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New Community Resources: Prenda Microschools


Kids sitting in circle, smiling and wearing Prenda shirts

I attended a gathering by Prenda founder, Kelly Smith, last night. It was a varied group of people, each looking for different things, which is clearly a positive for Prenda, showing that they can meet many needs in our community. Kelly was very open in saying that not everyone needs Prenda. And I agree with him that there are certain people who would thrive with their support in starting a microschool in Utah, either to serve as a source of income, to educate your kids and to give them a social group, as well as to allow a larger number of children to be educated by a small group of parents.


Prenda: A Way to Homeschool Your Kids and Others' Kids

First, what is Prenda? I'll let you explore their website for specific details, but for a quick summary, Prenda is a way for you to homeschool your kids at home, or have them homeschooled at home by another parent, 4-5 days a week, for 20-25 hours per week. To me, it makes the most sense to call it a mini private school, or doing homeschool on a regular schedule like public school (but with benefits, like having extra time for fieldtrips, family time, or an opportunity to earn money while doing it).

One of Prenda's greatest strengths is that they have a support team to help you set up schedules, give you tested curriculum to set you up without too much hassle or stress, and provide around the clock support to help you as you teach the class.


So Who Will Like It?

Prenda has great potential for those looking for an alternative to public school but who aren't ready to do it all by themselves. Not everyone will need or even like this model, but for those who do, it will be a life saver and it can help them create something that will serve them and their community well.


These are the groups I see who could really benefit from using the platform Prenda has created:

  1. Dual income families who strongly want to homeschool their children but who don't have the ability to forego one parents' income. A parent who teaches a class of 10 children can potentially earn $40,000 a year through creating a Prenda microschool in their home, local church, or in another free or almost free location.

  2. Single income families who want two or three of the following things: an alternative to a charter school, a small classroom environment, and who like the idea of "bringing school home" and recreating a formal learning structure in a home environment.

  3. A family who has one parent who strongly wants to homeschool while the other parent strongly does not want the kids homeschooled, but agrees that change needs to happen. The 4 day a week platform (20-25 hours of schooling per week) creates a bridge between what both parents want and gives them a place of compromise where they can both be happy with their child's education.

  4. Entrepreneurs who want to create a microschool for a larger number of students (I'm imagining 30-40 kids) and yet they don't know where to start. Prenda offers support in the form of coaching, a proven curriculum, and a structure that helps that person get started and maintain their school. Especially useful in rural situations or, as is the case in other Eastern states, in the hands of a charter school where parents are interested in alternative options to traditional school and online school options.

But What About All the "Microschools" Who Were Microschools Before "Microschool" Was a Word?

I've gotten the feeling, after a few conversations with microschool owners who I know, that they are curious about Prenda, maybe a bit concerned, and sometimes outright annoyed that this group is moving in on their terrain. Will Prenda replace these schools? My predication is, no. Like I said earlier, Prenda will fit a certain group of parents seeking to give their kids an education at home. But it really doesn't imitate many of the successful and unique educational programs out there. For example, several programs, like 4D Learning and iCreate Collaborative of Utah County, offer a la carte classes for kids ages 7 and older. Family Lyceum as well as Link Education League of the Davis & Weber area, have a different hybrid style that offers classes as well as builds a community among their enrolled families. These organizations do a great job for the communities they serve, and I predict that Prenda will fit right in as an additional option for parents who are looking for alternatives in educating their kids.


In summary, Prenda isn't for all, but there is definitely a population within Utah who is looking for a resource like this and it will help them meet their family's needs as well as their neighbors' and community's needs. Want to learn more? Visit their site at Prenda.com for more details.

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