Parents and children opting out of schools for ‘learning pods’

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:21 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - When the coronavirus pandemic began hitting the United States with full force in early March, many handled the burden of schools shutting down with the mindset of enduring six to eight weeks of working from home while trying to instruct their children. Most did not consider the pandemic to stretch into the new school year, having to face decisions about do I send my kids to school, am I allowed to send my kids to school, and what other options are available to me. Independent financial planning advisor Josh Smith of Strategic Wealth Designers joined WKYT to talk about a new plan some parents are enacting going forward called a ‘Learning Pod.’ He says some parents are highly concerned about the environment they would be walking into at their school and they’ve decided to ‘opt-out.’

“It’s a difficult landscape right now. Dr. Fauci said Monday that students need to be in the classroom for their mental health and a stable learning environment,” Smith said. “Conversely you have parents who aren’t comfortable with the plans and may not have an online learning option in all cases or the ability to make sure the kids follow the online learning option. What we are seeing is a third option spring up of hiring a private teacher for a small group of kids (about 5) within friend groups and share the cost.”

Smith says knowing who your kids are interacting with is important to parents. In a learning pod environment, the kids and parents all know each other, their habits, and their views of the virus. They hire a private teacher who comes to one of their homes and the families split the cost.

“It sort of serves as a cross between private school and home school. You get the interaction with some other children and you get the private instruction of a hand-picked instructor. It can be a win-win,” Smith says. “Depending on the students, you may be able to move a lot faster in learning than if you had 15 or even 25 kids in a classroom.”

With sports teams seeing outbreaks and school districts who have re-opened already seeing positive cases, more and more private-at-home education options may develop. Smith says it’s a tough balance for the economy to navigate as the pandemic drags on.

“If you have the ability to find, hire and pay for a private teacher that is an optimal situation during the pandemic,” Smith says. “If we saw a shutdown again of schools, we already are dealing with an economic disaster, we could plunge back to the deep loses we saw at the end of February if too many things reverse course.”

Deciding what is best can only be determined by each individual household, but regardless of what occurs, the re-thinking of traditional schooling models will only diverge into further sectored options after the pandemic is gone. To learn more about this financial news topic visit Matters and if you have a financial planning question for Josh, send an email to

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