Learning Modules
For Your Microschool Growth

Unleashing Possibilities: Measuring Meaningful Progress

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

The purpose of assessment in education is to gather information about students' knowledge, skills, and abilities. It gives educators insights into how effectively instructional methods work and helps them make informed decisions about curriculum design and teaching strategies. Assessment serves as a tool for measuring learning outcomes, identifying areas where students might need additional support, and tracking progress over time. It also offers students the opportunity to reflect on their own learning and set goals for improvement. Ultimately, assessment aims to ensure that educational goals are being met and to support continued growth and development.

In this module, you will deepen your knowledge of the purpose of assessment and increase your familiarity with different forms of assessment. You will clarify the purpose of assessment in your microschool and learn why healthy feedback loops are crucial to students' motivation.

Overview of topics:

  • Assessment and Evaluation

  • The Importance of Healthy Feedback Loops

  • Empower students to take ownership of their learning journey.

  • Methods of Assessment and Feedback

  • Digging Deeper into Assessment

What you'll learn:

  • A deeper understanding of a variety of types of assessment

  • A deeper understanding of the purpose of assessment in your own microschool

Brand Heartbeat: Telling the Story of Your Microschool

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

Finding students can be one of the most challenging aspects of starting a microschool, largely because microschool founders approach student recruitment as though they are selling their learning model. In reality, you are developing new relationships with children, their parents, and others in your community. Lasting relationships are built on shared values, common goals, open communication, and mutual respect. When you first start your microschool, people won’t know anything about you or your school. They won’t know your goals or values. Most people won’t even know what a microschool is.

Your job as a microschool founder will be to invite people within your community into a relationship with you by telling your story. Some of those relationships will lead to student enrollment now or in the future, but more importantly, those healthy relationships will help you develop a reputation within your community that reflects the core values of your microschool.

As you go through this module, as well as the other Microschool Academy learning modules, several recommended activities encourage you to “learn out loud,” or to share your thoughts on social media outlets. Doing so helps you to establish a presence in your community as a voice for innovative education practices. It can often be the first step in establishing your brand and telling your story.

Overview of topics:

  • Find Your Why

  • Define Your Core Values

  • Building Your Brand

  • Telling Your Story

What you'll learn:

  • Develop a sense of clarity about who your microschool is designed to serve and how you will best serve them

  • Design a plan for finding families for your microschool

Catalyst of Change: Preparing the Adult in the Microschool

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

Becoming a catalyst of change speaks to what many of us hope to accomplish when we embark on the journey of educating others. We want to effect change, promote growth, and empower others. 

Sometimes we become an accidental catalyst; other times, we set out to create change with intention. Whether you’ve found yourself embarking on this journey of starting a microschool deliberately or serendipitously, Catalyst of Change will help you prepare for the road ahead.

Take a moment to think about the change you hope to incite. Take out your vision or mission statement. How will this change impact others? What are the larger implications of this change? What obstacles will you face? How will you persevere? 

Creating change can be daunting; it requires equal measures of optimism, tenacity, and resilience. It also calls us to reflect, to look critically at where we have come from and where we’re headed. Some of that reflection will be uncomfortable. It can be helpful to cultivate a sense of grace for yourself. When you find yourself feeling shame, disappointment, or frustration as you reflect, ask yourself how you would extend grace to someone else in your position. What words would you offer? How might you support them? Is it possible to offer those same strategies to yourself?

In this module, you will begin exploring how beliefs and biases influence the learning environment and how the capacity and resilience of the adult in the room can be the difference between a surviving microschool and a thriving microschool. You will also investigate and collect strategies for empowering the students in your microschool. 

Roll up your sleeves, and let's get started!

Overview of topics:

  • Beliefs and Biases

  • Capacity

  • Resilience

  • Empowering Others

What you'll learn:

  • A deeper understanding of your beliefs and biases and how they might impact your microschool

  • Your capacity as an educator and tools for assessing and expanding your bandwidth

  • A variety of tools and strategies for empowering learners

Creating Cultures of Learning: Growth Mindset for a Flourishing Community

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

What is culture?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines culture as the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. 

And according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, culture includes language, ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, and ceremonies, among other elements. Whether you are intentional about it or not, a culture will form in your microschool, and attitudes and behaviors related to learning will be a part of that. As the leader of your microschool, you have an opportunity to shape customs and social institutions that support the type of culture you hope to foster.

It is helpful to begin defining the culture you want to create in your microschool as early as possible. Even general ideas about the culture you hope to establish can influence the decisions you make in starting your microschool. 

Let's consider location. 

If the culture in your microschool will emphasize experimentation to foster a growth mindset, you might look for a location with a lot of physical space for projects and messes. If you are creating a culture that values time spent in nature to cultivate curiosity, you might seek out a location near open spaces or a nature preserve. 

These are just examples, and you can find a location without knowing the specifics of the learning culture you desire. However, adding that perspective to your criteria will help you make choices in alignment with the culture you are establishing. 

Another reason we invite you to start defining the culture of learning early is that it will help you start as you mean to go on because it can be difficult to shift a less-than-optimal culture once it has gathered momentum - It is far easier to cultivate the culture you want from the beginning.

The culture of learning in your microschool will impact not only the day-to-day interactions of your learners but also their educational outcomes. Additionally, it will shape the way families interact with you, their children, other parents, and the microschool itself.

Overview of topics:

  • Belonging

  • Equity

  • Empowerment

  • Non-judgment

  • Mindset

  • Curiosity

  • Striving

  • Accountability

What you'll learn:

  • The type of culture you want to create in your microschool

  • The tools and strategies that will help you create the culture you want in your microschool

Learning Oasis: A Learning Environment for Everyone

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

An oasis is generally a small patch of fertile land in an otherwise inhospitable desert. There are a number of geologic, hydrologic, geographic, and biological causes that contribute to the health and longevity of an oasis. However, one major factor in the size, shape, and sustainability of an oasis often goes overlooked: humanity. For thousands of years, humans have not only gathered around natural oases, but have also found ways to both increase the efficacy of the natural processes that collect water and replicate those patterns to create new oases. These pools and wells then long served as a refuge for people of diverse cultural, religious, and ethnic groups and fostered trade of resources and ideas.

One of the most significant benefits of microschools is the diversity and flexibility of learning environments where they meet. Just as the learning can be customized, so too can the environment and culture of the microschool be adapted to fit the needs of the learners based on the type of learning activity being pursued.

The physical space of a microschool can include external geographic features, such as climate and ecology, or even the type of neighborhood in which the microschool is located. It will also include structural features, such as the type of building where the microschool meets as well as the size and number of rooms that make up the accessible space. We must also consider the different uses of the space and how the various uses may require different lighting, seating, storage, and equipment. The layout and design of the physical space will also impact noise levels and the proximity of one student to another, both of which can greatly influence learning. Every bit of stimulus learners are exposed to will shape their learning experience, including stimulus from other learners.

Overview of topics:

  • Microschool Location

  • Use-based Design

  • Spatial Awareness

  • Play

  • Quiet Space

  • Outdoor Education

What you'll learn:

  • Understand the connection between learning and the learning environment

  • Identify key environmental elements you believe will be conducive to learning in your microschool

The Learning Kaleidoscope: Learning Models for a Diverse World

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

One of the most exciting things about the microschool movement is the diversity of learning methods and models now available for parents to choose from. As we move away from the one–size-fits-all approach of institutionalized learning, it is essential to think critically about the people we want to serve and the learning model(s) that will meet their needs. Microschools have a unique opportunity to create highly specific learning environments.

The traditional school system has suffered for years under the best of intentions. Still, so often, any attempt to offer a more nuanced learning experience has been thwarted by a system that prioritizes the institution's needs over the students’. Microschools have the ability to be more nimble, prioritizing to a much greater extent the needs of individual students. Finding methods and materials that work for ten students is a vastly different equation than with 1,000+ students. This flexibility allows microschools to serve their students and communities in ways that their institutional counterparts cannot.

When you look at the many roles schools can fill and the number of students schools are trying to serve, it's easy to see why it is difficult to make effective changes that meet all the needs and functions a school must fulfill. While a microschool may or may not need to fill all of the same roles as traditional schools in a community, as a business owner, you will want to consider all your clients' needs in your decisions about what you offer. In this module, we’re going to be talking about the educational components; however, it’s important to keep these other microschool roles in mind as you explore how students will learn in your microschool. These other roles will provide you with a more holistic understanding of the student and family needs which will inevitably intersect with how students learn in your microschool. 

Your beliefs about learning and the methods you use to enact those beliefs will become your learning model. A learning model is an organized system of teaching and learning. It is a way of delivering instruction and implementing curriculum in the classroom.

Before you can define your learning model, it's helpful to deepen your understanding of how humans learn. Understanding how humans learn will help you choose methods that best support learning. It will also serve you in an ongoing evaluation of your practices, activities, curricula, and choices.

Overview of topics:

  • How humans learn

  • Finding or developing a learning model

  • Communicating your learning model to others

What you'll learn:

  • A deeper understanding of how we learn

  • Familiarity with a variety of learning theories

  • Discover approaches to learning that reflect your own philosophy of education

  • How to communicate your learning philosophy to parents, students, and other

Your Financial Foundation: Sustaining the Business of your Microschool

$30 | Online Self-Paced Learning Module

Before you really get started with this module, we need to address the elephant in the room: You are starting a business. This carries with it some very specific legal requirements that you must be willing to take on. This module is not intended to give you specific legal advice, but to give you a better understanding of the current legal environment in which you are starting a microschool so that as you navigate through laws and seek legal counsel, you will be empowered with the language to understand and communicate your mission.

This module may also have a different feel to it, as what is required by the law may not always be in perfect alignment with your vision for changing the world. Unless you know your rights as a business owner, your local/regional laws, education regulations, and legal processes, you may find yourself running afoul of the laws simply by doing what you feel is best for kids. Violating the law, even accidentally, can carry serious consequences including fines, asset seizure, and imprisonment. 

That can feel scary and might discourage some people from pursuing their microschool, but rest assured knowing that there are currently hundreds of microschools, with diverse learning models and serving different types of communities, operating across the country (and around the world) with confidence that they are doing so legally and safely. It just requires understanding some basic legal principles and consulting specific legal counsel as needed.

Overview of topics:

  • Starting your business

    • Creating a legal entity

    • Choosing a taxable status

  • Finance & Accounting

    • Income statement

    • Balance sheet

    • Statement of cash flows

  • Budgeting

    • How to budget

    • Multiple income streams

  • Mitigating Risk

    • Insurance

  • Mitigating Risk

    • Insurance

  • Regulatory Compliance

What you'll learn:

  • How to choose and set up a legal entity and taxable status

  • How to develop a plan and budget for keeping your microschool financially sustainable in order to serve students long-term

  • Discover approaches to learning that reflect your own philosophy of education

  • How to navigate through the changing legal landscape of business and education regulations

Feeling the call to join the microschool movement? Let's trailblaze together.

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