Unders⁠t⁠and⁠i⁠ng Why Fam⁠i⁠l⁠i⁠es Choose Unconven⁠t⁠⁠i⁠onal School⁠i⁠ng

January 10, 2024

January 10, 2024

In recent years, a significant shift has occurred in the K-12 educational landscape. Traditional public schools in the US have seen declining enrollment, while unconventional schooling models like microschools and hybrid homeschooling have witnessed a dramatic rise. This change, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, signals a growing demand for alternative educational environments and student-centered, curated experiences.

Thomas Arnett’s new report, “Families on the New Frontier: Mapping and Meeting the Growing Demand for Unconventional Schooling,” published with support from yes. every kid., delves into the reasons behind this shift. The report employs the Jobs to Be Done theory to understand why families are choosing new learning environments. The theory suggests that people opt for new solutions when they face struggles in their lives and seek progress. Microschool founders have been a significant cohort which has stepped up to resolve this tension in the realm of education.

The research identifies three primary jobs that drive families to choose microschools:

Seeking Alignment with Personal Values: Families switch when they feel their values and perspectives are not respected or considered in their child’s current school.

Desiring a Safe and Engaging Learning Environment: When a child is unhappy or struggling in their current school, parents look for an environment that reignites their child’s love for learning.

Looking for a Balanced Educational Experience: Some parents feel that their child’s school is overly focused on academic milestones, neglecting other forms of learning. They seek a more holistic educational approach.

The report serves as a strategic playbook for microschool founders, offering insights into aligning their programs with these jobs. It suggests practical strategies for improving learning experiences, marketing, and family engagement practices. It also addresses the challenges for providers in recognizing evolving family needs.

For parents, policymakers, and education freedom advocates, this report underscores the importance of understanding the diverse needs and values of families. It highlights the need for educational models that are adaptable, respectful of individual perspectives, and holistic in their approach to learning.

As the educational landscape continues to evolve, embracing these insights can empower new educational models to navigate these changes successfully. The goal is to create an educational environment that supports the progress and well-being of students and their families, aligned to the diverse and changing needs of our society.