This resource was provided by Camppedia, a startup founded by Houston parents who, like many others, grew increasingly frustrated with how difficult it was to find and manage camps and enrichment activities for their kids. As many schools start online, families face unprecedented challenges -- so Camppedia created resources to help: how to form a POD, drop-off centers for virtual school support, and personalized matching with instructors.
Virtual schooling is a reality for at least the first month of school. It may also be the right choice for some families even after in-person schooling becomes available. Yet virtual schooling comes with significant challenges. One popular option is to form a small group (POD) with a few families and hire an in person instructor to help kids complete their schoolwork and provide some of that much needed socialization.
What is a POD?
In the context of virtual school, a learning POD is formed when a few families decide to bring their kids together in a private setting and hire an instructor or learning coach to supervise and help the kids with their online school lessons and assignments.
If you’re thinking about it – here are three things to keep in mind:
1. It may feel a bit uncomfortable. Some aspects of forming a pod, even with friends, could feel uncomfortable. You’ll have to talk about sensitive subjects and potentially tell somebody you know that you’re not comfortable with forming a POD with them. What helps?
Acknowledge the awkwardness and the need for transparency early on with the other families.
Use the Camppedia Family Discussion Guide to collect all the relevant information without any pressure.
Take a deep breath – you’re doing something difficult but necessary to care for your family in the way that you’re comfortable.
2. It can be time consuming. You can DYI the whole thing – just plan to spend a lot of time coordinating. If you hire the instructor directly – you’ll want to think about possible tax implications and may want to find a company or an accountant to help. You can let groups like Camppedia do the legwork for you. Their services are free for parents.
If you go your own way, these are 2 of the lowest cost payroll services we found: Poppins Payroll and Wave (both start around $39/month).
3. It will be worth it. PODs give you significantly more control and customization relative to other options so you can have peace of mind that you are finding the right solution for your family.
Learn more about how to form pods and get matched with learning coaches on this Learning PODs page.