Most microschools are technically private schools, in that they are funded through student tuition and are not subject to government regulation and standardized testing. But the format and education models tend to vary significantly between microschools and traditional private schools.

Traditional private schools tend to be a lot like glorified public schools. Parents tend to be much more involved, and teachers are often better paid and not bound to government-mandated curriculum. But many are traditional institutions, regimented in a typical, industrial fashion. Learning is seldom personalized for the students. In most cases, kids are expected to fall in line with whatever pace the school sets.

The microschool model, however, is designed to be flexible. Students are responsible for driving their own learning with the help of an engaged learning coach. This taps into children’s innate curiosity, facilitating them as they explore according to their interests, and at their own pace. Coaches in microschools set high expectations for their students, but these expectations revolve around personal development and critical thinking rather than conformity and rote regurgitation.

Another big difference between microschools and traditional private schools is the cost. Tuition is typically a lot lower at microschools. This is primarily due to the structure. Students are empowered and even expected to pursue their own interests. Innovative eLearning tools are used wherever possible. And much of the students’ time is dedicated to project-based learning. As a result, fewer teachers and almost no administrators are needed, and the cost to operate comes down. This can be attributed to the simple difference between manufacturing children (bad) and cultivating them (good).