ST. LOUIS – There’s an explosion in parents looking for alternative education options for their kids.
“It’s been spreading like wildfire,” Sarah Raybon said of the micro-schooling concept.
Raybon said she was on the move, getting word out about micro-schooling through a company called Prenda Schools. It’s like homeschooling but instead several families collaborate.
“A Prenda micro-school typically takes place in a home,” Raybon said. “We have some that are in empty spaces in community centers; maybe community centers, maybe a room in a church that has space during the week.”
“It’s almost like a little neighborhood school and kind of the return to that one room schoolhouse, that community school kids ride their bikes over to it.”
Raybon said the goal is to continue having in person instruction this fall and that it may be easier to pull off safely because of lower class sizes of 8 to 10 children.
“We’ve seen some amazing results across the state in rural communities. We have the first micro-school on Native American land on our San Carlos Apache Reservation and that is just a huge success for those families there,” she said.
J. Allen Weston with the National Home School Association spoke with FOX 2 News via Zoom while traveling California to keep up with demand.
“All of a sudden we started getting hundreds and hundreds of calls and emails a day,” he said. “The thing the parents keep asking for, because they’re so used to having the schools tell them exactly what to do and how to do it, is they want us to tell them what curriculum materials to use and we don’t believe in a one size fits all sort of curriculum.”
While homeschooling began as mostly faith-based, Weston said it’s changed today, with half of the families homeschooling for non-religious reasons. He said the secular reasons are growing.
“Parents are scared – half of them are saying we are not sending our kids back to school if they force them to wear a mask all day and the other half are saying we are not sending our kids back if they don’t make them wear a mask all day,” Weston said.
Learn more about home schooling through Weston’s National Home School Association https://nationalhomeschoolassociation.com/
Learn more about Prenda micro-schools here – https://prendaschool.com/