Back to Learning: ‘Learning pods’ to help working parents with remote learning

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:45 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Working parents with schedules that clash with their children’s remote learning are getting extra help.

“Learning pods” or “learning labs” are small, in-person groups of students who learn together in the presence of a supervisor or tutor. Some parents are starting their own, while others are seeking them out, often connecting through social media.

Mason parent Nicole Blackmore works during the school day and will be looking for a learning pod for her students to attend.

“We both work full time outside of the house and don’t have the ability to change our schedules or change our jobs,” said Blackmore. “We’ve tried to come at this at every angle possible trying to figure something out. I know we’re not the only family in this situation of not being able to do regular schooling online when they expect it.”

Jenna Bush has two twin 15-year-old students in the Eaton Rapids school district. She said she decided to start a “learning pod” for social interaction for her kids.

“I was looking at some way to provide that same sort of space but for kids that were closer to my kids age group, so high schoolers. Just a place where they could come maybe have the structure of being able to do online, but with other kids in their class,” said Bush.

Organizations and outside businesses are also trying to help.

The Lansing School District is partnering with several organizations to offer spaces for students of working parents to learn during school hours.

There are 600 total slots available at their partner organizations: Caterpillar Corner, Lansing Boys and Girls Club, Woldumar Nature Center, Impression 5 Museum, Lansing Parks and Rec, and YMCA.

”Parents will drop their kids off in the morning. They will be assigned to a crew leader. They’ll be operating all day long in a small group of about ten students,” said Kevin Wernet, Executive Director of Woldumar Nature Center. “We do have to verify their employment. So basically we’re here to be a resource. We’re here to be a safe space for those students who don’t have a safe space to be during the day.”

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