What Is a Microschool? (And Is It Right for Your Child?)
What is a microschool? The one-room schoolhouse is the next big thing in education.
(I can hear you asking, “What? Wasn’t this a thing from the past?”)
Oh yes, the modern-day microschool is a throw-back to the one-room schoolhouse of long ago. In fact, this concept has revolutionized the educational system, and many noticed it during the COVID pandemic.
Here you’ll learn what a microschool is, how it originated, and why it’s becoming so popular.
You’ll also see if this is a suitable model for your child and if its benefits are better than those of homeschooling or a private school.
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What Is a Microschool?
A microschool is a small, private institution somewhere between homeschooling and a private school. Some people call them “outsourced homeschools.”
Microschools are small, privately run schools where students are responsible for their own progress. They provide a safe and flexible environment for students of all ages.
Classrooms are usually small, and composed of students of different ages, hence the comparison with old, one-room schoolhouses.
The number of students is usually under 20. But there are also bigger microschools with about 150 students divided into smaller groups. This leads to highly personalized learning.
Teachers act like coaches. They’re facilitators, not instructors, and they often apply a flipped classroom approach. Emphasis is placed on Socratic dialogue, project-based learning, and E-learning.
Microschools charge their students a fee between $4,000 to $20,000. The cost is cheaper than a typical private school but higher than a charter school.
Microschools don’t need accreditation but need to be registered as a business, unlike a homeschool.
If your child attends a non-accredited microschool and wants to move to a private, public, or charter K-12 school, they will need to take a test and be put on an adequate level.
Microschools cater to any K-12 stage of education: elementary, middle, and high school. In addition, there are even microcolleges on the market that can provide further education.
It’s difficult to know how many miscroschools there are in the US, as there’s no accreditation body, and rules vary from state to state.
What Types of Microschools Are There?
Microschools can operate everywhere: your living room, a local church, or a local library.
Still, no matter the type or purpose of the school, all share the characteristics mentioned above and are focused on personalized and project-based learning.
What Are the Top Benefits of Microschooling?
The main benefit is that it’s a personalized education that benefits from your child’s unique skills.
Another pro is the cost. You can find a microschool that specializes, let’s say, in languages, like some private schools, and the annual cost will be much lower.
Parents also like that microschools don’t have standardized tests and mandatory curricula.
The emphasis on e-learning and digital resources also seems attractive to families that want to prepare their kids for the requirements of our modern life.
How Did Microschools Originate?
It’s difficult to find an origin.
In the U.S., a movement of preschool co-ops and homeschool co-ops emerged due to the high cost of a private school. Since 2010, it’s been understood as a movement and not only as privately funded groups of parents and learners.
In the UK, the movement can be traced back to independent schools. As parents were disappointed with underfunded and overcrowded school-funded groups, they instead hired full-time paid tutors.
During the COVID lockdown, parents started questioning traditional schooling methods but didn’t feel prepared or didn’t have time to homeschool their kids, which led to miscroschools gaining momentum.
Why Do People Establish Microschools?
There are a few reasons why people establish a microschool. First, they want to provide quality education at a lower cost than a private school.
Second, the idea of students learning at their own pace and with personalized attention is tempting for every parent.
The student-teacher relationship is also closer to the bond created during homeschooling than the one between learners and educators in the public system.
It may be challenging to earn money with a microschool, and it’s more complicated than a private school. But, on the other hand, tuition fees are lower, and the number of students is smaller.
If you want to establish your own microschool, you’ll also need to find a place to teach and set a budget to determine your tuition. And obviously, establish a curriculum that will draw students toward you.
It’s also relatively easy to establish a microschool, as you don’t need to seek teachers with credentials or any state accreditations.
You can join others that are experienced in the topic and get some help.
You might like: Top Cost-Effective Spanish Classes Online for Kids
Is a Microschool Right for Your Child?
With so many educational options on the market, choosing one that will suit your kid may be challenging. Do you know what type of children and families benefit from microschools?
Microschools are an excellent option for families that look for private quality education as an alternative to the traditional system, but homeschooling is not an option for various reasons.
In microschools, homeschooling meets a private school. They provide a thriving environment for kids that are focused on their learning progress and can be responsible for it.
A microschool won’t work for unmotivated kids that require constant guidance and support. Instead, it’s better suited for proactive learners who can apply critical thinking and pursue clearly established goals.
If you’re worried about finances, some states may have a solution with Education Savings Accounts (ESA) programs that help pay for alternative schooling.
Parents may receive a portion of the money that the state government would typically spend on public education.
You Know What’s Best For Your Child
Now that you know what a microschool is and why this concept has become so popular recently, you can compare them to other educational systems you know and make your choice.
They have their pros. But the final decision is always yours and your child’s.
You surely know that each child is different and what works great for your neighbor’s kids may not be the best option for your family.
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