Pandemic Pods and Education

Pandemic Pods and Education

Home Schooling has expanded dramatically as public schools struggle with how to open in the face of the pandemic and the difficulties of online classes. Now parents are organizing into “pandemic pods” where they form groups of five to ten children and hire a teacher for that group.

For working parents, this may seem to be an answer to the school situation.
The problem is that only families with enough money to hire a good teacher will be able to form these pandemic pods. This sends us back to a segregation issue. Families who join together are likely to be families with similar social backgrounds. This arrangement excludes families living in poverty.

As a public school science teacher in South Bend, Indiana, I saw firsthand another issue that should be considered. I would see students transferred during the school year from a nearby large Catholic high school to Riley High School, where I taught. These were always kids who were discipline problems. One of my friends who taught at the Catholic school told me that their ultimate threat was, “If you don’t behave, we’ll send you to Riley.”

We must remember that these are kids who need an education. Virtual learning and online classes work for highly-motivated students who want to cooperate. What about the kid who is not motivated, has a bad family situation, doesn’t want to be in school at all, and is poor? The coronavirus has given people another excuse to separate their kids from those who are different, racially, socially, and/or morally.

Those making decisions about schools must recognize the importance of educating our children. Parents must make their child’s education a priority. Education isn’t just facts, but it’s also how to get along with people who are different from you. The pandemic pods idea might work if they contain heterogeneous student populations supported by tax money and available equally to all. Allowing parents to segregate children to free themselves from the responsibility of educating them is not an answer.

For those who choose homeschooling, the Does God Exist? ministry has materials that can be helpful in areas of faith and science. Through the years, many homeschoolers have used our video series, which is available to watch free on or to purchase at THIS LINK. Also, our website has various links and mail-in courses. For science, our Facebook page has daily postings telling about various animals and plants.

— John N. Claton © 2020

Reference: The Week magazine for August 7, 2020

Why Homeschooling?

Why Homeschooling?

One of the challenges that parents face today, perhaps more than at any time in history, is the challenge of how to educate their children. The National Center for Education Statistics tells us that 1.7 million children are homeschooled in the United States. Why homeschooling?

There are many problems with homeschooling. Many times parents do not have enough education to do an adequate job of educating their child. Homeschooled children tend to have social issues because they have not interacted with a wide range of children with other abilities and beliefs. Perhaps the most compelling reason for homeschooling is to provide religious instruction for the child. That has become more necessary in recent years as churches have veered away from moral instruction and Bible teaching while using entertainment to attract students.

In the 2020 report by the U.S. Department of Education, the main reason given for homeschooling is safety, with bullying and school shootings being a significant concern. The government report said that for 34% of all homeschoolers, safety was the most important motivation. Religious instruction as a reason, has dropped 13% in four years.

Where you live has a major impact on whether you feel motivated to homeschool your child. Shootings can occur anywhere, and church buildings have been a primary target of shooters in recent years. Unfortunately, bullying is likely to occur at any age and in any situation. As an adult, I have faced bullying by people who claimed to be Christians attempting to stop my ministry. Having been bullied as a child has allowed my ministry to survive. I learned anti-bullying skills early. Parents maintaining good communication with their children and being proactive at stopping bullying is a better solution than trying to avoid it.

Why homeschooling? There is a place for homeschooling, but “training a child in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6) doesn’t always mean withdrawing them from the challenges of life.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Data from Christianity Today, March 2020, page 22.