may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Illinois classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including taking supplemental online courses through Illinois Virtual School

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has issued a memo encouraging families operating pods out of homes to become licensed. 

Indiana:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Indiana. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers are eligible to receive some special education services from Indiana school districts. Additionally, homeschool students in Indiana may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Indiana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Iowa:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Iowa. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers are eligible to receive some special education services from Iowa school districts. Additionally, homeschool students in Iowa may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Iowa classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Kansas:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Kansas. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Kansas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Some cities in Kansas, such as Shawnee, are developing city code to regulate remote learning support programs. You can always check with your local governance about whether they are developing regulations applicable to your learning pod. 

Kentucky:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Kansas. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Kansas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling your child in a private, full-time online school for a fee. 

Louisiana:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Louisiana. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschool students in Louisiana may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Louisiana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Maine:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Maine. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschool students in Maine may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services has issued a statement that “Families who elect to provide home instruction completely themselves or through private arrangements with another adult—without involvement in their local school administrative unit (SAU)—need to formally submit a notice of intent to provide home instruction to the local superintendent and the Maine Department of Education (DOE).”

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Maine classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Learning support pods for students formally enrolled in a school may require licenses in Maine if instruction is compensated and there are more than three students in addition to any children living in the home. 

Maryland:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Maryland. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Maryland classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a private, full-time online school for a fee. 

Massachusetts:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Massachusetts. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will pay teachers to lead unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Massachusetts classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including free public virtual schools that are available to students statewide and private online schools available for a fee. 

In Massachusetts, the state allows learning pods of up to five families to operate without a license, as long as one parent is present at all times and payment is limited to compensation for food and materials. 

Michigan:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Michigan. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers in Michigan may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools. Additionally, Michigan homeschoolers are eligible to enroll in online classes at the Michigan Virtual School.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Michigan classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Instruction released a memo in August 2020 detailing rules applying to school-age child care, some of which may apply to learning pods.

Minnesota:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Minnesota. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers may be eligible to receive limited tax exemptions from the State of Minnesota to cover costs related to instruction, field trips, and parental time. Additionally, Minnesota homeschoolers may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Minnesota classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Mississippi:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Mississippi. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Mississippi classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a private online school for a fee. 

Missouri:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Missouri. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers in Missouri may be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Missouri classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Learn more about Missouri’s free online school offerings.

Montana:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Montana. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Montana may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Montana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time online private school for a fee. 

Nebraska:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Nebraska. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Nebraska may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Nebraska classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Nevada:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Nevada. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers with special needs are eligible to receive special education services from local school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Nevada may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Nevada classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Las Vegas families may want to check out the Greater Las Vegas Microschool Collaborative to learn more. Some Nevada learning pods and micro-schools, such as those affiliated with Nevada Action for School Options, partnered during the 2020-2021 school year with the new National Summer School Initiative (NSSI)

New Hampshire:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in New Hampshire. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in New Hampshire may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

New Hampshire’s state commissioner of education has said that learning pods are permitted by New Hampshire law and families may have family members or friends supervise children in the parent’s absence. 

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what New Hampshire classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including free full or part-time middle and high school classes through Virtual Learning Academy Charter

New Jersey:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in New Jersey. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what New Jersey classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

In New Jersey, providing care for more than six children under the age of 13 requires a childcare license. The state is allowing for an expedited licensure process this school year. 

New Mexico:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in New Mexico. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in New Mexico may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools, and are also eligible to take classes at the state’s online schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what New Mexico classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

New York:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in New York. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. The NY Department of Education says that, “Where groups of parents organize to provide group instruction by a tutor for a majority of the instructional program, they are operating a nonpublic school and are no longer providing home instruction.” Read more about what New York classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

North Carolina:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in North Carolina. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers are eligible to enroll in North Carolina Virtual Public School, for a fee, to supplement their coursework, if approved by their school board. If your child was enrolled for one previous semester in a public school and had an IEP, they are eligible for the special education tax credit of up to $3,000 per semester, per child, that can be spent on special education expenses.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what North Carolina classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

The NC Department of Health and Human Services is requiring organizations to obtain a license in order to provide childcare for school-age children. Organizations contracting with a public school are exempt. Read about an affordable learning support pod in Charlotte that partners with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District.

North Dakota:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in North Dakota. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in North Dakota may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what North Dakota classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Ohio:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Ohio. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Ohio may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Ohio classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. You can also check Boys & Girls Clubs, libraries, and cultural centers near you to learn if they offer any free or paid learning support pods. 

Oklahoma:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Oklahoma. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Oklahoma classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. Additionally, Oklahoma worked to create 30 “Community HOPE Centers” this school year where underprivileged students can access free virtual learning resources, snacks, and mental health professionals. 

Edupreneur Academy offers a free guide for parents interested in learning pods in Oklahoma.

Oregon:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Oregon. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Oregon may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Oregon classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Oregon officials have suggested that they may regulate multi-family pod programs under the state’s childcare guidelines

Pennsylvania:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Pennsylvania. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers with special learning needs are eligible to receive special education support and resources from local public school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Pennsylvania may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Pennsylvania classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has laid out guidelines for families interested in joining learning support pods. These pods can serve up to 12 students of the same school-age who move between parents’ houses on remote learning days. Pods of more than 6 children are required to meet certain state requirements, such as notifying the Department of Human Services of their pod, developing a plan for emergencies, and ensuring that anyone working with children undergoes a background check. It is important to review the complete list of policies for Pennsylvania learning support pods.

Also, the state temporarily relaxed childcare regulations in 2020, making it easier for short-term summer camps and sport camps to extend into the fall and offer childcare with remote learning support. For more info on finding school-age childcare or establishing a learning pod in Pennsylvania, check out The Pennsylvania Key. As of September 2020, there are more than 50 learning pods in Pennsylvania

Rhode Island:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Rhode Island. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Rhode Island may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Rhode Island classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

South Carolina:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in South Carolina. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in South Carolina may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what South Carolina classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

The South Carolina Department of Social Services has announced that learning support pods in which an adult is caring for children for more than one unrelated family should apply for a family child care home license. 

South Dakota:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in South Dakota. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in South Dakota may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what South Dakota classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Tennessee:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Tennessee. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Tennessee may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Tennessee classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Texas:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Texas. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Texas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. You can check nonprofits near you for learning pod opportunities; for instance, YMCAs sometimes offer WiFi and learning support so students can successfully complete schoolwork. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

The city of Austin has stated that anyone operating a learning pod must have a health and safety plan, and lays out guidelines for when pods must be registered as child care. Learn more about Austin based pods.

Utah:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Utah. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Utah may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Utah classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Vermont:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Vermont. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Vermont may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Vermont classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Virginia:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Virginia. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Virginia may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Virginia classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including a permanent, full-time online school available to students statewide. 

In Fairfax County, public school officials have restricted teachers from tutoring children in their classes via learning pods for private compensation.

Washington:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Washington. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Washington may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools. In addition, Washington homeschoolers are eligible to receive ancillary services, including “counseling, psychological services, testing, remedial instruction, speech and hearing therapy, health-care services, [and] tutorial services” offered by local school districts, at no additional cost.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Washington classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

According to Washington state law, childcare services for less than four hours a day are license exempt, but childcare services for more than four hours a day require a license

West Virginia:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in West Virginia. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what West Virginia classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Wisconsin:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Wisconsin. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Wisconsin may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Wisconsin classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Wyoming:

Self-Directed Pods:

If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Wyoming. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Wyoming may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. Read more about what Wyoming classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learning Support Pods:

If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

 

Can My Child with Special Needs Participate in a Pandemic Pod?

Yes, special needs children can participate in pods. In fact, one parent who discovered micro-schooling had this to say, “I have seen children who have struggled for years in a traditional school setting be transformed after only a few months in a Prenda micro-school classroom. And because of their small size and supportive, personalized environment, micro-schools excel at embracing and accepting students with learning differences.”

If your student is switching to homeschooling or private schooling from public school last year and has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in place, you will be eligible, in many states, to receive special education services or a stipend for them. These are typically administered by each school district, but you can check with your State Department of Education or HSLDA to find out if your state allows for this.

If your student has a disability, you can view these strategies from the National Center for Learning Disabilities to help your child be successful while adapting to their new learning environment. For more guidance on how educators can deliver lessons online to students in special education and learning resources, check out these resources from SPED Homeschool, HSLDA, and Educating All Learners.

Next Steps:

If you’re ready to take the next step in considering learning pods or micro-schools, we recommend joining Facebook groups. That way, you can participate in discussions with other families interested in this learning arrangement. Here are a couple of groups to give you a taste of what’s available:

Families who have formed pods can find teachers through sites such as Get Selected or SchoolHouse. Bubbles is another site matching families with educators, and currently serves families in California, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, and D.C. Wonderschool seeks to connect parents with childcare and microschool options in parts of New York, California, and Texas. Additionally, you may want to check out Impact Connections, a developing network for learning pods. 

Educators or parents serious about founding their own micro-school may wish to check out microschoolbuilders.com.

Finally, the National School Choice Week team compiled a list of YMCAs, childcare facilities, museums, and more that offered virtual learning support programs during fall 2020. While no longer actively updated, this list may be a good starting point for finding pod locations or remote learning support in your community.

three children hold school choice sign in front of mural

 

The information in this guide is designed to help families who are considering pods or micro-schools in their decision-making process. Our mission is to provide families with the information they need about all the school options available – traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, and at home – so they can choose the right fit for their child.

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