In this time of governor mandated public-school shutdown, many children are experiencing a new way to do school. All across the country, education pods have begun. An education pod is a large space in a home, church or community center where students from a neighborhood can gather to have school. Their parents hire a tutor or certified teacher to provide supervision of online learning as well as supplemental instruction and assistance. Eighth graders may be in the same room as first graders! Third graders may be near a ninth grader. Although it’s not what these children expected, or what they’re used to, perhaps they’ll experience the joy of the bygone days of the one room schoolhouse.
Consider Laura and her siblings in the Little House on the Prairie television series, or Miss Stacy in the Anne of Green Gables movies. How about painter Winslow Homer’s piece, “Crack the Whip”; which depicts schoolhouse lunch hour games. In one room schoolhouses, students worked independently, yet also assisted one another. Learning was done for life’s sake – so that one was equipped to continue learning and thrive in whatever was pursued. A freedom to think and explore seemed to exist back then that’s been usurped by uniformity, conformity and top down mandates.
Parents and the teachers providing education pods are working closely together. They’re partnering in a way unlike they have in the recent past to provide children with a quality educational experience in the absence of government schools. What if parents discover the delight of a smaller school setting for their children and the empowerment of knowing exactly what their children’s curriculum looks like? It’s an inside view they don’t usually get. Children might decide they really enjoy having school this way.
No matter how we may feel about education pods, a new perspective about traditional public school is definitely formulating. We may finally acknowledge there’s more than one way for education to happen. Parents, teachers and students could warm to the idea of having the freedom to direct tax dollars toward the schooling style that best fits their child’s needs. The return of the one room schoolhouse just might be the beginning of educational reform that’s been too long coming.