So, who is a falling-through-the-cracks-kid?
He sits behind the 30 students in his 8th grade math class, disengaged, and counts down the minutes until class is over. At the beginning of class when the teacher passed his desk, he asked for clarification on his homework. She explained. He still doesn’t get it, but won’t say a word now.
“The whole class will think I’m dumb if I keep asking questions,” he tells himself.
He doesn’t want to be “that kid.” So, he sits at his desk in silence, defeated. He has plenty of ability, and he knows he’s smart yet his grades never reflect it. All his effort and hard work never seem to pay off.
He is a typical falling-through-the-cracks-kid.
How to identify students who are falling through the cracks?
First and foremost, way back in primary school, everyone was surprised when these children struggled to learn to read or do math. They always seemed to be smart and capable, hard-working, creative, and inquisitive. Surely they would succeed in school. Yet, year after year, they floundered academically. Special ed was not the solution; they were too smart for that and didn’t qualify for “services.”
Other examples of falling-through-the cracks children include those whose social anxiety inhibits participation with other students inside and outside the classroom. Or kids who, due to family relocation or sickness, have missed so many school days they fall too far behind in their coursework.
Technically, a typical classroom should be the “right place” for these students.
The traditional classroom is not a “user-friendly” learning environment for them. They need extra instruction time or a different instructional approach.
And, classroom size matters. Bigger is not better for them! They are easily lost and require smaller classes with more individualized attention for more meaningful learning.
How can a microschool help my falling-through-the-cracks child?
A Personalized Approach
Unlike traditional schools, microschools use a highly personalized approach to education. A microschool teacher handcrafts lessons specifically for each student. That’s impossible for traditional classroom teachers who work with dozens of students at once.
A microschool teacher spends significant one-on-one time with each student, so she intimately knows her students’ strengths and weaknesses. She works so closely with each student that she can quickly identify when her student needs extra help or faces a potentially discouraging challenge. No student can scrape by or hide from his potential.
A microschool teacher has the freedom to explore multiple ways to explain or demonstrate an answer or concept in the moment. He’s not constrained by a strict teaching timetable which doesn’t fit his students’ ability to learn. A microschool teacher goes for understanding over “covering the material,” so students accomplish their goals faster. No more coming to the teacher after school for extra help.
The microschool classroom is project-based, not workbook- or textbook-based. Projects are collaborative and individualized. Students experience both the sense of individual achievement and teamwork that boosts their confidence. A microschool’s intimate setting and open educational approach allows students to feel comfortable asking questions without fear of embarrassment. Each student offers his own unique perspective to the group’s conversation and collaboration, There is no such thing as “a stupid question” in a microschool.
That’s right! Microschools rarely assign homework. The intentional learning that occurs within a microschool classroom eliminates the need for it. Microschool students work hard every minute they are there and they deserve time to be kids and refresh at home instead of waging homework wars.
A microschool provides falling-through-the-cracks children a learning place custom-made for their current needs and expansive for their future potential. It’s a stress-free place to experience learning and that experience is fun, exciting, and exhilarating!
Read more about our microschool, SailAway Academy!