What is a microschool?
It’s an alternative to private schooling or home schooling, granting a more personalized – and affordable – option for children that are not thriving in their current school. Instead of the traditional, single-subject, lecture-based classroom, the microschool model is based on generalist learning coaches creating personalized learning plans. These plans combine self-paced eLearning with expeditionary, project-based learning, to develop 21st-century skills.
While microschools share some characteristics with homeschooling, it typically takes place at a studio or classroom space to accommodate a small cohort of students.
What will my kid do all day at one of these “microschools”?
Most microschools do have some sort of structure to their day, even if it’s not broken up into traditional subjects. Your child might have a chunk of time in the morning to work on mastering skills like reading, math, or a foreign language. That would likely be through interaction with eLearning software. In the afternoon, the students might have a group activity such as a Socratic seminar to discuss the effects of a historical event, or they may work on a project to discover scientific principles and explore the world around them. Depending on the day, there might be some sort of other activity scheduled as well, such as a chunk of time dedicated to art or physical health. Ultimately, each microschool chooses to set up their schedule in the way that best suits their students and their goals. Check with the learning coach at a microschool in your area to get a better idea of how the students at that microschool spend their days.
Why should I consider sending my kid to a microschool?
A Microschool Revolution learning center is the best option for getting a personalized education for your child at a reasonable cost. Learning coaches love working with students and have experience helping them succeed! If you’re just starting to explore alternative education, but you’re not sure which one is for you, check out our alternative education quiz.
How risky is this type of education model?
The microschool model has been proven to be quite effective. Acton Academy, founded in Austin, is one of the premier proponents of this model. Students at Acton Academy currently test 5 years above their grade level. Although the microschool model is too young to see the effects on college admissions and careers, homeschooled students typically have above average college acceptance rates, and there’s good reason to believe that students who graduate from microschools will be even more successful.
Even though testing results are impressive, this isn’t how microschools measure their success. We know we succeed when we have students who habitually engage in critical thinking, who know how to collaborate with their peers, who aren’t afraid to find the answer to a question they don’t know, and above all, who are genuinely interested in the world around them.
Isn’t the real question how risky it would be not to give your child the chance at a useful education?
Why does a new generation require a new way of education?
“Today more than ever, we prize academic achievement, pressuring our children to get into the “right” colleges, have the highest GPAs, and pursue advanced degrees. But while students may graduate with credentials, by and large they lack the competencies needed to be thoughtful, engaged citizens and to get good jobs in our rapidly evolving economy. Our school system was engineered a century ago to produce a work force for a world that no longer exists. Alarmingly, our methods of schooling crush the creativity and initiative young people need to thrive in the twenty-first century.”
– Tony Wagner & Ted Dintersmith, authors of “Most Likely To Succeed”
A few statistics from MLTSfilm.org to consider:
- 53% of recent college graduates are under- or unemployed.
- Student engagement in school plummets as they get to higher grades—from 80% in elementary school to just 40% by the beginning of high school.
- Just 11% of employers—yet 96% of academic provosts—believe colleges are effective in preparing graduates for the workplace.
- A Lego Foundation study reports that students lose more than 90% of their creative capacity during their school years.
- Gallup found that college grads who had opportunities to apply classroom learning to internships, jobs, or ambitious projects are twice as likely to be engaged in work later in life.
- 65% of today’s grade-school children will end up in jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
- The current length of a job for a millennial is an average of 2.6 years, and millennials will have 15-20 jobs over the course of their working lives.
- By 2020, 40% to 50% of all income-producing work will be short-term contracts, freelance work and so-called SuperTemps.
- 45% of recent college graduates return home to live with their parents.
Sir Ken Robinson persuasively makes the case in the most watched TED talk of all time.
What do you mean by education for the real world?
Parents today are painfully aware that the traditional academic world of endlessly-repeated lectures, note-taking, homework, rote memorization, standardized testing, grading, sorting, and ranking, may not be adequately preparing their children for a successful and happy future, much less helping them develop their talents to their full potential. Yesterday’s jobs are being automated away at an ever-increasing rate, leading to astounding uncertainty for our children’s future.
The 21st century needs and rewards resourceful entrepreneurs, innovative designers, creative problem solvers, independent critical thinkers, insightful analyzers, productive project managers, persuasive communicators, imaginative storytellers, inspiring leaders, socially-adept collaborators, conscientious citizens, resilient risk-takers, curious explorers, diligent researchers, and passionate self-motivated go-getters…yet these traits are routinely quashed in the traditional school setting.
Microschools close the gap between the world’s demands and our educational system’s paltry supply. That’s why at Microschool Revolution, our goal is to bring those microschools to life all over the country – at an affordable price.
What’s the difference between coaching and tutoring?
Tutoring is direct, one-on-one instruction that typically supplements instruction. A tutor will help a student, away from class, to improve in one or multiple subjects.
Learning coaches are much more like full-time teachers, but the methods vary significantly. Oftentimes coaches will instruct on multiple subjects, and will remain with a student through multiple school years, rather than advancing the cohort each year. Learning coaches create personalized learning plans and guide students through the entire curriculum, but the students do the driving according to their interests and abilities.
Coaching can consist of reading, writing, presenting, Socratic discussions, eLearning, and project-based assignments. Very rarely do coaches give direct instruction or lecture. Coaching encourages much greater agency, pushes students to become self-directed, and develops time and task management skills at an early age.
How do I know I can trust one of your founders?
Each of our founders goes through an application process. We look for several things in that process, including a thorough background check, business sense, and characteristics that would make him or her a strong learning coach for your child. With that said, part of the beauty of the microschool model is moving the focus away from the teacher and onto the child. Elearning software and other students will have just as profound an effect on your child’s education as the founder. More than anything, your child’s own curiosity and interests will drive his or her education.
Of course, there’s no substitute for parental intuition. Please feel free to ask any and all questions of our founders! Only you know what’s best for your child.
Is there a way for my kid to try one of your schools to see if there is a fit?
It doesn’t hurt to ask! Each of our microschools is independently run, so the decision of a trial period is up to each individual founder. We often encourage new schools to hold a short summer session for students to try out the school and see if there’s a good fit. Our advice is to look for a microschool in your area, and ask if they’d be open to a trial period.