Microschooling: A new educational option for parents

Ashley Campbell

With many parents scrambling to keep up with the seemingly ever-changing (or non-existent) plans for traditional schooling in a pandemic era, a different option is emerging: Microschooling.

Microschooling is a modern version of the traditional one-room schoolhouse, where neighboring families educate their children together in a small setting. Typically, there are ten students or less in a setting. Microschooling, as a result is extremely flexible — the decisions around content and approach being driven by students’ unique needs.

The options that a microschool can offer are vast. The majority of microschools offer instruction in core classes, English Language Arts, math, science, and social studies. Some microschools focus on gardening, others on arts, some are faith-based, while others are secular.

Microschooling really is about meeting the needs of each individual child and their family. The small groups allow for personalized learning and one-on-one time. Multiage groups allow for students from a range of grade levels to be together for their schooling. This is not only convenient for parents to have one place where all of their children can go, but it also helps create a rich learning environment for the students.

These groups also allow children to socialize and learn together during a pandemic. Some microschools are planning on meeting together in-person daily, Monday through Friday. Other groups are planning on meeting two or three times a week.

Nevada Action for School Options, which launched MicroschoolingNV a little over a month ago, is actively seeking out families who are looking for a new solution and who just might want to start microschooling in their community and neighborhood. Families can do this, parents can lead microschools, and Nevada Action for School Options is here to guide parents through this every step of the way. While opening up a schooling group might seem intimidating, parents leading these groups are doing amazing things all over the country, and it really is easier than you might think.

Microschooling leaders are just as different from each other as the microschools themselves. While there are many licensed teachers that are opening microschools this fall, you do not have to be a licensed teacher to lead a microschool of your own and guide children. In fact, there are even more parents — determined to find a better option for their children — who will be leading microschools this fall.

It is important to understand that microschooling will look different in different states. In some states, microschools are functioning as private schools. In Arizona, microschools can operate as charter schools, and sometimes you will even see microschools within traditional public district-run schools.

Microschooling is new to the educational landscape in Nevada. Because Nevada’s rules and regulations for private schools are especially limiting, and there are no established charter microschools, microschooling students will need to register as homeschoolers.

Interested parents can visit MicroschoolingNV to participate in our online survey, which we use to help match parents and families with schooling options that might fit their needs.

In addition, Nevada Action for School Options is providing support to new microschooling leaders, looking for ways to keep the microschooling costs low, while still providing high-quality educational opportunities to their students. Because microschooling coaching and teaching also thrives in a small setting, the administration staff is very minimal, which plays a crucial role in keeping the cost of a microschool low.

Some families are looking at microschooling as a permanent solution to their growing frustration with traditional schooling options not meeting the needs of their children. Other families are seeing microschooling as a flexible, temporary solution to an immediate problem.

While the microschooling movement is being sped up by the current demand for a better option in this pandemic era, it is nonetheless here to stay in Nevada. Microschooling is a vital part of a thriving educational ecosystem for families who value choice and personalization in their children’s schooling.

Interested in starting a microschool or learning more? Contact Ashley Campbell at ashley@nevadaaction.org.