Tag: microschool

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. 

What are microschools?

The basic concept of microschooling is pretty easy to understand: students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Usually, microschools address a local need and are formed when families in the same vicinity bring children similar in age together. Microschools are always “micro,” that is, somewhat small. They’ve been called “modern one-room schoolhouses.”

You may hear two different families use “microschool” to refer to two learning environments that look very different. Perhaps one is an at-home learning group of five students while the other is a private school serving nearly 100 children. Education researcher Kerry McDonald describes that the term “microschool” encompasses education models from “homeschooling collaboratives that may meet a few days a week in a local community space, to learning pods in a private home, to full-time, small, low-cost private schools that prioritize individualized learning and don’t plan to grow beyond a few dozen students.” Microschools can take place in homes, churches, libraries, public outdoor spaces, or commercial spaces. 

For all their diversity, microschools share a commitment to flexibly and creatively meeting the needs of individual children. The National Microschooling Center describes microschools as “small, multifamily learning environments” that are rooted in relationships and place an emphasis on children as individual learners. Based on the needs of the community it serves, a microschool may gather for just 10-20 hours a week or only certain days. Families may work independently the remainder of the time. Many, though not all, microschools have a particular theme or specialty that informs their learning, like classical education, nature-based learning, self-directed learning, Montessori education, or special needs education.

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When and why did microschools start?

While many think of microschooling as a pandemic phenomenon, there were small, creative learning environments like microschools long before that. QuantumCamp and Acton Academy were founded in 2009, and are two examples of early microschool learning programs. Outschool was founded in 2015 to offer small group, live online classes for K-12 students. That same year, Education Next wrote about how “from San Francisco to Austin, Texas, to New York, new forms of schooling termed micro-schools are popping up.”And it was back in 2018 that an Arizona dad started using the microschool learning model he’d call Prenda. Under the Prenda model, small groups of just 5-10 kids collaborate on project-based learning with the help of an adult mentor or guide. From one microschool in 2018, the Prenda model has spread to more than 300 microschools as of 2023.

Pre-pandemic microschool families were drawn to the microschool model because of their desire for freer, more creative learning environments than were otherwise available. Families who microschool today share that motivation. As Mara Linaberger, education consultant at MicroschooolBuilders.com, described, microschools are often focused on creating viable, sustainable education communities that leave a lasting legacy. Often microschools are inspired by a desire for students to be more self-directed, and educators to have more freedom in teaching methods. “I began to learn about all of the alternative forms of education,” Linaberger said. “And as I learned my excitement grew! As I learned about small schools using models such as Montessori, Waldorf, or Reggio Emelia, I started to dream about the possibility of new kinds of schools… one-room schools that were modern, innovative, and joy-filled spaces.”

What do microschools look like? Are they a completely new school type?

Here are the three most common formats you’ll see microschools take across the country today:  

  1. Learning centers for homeschoolers. A report by the National Microschooling Center indicates that about 44% of microschools take this format, catering to homeschool students. In states with strict private school regulations, this may be the most accessible format for families wanting to create a custom group-learning experience. 

For example: Freestyle Learning Microschool in Chicago Heights, Illinois is a drop-off center where homeschool children can participate in academic workshops or receive support with their schoolwork. 

  1. In-person private schools. Many microschools operate as mini private schools. These microschools have done the work of meeting their state’s requirements for private education. Families enroll their students as private school students. Microschools in this format are particularly prevalent in states — like Arizona and Florida — that offer flexible scholarships called education savings accounts that families can use for private school. Families and microschool leaders in these states know that these programs can offer their microschool valuable resources while making it an accessible option for all families. 

For example: Acton Academies are a network of “one-room-schoolhouses” across the country, typically launched by parent entrepreneurs looking for small classrooms and an inspiring learning environment for their child. Many, though not all, Acton Academies are formatted as small private schools. 

  1. Hybrid schools. Another popular microschooling format is a hybrid one. Hybrid formatting consists of lending a few days of learning each week in a brick-and-mortar school with a few days of at-home learning. 

For example: Providence Hybrid Academy students in Pennsylvania spend six hours on campus on Thursdays and Fridays, and work from home Mondays through Wednesdays. While participating families at this school are legally homeschooling, they choose to commit to the curriculum and guidance of teachers at the school. 

You can find examples of different programs that identify as microschools in your state in the State-by-State section of this post. While the above three types may be the most common forms you’ll see microschools take, there are others, like private membership associations. Some microschools simultaneously offer both private school and homeschool options, so families can choose whichever they prefer. 

Plus, many traditional public school districts created small learning cohorts during the pandemic that allowed students to learn and socialize in-person. Some of these still exist today! In fact, a number of online public schools have created learning pod-like groups as an option for families. 

In short, microschooling can fall under practically any school type —- traditional public, public charter, public magnet, online, homeschool, or private — and is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases!

“Micro-schools tend to… provide a much more personalized and self-directed learning experience for their students. If you did some research on small schools you’d likely find as many varieties of micro-schools as you do something like coffee houses, yoga studios, or nonchain restaurants.”

Mara Linaberger


While many microschools are small, independent start-ups, there are also microschool networks with learning groups across multiple states. These can offer frameworks and resources for families wishing to start a microschool in their community. Innovative multi-state networks include Prenda, Acton Academy, Wildflower Montessori Schools, KaiPod Learning, Great Hearts, and The Forest School – Online.

To get a sense of day-to-day life in a microschool, we recommend you check out the podcast LiberatED, hosted by Kerry McDonald. You’ll find stories of microschool founders and families from across the country.

What do microschools cost?

What about costs? As you can already see, microschools don’t fit into a mold. Some can be completely free to create and design, while others might cost hundreds of dollars each month. Many homeschool hybrids, microschools, and other unconventional learning programs do charge a tuition fee from participants. While this varies widely, it may be in the range of $175-$650 a month. 

Both local communities and national organizations, like VELA Education Fund, are working to support families who wish to found or participate in microschools. In fact, some surveys indicate that educational entrepreneurship is happening across income levels, but especially among low and middle-income teachers and parents. Many of these teachers and parents are sacrificing their own money to start school initiatives customized to their children.

“A micro-school is not the right environment for every student, but there are students of all income levels who could potentially thrive in a micro-school’s highly relational, personalized setting.”

Melissa Steel King

As you’ll read about in the next section, there are some state-run scholarship programs that can help to offset the learning fees for homeschoolers who participate in a microschool, or the tuition fees at microschools that are arranged as private schools. 

Beyond microschooling: Mixing and matching education through course choice, part-time enrollment, and more

As you can already see, microschooling often takes the raw ingredients of homeschooling or private schooling and rearranges those into something with a new, distinct character. 

But educational entrepreneurship isn’t limited to microschools! Keep in mind that there are also many innovative private schools that, while they don’t identify as microschools, share some of the same tenets, such as an emphasis on self-directed learning. Just one striking example is the Sudbury Valley School, which has generated several similarly-styled schools across the U.S. At Sudbury, children freely pursue their own interests on a 10-acre campus with no traditional classrooms. 

Parentpreneurs and course unbundling 

There are also many families today who don’t consider themselves microschoolers yet who are undoubtedly innovators in education: They mix and match education formats — taking some classes through a local public school or an online school while also having the flexibility for family adventures and at-home learning. Here are three fictionalized examples based on the real stories we hear from families: 

10-year old Shamika in Arizona is homeschooled but participates regularly in her local Barefoot University group, a forest school opportunity for homeschoolers. During the summer, she enrolls in ASU Prep Digital’s online summer school program, where students work 2-4 hours a day in both live lessons with a teacher and independent digital activities.

The Ramirez family live in Orlando and participate in Florida’s education savings account program, which means they receive about $8,000 for learning expenses for their son. They use these funds to choose a values-based education at their Catholic parish school, but still participate in a Spanish class and tutoring program at a nearby public school. 

Adam is a highschooler in Nevada who participates in Nevada State High School, a free charter school for juniors and seniors who want to get a headstart on earning college credits. Since the early college school doesn’t offer sports teams, Adam has petitioned his local district public school, which has agreed to let him participate in their football program. 

A growing number of states — like Arkansas, Florida, and Utah — have created state-run scholarship programs that homeschoolers are either already eligible for or will be eligible for once the programs phase in. Other states — like Oklahoma, Indiana, and Ohio — offer tax credit or tax deduction programs. These can make it easier for homeschoolers to pay for the curriculum, educational tutoring, or extracurricular activities they’re most interested in. 

Many states are also recognizing the benefits of allowing part-time enrollment at public schools, which allows homeschoolers to take advantage of specific district offerings and provides an additional revenue stream for public schools. Both of these trends are “unbundling education,” expanding families’ abilities to mix and match.

Innovative education providers

Education providers also see state scholarships as valuable for offering families cost-free options. Open Sky Education, for example, is a non-profit developing faith-based and character-formation education in areas that offer scholarship programs. The network has created private schools that utilize a voucher program in Wisconsin, and charter schools in Arizona where students can tap into an education savings account. Microschools are among the network’s newest initiatives. 

There are also some innovative programs developing to give families pre-built frameworks they can then customize. For example, Utah-based My Tech High is an education program administered by various public schools. While participating students are technically “public school students,” they can choose to take all classes at home or online if they wish. They can use the program’s flexibility to travel, take early college courses, or participate in local community activities.

Other educational innovations today emphasize how learning doesn’t have to take place on a campus. For those interested in apprenticeships, for example, start-ups like unCommon Construction offer highschoolers the opportunity to earn pay and high school credits while learning how to build houses. Online organizations like Preppy partner with schools to offer online career training for high schoolers. And, initiatives like Liberated Learners Centers focus on self-directed education at learning centers. 

Some entrepreneurial learning environments are entirely online. The Socratic Experience is a private online school that shares many characteristics with today’s microschools. For example, it commits to learning cohorts of 15 students or less and focuses on making learning a purpose-driven experience for students. 

Others utilize global travel. Project World School immerses teens in cultures through worldschooling. The program describes, “Designed for homeschoolers, unschoolers and democratic learners alike, we offer immersive multi-day retreats formed as Temporary Learning Communities. Each retreat utilizes the enigmatic landscape of our host country as the canvas for exploration and discovery.” Additionally, Clonlara Global Learning Community is an educational initiative serving families in more than 60 countries. Students can live anywhere in the world and travel while enrolled in the program.

Know what you’ve signed up for

As you’ve already seen, microschools and unconventional learning environments can take a variety of legal forms! Some are legally small private schools, others are support groups for online school students, and some are simply homeschool co-ops. Whether you’re microschooling with a group or just mixing and matching education options for your child, it’s important to understand what you’re signing up for and whether it meets your child’s necessary school requirements.

If you are un-enrolling your child from their existing traditional public school, charter school, magnet school, or private school to homeschool or found a microschool, you are solely responsible for determining their own curriculum, lesson plans, and methods of instruction, in accordance with state laws and regulations. In many self-directed microschool arrangements, parents serve as teachers. In others, parents pool resources to hire teachers, tutors, or instructors. Each state has its own rules for homeschooling. Keep in mind that homeschooling is not just a style of instruction, it’s also a legal term that means that parents have taken full responsibility for educating their children in the home.

In some states, there is a limit on the number of students who can learn together before that group or microschool might be classified as a standalone private school. If a microschool offers a more formal education arrangement and families officially enroll in the learning group and exchange money for services, this may indicate that it is functioning as a private school. Acton Academy microschools, for instance, are usually established as private schools that charge tuition and use state-certified teachers.

There are also situations where parents keep their children enrolled in their local public, charter, or private school, but also participate in a local learning support group. The purpose of these learning support groups is to help students better acclimate to learning provided by existing schools so that students can learn together and parents can accommodate their individual work needs. Under the supervision of a parent, several parents, or a guardian, students may work together on lessons, classes, and activities provided by the children’s existing schools. Learning support groups may meet during the day, in the case of online learning, or after school. 

Keep in mind that, in some cases where microschools are regulated as distance learning programs, arrangements that families make to regularly meet in person for their children to complete assignments together may be classified as in-home childcare. This has been the case, for example, with some Prenda microschools in Arizona.

State by state: Educational entrepreneurship examples

Below you’ll find a sampling of entrepreneurial education initiatives in your state! 

Policy-wise, every state has different requirements on records, reporting, and registration of different types of schools. If you are part of a microschool that qualifies as a private school in your state, you can check out the state registration, accreditation, and licensing cheat sheet. You can also see a cheat sheet that touches on teacher certification and curriculum. If you are homeschooling and adding on supplementary learning experiences, you can see a cheat sheet for how each state regulates homeschooling and what public services you’ll be able to access.

Alabama:

Here are just a few examples of microschools and innovative learning choices in Alabama:

  • Hope United Academy in Madison is a Christian microschool specifically designed to serve students with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, high-functioning autism, or processing issues.
  • Legacy Builders Academy provides a microschool setting focused on personalized education, nurturing each student’s unique talents and fostering family involvement.
  • Morae Classical Schools, which aims to open campuses near military bases in Alabama, will blend classical education, online learning, and in-person activities, offering character-based education for children of military families. 
  • Build UP in Birmingham is a small, early-college workforce development high school that provides low-income youth with career skills and paid apprenticeships. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.  Note that homeschooled students in Alabama may still be eligible to participate in sports at local public schools provided they meet their district’s requirements.

Read more about what Alabama classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one. In 2023, Alabama expanded scholarship opportunities for private school students.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Alaska:

Here is one example of a microschool started by homeschoolers in Alaska:

  • The Green Room in East Anchorage is a learning community offering in-person classes for homeschoolers, from chemistry to wholeness and health classes. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Alaska may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools. In fact, Alaska is one of the most flexible states when it comes to non-public students enrolling in public school offerings. Excel in Ed describes, “Alaska does not restrict the number of courses a non-public student may enroll in nor does the state restrict students to core or non-core academic courses. Alaska homeschool students could join the local marching band or take AP Chemistry from a qualified teacher.” 

Read more about what Alaska classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you may also have online learning options.

Arizona:

Here are just a few examples of the many microschools and nontraditional learning choices for families in Arizona:

  • The Arizona Innovation Hub launched in 2023 to help Arizona innovators launch schools and education services in the state. The Hub seeks to provide support and networking for a variety of innovators, “from the mom who is thinking about starting to offer a single class to an individual student or small group, to a season innovator launching a microschool or private school.”
  • Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account provides participating families with education funding that can be used flexibly for approved learning expenses, like private school tuition, home education, tutoring, and more. 
  • Prenda Microschools offers tuition-free learning pod options for families through a partnership with accredited online schools in Arizona. 
  • Great Hearts Online has piloted a microschool program where families can enroll in the classical online school but receive in-person learning support.
  • Public online schools like ASU Prep and Sequoia Choice have launched learning-pod-like models where students work on their online school curriculum in person together a few days a week.
  • KaiPod Learning offers learning pods for both homeschoolers and students enrolled in accredited virtual schools.
  • iCubed Learning provides personalized learning pods for homeschoolers, online students, and those enrolled in hybrid programs, offering one-on-one teaching experiences with certified educators.
  • The Black Mothers Forum has launched at least five microschools in Arizona, specifically geared toward meeting the needs of minority communities and their families. 
  • Adamo education combines in-person instruction in small microschooling environments with digital learning.
  • Primer is a microschooling network with schools in Scottsdale and South Tempe.
  • Kino School is an example of a small, innovative private school with mixed-age learning focused on student interests. While it’s been around since the 1970s, it shares some of the characteristics of microschools today. 
  • Arizona State University offers a year-long fellowship that families can apply for if they’re interested in starting their own microschool.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Arizona may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Arizona classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including permanent, full-time online schools that are available to K-12 students statewide.

Arkansas:

Here are a few examples of innovative learning options in Arkansas: 

  • ACRES is a microschool in Brookland that opened in fall 2023. Families register as homeschoolers but come together for mixed-age learning with a Socratic style. 
  • The Decker School in central Arkansas reimagines education through child-led exploration. Families can enroll part-time as homeschoolers, or participate in a full-time program. 
  • Arkansas’ new Educational Freedom Account, which is phasing in over the next two years, will provide participating families with flexible funding that can be used for private school expenses, tutoring, and more. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students with disabilities in Arkansas may be eligible to access special education services from their local school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Arkansas may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools, though restrictions may apply.

Read more about what Arkansas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

California:

Here are just a few examples of the many microschools and innovative learning choices in California: 

  • Silicon Schools ““funds the creation of new schools that foster innovation and personalization to discover the next generation of schools in America.” Their grantees include several microschools and other innovative educational initiatives. 
  • Chronos Academy, a microschool in Larkspur, evolved from a cohort program for homeschoolers to a private school with intentionally small classes.
  • The Players Academy, a network of full-time learning centers that offer hybrid learning for student athletes, is opening locations in Rancho Cordova, West Sacramento, and Walnut Creek.
  • Inner Fire Academy provides an intimate and tailored learning environment for homeschoolers and students enrolled in accredited virtual schools, specializing in gifted children aged 8-12 with a focus on customized, engaging education.
  • In Oakland, the Oakland REACH offers virtual learning hubs to help students receive support and academic and social enrichment. 
  • Global Village School is a homeschool/private school hybrid that was founded back in 1999. The school focuses on self-directed distance learning, social justice, and sustainability.
  • Praxis Elite offers an innovative middle school curriculum that combines academics and athletics in equal measure.
  • Seeds of Love Collective focuses on outdoor education and hands-on learning experiences for neurodiverse learners aged 6-11.
  • The Open School is a small, self-directed school for creative learners. The Open School has a campus in Santa Ana and a virtual program for non-local families. 
  • Ellemercito Academy is a Los Angeles-based microschool focused on experiential, place-based learning.
  • Brightworks in San Francisco is a small school that seeks to foster students’ advocacy and love of learning through project-based experiences. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what California classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including permanent, full-time online schools that are available to K-12 students statewide.

Colorado:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and innovative education solutions in Colorado: 

  • Zealous Schools is one organization operating a few microschools as independent schools in Colorado. 
  • In Denver, Embark Education blends study and real world experience, allowing students to work half-hour shifts at a nearby coffee shop and bike shop.
  • Anastasis Academy is a Christian microschool in Centennial focusing on experiential learning and small, mixed-age classes.
  • La Luz Education is an independent microschool / homeschool enrichment program for sixth and seventh graders. The program is tuition-free and offers education in both English and Spanish. 
  • Montessori Peaks Academy is a Colorado public charter school, but offers several free enrichment programs for homeschool students.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Colorado may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Colorado classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Connecticut:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • One example of homeschoolers gathering in a pod-like community is LearnerSpace in Bethel.
  • From Seeds to Sprouts is a Private Education Association establishing a one-room schoolhouse with collaborative homeschooling. From Seeds to Sprouts is located in Shelton.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Back in 2020, the Connecticut State Department of Education issued a memo recognizing that many families have formed pods, and that in many cases these pods are distinct from homeschooling

Read more about what Connecticut classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Delaware:

Here are a few examples of innovative learning arrangements in Delaware:  

  • R.O.O.T.S. (Reaching Outside of Traditional Schooling) is a family-founded initiative to teach self-sufficiency and altruism in the Georgetown community. The program is located on a family homestead and teaches life-skills workshops. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what Delaware classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including Christina School District’s fully virtual academy or a full-time private online school for a fee.

Florida:

Florida is one of the most vibrant states in the country for microschooling options. Here are just a few real examples of microschools and related resources in the Sunshine State:

  • As of 2023, two of Florida’s state scholarship programs are open to every student who wishes to enroll in a nonpublic school option, like private school or homeschool. Participating families are able to receive flexible funds for learning expenses like part-time tutoring, part-time enrollment in a college as part of a dual-enrollment program, or online learning costs. 
  • Microschool Florida offers an awesome directory of learning pods and microschools around the state. 
  • KaiPod Learning offers learning pods for homeschoolers and students enrolled in accredited virtual schools. One of KaiPod Learning’s partners in Florida, for example, is Steps Learning Center, which focuses on learning and self-advocacy for children with special learning needs.
  • Surf Skate Science is a non-profit South Florida homeschool co-op and education program.
  • Tapestry Academy in Boca Raton is an in-home microschool that describes itself as “homeschool meets day school.” 
  • Steps Learning Center LLC offers a supportive learning pod environment for homeschool and online school students, focusing on hands-on, sensory, and technology-integrated education for non-traditional learners.
  • Kind Academy in Coral Springs offers hybrid, part-time and full-time learning options for a small number of students, focusing on nature, art, and sensory learning. 
  • FLEX Learning Academy is a hybrid homeschool program where you may find students out on field trips, engaging in Socratic discussion, learning through projects, or even doing yoga with goats.
  • Colossal Academy in South Florida is a progressive microschool centered on individualized learning, learning around the community, and engaging in real-world skills like cooking, farming, and video creation.
  • Compass Outreach and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale offers a variety of personalized learning choices, including homeschool support, tutoring services, virtual learning, and a full K-7 private microschool. 
  • CREATE Conservatory in Mount Dora is a non-profit K-7 private microschool where “STEM meets the Arts.”
  • P.L.A.Y. School Academy offers a range of holistic K-12 education, enrichments and family wellness programs to serve homeschoolers and “afterschoolers”.
  • Primer Microschools has eight campuses throughout Florida and offers self-paced, passion-driven learning.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students with special needs are eligible to receive “testing and evaluation services at diagnostic and resource centers” in Florida. Additionally, homeschooled students in Florida may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Florida classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Georgia:

Here are real examples of microschools and other innovative learning resources in Georgia:

  • KaiPod Learning recently opened a Learning Support Group for Atlanta-area students. Students who homeschool or use an accredited virtual school can join the pod for community and educational support. 
  • The Attuned Community School offers a diverse learning pod environment focusing on play-based, nature-based, and project and inquiry-based learning experiences.
  • TwiddleU specializes in education and therapy for Autistic and neurodiverse children, emphasizing hands-on and digital learning in a supportive, inclusive environment.
  • Georgia Fugees Academy is a small charter school designed to meet the needs of refugee and new American students through wraparound services and soccer school. 
  • Sometimes Learning Support Groups are district-run. For example, the DeKalb County School District won a grant to partner with a community non-profit and serve alternative education students through learning hubs. 
  • Mercer University has announced the establishment of a transitional school, opening in fall 2024, for children with dyslexia. The innovative school will help prepare students to master skills to succeed in a more traditional school setting, and will also serve as a hub of dyslexia study and teacher training. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.  Note that homeschooled students with special needs may still be eligible for additional support from the State of Georgia. Additionally, homeschooled students in Georgia are eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools, provided they meet certain requirements.

Read more about what Georgia classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Hawaii:

Here is one example of an innovative microschool resource in Hawaii:   

  • Hawaii Kids Can has started an Ohana Pods initiative to connect and support families who are learning together either online or in-person. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what Hawaii classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in part-time middle school or high school classes through the Hawaii Virtual Learning Network.

Idaho:

Here are just a few examples of Idaho microschools and related resources: 

  • Low-income Idaho families can apply to the Empowering Parents Grant Program to receive funding for learning materials and services for their K-12 student. The program is open to homeschool and private school students as well as public school students.
  • Idaho has passed a bill that allows groups of parents to partner with their school district on “innovation classrooms,” like microschools within the public school setting. Similar to pods, these “innovation classrooms” could be small learning groups where kids use an alternative curriculum and are taught by a specific teacher. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.  Note that homeschooled students in Idaho may be eligible to take classes at local public schools, or participate in sports or activities, through the state’s dual enrollment programs.

Read more about what Idaho classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Illinois:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and related resources in Illinois:   

  • At The Classroom microschool in Bartlett, students meet for 20 hours a week of customized learning. 
  • Kairos Patriot Academy is a microschool operating out of Testament of Love Church in Carpentersville, with Biblical and constitutional focuses.
  • In 2022, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services issued a memo encouraging families operating pods out of homes to become licensed. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers with special learning needs may be eligible for services and support from local school districts in Illinois. Additionally, homeschooled students may enroll part time at local public schools and request to participate in sports and activities, though schools are not required by law to grant this request. 

Read more about what Illinois classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including taking supplemental online courses through Illinois Virtual School.

Indiana:

Here are a few examples of microschools and related resources in Indiana:

  • In Indianapolis, a local nonprofit called the Mind Trust has facilitated learning hubs to support students. 
  • There are three Wildflower Montessori microschools in Indiana, in South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Clarksville. 
  • All 10-12th grade students, including homeschoolers, are eligible to apply for the state’s new Career Scholarship Program. The program allows students who create a graduation plan to receive a flexible grant of about $5,000 for approved “earn-and-learn opportunities.”

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers are eligible to receive some special education services from Indiana school districts. Additionally, homeschool students in Indiana may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools, though restrictions apply.

Read more about what Indiana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one. With recent expansions to Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program, School Scholarship Tax Credit, and Education Scholarship Account Program, about 97% of Hoosier students are eligible to apply for funding support if they wish to attend private school. 

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Iowa:

Here are real examples of microschools and innovative learning options in Iowa:  

  • While not as “micro” as a microschool, Iowa BIG is an innovative, interdistrict public school initiative. Participating students learn by working on projects and in project teams developing initiatives they care about in their community. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers are eligible to receive some special education services from Iowa school districts. Additionally, homeschool students in Iowa may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools through dual enrollment.

Read more about what Iowa classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one. Iowa has some of the most restrictive private school regulations in the United States, and this has posed challenges for some families hoping to start microschools. 

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Kansas:

Kansas is a happening place for microschooling! Here are just a few real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Wichita Innovative Schools and Educators is a community group that supports families and educators who are seeking alternative education models for children. You can find a directory on their site of more than 20 alternative schools and educational co-ops. 
  • Hear the story of one parent who started a Prenda-affiliated learning pod in Wichita on the LiberatED podcast.
  • Urban Preparatory Academy in Wichita provides alternative educational opportunities for children from low-income and working-class families. Most students use the state’s low-income tax-credit scholarship program to attend the small private school. 
  • ReWild is a microschool community in Hutchinson that seeks to restore and protect the natural rhymes of families and create more diverse, harmonious, and sustainable homes. 
  • Some cities in Kansas, such as Shawnee, have developed city code to regulate remote learning support programs. You can always check with your local governance about whether they are developing regulations applicable to your learning pod. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what Kansas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Kentucky:

Here are a couple examples of microschools and related resources in Kentucky:  

  • Sphinx Academy is a full-time microschool in Lexington for gifted and talented highschoolers. 
  • City Schoolhouse is a Christian neighborhood private school in Shively where students come to learn academic, social, and practical life skills.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what Kentucky classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling your child in a private, full-time online school for a fee. 

Louisiana:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in Louisiana:

  • De Beau Microschool families participate in three hours a day of individualized learning, Tuesday through Friday.
  • Sequitur Classical Academy in Baton Rouge offers a classical learning environment. While students are legally homeschooled, they participate in a common classical core, activities, and fellowship. 
  • In 2021, Louisiana created a pod law that lays out some guidelines for school districts wanting to establish pods. Under this law, districts can create pods of at least 10 students that are linked to a school under their jurisdiction. Students in such a pod are taught by teachers and staff in the district. While established by a district, these pods can take place in unique locations like museums or libraries, or through virtual means.  

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschool students in Louisiana may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools, though restrictions may apply.

Read more about what Louisiana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Maine:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in Maine:  

  • With small group classes and multi-age learning, Roots Academy in Cape Elizabeth offers a “place-based, child-led, play-inspired approach” to education. 
  • Learning support groups for students formally enrolled in a school may require licenses in Maine if instruction is compensated and there are more than three students in addition to any children living in the home. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschool students in Maine may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools. “ Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services has issued a statement that “Families who elect to provide home instruction completely themselves or through private arrangements with another adult—without involvement in their local school administrative unit (SAU)—need to formally submit a notice of intent to provide home instruction to the local superintendent and the Maine Department of Education (DOE).”

Read more about what Maine classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one. “In Maine, the only reason for rejection of a potential part-time student is a lack of capacity. “ 

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Maryland:

Here are a couple of real examples of microschools in Maryland:

  • Montessori Luna is a bilingual Montessori school in Pikesville with a nature-inspired program. 
  • Mysa Microschool in nearby Washington, D.C. offers place-based education with crowdsourced curriculum from around the world.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what Maryland classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a private, full-time online school for a fee.

Massachusetts:

Here are a few of the innovative learning offerings around Massachusetts:

  • Sudbury Valley School in Framingham is a self-directed learning private school that has inspired similarly-modeled schools around the world. 
  • Life Rediscovered is a learning center and community hub for homeschoolers in Westborough and North Easton. The center offers full-day academic and social programming, events, trips, and extracurricular classes, and monthly support groups.
  • Symbiosis Learning Center is an alternative to traditional middle and high school that welcomes a diverse student body, including those who may have social or emotional challenges, anxiety, or ADHD.
  • Extend Homeschool Tutorial offers a la carte group instruction in core subjects as well as electives like music, sign language, and digital media. 
  • KaiPod Learning offers learning pods for Massachusetts students enrolled in accredited virtual schools. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools, though restrictions apply.

Read more about private school requirements at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including free public virtual schools that are available to students statewide and private online schools available for a fee.

Michigan:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Blue Bridge School in Grand Rapids is a part-time, self-directed learning community for homeschooled children.
  • The online school WAY Michigan offers a microschool option to support online learning students. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Instruction did release a memo back in 2020 detailing rules applying to school-age child care, some of which may apply to microschooling arrangements.

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers in Michigan may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools. 

Read more about what Michigan classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Minnesota:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Founded by a teacher, Skola is a Christian microschool with a flexible schedule, emphasis on the outdoors, and values-based education. 
  • The Gathering Learning Studio offers learning pods with a focus on small group learning, career exploration, and skill development in a faith-infused environment.
  • An example of a Learning Support Group that ran during the pandemic was Hope Youth Center, which provided full-time distance learners with tech, tutors, snacks, mental health support, and more.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers may be eligible to receive limited tax exemptions from the State of Minnesota to cover costs related to instruction, field trips, and parental time. Additionally, Minnesota homeschoolers may still be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools.

Read more about what Minnesota classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Mississippi:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Micah’s Mission School offers a hybrid learning and resource environment for at-risk students. Students can participate in online independent learning, pre-work training, project-based learning, dyslexia therapy, and more. 
  • Ivy Greene Academy is an Acton Academy-affiliated microschool focusing on each student taking a “hero’s journey.”  
  • Embark, an initiative of Empower Mississippi, is a new schools accelerator that works with school founders to help them launch new innovative options, like microschools. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what Mississippi classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a private online school for a fee.

Missouri:

Here are real examples of microschools and innovative learning resources in Missouri:

  • CASCO Learning in St. Louis is a Spanish immersive learning collaborative center for families. The learning center offers enrichment classes, parent workshops, and even international learning trips. 
  • Little Leaders Academy is an in-home program for pre-K through 1st grade children. The academy focuses on outdoor experiences, whole child learning, leadership, and hands-on activities. 
  • EDGE is a globally-focused microschool serving highschoolers residing within Liberty Public Schools.
  • An annual “Remake Learning Days” event in Kansas City encourages teachers, students, and families to learn in-person in the community through events and hands-on learning.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers in Missouri may be eligible to participate in classes, sports, or activities at local public schools if they enroll there part-time.

Read more about what Missouri classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Learn more about Missouri’s free online school offerings.

Montana:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and related resources in Montana: 

  • Great Beginnings is a nature-based Montessori school and summer camp in Bozeman. 
  • Opt Out is an intentionally small, “outside the box” learning program for Bozeman students in grades K-6. Opt Out combines project-based learning, outdoor education, Montessori, and Waldorf methods. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Montana may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools. In fact, a bill passed in 2023 clarified that homeschool students can enroll part-time in public schools, making it easier for families to blend home and public options.

Read more about what Montana classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one. In 2023, Montana passed laws expanding private school scholarships and making it easier for private school students to enroll part-time in public school classes. 

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time online private school for a fee.

Nebraska:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in Nebraska:

  • Trinity Academy, a Lutheran microschool in the classical liberal arts educational tradition, recently launched on the campus of Nebraska’s Concordia University in Seward.  
  • Masterpiece Academy in Omaha is a microschool founded by a former public school teacher to help small groups of learners discover their passions and overcome challenges. Full-time and part-time educational support is available. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Nebraska who enroll part-time at their local public school may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes. In Nebraska, homeschooled families who come together to learn, such as in a microschool, are classified by the Nebraska Department of Education as a “multi-family unit.” There were at least 35 multi-family units registered for the 2022-23 school year in the state.

Read more about what Nebraska classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee.

Nevada:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Bloom Academy is the first and only self-directed microschool learning center in Las Vegas.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers with special needs are eligible to receive special education services from local school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Nevada may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Nevada classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

New Hampshire:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in New Hampshire: 

  • New Hampshire’s Learn Everywhere initiative aims to allow high school students to gain high school credits outside of schools, through community activities and extracurriculars. 
  • nLighten Learning provides small learning pods for both homeschoolers and students enrolled in accredited virtual schools, focusing on individualized, mastery-based education in a nurturing environment.
  • The Harkness House caps classes at 12 students and offers a student-led curriculum that aims to foster discovery and life-long learning.
  • For homeschool students and virtual school students in New Hampshire, KaiPod Learning offers free Learning Support Groups. Students attending “KaiPods” receive opportunities to socialize, collaborate, and receive educational support while completing their chosen curriculum. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in New Hampshire may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what New Hampshire classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including free full or part-time middle and high school classes through Virtual Learning Academy Charter.

New Jersey:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in New Jersey: 

  • Tranquil Teachings Learning Center is a private membership association offering flexible learning opportunities, including half-day and full day options, in Monmouth County. 
  • The Village Electric is a flexible learning center in Mountainside that describes its offering as “colearning,” blending the benefits of homeschooling with the resources, staff, and community of a private school. 
  • Founded by parents, Metsada Learning Network provides legal, technological, and administrative support to brick-and-mortar alternative learning initiatives in New Jersey.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA.

Read more about what New Jersey classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee.

New Mexico:

Here are a couple of real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Inspira Learning in Albuquerque is a Christian microschool offering K-5 instruction from a professional teacher, as well as tutoring and enrichment programs. 
  • Acton Academy microschools currently serve families in Albuquerque and Cedar Crest.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in New Mexico may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools, though requirements can vary by school.

Read more about what New Mexico classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

New York:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • There are at least four Acton Academy microschools either open or planning to open in New York — these are in Riverhead, Mount Vision, Rochester, and New York City.
  • Joyful Learning Academy in Brooklyn is a learning center for homeschoolers founded by a former public school teacher, focused on holistic living and creative learning. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about what New York classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one. The New York State Education Department says that, “Where groups of parents organize to provide group instruction by a tutor for a majority of the instructional program, they are operating a nonpublic school and are no longer providing home instruction.”

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee.

North Carolina:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and innovative learning resources in your state:  

  • Roots School is a private membership association based out of Durham that provides families the freedom to choose how their child will learn. 
  • Burbrella Learning Academy operates an in-person microschool in Burlington, as well as an online learning microschool for non-local families. 
  • Sometimes learning pods are district-run. For example, Edgecombe County Public Schools in rural North Carolina won a grant to test out learning hubs as a way to give students of all ages more flexibility in their education. The district is also experimenting with early learning pods for three and four-year-olds. Similarly, Guilford County Public Schools has partnered with community organizations to launch learning hubs and give students a blended learning option.  

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers are eligible to enroll in North Carolina Virtual Public School, for a fee, to supplement their coursework, if approved by their school board. If your child was enrolled for one previous semester in a public school and had an IEP, they are eligible for the special education tax credit of up to $3,000 per semester, per child, that can be spent on special education expenses.

Read more about what North Carolina classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including two permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

North Dakota:

Here is one example of innovative, microschool-style learning in North Dakota:

  • Northern Cass School District has reimagined itself over the past five years as it has committed to creating a more personalized learning experience: “Middle school learners participate in studios where educators coach 6-week learner-centered high-engagement projects. This past fall, one studio was built around a Farm to Fork concept to teach about agricultural careers and to experience the world of food production by going out and exploring the real world.” A microschool program is also being piloted in high schools. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that, in some cases, homeschooled students in North Dakota may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what North Dakota classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee.

Ohio:

Here are a couple of real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Founded in 2019, Bloom Learning Community is the first learner-centered microschool in Cleveland. Families can choose the program to supplement homeschooling or as an affordable private school option. 
  • Acton Academy Columbus utilizes multi-age classrooms, self-directed learning, and peer-to-peer collaboration in a small, private school environment.
  • Azalea Montessori School is a microschool providing an authentic Montessori education for children up to the age of 12 in Norwood, Ohio.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Ohio may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Ohio classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Oklahoma:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Edupreneur Academy offers a free guide for parents interested in learning pods in Oklahoma.
  • Revise Collective MicroSchool is a “modern learning studio” serving grades 6-12. The microschool also offers virtual, homeschool, tutoring and afterschool offerings. 
  • Cimarron School of Living Education in Edmund is a Charlotte Mason school combining homeschooling and private schooling. Students learn two days a week at the school and three days a week at home. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA

Read more about what Oklahoma classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Oregon:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Activate is a full-time microschool in Portland specializing in serving students with dyslexia.
  • Anchored Hope is an independent microschool in Sherwood that partners with and provides enrichment for families who homeschool, unschool, attend charters, or make other choices. 
  • Madrona Folk School is a microschool in Grants Pass offering classes for homeschoolers in inspired academics, arts, and land-based living skills.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Oregon may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Oregon classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Pennsylvania:

Here are real examples of microschools and innovative learning resources in your state:  

  • KaiPod Learning partners with local groups in Harrisburg, Manheim, and Downingtown, Pennsylvania to make learning centers available to students.
  • Thrive Space is a microschool offering supplemental and creative education options, from mixed media sculpting classes to cooking classes. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschoolers with special learning needs are eligible to receive special education support and resources from local public school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Pennsylvania may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Pennsylvania classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has laid out guidelines for families interested in joining Learning Support Groups.

Rhode Island:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Orchid Montessori is a Wildflower Montessori-affiliated microschool for young learners  in East Providence.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Rhode Island may in some cases be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Rhode Island classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time online school for a fee.

South Carolina:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • In Charleston, Classeteria is a growing learning where homeschoolers come together for enrichment classes and hands-on projects. 
  • A Home For School offers a student-centered approach for homeschoolers and students in accredited virtual schools, where diversity is celebrated and each child’s unique culture is honored.
  • Ignite Learning Center in Greenville offers a two-day class model supporting homeschoolers, un-schoolers, and other families looking for non-traditional education.
  • Hart Academy is a cottage school in Charleston founded by a former public school teacher inspired by the idea of hybrid homeschooling. 
  • Peace of Mind microschool in Columbia offers individualized, small group work that blends online learning and hands-on lessons. 
  • Mariner Learning Collaborative is a non-profit learning center for ages 10 to 19 that combines homeschooling with classes, workshops, and tutoring taught by staff, parents, and community volunteers.
  • South Carolina’s new Education Scholarship Trust Fund Program (launched in 2024) makes private school, tutoring, and other personalized learning expenses a more affordable choice for economically disadvantaged children.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in South Carolina may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what South Carolina classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. The South Carolina Department of Social Services has announced that Learning Support Groups in which an adult is caring for children for more than one unrelated family should apply for a family child care home license.

South Dakota:

Here are examples of innovative, microschool-style learning environments in your state:

  • Grounding Roots is a homeschool co-op of holistically minded families teaching project-based learning and nature learning, from candle-making to art techniques.
  • St. Joseph Academy is a Catholic classical school for Pre-K to 8th grade opening at St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in South Dakota may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what South Dakota classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in a full-time private online school for a fee. 

Tennessee:

Here are just a few real examples of microschools in Tennessee: 

  • The Lab School is an innovative microschool located in the heart of Memphis that serves children ages 5-11.
  • Discovery Learners’ Academy is a nontraditional microschool in Chattanooga offering personalized academics, social emotional coaching, and discovery-based science and social studies.
  • Imani Montessori is a microschool and homeschool umbrella in East Nashville that seeks to cultivate free thinkers, creative, compassionate, and committed global citizens in service to humanity.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Tennessee may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Tennessee classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Texas:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in Texas:

  • Spyrja Academy offers a blended learning environment for homeschoolers and students enrolled in online schools, with a focus on innovative instruction and community engagement for high school students.
  • Safari Small Schools is an innovative microschool that specializes in serving children with behavioral challenges.
  • Dallas Hybrid Preparatory is a district-run, hybrid learning arrangement that allows students in grades 4-6 to learn at a “small, boutique campus” two days a week, and at home three three days a week.
  • Great Hearts Online, a classical virtual academy, is piloting classical learning microschools in Texas for families enrolled in their online program.
  • In an effort to keep learning pods a flexible choice for families, Texas legislators passed a bill in 2021 to protect learning pods from burdensome government regulations.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that in some cases homeschooled students in Texas may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Texas classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Utah:

Here are a few real examples of innovative learning choices and related resources in Utah:

  • CHOICE Learning Center is an Acton Academy affiliate in Bountiful with a focus on learning as a lifelong endeavor. Aim Academy also operates Acton-affiliated campuses in Utah.
  • My Tech High, based out of Utah, offers flexible, student-tailored learning arrangements where students enroll full-time in a public school but learn online, locally in-person, or in a hybrid format.
  • Besides offering support for homeschoolers, Homeschool Hub Utah offers a list of hybrid education options for homeschool families wanting to partner with schools for specialized instruction and special education resources. 
  • Family Lyceum in Clearfield began as a homeschool co-op but has evolved into a part-time, private education program that includes both personal mentoring for students and occasional classes for parents.
  • In this Forbes article, Kerry McDonald has shone light on some of the regulatory challenges that microschools in Utah face. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Utah may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Utah classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

Vermont:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Mysa Microschool in Mad River Valley seeks to offer children a learning environment that is kind and cozy, where everyone knows them and they can develop confidence, self-advocacy, agency, and time management proficiency. 
  • New World Adventure School in Springfield is a nature-based, inquiry-centered microschool for ages 3-6. The school believes that “children’s social-emotional well-being has ample space to expand in the great outdoors.”
  • Vermont Village School is a microschool that “reimagines school as a liberatory space for people of color.” 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Vermont may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.

Read more about what Vermont classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including enrolling in part-time or full-time courses through the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative.

Virginia:

Here are a few real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • The Grand Magnolia School, a microschool in Richmond, has a cohort-based learning model and 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio, allowing children to receive an extremely customized, intentional education. 
  • Path of Life Learning offers a nurturing, faith-based learning pod environment for homeschoolers online school students.
  • Cultural Roots Homeschool Cooperative is a learning community with programming around the diverse cultural attributes, traditions, and histories of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
  • Aquinas Learning, based out of Manassas, offers a classical homeschool curriculum that some families use together at Aquinas Learning centers, either in-person or virtual. 
  • RISE Hybrid Academy evolved from a small community homeschool program to a nationally accredited, K-12th grade private school. The school offers on-site learning options as well as homeschool curriculum. 
  • Dream Tech Academy in Hopewell was founded to give children a more personalized learning opportunity through small-group classes. The small school also offers tutoring and summer camp opportunities. 
  • Path of Life Learning is a modern, God-centered small-group learning center. K-2 students use a classical homeschool curriculum while families of older students can choose the online or homeschooling curriculum that works best for them.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA

Read more about what Virginia classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including a permanent, full-time online school available to students statewide.

Washington:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • KapKa Cooperative School is an independent school focused on experience-based curriculum and serving grades K-5 in Seattle. 
  • LEADPrep is an independent, nonprofit microschool with campuses in North Seattle and Kirkland.
  • WEEKDAYS offers small-group learning with unique focus areas like music, STEM, and outdoor learning for young children.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Washington may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools. In addition, Washington homeschoolers are eligible to receive ancillary services, including “counseling, psychological services, testing, remedial instruction, speech and hearing therapy, health-care services, [and] tutorial services” offered by local school districts, at no additional cost.

Read more about what Washington classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several permanent, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. 

West Virginia:

Here are a few examples of innovative education options in West Virginia: 

  • The Midian Leadership Project in Charleston aims to develop community leaders through holistic educational and social support and sports-related programming for young people ages 10 and up. The project hopes to expand into a small private school for boys. 
  • City on a Hill in Bridgeport is a microschool aiming to provide excellent academics with a Biblical worldview and focus on servant leadership. 
  • Vandalia Community School in Charleston draws on Montessori principles and outdoors learning for its small-group learning experience. 
  • MicroschoolingWV is West Virginia’s local partner of the National Microschooling Center.
  • Expression Prep Academy, starting in Huntington, is a microschool that emphasizes parent partnerships and critical thinking skills. 

In most states, microschooling is more of a mentality than a legal distinction. Often, families participate in microschooling while homeschooling or being enrolled in a private school or online school. However, in 2022, West Virginia became one of the first states to sign official definitions of learning pods and microschools into law, distinguishing them from other types of schooling. According to the bill, a learning pod in the state is ““a voluntary association of parents choosing to group their children together to participate in their elementary or secondary academic studies as an alternative to enrolling in a public school, private school, homeschool, or microschool.”

West Virginia law defines a microschool as “a school initiated by one or more teachers or an entity created to operate a school that charges tuition for the students who enroll and is an alternative to enrolling in a public school, private school, homeschool, or learning pod.”

In West Virginia, families participating in learning pods or microschools are exempt from compulsory school attendance, but must meet certain requirements. For example, parents must notify the county superintendent or county board of their intent to participate in a learning pod or microschool, and students must complete annual assessments that are submitted to the county superintendent. With approval from their county board, students participating in a learning pod or microschool in West Virginia may participate in part-time classes at their local school.

Wisconsin:

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Hickory Hill Academy is an innovative 10-acre private school that offers enrichment opportunities, like an afterschool environmental program. 
  • Kickapoo Valley Forest School, technically a public charter school, is an outdoor education program committed to an 1:8 child to adult ratio. 
  • Field Workshop in Greendale, along with the Greendale School District and Greendale Parks and Recreation, has launched a pilot program to offer enrichment learning for homeschool and virtual learning students. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Wisconsin may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools. Wisconsin allows homeschool students to access up to two courses per semester at a public school. 

Read more about what Wisconsin classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including multiple free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Wyoming:

Here are a couple of real examples of microschools and related resources in your state:  

  • Impact Wyoming is a group established in March 2020 to build stronger Wyoming communities through youth engagement.

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA. Note that homeschooled students in Wyoming may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools. In 2023, legislators expanded the definition of homeschooling in Wyoming so that it can include more than one family. This makes it easier for homeschoolers to form co-ops and collaborate without losing homeschool protections. 

Read more about what Wyoming classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.

Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide.

Additional resources

If you’re looking for more resources about microschooling and other mix-and-match education options, here are some next steps: 

Join online communities and Facebook groups. Here are a couple of groups to give you a taste of what’s available:

Explore national resources

  • The National Center for Microschooling launched in 2022 to serve as a hub for microschooling stories and resources. Through it, families can find information about all types of microschools, from parent-led initiatives to corporate microschools to learning pods that partner with school districts.
  • The Yass Prize awards funding to education changemakers from any sector of education. 
  • VELA Education Fund aims to support a diverse ecosystem of creative learning environments by providing microgrants to everyday entrepreneurs, as well as large grants for scalable learning models. 
  • KaiPod Catalyst is an accelerator program for entrepreneurial educators to launch their own microschools in their communities over the course of 18 weeks. 
  • Microschool Builders offers intensives, workshops, and collectives for parents and educators interested in starting their own microschool. 
  • You can find more than 20 Black-owned homeschools and microschools at the Black-Owned Schools Directory.

Keep an eye on new ed tech products developing. Some examples of these are a.school, an education management platform for microschools, Labster, which offers science lab simulations, Outschool, a hub of online class offerings, Lexia Learning, which offers literacy curriculum, and Beast Academy Math and Zearn Math. Sites like Get Selected and LearningPodsHub work to connect schools or families with teachers. SitterStream matches families with tutors who offer virtual classes in subjects like coding, dance, and theater. 

Know how education innovation can support special needs children. One big motivator for families to customize education is a special learning need. In fact, one parent who discovered microschooling had this to say, “I have seen children who have struggled for years in a traditional school setting be transformed after only a few months in a Prenda microschool classroom. And because of their small size and supportive, personalized environment, microschools excel at embracing and accepting students with learning differences.”

If your student is switching to homeschooling or private schooling from public school last year and has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in place, you will be eligible, in many states, to receive special education services or a stipend for them. These are typically administered by each school district, but you can check with your State Department of Education or HSLDA to find out if your state allows for this. To go more in depth about special education and school choice, check out our Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Special Education.

The information in this guide is designed to help families who are considering microschools in their decision-making process. Our mission is to provide families with the information they need about all the school options available – traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, and at home – so they can choose the right fit for their child.

 

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