E4 The Benefits of Micro-Schooling with David Benoit

Episode Description

So, what is micro-schooling anyways? David Benoit joins us on this week’s episode of the Learning Reimagined Podcast to break it down for us and share his thoughts as we chat about what micro-schooling is, the benefits of it, and why he thinks it’s good for students to move at their own pace. Tune in to hear more!

Key Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • Defining what micro-schools are and how/why they were formed
  • Comparing micro-schooling to traditional education and the benefits found there
  • Dave’s thoughts on the future trends of micro-schooling and where it will go from here
  • The top benefits on the micro-schooling environment
  • Technology’s role in micro-schooling and the benefits of it
  • How families can embrace the finances needed
  • Managing work-life and homeschool life and how micro-schools can help
  • Is micro-schooling risky? What about transcripts and records?
  • How to go about getting involved in micro-schooling and/or starting one
  • The benefits of micro-schooling for student-athletes
  • Breaking down the cost of micro-schooling
  • Dave’s key takeaways on micro-schooling

Connect With David:

David’s Email: dcbenoit38@gmail.com

Connect with the hosts:

Learning Reimagined Podcast Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/learningreimaginedthepod/)

Allison’s Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/allidampier/)

Sandy’s Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sgamba29/)

AdvantagesDLS Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/advantagesdls/)


lr transcripts

Allison: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Learning Reimagined. I’m Allison, and with me is Sandy. Good morning, Sandy. How are you? Good morning. 

Sandy: I’m 

great. How are you? 

I’m doing well. It’s feeling like things are starting to get a little bit back to normal in my area. I know more people are getting vaccinated. Schools are opening up a little bit.

Restaurants are opening up a little bit more, so it’s starting to feel a little bit more normal. How about you, where you. 

actually, that it’s so encouraging because as you know, I have a current senior and so colleges are actually announcing that they’re gonna be at full capacity in classroom next fall.

So I’m really, really forward to that. 

Allison: Oh, that’s the best news. Fantastic. Yes, yes. We haven’t received that confirmation here where we. For our public schools, for the you know, for the K through 12. We haven’t received that yet, so I don’t. I’m optimistic, but I know that there are still quite a few areas that that’s [00:01:00] not going to happen.

So it just, it, I, I’m hoping our listeners tuned into our last podcast where we talked about resources to help our families and especially looked at our Instagram page where we listed out a lot of helpful resources for all various grade levels and subject areas. Because I think our families are gonna need support even next year throughout all of this as some areas just aren’t coming back as quickly as we had hoped.

But in that podcast we mentioned one of the resources or one of the upcoming trends is micro schools, and it’s such a viable and valuable. Resource that we wanted to dedicate an entire episode to micro schools. And so Sandy, why don’t you explain a little bit about micro schools and what they are.

Sandy: Micro schools, and it’s not something that’s brand new, but it is becoming more and more of a popular idea. And what it is, is just, it’s a concept of a group of families or [00:02:00] a a little community coming together and educating their group of students. So they take it on themselves. Whether one parent opts to be a teacher and maybe a facilitator of curriculum for these students or they.

A teacher just for their own little pod or micro school. So it’s a very unique concept in that parents are taking control after this past year where so much was in flux mm-hmm. and things were out of control. This is their way of. Kind of regaining that control. So it’s very exciting. And so that’s why today I think it’s gonna be just such a valuable podcast for so many because we’ve had such demand for this information.

So I’m really looking forward to today’s speaker. Oh, me too. 

Allison: I’m exciting to look, learn a little bit more, and we will have with us a micro school’s expert Mr. Dave Benoit. So I’m excited to introduce him and learn. And educate all of us about micro schools, what they are and [00:03:00] how we can get involved if we’d like.

David Benoit: This podcast is brought to you by our friends At Advantages Digital Learning Solutions we’re learning is reimagine.

Allison: Welcome to Learning Reimagined Today. We have an important guest with us, Mr. Dave Benoit. Welcome Dave. 

David Benoit: Hi Allison. Good afternoon. 

Sandy: Dave 

Allison: Benoy is an innovative ed tech business leader. He has started four companies. He served as president and CEO for five companies. He has over 30 years of experience in sales, marketing, operations, and senior management.

He’s been involved in education probably longer than I’ve been alive, so , he’s got a lot of experience to share with us and he’s an expert on micro schools. So we’re really excited to pick your brain about micro 

David Benoit: schools. Absolutely happy to do that, 

Sandy: Dave, we’ve been so excited and looking forward to this podcast because of the great demand that we’re hearing from our listeners and 

Allison: the 

Sandy: conversations about micro schools.

So can [00:04:00] you tell us a little bit more about it? 

David Benoit: Certainly say, happy to do that. You know, micro schools are kind of a, a fascinating new adaptation that has appeared in on the, you know, education landscape, I guess you could say. Over the course of really the last 10 years or so, maybe a little bit more than 10 years.

In the late you know, two thousands, like 2008, 2009, that timeframe we started to see this concept. Pop up and it really, I think was a response to you know, the, what was tech technology was allowing us to do in terms of adapting to, you know, school that could happen anywhere. Virtual schools were starting to become a much more popular trend.

Virtual charter schools were becoming you know, much more. Accepted and, and implemented in a lot of the different states. And so this idea that you could do different things, you could do a smaller model, you could do a more intimate type of a schooling environment, you know, that could exist within a neighborhood or within a [00:05:00] community group was really where the, the whole micro school concept begin.

And really this notion, I think of individualization, you know, being able, doing, being able to do something that was more individualized to, you know, what your particular child might want or need and what you might want for your child to be able to do, you know, is obviously a much, much more flexible thing in a small size grouping.

And these micro schools, by the way, typically, you know, the, the definition of that is that it’s more between five and 15 students. 

Allison: So they, they have a little bit of a different feel and. To how they, they originated more like, you know, the one room schoolhouse. And so what we see today in micro schools is quite different.

David Benoit: They’re becoming more formalized, for sure. Yeah. The, the trend started one of the founders for example, was a gentleman, excuse me, who who was it started a, a programming class for his daughter, you know? Okay. And that was kind of how he got into it and then realized, Wow, there’s a lot more we can do here.

Hm. And [00:06:00] started to expand out into into doing more with micro schooling. But, you know, a lot of the elements of a one room school house are still there. For example, many of the micro schools will serve multiple grade levels. Oh, okay. You know, so that, that’s definitely a, a common trend. And, and re really, I think what, what happens in these programs that find people find attractive and that is really exciting, is that you’ve got small groups.

You’ve got students working together, you know, who maybe, you know, are different ages even, but they’re, they’re working on projects, you know, that can be made age appropriate for a wider range of students. And you’ve got a teacher, you know, the, the, the micro school concept, if it’s truly a micro school, According to way a lot of these companies have established themselves, they do require a teacher.

So, okay you know, parents may be involved in the program, but there is a certified teacher who’s in involved as well. And depending upon how you build out your micro school, you know, if you’re not working with one of these companies or if you’re working with a content [00:07:00] provider, You can work with a content provider who is an accredited school so that you’ve got that component available to you as well if you’re concerned about that accreditation piece.

Allison: Interesting. Okay. That’s fantastic. That’s 

Sandy: great. So have you seen. What, Dave, what is your perspective on the, the popularity of these micro schools? Do you see it more as a knee-jerk reaction? Do you see it with a little bit more longevity since they did start over a decade ago? What do you think the trend is?

Yeah, that’s 

David Benoit: a good question. And you know, over the course of 20 to 30 years of education, technology really being a big thing in schools, we’ve seen a lot of things start and stop and not necessarily become. You know, core elements of what happens in school, you know, with technology. But at the same time, you know, I think we, we do now, we know that over half the schools in, in the country have one to one computing initiatives.

You know, so there’s a lot of technology being used in [00:08:00] classrooms and with the micro school trend, It definitely has benefited here recently from the pandemic, you know, has certainly made people really think more, more carefully about, you know, what do I want my kids to be doing and where do I want them doing it, and how much should technology be involved?

I think there’s, you know, maybe a different appreciation for what technology can do. You know that now that parents have had a chance to maybe see more of it close up, but also a respect for the fact that it needs to be. Carefully planned and really used effectively or else it can be not such a great thing.

You know, , a lot of the zooming and swiveling that we saw happening over the course of the last year, you know, with schools kind of scrambling to try to put all this together you know, some of it was, was pretty good and some of it was not very effective. And so I think as a result of that, you know, an opportunity to do something more structured and more formalized like a micro school has definitely.

Gotten a lot more attention. [00:09:00] You know, there there they have increased in size and popularity significantly in the last year, and I think that’s probably gonna. Continue as a trend. I mean, we’re, we’re seeing data that suggests that anywhere from five to 15% of the population, approximately, you know, you never know with, with these things, but that there is a significant group of parents out there who are now thinking, you know, they like.

To have a, maybe an alternative mode or maybe a mode where their kids go to school for a few days a week, but are able to be at home for a couple of days as well. So with those sorts of things happening, you know, I think models like a micro school, you know, will also get more attention and, and likely become a more popular option.

And, and you know, typically these things keep moving forward. You know, they don’t go backward. We don’t kind of go, go back to something we were doing before, but we find a way to evolve it into, you know, into what we’re doing in, you know, as we kind of get smarter about it and, and add different options.

So it’s kind of a long answer, but yeah, I think micro schools will [00:10:00] continue to, to grow and expand and in particular in certain markets right now where parents are really frustrated with what’s happening in schools. You know, they may grow even a little bit faster. You know, we may see more of them pop up much more quickly.

Allison: Yeah, I agree. That seems to be a common thread since we started doing this podcast is parent dissatisfaction with the schools has really brought on some change. It’s brought on a lot more involvement with parents and their kids’ education. So I think that that’s a great thing. Getting parents more connected with what their kids are learning and how they’re learning.

And so what are some other benefits that you see? We’ve touched on it a little bit, but benefits of the micro schooling platform. 

David Benoit: Sure. Good question. I, I think the things that are most beneficial in the micro school environment are probably some of the things that are. Beneficial overall to really effective use of technology, but they maybe get enhanced, you know, in a small group environment where, you know, there’s a, a real [00:11:00] focus on, on learning and supporting, you know, those students who are operating in that environment.

Mm-hmm. . You know, in, in, if you’re using the right tools and using the technology effectively, you know, with any size group you can do a better job of individualizing learning. You know, if creating an environment where students can move at their own pace you know, so that students who are able to move more quickly through subject to matter that they’re really comfortable with, are able to do that versus, you know, a lot of times in a traditional classroom, There are some, you know, some restrictions on that.

Teachers are trying, trying really hard to, to keep everybody at roughly the same pace so that they can continue to present new information and, and do it that way. But it’s driven by the teacher. In this case, if you’ve got content that’s being delivered by the technology, you know, students are able to move more quickly.

And then in a micro school environment, which is, you know, tends to be multi-grade, multi-level, multi-age You’re gonna have kids all working on different types of instructional software and using different [00:12:00] tools, and they can all be moving it at their own pace. So it enhances that flexibility, you know, it really gives you an opportunity to allow that to happen in, in a much more meaningful way.

Mm-hmm. , and, you know, it’s probably the most advantageous way for most of us to learn. You know, we, we are all, we all learn differently, we all have slightly different preferences and strengths and weaknesses, and so when you can really. You know, it allow that to happen, you know, and, and kind of focus on that, that ability that students may have to be you know, strong in certain areas and to move very quickly on certain things, they, they’re gonna get a lot more done.

They’re gonna be more engaged. They’re gonna be. You know, much more successful as students, so, mm-hmm. , I think that’s, that’s probably the greatest benefit. And it focuses around that, that ability to be in a small group, to use the technology as the driver for instruction. Mm-hmm. and and probably to some extent to be able to benefit from you know, the your fellow students, you know, what, what you can can learn and share.[00:13:00] 

And and, and how you develop based upon those interactions as well. 

Allison: You, you mentioned technology a lot. Do the families have to have technology? Is is the education have to be derived from a computer or are there other ways that microscopes exist? 

David Benoit: Well if, if we’re talking specifically about, you know, the, the companies and the organizations that have been kind of put into this category of micro schooling.

You know, the groups that that fit under that heading are all leveraging technology. Okay. So in, within that group of what we’ve defined as micro schools, you definitely are finding that those companies are using learning management tools and creating, you know, online lesson plans and, you know, accessing different types of content providers.

You know, anything from things like Khan Academy to. You know, to more full blown curriculum options you know, that, that, that are available out there in the market today. So you know, in a micro school environment as it’s currently being defined, those are [00:14:00] definitely components. Okay. You know, could you do it without that?

Yeah, you probably could. But one of the issues there is, you know, now you’re dealing with piles of books and mm-hmm. , you know, lots of resources that are more difficult to organize and to, and certainly to be flexible cuz one of the other elements of. Of a micro school environment is that you can come together to do it, you know, in a location, might be in someone’s house, might be in a community center.

Mm. But if, if you’re move, if you’ve got a lot of heavy books and things that you’re trying to move around to support that environment, that would literally be like trying to pick up and move a classroom. So the beauty of online content and access to all the resources that we can provide students with online today is that you literally can move that classroom anywhere.

And it moves with the student, they would have to have a device, right? Sure. So one of the, one of the main, main components here of the success in a micro schooling environment would be that I’ve got probably a laptop or a Chromebook. You could probably do a fair amount of it on the phone.

And I know for [00:15:00] students today, for young people, they’re pretty comfortable with that form factor. But for some of us old people who need a bigger screen, we. Laptop. 

Allison: My daughter has typed entire essays on her cell phone. It’s ridiculous to me. But yes, they, they’re very, they’re very 

David Benoit: creative. Impossible to comprehend, but wonderful that they’re able to do those 

Allison: things.

Yes, that customization is 

Sandy: really key for our families, and that’s something that definitely is attractive and a really great benefit. Now, Dave, in regards to the cost, you mentioned the technology and the, the need for a laptop or. Of, or Chromebook. I’m thinking about more of education equity. How can families embrace the finances that this might entail?

David Benoit: Yeah, that’s a great question, Cindy. And you know, relatively speaking, you know, certainly compared to standing up a brick and mortar school with a building and everything involved in that, relatively speaking, you know, doing something in this [00:16:00] micro school category is, is pretty affordable and, and reasonable to accomplish, you know, in a lot of cases.

Many of these micro schooling programs are neighborhood initiatives, you know, where a bunch of parents get together and they, you know, maybe move it around to different homes on a day to day basis. Or somebody’s got a big space, you know, in their basement and you can do it there. Some in, as I mentioned in some cases there, it’s happening in community centers, you know, where there’s available space where you can do it in that type of an environment.

You know, you could foresee in the future even you know, learning center providers, some of the different companies that provide after school tutoring, for example, being folks who might decide to move into this whole micro schooling area as well. That, that certainly would be a viable thing. But if from a cost perspective you know, relatively low cost from the standpoint that in a, in a lot of those cases I just described, that space, you know, may be free of charge or easily accessible mm-hmm.

you know, right in your neighborhood or someplace close by. So you’re not, you know, necessarily [00:17:00] having to transport students, especially if we’re talking about a, you know, small groups, which we said five to 15 is kind of the average size of a micro school group. So, you know, you could imagine that they’re all closely located and.

You know, moving to a space that’s accessible to them and the, the technology, you know, is, is certainly one cost involved. But, you know, for most of our families today, even you know, even those in low income categories, they typically have access to to cell phones and in many cases also to computers.

You know, maybe not one for everyone in the family, but certainly some computing capability available. You know, within a family unit so that it could be utilized. You know, for something like this, you, you might, you know, want to have one specifically dedicated, you know, for that particular student who are students who are gonna be involved in the program.

So there could be some cost there, but relatively low cost from that perspective. And because most, if not all of the materials are gonna be online, you know, that would be [00:18:00] something that you know, could, is probably gonna get incorporated into some. If you’re working with a provider, for example, into some sort of a materials cost or instructional cost or fee that’s involved and you know, again, if you’re working with one of these micro school providers, there’s gonna be a teacher connected to it as well.

That’s gonna be a cost that’s shared across that. That group. So there is some, some cost involved, but relatively low cost and not a big upfront startup cost involved, which I think is another element of this that’s attractive and that’s allowed them to pop up here more frequently. You know, given the situation with the pandemic and, and some of the concerns that families have had, 

Allison: Fascinat.

My sister-in-law, she was trying to balance work life and homeschool life. And so she brought her students, her kids who were middle school and high school, brought them with her to her office. And they were some, doing some work in the, the conference room. A couple other families that she worked with started doing the same.

So, so they are the first people that I know that created their own little micro school. in [00:19:00] the workplace. And so they brought their kids to work and they all just work in the back room and it’s worked out really well for them. And that was one of the. One of the occurrences in my life that I’m like, We’ve gotta learn more about this because it’s, it’s happening 

David Benoit: all over.

Yeah. Very interesting, isn’t it? Mm-hmm. , you know, we’ve seen companies provide a variety of different you know, employee benefits, you know, like onsite daycare mm-hmm. and. You know, access to to meals in some cases for employees and things of that nature. But this notion of schooling coming to the workplace, yeah, it hasn’t really been scalable.

When you think about, you know three or 400 student elementary school, for example, you, there just isn’t space for that in a, in a workplace. But when you think about a micro school or even a series of micro schools, potentially, that could be available. That’s much more viable. And interestingly because of what’s happening with office space now, you know, with so many of these companies that have gone to their employees working [00:20:00] from home, or at least on a partial basis during the pandemic, all of a sudden there’s a huge amount of office space that’s available.

I have a son who happens to be an architect here in the Chicago area, and he does a lot of work on buildings that are being redesigned. A lot of their work is redesigned, not building new buildings, and a lot of that work happens to be in office buildings, you know, so they, they work in office buildings in the city and in the suburbs and all over the Chicago area.

And one of the things they’re finding right now is that a lot of these spaces are being redesigned, you know, for different numbers of employees and different configurations because it, a lot of times it’s now gonna be shared space. If everyone doesn’t have to commit every day, then shared spaces can work for employee.

But one of the other things that they’re getting asked a lot about now is, you know, are there ways we could, you know, Other means of using this space that might be advantageous to our employees. And one of the discussions that they’re having with a number of different large companies in the Chicago area right now is this idea of putting education or different types of [00:21:00] opportunities for students to be, you know, on those sites whether it’s, you know, for extracurricular or daycare or for a full blown micro school type of a program.

So yeah’s fascinating. We see it, We may see it appear. Through that means as well where companies actually sponsor and provide some resources to to help with this. 

Sandy: Wow. That’s the opportunities. Yeah. Just so the reforming, this whole concept of educating our youth mm-hmm. , it’s just been 

David Benoit: amazing. Well, and when you think about, you know, the potential of what happens if you start to put students in that environment, in that workplace environment, I mean, there’s certainly challenges to it, you know, and for the employees, you know, who have kids who are in the space.

but it now introduces those students, those young people to the workplace mm-hmm. and to the different types of jobs that are happening and to, you know, gets them thinking about what they might wanna do in a much different way. Not only that. Potentially, you know, puts them in position as they get old enough to be you know, working in internships mm-hmm.

and doing different kinds of job shadowing, you [00:22:00] know, so our ability to start getting students thinking about those types of things that they want to do with their life and their career at a much earlier age, and actually seeing it happen in a much more meaningful way. You know, is, is so much more attainable in that type of an environment than we’ve ever been able to imagine it to be before.

So it creates some very interesting pathways that could open for for how learning happens and for when kids start to make that transition into experimenting with what they really want to do career wise. And, you know, in terms of internships and other things, it’s 

Allison: exciting. Actually, I hadn’t even thought about that aspect of, you know, the work experience that these kids can get and.

Being in that environment, which, which is just great for them long term. I think, I think there’s a lot of benefit to that. But I am concerned is, is it risky for these, for families to say, Okay, I’m gonna start a micro school. With record keeping and proving that your student has done what that you’ve said they are doing.

How do you have official transcripts [00:23:00] and record. If your student ends up going, you know, wanting to either A, go back to a brick and mortar school, or B, when they are ready to apply to college is this new model risk? 

David Benoit: It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? And you know, I guess, you know, there are a couple of different ways you could look at that and you could actually kind of plan for that potential into, into what you decide to do with your students you know, if you’re in that position where you’re looking at this as an option.

I, I guess first I would say we, we know we have well over a million homeschoolers. The United States today and a, a vast percentage of that audience, you know, are, have great experiences and many of them end up going on to schools of higher education. You know, in many cases, you know, very, very high end.

You know, the, those kids tend to do very well. You know, when they get tested, they tend to, you know, excel on things like the s a t and. Are very successful in higher education environments. So, so we know that that’s possible and we [00:24:00] know that there’s some alternative pathways now that are available for that.

More and more schools are not even requiring s a t or a c t as part of the acceptance, Right. Path. So, so there are ways you could get that done, you know, potentially without having, you know, the structure and the record keeping and the accreditation that we’re used to in our schools. Mm-hmm. , however, you know, if you are.

You know, concerned about that, or you want to have a program that’s got a little bit more structure around it, you know, it’s just something you feel more comfortable with. I think we’re gonna see in this micro school space that some, if not all of these providers, you know, probably at least some percentage of them will end up partnering with accredited school providers, You know, Got the ability to have, you know, a formal transcript and, and they have, you know, grades recorded and all that kind of information, just as you would in any co in any sort of formal, you know, face to face school, environ.

Brick and mortar environment, you know, that school students are typically in, there are many providers now who are accredited [00:25:00] to provide that kind of an experience in a virtual environment. Okay? So our, our ability to, to offer that same structure and And level of accountability, if you will, is very, very real and very achievable in a virtual space.

So if that’s something that’s of interest to you as a parent, I would suggest you look for a program that does have that, that accreditation, you know, piece. Mm-hmm. in included in it. And that way, you know you’re gonna be able to get that transcript and have, have that information easily available. 

Allison: and if any of our listeners are interested in that, you can email us at learning reimagined the pod gmail.com and we can direct it to Mr.

De Benno and he can actually reference you to other programs that he knows can partner with you. He knows quite a few that are reputable and can provide proper transcripts and structure that you need at a, at affordable. So please reach out. 

David Benoit: Absolutely. Happy to do that, [00:26:00] Dave. 

Sandy: This information is so insightful and now we have so many families.

As we approach April and they start to really think about the next school year, how. What are the next steps? What, what do, what do we recommend? How do you, what do you share? 

Allison: How to start your own micro school? How do you 

David Benoit: start ? That’s a, that’s also a really interesting question, isn’t it? And you know, there are a lot of different ways I think you could do that.

You know, the first and best way may just be to. Network with some of some of your friends and neighbors, you know, and, and talk about, you know, where, where you are all at right now in terms of how you’re feeling about what’s happening in your schools and the safety and you know, is it a place where you, you feel like there are gonna be any issues going forward?

Or are you looking at something where you might want to consider an alternative? Because I think you probably. The best place for this to occur, you know, based upon this kind of a model, is gonna be in some sort of a closely connected community. You know, so [00:27:00] whether that community’s your neighborhood, whether it’s, you know, a group of colleagues whom you work with, if it happened to be a workplace type of an opportunity as we were just discussing you know, that’s, that’s the right place to start, I think.

It’s also pos very, very possible and very easy to, you know, to Google some of these micro schools that are out there today that are having success in the marketplace and to to take a look at what they have to offer and their ability to support you literally anywhere. You know, because all, all of their support is virtual.

So they can provide you with, you know, a package of resources and content and work with you on identifying teachers and providing a lot of this, you know, online capability that we’ve described. So there are are different ways you can look at it from that perspective as well. So if you’ve got. You know, that core group of folks who are interested, you know, that you’ve identified, or perhaps you’re a teacher and you know, you’re thinking, Wow, I’d rather, you know, teach in a different type of an environment maybe than what I’ve been doing in the classroom, but I still wanna [00:28:00] do this.

But, you know, could maybe do it outside of mm-hmm. , the the the brick and mortar space. You know, teachers could also. The starting point for some of this, right? I, 

Allison: yeah, I was just thinking about that. Like a teacher who was fresh. I actually had a, I’ve spoke about it on our last podcast. A dear friend of mine is in California and they’ve been online.

Her, her kids have been online and they don’t see an end in sight. They don’t believe they’re going back in public, in person, excuse me, next year. And so she’s extremely frustrated and was thinking about moving to a different state just to get a different environment. And this would be a perfect thing for her to start her own, you know, her own micro school as a teacher, cuz she’s got the experience, she’s got the knowhow, and now she has connections with students and whatnot too.

I know a lot of people would be interested in working with her. And then I started thinking about sports teams. You know, a youth sports team. , you know, they, they travel for their sport or whatnot. That’s another group that you can group together to do a micro school[00:29:00] likeminded family. And there’s just the opportunities.

My mind is really, there’s so much to do. . 

David Benoit: Yes. Yep. I, I live in the Chicago and we have a lot of hockey ranks around here, for example. And, and in many cases, you know, some of the. The top hockey players are, are students who are coming from a very long distance and perhaps living with other families. And some of these programs, you know, have already started to offer you know, virtual educational opportunities for kids who are playing hockey and having to do a lot of traveling.

And they’ve got a space in that rink area where they do their studies every day and then, They’re also able to be you know, close by to do their training. You know, so Absolutely. You know, any, any, any type of program, you know, whatever sport it, it happened to be, you know, could be another place where this whole micro school concept you know, could really take off.

You know it. Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think it really has any limits. It’s 

Allison: all I, Yeah, it doesn’t seem. 

David Benoit: No, it’s just about having the right group of folks who mm-hmm. , you know, are easily accessible [00:30:00] and you know, are kind of have a shared set of objectives. Right. 

Allison: And just a, for our NCAA or our sports kids, or are you gonna say the same thing?


Sandy: exactly what I was gonna,

It’s really critical that parents keep in mind that NCAA. Qualifications and making sure that whatever program they go with is licensed to have approved courses through ncaa, especially for their athlete. Mm-hmm. . So that’s, 

David Benoit: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s a great point, and if, if you have students who are aspiring to, you know, to play in college and to have, so they need to have.

A transcript that is val valid, can be validated and you know, is coming from an accredited program. So, in those cases, and I, and I believe some of the, the, the programs that I’ve observed, you know, connected to some of these hockey programs, for example, they do use accredited providers, right? You’re gonna wanna have that ncaa validation, you know, easily [00:31:00] accessible so that, so, If the, when those students get involved with colleges and with qualifying, you know, for scholarships that they’ve got all that, all that data easily accessible, 

Allison: right?

You wanna have good records and transcripts and whatnot and, and all that that we mentioned. So Yep. Yep. Dave, you alluded to the cost. You can have a upstart cost, you know, very minimal, but can you give our listeners a dollar figure? Like what do you think? Cuz to you just a little bit of money might be a lot different to me.

What a little bit of money is, so, Sure. What, what’s a, what’s an a price range that you think a micro school start could be? 

David Benoit: Yeah, that, that’s also a very good question and it’s a pretty wide range, Allison, at least in what’s out there right now. Okay. You know, it, you could you could get a basic program started and not thinking about, you know, any specific provider necessarily, but you know, if a provider had access to curriculum and you were sharing the cost of an instructor, [00:32:00] You could reasonably get something like that up and running, you know, for as low as the $5,000 range.

Okay. You know, I, I think would be, would not be unreasonable. Is that per 

Allison: family or per micro school? 

David Benoit: That I’m, I’m thinking about, I’m sorry. I’m thinking about that as a per student kind of a cost. Okay. Now, if you had multiple students, it might go down a little bit, but some of your fixed costs, for example, like the teacher, you know, you’d have to share that across the number of students in the program so that.

That piece you know, you’d probably be looking, you know, even if you had multiple students at, around that same cost, it might go down a little bit if you had multiple students from the same family. Okay. But that, that’s probably the low end of the spectrum. And, and, and I know that there are programs out there, you know, that are doing a lot more with technology and with instructional opportunities for kids and You know, some other features that are, are getting that number up into the you know, 12 to 15,000 range, for example, on a, on an annual basis, on a per student basis.

So, okay. That the, the range [00:33:00] can be pretty wide, but it can be pretty reasonable. You know, it’s not, not gonna be without some cost associated with it, although there are opportunities in some states to get some reimbursement, you know, for educational. Costs you know, so depending upon the state you’re in, there could be different types of opportunities that you definitely would wanna make yourself aware of what your state allows and, and where you know, state funds can be used for for educational purposes.

Sandy: Okay. Great, Dave, our time together. I’m so grateful for all of this wonderful information. What takeaways, as we wrap up, can you give our listeners as far as micro schools or your thoughts or your recommendations? 

David Benoit: Well, Cindy, I think part of the most important thing, you know, and, and what I learned from from raising three sons is that you, you have to look at every.

every child, every student, as an individual learner, they’re all so different and they all have [00:34:00] different needs, and it could very well be that, you know, if you’ve. More than one child. For example, maybe you’ve got one student who would be perfect for this environment and another one who, you know, really, really wants to go back into a more traditional environment, which is great, and that’s fine.

And maybe that’s the way you go or, or perhaps you’re in a, in a situation where this is just a better fit for your family and for the way your lifestyle and for the way it works. And you wanna want to explore micro schools for that reason. But I think one of the mo most important things is to look at.

Each one of, of your, of your children and their skills and their strengths and their weaknesses and what they, and what their interests are and kind of where their, where they’d like to go. Yeah, I always felt it was really important and continue to believe it’s really important to, you know, to have a plan, you know, for, for what you wanna do with education and, and where you think it’s gonna head with.

With your kids. And, and that may change, you know, and in our case it changed many times over the course of their their academic careers. But you know, having a [00:35:00] plan and kind of laying it out and, and, and getting their input, you know making as, as even from a young age. But as they get older, they have a lot of ideas and a lot of.

Thoughts about what they wanna do and what their interests are, and trying to, trying to leverage that is really important as well. But I really do believe that, you know, the individualization is, is critical for so many kids that ability to, to get more focus on, on what they’re interested in, to move at their own pace.

And, and that can be, It can be a challenge, you know, in a traditional classroom environment. So for kids who, who do have some of those unique interests and and want to do things a little differently, these types of programs can be very effective. But, but I think it’s really the key is, is looking at each child and, and at what their, what their strengths and weaknesses are and, Figuring out, you know, where the fit is gonna be best for for them in these different types of options that are available.

The great news today is that there’s lots of options out there. Mm-hmm. , you know, if you’re, if you’re in a, [00:36:00] in a, in a community where you’ve got, you know, access to, you know, high quality public schools and maybe virtual charter schools and other types of of religious schools, there’s a lot of options available.

And the most important thing is to really look at. At what fits best. You know, what, both from an economic standpoint as well as from a, from an a learning standpoint. And and try to try to navigate each of your kids to a place where they’re really gonna be able to excel. 

Allison: That’s fantastic. It just, it goes So in line with the foundation of this podcast Learning Reimagined one thing that Sandy and I as educators have, have seen over the past year is that, The involvement of our families and the need to be flexible in education by our teachers, by our administrators, by our families.

They’ve all had to adapt and go, go about education differently. And so now we’re not satisfied with just this traditional old school style of education. And I [00:37:00] love that. Able to bring in people like you to share with our listeners other options for them because. We really are as, as a community, taking ownership over our kids education.

And we talk quite a bit about the personalization, which you mentioned quite a bit as well. Education. We’ve come to a point where everything in our life is personalized. Education should be too. So I, I just really appreciate your time today, Dave. I know our listeners really do as well. We will put Dave’s contact information up on our.

Learning Reimagined Instagram page. So if you would like to reach out to Dave directly, you may do so. Or if you have any questions about micro schooling, you can direct message us on Instagram, or you can’t email us at learning reimagined the pod gmail.com. Dave, thank you so much for your time today, Sandy.

It’s been wonderful. 

Sandy: Thank you Dave. Thanks, Alison. It’s my 

David Benoit: pleasure. Thanks Alison. Thanks, Sandy. Glad to to have been here with you and best of luck as you continue [00:38:00] to reimagine learning . Fantastic. Thank you. Thanks. Have a great day. Bye.[00:39:00]