Parents Turn to ‘Microschooling’ and Private Tutors as School Openings Seem Uncertain

As the coronavirus crisis continues, many parents seeking a consistent plan for their child’s education this fall are choosing “microschooling” and private tutors to help with instruction. “I don’t want to send my kids given the level of uncertainty that still exists to this day,” Ashley Thompson, a Florida parent, told ABC News. While Thompson’s children will participate in some online learning, she is also exploring “microschooling,” a home education option in which the children of several families learn together, sometimes with the aid of a private tutor or retired teacher. Families can share the cost of the tutor’s services. “I’m thinking maybe we’re looking at options of having a couple of the other families kind of get together where the tutor can assist them as well,” Thompson said. The Microschool Coalition (MSC) has begun helping parents to “transform education” by assisting with learning design and resources. Parents visiting the MSC website can get help with how to open their own microschool. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Ed.D., MSC founder, said microschools “are in demand with waiting lists because smaller and more communal makes kids get served better.” “In this time of pandemic, it’s an added bonus,” she told Good Morning America. “They can be much safer than larger schools. Their social distancing, the six-feet apart, is much more doable.” Parents are taking charge of their children’s education as teachers’ unions continue to block schools from reopening and an increasing number of school districts have decided to abandon in-person instruction and provide only remote classes. “As this back-to-school bandying continues, more parents are saying ‘enough is enough’ and are opting out of conventional schooling this fall in favor of homeschooling,” wrote Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom. McDonald explains what families can gain from home education: In addition to children being happier and less stressed, and families having more freedom and flexibility over what, how, when, and with whom their children learn, homeschooling can also lead to better overall learning. Curriculum and educational tools can be tailored to a child’s distinct needs and interests, and many free, online learning resources can enhance academic outcomes. According to ABC News, certified music teacher Jessica Schoenfeld said she receives multiple calls per day from parents asking for assistance in setting up their private learning centers. Schoenfeld transformed her music school into a learning center in which students can social distance with 14 children across three rooms. “Anything that parents can do to get assistance, even if it’s after the school day ends, they’re looking for help,” said Schoenfeld. “Parent’s jobs [are] not necessarily to teach their kids subjects that they haven’t done in 10 or 20 years. Their goal is to get help kids so they’re staying on track as much as possible.”

A sign of the times…

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