Many Schools Are Using a Hybrid Learning Model This Year; Here’s What Parents Should Know

Elva Mankin

Depending on what part of the US you live in, going back to school in the traditional sense may be entirely off the table. And regardless of how old your children are, navigating these uncertain times have proven to be a hellish nightmare we wish we could wake up from challenging to say the least. While some families are setting up “pandemic pods” – where a small group of students of similar ages and abilities gathers at one family’s home to learn from a teacher – others are working with their local districts using a hybrid learning model.

Naturally, getting a full understanding of various learning setups can be hard for those of us who don’t specifically have a background in education. In an effort to keep parents informed about the options their kids may have, we tapped Vanessa Vakharia, the founder and director of The Math Guru and

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Expert answers most-Googled questions about working parents and back-to-school

Elva Mankin

With the future unpredictable as kids return to the classroom during the coronavirus epidemic, parents are turning to Google to ask questions and attempt to plan.

As a part of TODAY’s coronavirus and the classroom series, NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle answered the three most-Googled questions about the 2020-2021 school year, offering advice on everything from setting up a schedule that works to how to juggle work responsibilities while supervising online learning.

How are working parents doing this?

While Ruhle acknowledges working parents are stressed and struggling, she says it’s important to make a plan, but stay flexible.

“Put together a plan and an actual schedule,” said Ruhle, who likens the work and school routine to maternity leave; when baby sleeps, that’s when mom gets time to shower or nap herself. “When that school day starts, that’s when you can get the most out of your work day.”

Ruhle

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Parents go into debt to pay for kids’ breakfasts, lunches

Elva Mankin

Switching from in-person to online schooling has been hard on many families – and on their budgets.

About one-quarter of parents say they’ve gone into debt to pay for their kids’ at-home school expenses, and many blame the cost of their kids’ breakfasts and lunches when they switched to learning remotely from home.

A survey from Credit Karma  examines how this school year could affect household finances. More than half of parents say they expect to spend slightly to significantly more on school supplies, the survey of more than 1,000 parents found.

The reasons for the debt are higher grocery prices and the sudden switch to at-home schooling in March.

Learning spaces at home: How to create an A+ space for learning at home

Delaying college has a price: Study says students could lose $90K over their lifetime

Before the pandemic, about 30 million children were fed daily by their

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Parents are going into debt to pay for kids’ breakfasts, lunches

Elva Mankin

Switching from in-person to online schooling has been hard on many families – and on their budgets.

About one-quarter of parents say they’ve gone into debt to pay for their kids’ at-home school expenses, with a large share blaming the cost of paying for their kids’ breakfasts and lunches when they switched to learning remotely from home.

new survey from Credit Karma, which wanted to examine how this school year could affect household finances. More than half of parents say they expect to spend slightly to significantly more on school supplies this year, the survey of more than 1,000 parents found.” data-reactid=”13″That’s according to a new survey from Credit Karma, which wanted to examine how this school year could affect household finances. More than half of parents say they expect to spend slightly to significantly more on school supplies this year, the survey of more than 1,000 parents

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Privileged parents form COVID pandemic pods that widen education gaps. We can do better.

Elva Mankin

I saw a Tesla with #BlackLivesMatter written on the rear windshield the other day. It appeared to be a parent picking up their kid from a “pandemic pod,” which, if you’re not familiar, is a small cluster of families who pool resources to hire a private tutor, who may be a parent. These pods are very popular among my neighbors in the Bay Area of California. Nearby I could see a YMCA, which provides child care and after-school programming. It shut down due to COVID-19.

I’m not the first to point out that pods are emblematic of educational inequity in the United States. It’s a winner-take-all approach, with privileged, often mostly white students hoarding academic and social gains and further segregating our K-12 systems. This hypocrisy is why pod parents make me so angry. If Black lives matter, doesn’t that include Black children? What about Black futures?

Pods don’t just

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Parents form pandemic pods to educate kids. Let’s build a better alternative.

Elva Mankin

I saw a Tesla with #BlackLivesMatter written on the rear windshield the other day. It appeared to be a parent picking up their kid from a “pandemic pod,” which, if you’re not familiar, is a small cluster of families who pool resources to hire a private tutor, who may be a parent. These pods are very popular among my neighbors in the Bay Area of California. Nearby I could see a YMCA, which provides child care and after-school programming. It shut down due to COVID-19.

I’m not the first to point out that pods are emblematic of educational inequity in the United States. It’s a winner-take-all approach, with privileged, often mostly white students hoarding academic and social gains and further segregating our K-12 systems. This hypocrisy is why pod parents make me so angry. If Black lives matter, doesn’t that include Black children? What about Black futures?

Pods don’t just

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A back-to-school shopping season like no other has parents, retailers scrambling

Elva Mankin

MILWAUKEE – The back-to-school shopping season, second only to the holiday season in terms of consumer spending, has been thrown into uncertainty bordering on chaos as parents and retailers do their best to plan for what school will look like in the coming weeks.

Set against the backdrop of a highly contagious viral pandemic and the devastation it has woven across the U.S. economy, 2020’s back-to-school season is unlike any other.

“It’s the most challenging time in history for back to school,” said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a consumer consulting firm in New York City.

The back-to-school season is “a critical catalyst that the country needs for an economic comeback whether it’s Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region or anywhere across America,” Flickinger added.

Whether back to school ultimately serves as a jump-start to a pandemic-ravaged economy remains to be seen.

Fall flavor: Dunkin’ bringing

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These online learning tips will help parents prepare for a successful school year, even if it is virtual.

Elva Mankin

Many of the nation’s largest school districts plan to begin the fall semester online-only. As schools consider reopening, children face a future in which online courses will probably be part of the curriculum. To make the best of this situation, here are some tips to help your child adapt to learning from home.

Studies show that in online learning, parents often take on the role of a teacher. Making school a priority will help keep kids from treating online learning as a vacation. 

Research suggests that some types of parental participation have a greater impact on children’s academic achievement than others. One analysis showed that schoolchildren benefit from discussions about learning and school-related issues with their parents and from joint readings. 

Reduce distractions

A report in 2016 found that students spent about one-fifth of class time on laptops, smartphones and tablets, knowing that doing so could harm their grades. They

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Homeschool pods are gaining traction amid worries about school reopening; here’s how parents are getting the finances to work

Elva Mankin

Katrina Mulligan says her decision to organize a homeschooling “pod” – a modern version of a one-room schoolhouse, with a small group of parents splitting the cost of hiring teachers – wasn’t done lightly.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the nation, she’s grown increasingly wary about her public school’s plan for getting kids back in the building.

“I don’t think it’s a great idea to send your kids to school in the middle of the pandemic,” says Mulligan, 40. “A lot of us started freaking out.”

At the same time, she adds, she and her husband found it difficult this spring to juggle working from home while managing their 6-year-old daughter’s virtual schooling. That experience, plus concerns about school safety, prompted her family to connect with four other families in their hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, to create a homeschooling “pod.” Mulligan plans on hiring a teacher to

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Back-to-School Essentials for Busy Parents

Elva Mankin

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

For parents, the COVID-19 pandemic has made back-to-school plans for their children particularly stressful this year.

Many school districts are combining in-class and online learning, which means kids’ schedules will be even more hectic than usual. Parents, then, will need everything from that critical morning coffee to a good night’s rest in order to survive. 

So Consumer Reports has come up with an array of back-to-school items that should help parents through the ordeal. These products  will also help keep the entire family fueled, fed, and healthy.

Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200

CR’s take: There’s nothing like a perfect cup of coffee to jump-start even the most jam-packed day. A traditional drip coffee maker, the Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200 makes plenty of java, thanks to its 14-cup glass carafe. It features programming, auto-shutoff, a cleaning indicator,

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