COVID-19 created massive changes during the 2019-20 school year. Many of those changes will remain in place for the upcoming school year as well. With schools nationwide deciding to either remain online or switch to a hybrid model, parents are hurriedly looking for in-person alternatives for their kids. One option gaining popularity is micro-schooling.
Micro-schooling is a method of education that brings children together and places them under the care of a tutor who teaches them during the school day. These “pods” typically consist of 10 or fewer children. Most are being formed by families who live in the same neighborhood.
There are several benefits for both parents and students who join a micro-school. Students are able to experience a classroom setting again with other students and an in-person teacher. Providing an in-person education allows students who may have been struggling with online classes to begin learning again.
The switch to online school resulted in many students falling behind in their studies. By having a tutor, students are challenged again and have someone who will continue to ensure that their school work is getting done. Micro-schooling also gives students a sense of normalcy again because they are interacting with others their own age on a daily basis.
For parents, micro-schooling provides a much needed relief. Many students have parents who work during the day. This has been one of the main concerns that many parents have had with online school. If parents are working during the day, they cannot stay home to watch their children. Providing a tutor not only solves the problem of education but of childcare as well. Micro-schooling also allows working parents who are not comfortable with schools opening during the pandemic to still have their children in a classroom setting.
Micro-schools seem to solve many of the problems facing the education system this year. However, they also face some criticism.
Due to the expense of joining a micro-school, many are labeling them as unfair and un-inclusive. Lower income families who are living paycheck to paycheck do not have the funds available to send their children to a pod.
In an effort to assist these families, public school districts in some areas are forming their own pods. A school district in San Francisco is providing the necessary resources to start one for their students. Along with the school district, a few non-profits are also providing resources and support.
While public schools try to accommodate low income families with their own pods, the growing popularity of private micro-schools poses a threat to public education. Micro-schools are essentially a form of homeschooling. They provide a massive step toward school choice. After the pandemic ends and schools return to normal schedules, many parents who are tired of the liberal bias in public schools might decide to continue micro-schooling.
Micro-schools that continue after the pandemic could continue to attract students to them, resulting in the formation of an entirely new school. An example of this scenario is Upstate Homeschool Co-op. Located in Taylors, SC, Upstate Homeschool Co-op combines a few days of classroom instruction with in-home learning. UHC began in 1997 as a small schooling group in a house with only 19 students. Twenty years later, it is the largest homeschool co-op in the nation with over 700 students ranging from grades K4 through 12th.
Most micro-schools will not reach the same level of success as UHC. That does not mean that they are not viable options. COVID-19 is showing that parents can provide an education to their children without a school system. If micro-schooling can be accomplished during a pandemic, it can certainly be accomplished in normal circumstances.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.