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Social Group Pods

How Does It Work?

The Life Cycle of a Small Group

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the biggest questions caregivers face when they say that their children are homeschooled is, "How do they  socialize?"


As homeschoolers ourselves, AnySchoolers knows that our families have plenty of socialization opportunities simply by being part of humanity.


However, making friends can be much harder. Our Social Group Pods are meant to be a consistent community for your family. There's no better way to feel welcome than to make consistent connections with other people.

How does it work?

  • Groups can meet in-person, virtually, or both.

  • Group numbers are based on sociology studies on in-group dynamics and the evolutionary psychologist Robert Dunbar's concept of super-families. 

  • Families who road school, world school, or live outside of a hub area (such as Kansas City) can join virtual groups to stay connected while traveling or developing AnySchoolers hub groups in their areas.

  • After making a minimum donation to AnySchoolers, you unlock access to group life (and other benefits). 

  • We review the needs of your family (ages, geographic area, comments in your questionnaire, and either:

    • ​Connect you to one or more groups (whatever you prefer) or

    • Keep your information while we collect more families for group life and connect you when a new group meets the minimum number.

  • Once you're connected to the group through our AnySchoolers Spaces app, you have freedom to introduce yourself, set up meet ups and group get-togethers, set group goals, projects, and collaborate with other parents, and share resources and memories! Enjoy each other! The Spaces app has places for communication and photo sharing, organizing group events, and more.

  • We value caregiver collaboration and support, and it's just as important for adults to feel emotional and relational safety as it is for children and teens.

  • Check in with us about your experience after a few weeks, and we'll make sure you and your children are finding meaningful connection within the group(s) you are in. We can always reevaluate and do a remix if needed!

The Life Cycle of a Group

Stage 1 - Forming

We will help with forming! AnySchoolers will recruit new members, find pod members  who are a good match for your group, and connect them to you through the groups section of the AnySchoolers Spaces app. Pods will have an approximate  maximum of 12 members, and when a group has become cohesive, it will close and become invisible on the app to those outside the pod.


To form: 

  1. Make a donation to AnySchoolers. The minimum annual donation per household/family is $60/year ($30 special offer as we launch our organization in 2022)  and include pod activities, donor only events, monthly Slow Burn Curriculum, listing and access to a directory, and the joy of supporting the vision of changing the way society views home education (priceless).

  2. Fill out the AnySchoolers Social Pod Connection Form.

  3. We will match your preferences with at least one group. The matching process is human, not algorithmic. A real person is looking at your Connection Form, reading your comments, and considering what will be the best fit for your family based on available options. 

  4. If you see a group listed on the App that you’d like to join, click “Join” and your request will be reviewed by volunteer staff and by the existing group members to determine whether it’s a good fit. The reason why it might not be could be related to the group’s life cycle phase (if they’re “storming,” the timing might not be right for new additions, for example),, the meeting locations in the area, or other more organic reasons. The goal is for everyone to have a safe space to exist with other homeschoolers. 


Stage 2 - Norming


We expect all pod members, both children and adults, to follow the AnySchoolers Code of Ethics. When it comes to how often, where, and when you meet, you can work together to establish what feels right. AnySchoolers is not responsible for in-group behavior,  conflict that arises, or management of your pod’s schedule and communication. We provide a platform (the AnySchoolers Spaces app) where safe, private communication can take place. It’s safest to stay on this platform and communicate within the pod group page. 

Stage 3 - Storming


All human relationships have negative interactions. These are an opportunity to learn, grow into deeper connection, and experience unconditional positive regard even when we make mistakes. When a group is norming, it will naturally run into differences between families needs, expectations, wants, behavioral limits, political/religious/social orientations, even family history of emotional or relational struggles. By helping to make like-meets-like matches, AnySchoolers gets things started on the right foot, but it’s inevitable that the closer and more known we become to others, the more we discover about ourselves and about them. The Code of Ethics provides some guidelines for how to Storm together - conflict does not have to be catastrophic. It’s a chance for mutual learning and modeling social skills to the next generation.


Stage 4 - Performing


Storming and performing happen in tandem with one another. Your group will have ups and downs, grow together, make memories and have challenges if you are authentic and real with one another. While performing, you’ll find it’s easiest to make plans, use the app, share photos, and feel the joy of connection. 


Stage 5 - Adjourning


All living things die, so that new things can grow in their place. The death of one part of an ecosystem gives life to the next generation of life.. Groups are organic, living units with moving parts. We have a natural opportunity for your group to adjourn at the close of the summer season, as there is a transition to the new school year. Some groups will choose to be ongoing. Some groups will need to adjourn in less than one calendar year. The important thing to know is that it will happen, and endings can be beautiful and celebratory.

Image by Markus Spiske

Multi-Age and Same-Age


Developmental professionals agree that multi-age classrooms and social settings give children a zone of proximal development that allows them to influence one another and share adaptations. Younger ones are exposed to scaffolding and suggestions that older children teach. Older ones have an opportunity to practice caregiving, empathy and self-regulation. This is particularly true for infant, preschool and elementary aged children. 

As kids enter the tween and teen years, transitioning to adulthood, they enter a new stage of lifespan development that is about building industry, identity in relationship to society, peers, career and the environment, and intimacy with other young adults, as they move into their adult lives. While homeschooled teens enjoy hanging out with younger children, but prefer to also have serious conversation and connection with their peers. 

In order to set tweens and teens up with groups who have shared experiences by the time they reach the teen years, we begin when they are young, giving them opportunities to connect with similarly-aged kids in informal pod gatherings, while also connecting with a multi-aged community in recesses, classes, field trips and other AnySchoolers programs. Here we have more information about the developmental needs that drive our social pod system. 

Image by Sammie Chaffin

Social Pods Frequently Asked Questions


A cohort group of 10-12 individuals of a similarity (age, family profile, role, needs, interests) that are specifically connected to each other through AnySchoolers’ group program.

We have friends. WHY SHOULD WE BOTHER??

Being a part of a social pod with similar people takes away aloneness. For children in school environments, this is built into a classroom of 15-25. But our groupings are more specific and intentional for homeschooled children.


Don’t you want to know what else you get too!? $60/yr or $5/month. You get group life access (pod/donor only events like our Ugly Sweater Holiday Party, a virtual micro-conference for parents, access to our app which connects you to group chats, events, photo/video sharing, and self-paced courses). Most importantly, you’ll be supporting this new nonprofit effort to change the face of homeschooling in our society. This is a minimum donation. You can actually donate MORE than $30-60 in order to help other families with less resources participate in classes and groups. We will provide receipts for your tax-deductible monetary and in-kind donations! Unfortunately, refunds will not be offered for donations.


Unlike typical co-ops, our classes are open. We don’t limit access to a member only group. Our academic offerings will be open to anyone. Our pod program is separate from our educational offerings.


So that it is not a revolving door of relationships. We want our groups to be familiar, safe places where relationships thrive throughout childhood and into life-long friendships.


Nothing. Our pods are not intended to be academic. They are for socialization! So now you have an answer to those rude “how do you socialize your child” questions.


However often YOUR pod(s) decide to! Your group has the freedom to decide what’s best.


Kids develop fast! Two years makes a huge difference in development. They need friends of similar development in order to feel connected. We would connect entire families, except no two families look the same, so there would be an outlier child who doesn’t have a cohort group. If we create pods of similar ages for kids, they won’t be outliers anymore.


We can try. Sometimes the person in your neighborhood has teens when you have preschoolers. So we try first to find your child’s cohorts, and THEN we look at geography. The more families we have in the AnySchoolers Social Pods, the more we can get geographically specific!


We can try a new one! Our volunteer staff can discreetly determine what would make a better fit for you or your child and organically fit you into a new small group pod.

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