NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents across the country have fears about sending their kids back to school in the fall, and now some have another idea: bring the teachers to them.

“I’m hopeful we can get back in school soon,” mother Atiya Dawkins told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.

But Dawkins has concerns for the education of her two school-age children, now she wants more options.

“I think especially now it’s going to be more important for the kids’ social and emotional health to be able to get together and also to learn,” she said.

Dawkins and other parents are interested in so-called “pod learning,” where a small group of kids who know each other come together for instruction, a kind of 21st century schoolhouse.


“We’re seeing an explosion of demand, and really for a variety of things,” said Brian Galvin, of Varsity Tutors.

Galvin says parents are demanding a wide range of options, from homeschooling to pod group instruction.

Some parents have even launched a pandemic pod Facebook page, and there are groups that can help you find a teacher.

“So much of what we are hearing from parents is we’ve got a group of kids, they’ve been learning together for the last several years, they’re friends, they know each other, and we just want them to be able to interact, be working on the same assignments and things,” Galvin said.

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It’s not clear just how far the trend could go, but some education experts say so-called “microschools” could change the way we teach in the future.

“There are ways that we can create pods for children … where there’s wonderful interaction and perhaps where pods are collaborating, whether it’s across one zip code or across one globe,” learning specialist Dr. Rebecca Mannis said.

But private instruction comes at a price. It could mean a financial drain on public schools and inequities for kids who can’t afford to pay, something Galvin acknowledges, to a point.

“One-on-one expert help is relatively expensive. If you can spread that over eight to ten families, all of sudden it becomes affordable for a whole lot more families,” he said.

The pandemic is triggering a new twist for educators, amid more challenges for children.

As for people who want to homeschool their children, the regulations vary from state to state.


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