DIY Checklist to Set Up Your In-Home Learning Pod

Checklist of considerations and decisions to make when creating an in-home learning pod.

DIY Checklist to Set Up Your In-Home Learning Pod

The goal of this checklist is to help organize the considerations and decisions you need to make when creating an in-home learning pod for your own family or collection of households with a private teacher. We are actively maintaining this list, so please contact us if you there are things you have considered that are not on this list. Finally, please sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on this article and others we publish.

Basic Information

  • Number of children
  • Grade range of children at start of engagement (from lowest to highest)
    - Beneficial to cluster children in the same or relatively adjacent grade levels (e.g., a 2nd grader and an 8th grader in the same pod is less ideal than a 2nd and 3rd grader)
  • Are you a single household or “pod” of multiple households
  • Desired format (in-person, hybrid, virtual)
  • Are children staying enrolled in a school?
    - Our data show that majority of families interested in pods are keeping their child enrolled in the same school in the Fall as they were enrolled in the Spring.

Arrangement Structure

  • Duration
    - Entire academic year? 3 or 6 months?
    - Our data show that majority of families interested in pods want a duration of at least the first semester, if not the whole academic year.
  • Weekly schedule
  • Part-time or full-time
    - In other words, are you looking for a part-time (or potentially, full-time) supplement to an existing school experience or full-time school replacement
  • Hours needed per week
    - Expect to include teacher preparation or break time
    - To make it easier to recruit teachers, we suggest offering a retainer for at least 10 hours / week. Consistency and a guarantee of hours matter to teachers and will make your recruitment process easier.

Child's Needs and Curriculum

  • What is primary and secondary priority of teacher
    - Some options to choose from: academic progress, enrichment activities, socialization, social-emotional support, executive function, childcare
  • Will curriculum be school-provided or teacher-designed?
  • Preferred content expertise or language requirements?
    - Some examples: hobbies, specific pedagogical skills or fluency (e.g., Montessori, Reggio-Emilia, Singapore Math)
  • Special education or learning disability needs?
  • Non-academic supports or needs?
    - Social-emotional, cross-cultural diversity, multi-lingual support
  • Child(ren)’s strengths?
  • Child(ren)’s areas of growth?
  • Other considerations: Allergies, pets, etc.

Learning Environment

  • Will the location of the learning environment rotate among host families?
  • If not all households will be hosting, will the ones who do get a discount?
  • Location of primary learning environment
  • Is teaching outdoors an option (and/or encouraged)?
  • Will parent/guardian be present in the “classroom”?
  • Will parent/guardian be in the home?
  • Will every child have access to a computer or tablet?
  • What, if any, resources will be provided for the teacher? (e.g., whiteboard, projector, etc.)
  • Is there a budget for necessary instructional resources?

Health and Safety / COVID Risk Tolerance

  • Establish a health and safety protocol for all parties involved
  • If someone gets ill
    - At minimum, affected person stays home until cleared for return
    - At most, shut down in-person component of the pod for an extended period of time
    - Intermediate option: shut down in-person component for a few days, clean, and reopen. Infected person remains out of school, the rest of class monitors for symptoms closely.
    - CDC guidelines on what to when a person gets sick and what type of cleaning should be done
  • Are children willing/able to wear masks?
  • Verify vaccinations of all participants

Compensation and Benefits

  • Teacher compensation
    - If full-time, salary
    - If part-time, hourly rate
    - If full-time, health care coverage offered?
  • Deciding the compensation rate
    - Depends on the role of the teacher
    - Varies depending on the region in which you live
    - The longer the arrangement and more hours (i.e., the greater the consistency), the lower the hourly rate / salary
    - The more flexibility you demand and ask of the teacher, the higher the hourly rate / salary
    - At minimum, expect to pay a premium (potentially a significant one due to the high demand and limited supply of teachers) to the avg teacher salary in the region
  • Additional benefits or perks offered
    - Paid leave
    - Sick days
    - Food / refreshments
    - Possible room and board
    - Transportation costs

Defining Your Ideal Teacher

  • Describe your ideal teacher in a few sentences
  • Define requirements / non-negotiables
    - Some examples: teacher certification, Master’s degree in Education (or other relevant subject), prior classroom experience, Spanish fluency
  • What consequences or disciplinary measures do you expect the teacher to be comfortable managing?
  • Are there other intersections that would help the teacher relate to the student(s) or families)?
    - For example, speech & debate, sports, theatre; first generation college graduate, etc)
  • Other preferences

Finding and Hiring a Teacher

  • Are you looking for a nanny, tutor, or professional, qualified (and state-certified) teacher?
    - Understand the key distinctions between tutors and professional teachers.
  • Create an ideal candidate profile
    - What are the key criteria you are looking for in a private teacher. How will you easily compare candidates objectively as you or others in your learning pod interview them?
  • Create a job description
    - Post the opportunity on job boards or use services to connect you directly to qualified teachers, such as Selected for Families‍
  • Begin interviewing teachers
    - Sample interview questions for teachers‍
    - Tips for conducting virtual interviews‍
    - If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is a teacher or school leader, ask them to help support you during the interviewing process
  • If you need help to interview teacher candidates and/or run background checks, feel free to inquire within at

Safety, Insurance, Taxes

  • Background and sex offender checks for your teacher
    - Any public school employee needs to undergo background checks and fingerprinting. So if the teacher is certified and has recently worked at a public school, they have cleared checks
    - However, most background checks are point-in-time checks (it depends on the state), meaning they cover the time period up to but not after the time of the background check. So, you may elect to do another background check at a reasonable interval
  • On-premises / umbrella insurance for your home or premises where the learning takes place
    - You may be liable if other children or the teacher gets injured in your home
  • Consult with an accountant in regards to the employee classification of the teacher
    - According to, most in-home caregivers and nannies are considered household employees under the law (aka "Nanny Tax"). The definition of "household employee" may include your arrangement with your teacher,