Poll Suggests 10% of School Parents are Microschooling Their Kids

Despite microschooling emerging as a new frontier of K – 12 education, it remains difficult to define and elusive to study. According to the April 2024 report released by the National Microschooling Center, surveys of microschools operating in the United States reflect “a highly diversified movement, across many dimensions including a pluralism of educational approaches, instructional models, and impact indicators.” In order to shed some light on microschooling from the perspective of school parents, we asked parents new questions about microschooling in our latest public opinion poll.

In partnership with Morning Consult, EdChoice surveyed a nationally representative sample of American adults 18 and older (N = 2,257) from April 4-8, 2024. With additional sampling, we obtained responses from 1,302 parents of children currently in K–12 education.

Check out the full report, and read what school parents have to say about microschooling.

For the first time in our monthly polling, we asked school parents more specific questions about microschooling, an approach to education that focuses on a small learning environment and often uses an alternative schedule to the traditional five-day in-person school week. About one in 10 (10-14%) parents appear to enroll their child in a microschool, depending on the definition of microschool used.

In general, school parents tend to identify with and express more interest in broadly defined microschooling. When a microschool is described simply as a small learning environment enrolling fewer than 25 students, 41% of school parents say they are interested in learning more about microschooling. But when microschool is referred to as a “nontraditional” approach to education used by homeschool, private school, and public charter school students, only 23% of parents express interest.

Perhaps the disconnect stems from parent preferences about how their children receive instruction. While many parents appear to be interested in microschooling in theory, they are less enthusiastic about the instruction style used by many microschools. Most parents interested in microschooling would prefer instruction to be provided only in-person (45%) or through a hybrid of in-person and online learning (40%). Only 4% say they would like instruction to be provided fully virtually/online. In contrast to their preferences, 40% of current microschool parents say that their child’s learning takes place mostly or completely online. There is a significant gap between the small learning environments that parents say they want and the type of microschooling that they receive.

That raises the central question of what school parents are looking for in a microschool. Parents’ top priorities are that a microschool teaches a different curriculum than the local public schools (79%), is accredited by a state-recognized organization (81%), and has teachers who are state-licensed educators (83%). Parents are attracted to academic options that differ from the local public schools but are also keen to maintain official qualifications that ensure these alternative learning models will meet certain standards.

Finally, we asked current microschool parents more about the structure of the microschool their child is enrolled in. It seems most microschoolers are full-time students, with 77% of parents saying that their child’s microschool is full-time and 17% saying it is part-time. According to parents, the microschooling model is used by a variety of school types. Half of microschool parents (48%) say their school is a private school, compared to 24% who use the term charter school and 16% who say it is a homeschool. This leaves a meaningful percentage (12%) of microschool parents who don’t identify with any of these school type labels, perhaps indicating that the world of microschooling is still new territory that we have yet to fully define.

Visit the EdChoice Public Opinion Tracker site to access past reports, crosstabs, questionnaires, and our national and state dashboards. All are updated monthly. We also provide a more in-depth description of our research and survey methods.

Our K–12 education polls archive is updated on a rolling basis, roughly a few times each month. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we are missing any surveys, or if there are accidental errors.