By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been a challenging time for parents and their school-age children.

The pandemic has changed how they’re learning.

But as the school year starts, a new Chicago-based tech company is helping parents help each other. It’s already happening in Highland Park.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams explains.

“Daunting” is how Jen Luby described the thoughts of another school year for her seven-yea- old daughter Sloane, if last spring was any indication.

“It wasn’t good for our families. It wasn’t good for our kids,” Luby said. “How can we come together and create a solution? Not just for ourselves, but for possibly everybody in the district?”

The public school district in Highland Park where Jen and her husband have connected with other parents, trying to support each other, and their kids education, amid the pandemic.

Sloan will have a combination of in-school classes and e-learning.

“Times like this require creativity and working together,” Luby said.

They’re getting an assist from a new Chicago-based, online company that helps parents find additional educational instruction, even play time for their children.

It’s called CoPod.

Co-founder Alice Locatelli said parents go on CoPod’s site and fill out a profile describing what they want for their children. Then parents agree to host lessons in their homes. These small gatherings of three or four children are called pods.

“It’s absolutely taken off,” Locatelli said.

“On Monday, they might go to Person A’s house. On Tuesday, they all go to Person B’s house,” Locatelli said. “So the parents are really structuring the pods themselves through chatting with each other. We’re giving them the basic information to figure out who to connect with.”

Jen Luby knows what she wants for daughter Sloane.

“I’m hoping to find a pod of like-minded second graders who love to draw and dance, and probably need a little more steering towards the e-learning,” Luby said.

Jen created the Highland Park group, but CoPod is open to all parents, and pods are forming across the country.

And it is free.

For more information, visit the CoPod site.