CLEVELAND — A lot of students are starting this school year with remote learning, which has parents wondering how they are going to pull this off. So, they are getting creative, and reaching out for extra help more than ever before.
One of the ways families are coping is to set up small group learning, or "pods." That’s something Caroline Cikra, a teacher who already runs an in-home childcare center, brought inside her home with a group of friends and neighbors.
"I started it as an in-home day care eight years ago, and it's kind of evolved along with the ages of my own kids," she said. "So then I started to look and say, 'Well, maybe I can run a preschool while I oversee some e-learning.'"
Caroline sees a lot of benefits to the pod, such as socialization for the kids and relief for parents.
"The No. 1 thing I hear from parents, including myself, is that it's so hard to teach your own child," she admitted. "Everyone is looking for someone."
Cikra is part of a trend across the country. In fact, the concept of a schooling "pod" wasn't in our vocabulary just weeks ago.
"We had very few a couple months ago, and now we've seen over 90% growth on the platform," Carrie Cronkey, an executive with care dot com who also lives in Hudson, told 3News. "And what we're seeing is that parents and families have formed these groups already with neighbors and friends and they come to Care.com to find the teacher, caregiver, or tutor to help with these pods."
Cronkey says they've seen a triple digit increase in families looking for teachers, tutors and nannies. When they surveyed parents, the company found 83% said there's "no way" they could home school and work at the same time.
"They're like, 'We cannot do this again,'" she explained. "So, I would say that is one of the main things that we hear, and a lot of people are thinking, 'Well, if we're going to have to do this again, can I find somebody so that they can get the Zoom call set up at 10:15 for my 7-year-old or can someone sit there so the child isn't always popping into the meeting screen?"
If a family is new to looking for a nanny or tutor, Cronkey says you have to do your homework "and you have to be comfortable asking questions because this is a relationship -- a long term relationship. and it's a two way street."
She also says a nanny or tutor is probably more affordable than you think. Most nannies charge around $15 per hour, which is comparable or even sometimes more affordable than a daycare if you have more than one kid.