BOISE, Idaho — Public schools, private schools, online schools, outdoor schools - those are just a few of the different options parents are exploring when it comes to their kids and their education, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there is another option that is now gaining a lot of attention: micro-schools. Parents across the country and here in Idaho are now forming micro-school groups.
The idea is to help minimize exposure between families, while also creating some type of social environment for kids, as well as relief for parents.
“This existed pre-pandemic, but it's become more popular because I think parents have become less comfortable with a large group setting at school,” said Bavani Purushothaman, a mother of two school-age children.
She created the Facebook group, Boise Micro-School Parent Connection, to give parents like her, a chance to discuss and coordinate micro-school options, as well as to exchange information.
“It was a time when I was struggling with a decision about what I should do with my daughters for school,” Purushothaman said.
Here's how it works: A group of two-to-eight kids get together, typically at a home and then together they follow a home school curriculum or their school's online curriculum. In some cases, parents can hire a teacher to oversee the learning.
“Basically, parents create these little groups where a few families come together and they try to emulate the routine of a school day,” Purushothaman said.
Since she started the Facebook group last month, it now has more than a thousand members.
“We don’t just have parents in the group, we have teachers, we have educators, we have district officials in the group. I think they're monitoring to see what parents’ concerns are,” Purushothaman said. “Parents have done a lot of research, we don’t have to struggle and do that research alone.”
Micro-schools are also known as learning pods, or pandemic pods.
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