Microschooling Toolkit

For many, the interest in microschooling doesn’t just come out of nowhere.  Most recently, much of the microschool momentum arose from the COVID-necessitated, student-inspired, parent-run educational pod – a safe haven where children gathered to learn in a manner that best suited their families.  Many of these families didn’t even know it – but they were starting a microschool community!

Microschools consist of home-based education styles, whether homeschooling families or even cyber schooling families, craving some type of outlet, structure, or community on a regular basis.  Sometimes, the groups grow large and become more structured, and take the form of a “school” – but on parent’s terms and completely at will.  Some microschools are  run via volunteerism, and others have staff, payroll, and business-related costs. Some microschools are “free”, while others require a “fee” or “tuition”.

If you’re thinking about starting a microschool – welcome to the bursting educational entrepreneurship field!  The Penn Graduate School of Education has a Master of Science in Education program , which it defines as preparation to “acquire the knowledge, skills and networks you need to create new schools, launch ed tech ventures, and drive innovation in educational organizations and corporations around the world.”

Sound exciting?

If you are still thinking about starting a formal microschool, ask yourself:

  • What is my “why”?
  • Do I like large groups or small groups; flexibility or structure; consistency or variety?
  • Will you be hands on day to day and in what capacity – child-centered activities or managerial?
  • Do you already have families who would participate?  Would they be paid teachers or volunteers?
  • What’s your vision? Project based, formal teaching by age group, one room schoolhouse, nature or arts inspired, faith-based?
  • What curriculum will be used, or will each student bring their own?
  • What community will you serve?
  • What are the logistics?  Will there be a defined day and time, or will the schedule be more “drop-in”?
  • How will parents communicate with you and relate their child’s daily needs?
  • What is your daily schedule going to look like?

Still thinking about starting a microschool?  Now for the logistics!  Here are a few starting points:

Resources to Help You Along the Way

KaiPod Catalyst

“KaiPod Catalyst is an accelerator for entrepreneurial educators to launch their own microschools in their communities.”

KaiPod Catalyst invests in Founders with a strong desire to build new learning pathways and a passion for personalizing learning for students. Teachers, parents, community leaders, and even working professionals can start building a microschool part-time (alongside another profession) and make it a full-time role when the school launches.”

Microschool Revolution

“Microschool Revolution connects worthy microschools with seed money to grow.”

Microschool Revolution connects you to funders who want to invest in microschools like yours, give you advice for running the business side of the school, and answer any questions you might have about the microschool educational model.

“Today’s economy demands:
Innovators. Problem solvers. Creative thinkers. People who are passionate and engaged.
Not broken spirits, whipped into conformity rigid curriculum and standardized testing.”

National Microschooling Center

“The National Microschooling Center is a nonprofit resource hub and movement-builder committed to advancing the growth, health and evolution of the microschool movement to live up to its fullest potential.”

“If you are looking for a microschooling center for your child, reach out to the National Microschooling Center and they will talk with you about what your priorities are, connect you with other local parents, and help you find a good match!”

School Startup Course

“The School Startup course, designed by veteran educational entrepreneurs, is the blueprint that equips leaders with the knowledge and confidence to serve their communities for years to come.”

This course includes The Unconventional Educator’s Blueprint (a step-by-step Playbook), 8 expert webinars, and over 45 downloadable templates. Combined with their BLOCK framework, they take what is foreign and make it familiar to serve you and your learners well.

Vela Education Fund

“By providing early capital, access to a thriving community of entrepreneurs, and connections to resources and support, VELA is accelerating the exploration of new frontiers in education.”

“We believe that sustainable change in education will come from the ground up.
Parents should be empowered to lead their children’s educational journey. Founders should be empowered to deliver dynamic education solutions for families.”

“The Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless education, now in its fourth year, is a rapidly growing effort to find, reward, celebrate and expand best-in-class education organizations from every sector, in every state, and to create unprecedented partnerships that accelerate impact with the speed and urgency our students deserve. The Yass Prize and STOP Awards Initiative is accelerating education opportunity for students and freedom for parents and teachers all over the country.”

Foundation for Economic Education

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and host of the weekly LiberatED podcast. She is the author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). In addition to her role at FEE, Kerry is also the Velinda Jonson Family Education Fellow at State Policy Network, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and a regular Forbes contributor.

“Kerry’s research interests include homeschooling and schooling alternatives, self-directed learning, education entrepreneurship, parent empowerment, school choice, and family and child policy. Her articles have appeared at The Wall Street JournalThe New York PostNewsweekNPREducation NextReason MagazineWashington ExaminerCity JournalEntrepreneur, and the Journal of School Choice, among others. She has a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bowdoin College.”

So You Want To Start A Microschool

March 2, 2021 | Mike McShane

“Whether termed ‘pandemic pods’ or ‘microschools’ or a host of other names that have popped up, these small educational institutions have seen a tremendous increase in interest in the past few months. Will they be a flash in the pan or something more sustainable? Are microschools going to become a substantial part of the education landscape?”

Microschools, Hybrid Schools Offer More Options for Parents

May 18, 2023 | Colleen Hroncich and Sharon Sedlar

“Frequently, these new educational options are launched by parents who want something different for their children or former teachers who feel constrained by the public school system. While they may not have planned to become education entrepreneurs, they see a need and step up.

“Parents whom we have talked with and who have taken the leap into microschools or hybrid schools are typically very happy with their decisions. If you’ve been considering other options for your children, there’s no time like the present to give them a chance.”

What Are Microschools?

September 12, 2022 | Ed Tarnowski

“Families continue seeking more choice in their children’s education, especially following some turbulent years. With students having many different needs, educational choice naturally takes many different forms. Parents know what is best for their children, and microschools offer a unique way of meeting a child’s unique needs.”

How microschools can succeed

October 19, 2023 | Daniel Buck

“My colleague Mike Petrilli believes that these “hybrid homeschools” will likely remain a niche phenomenon. Perhaps they will. But 5.4 percent of 73.1 million children is still a lot of children, and trends suggest an even larger share of the population will begin to homeschool in the coming years. To ensure that those children receive the education they deserve, it will require policymakers to craft smart laws to govern these new institutions and the movement itself to interrogate its own beliefs and practices, experimenting with new educational practices, yes, but willing to alter course if they’re proving unsuccessful.”

Listening To Educational Entrepreneurs

April 25, 2023 | Mike McShane

“Access to capital, help navigating regulations, and support for educators who want to become businesspeople is a short but simple summary of what entrepreneurs say that they need. If we want to see more educational entrepreneurs, we need to figure out how to support them with information, resources, and training so they can thrive in an evolving K-12 education ecosystem.”

Educational Innovations: A 50-State Guide to Microschooling and Mix-and-Match Learning

“Microschooling. Course choice. Parentpreneurs. Youth-directed education. Enrichment center. Freedom to play. Educational innovation. Unbundling education. Education a la carte

“Education is evolving, and if you’ve stumbled into an education conversation or joined a parent discussion group recently, chances are you’ve heard of learning arrangements or styles you didn’t even know existed. Today, many families are finding the flexibility, customization,  and community they desire in learning arrangements at least partially outside their traditional public school or parochial school. Today, more than 1 million families participate in “microschooling,” localized learning groups they’ve discovered or designed. While families who microschool may legally be homeschoolers or private schoolers, they share an entrepreneurial mindset that sets them apart. 

“Beyond microschooling, many families are simply mixing and matching different education types; for example, enrolling part-time in public school classes, online classes, or apprenticeship programs while homeschooling. To help you understand microschooling and other unconventional learning choices in your state, we’ve created this guide. “

Scroll to Top