FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The coronavirus pandemic has hatched a bumper crop of "learning pods." They're groups of children educated or tutored outside of formal school, with privately hired teachers.
CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff has more on how they work.
She's proud of how her sons are navigating virtual learning, but, still, Noret Bazemore of Freeport worries about what's falling through the cracks when she's at work.
"It's really, really hard to juggle," she said.
"It's kind of hard to stay focused," sixth grader Derik Bazemore said.
"Not a lot of things get explained fully," Simon Bazemore added.
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It's why Noret Bazemore and other parents are organizing learning pods -- small groups of students taught by educators they hire, to supplement virtual learning.
"Student teacher, teacher's aid, retired teacher, just someone to basically answer questions if they have. let's say, any technical challenges," Noret Bazemore said.
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Other parents are going even further, hiring classroom teachers to replace formal preschool.
"Some nursery schools have completely closed and some parents are just nervous to send their children to an optional place where there is going to be a lot of exposure to germs," said Allison Kryder of J.A. Tutoring.
J.A. Tutoring has been busy setting up learning pods through fifth grade.
"They'll provide hands-on to engage them, more so than sitting in front of a computer screen," the tutoring service's Jenna Hoelzer said.
It's a new trend borne out of frustration with remote learning. Parents say it's safer, too, because they keep one another informed about possible COVID-19 exposures.
"I definitely would recommend it because it's a safe way of learning and they still get to play with each other," one parent said. "It's individual learning plus group learning, and they are excited to come to school."
But it can be an expensive. Certified teachers can command six figures. Waine Tam with the group Selected for Families says there are more affordable options.
"You can bring in someone with youth development experience, or an aspiring educator, someone who is currently in school. If you can't afford someone, pool resources with a family. Maybe you can organize your schedule such that you can kind of tag team based on your expertise," Tam said.
They're also known as "pandemic pods" and "micro schools," with parents spending between $20 and more than $100 per hour.
Chalk up even more to the costs of the pandemic.
You can find many social media groups and tutoring companies dedicated to helping parents hire educators and join learning pods.
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