Charter Pods to Enrich Learning

Paula LabrotBy Paula Labrot      September 4, 2020

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Charter Pods to Enrich Learning
Jim Robertson is a naturalist and aboriginal skills instructor for outdoor instruction for private or group excursions.
We are going somewhere new and we are not going back to “normal.” The Covid19 pandemic of 2020 has created a sea change. It’s like we are in the Panama Canal, transitioning between two different oceans. We’re in the locks, being raised and lowered until we can safely transit out of the locks to our new destination. Education is definitely one of the locks we have to negotiate. Kids learning at home online is the alternative used to open LAUSD classes for Fall, 2020. It is painful to think of kids trapped at computers all day, but parents are reacting positively through the formation of pods. There is an old saying: “It’s not how you act it’s how you react.” In addition to parents, some wonderful people have reacted to this current transition in a positive, constructive way for themselves and for others. They have used their optimism, creativity, intelligence, and adaptability to really make a difference. According to the New York Times, pods are for three to 10 students who will learn from home together, either being taught by one of the child’s parents or a teacher the families have agreed to hire. These pods will also allow the kids to have fun and build social skills while being schooled, just not in school. There are lots of local resources around us. We are surrounded by the most creative, skillful, competent people right in our own areas. From my experience with Floating Doctors, I can say that most people are so good, so willing to help, so wanting to be useful to others and lend their special skills and expertise to worthy endeavors. It doesn’t matter if your neighborhood is rich or poor, there are those among us who have so much wisdom and such interesting skill sets to share. With things the way they are, these folks are starting to emerge as volunteers and even cottage industries. They are driven by their own passions and interests, love their special area of expertise and sharing that knowledge. Any one of these would enrich a child’s education in school or out. EXTRA-CURRICULAR ENRICHMENT OFFERINGS Jim Robertson. Would you like to know which Santa Monica Mountains plants are edible and which plants can be used medicinally? Join naturalist and aboriginal skills instructor Jim Robertson for outdoors instruction on how to build shelter, make soap, weave containers, and more, all from natural materials. Jim Robertson is a naturalist who offers private or group excursions. Programs can be tailored for specific age groups, children to adults. You can reach him at; on Facebook; and
Dawn Geer and her husband, Greg Thiry offer outdoor, socially distanced yoga classes for adults, kids, and teens and classes for individuals, families, or private groups.
Dawn Geer. The beautiful and loving Dawn Geer and her husband, Greg Thiry, are offering outdoor, socially distanced yoga classes for adults, kids, and teens. They can arrange classes for individuals, families, or private groups. People who want direction toward an understanding of environmental sciences, yoga, mindfulness, philosophical studies, and communication, will be interested in the content proposed by Yoga of Elements. Greg is a middle school teacher at Topanga Mountain School ( Get those kids outside and moving!

Angela Diaz will come to your house and teach Spanish. Fabuloso! She can teach Kindergarten through High School. She is a graduate of CSUN and has a degree in psychology. She can teach individuals or pods. What’s very cool is that Angela has a minor in child development and can work with special needs kids, including Aspergers kids. Special needs kids have an especially hard time with computer learning. She has taught Spanish and English for nine years. Contact her at (818) 437-8239.

Christina Robertson has started a weekly family newsletter that explores nature called the Conejo Valley Nature Club Newsletter. It is filled with information and ideas for projects and outings. Christina has worked tirelessly to create “do-able” activity plans for her own children and has shared her labors of love in a public forum for others to use. She is an experienced home-schooler and a generous expert on enrichment activities for children. She gives so much information—places to go, facts, videos, art projects, even jokes! It’s really high quality. You can find the newsletter at Her blog is a homeschooler’s dream site

Laura Revness is a retired credentialed Apple Award-winning art teacher with 31 years’ experience. She is interested in teaching a small group of children art, outside, once a week for a one-hour class, $30 a class including supply fee. The classes include drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture. Time and date to be determined by students. Parents welcome too. And…she teaches gardening, too! (

There is much more: a personal trainer in Pacific Palisades who is doing physical education classes for kids; Westside Riders at Will Rogers is giving riding lessons (in my opinion, one of the best ways to learn great leadership skills). There are Tai Chi classes on the bluffs in Pacific Palisades. Building a small structure is a great way to teach geometry and carpentry at the same time (applied knowledge), and finding a handyman to teach that activity is not hard. There are chefs offering to come to people’s homes and teach nutrition and cooking. Please send us any contacts you would like to recommend!
So much is falling on parents right now. Trying to get a kid in front of a computer to sit, pay attention, and learn is quite the challenge. How about multiple kids? Pods help distribute the educational burden. I found that many of the people I spoke to were willing to work on sliding scales and negotiate prices. It’s a great time to get in on the ground floor of these emerging entrepreneurs of the heart. n

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Vamos a ver!
Paula Labrot
      September 4, 2020

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