Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a microschool?
A microschool is an independent learning institution.
Microschools are the result of rethinking the traditional educational model to better prepare children for the future. They offer students a personalized education and cater to a child’s unique needs and capabilities. Often described as "outsourced homeschooling," they are free from the bureaucracy, standardized tests, and mandatory curriculum that defines today's public school system. Because they are so small, usually between 10-50 students total, children receive far more individualized attention than they would receive in a traditional school.
What grades does Nature's Schoolhouse provide services for?
We currently provide services for students in grades K-5.
Are the students grouped together by age?
Generally, our lower elementary (K-2) learners are in one class, and our upper elementary (2-5) learners are placed into mixed-age cohorts based on grade level, concept mastery, and age. Since there are just a few students in each program, our teachers are able to dedicate individual attention to each student. For many group based activities, students of all different ages or grade levels benefit from participating together. Other times, the teacher will differentiate the learning material.
What curriculum do you use?
We utilize an emergent curriculum, which means it is child-centered at its core. It was created by combining our favorite things from many different educational philosophies, including Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, and Forest School. For our full-time students, we align with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards, to ensure that every child is able to transition into a typical school setting seamlessly, should they need to.
Do you go on any field trips?
Yes! In addition to our weekly trip to Twin Lakes Park every Friday, we also go on many field trips throughout the school year! Some examples of field trips we've taken in the past are:
Hill Country Community Ministries Food Pantry
Cedar Park Library
Cordovan Art School
Inner Space Caverns
Sweet Eats Fruit Farm
Do parents have to be involved in the day-to-day learning?
At our microschool, you'll have more opportunities than ever to be involved in your student's learning experience. We rely on the generous involvement of our community members to fulfill our mission. We are not able to maintain the low student-to-teacher ratio and quality of education offered at our school without involvement from our families. This participation is essential to the growth and development of our school. While we encourage our families to participate as much as they can to build our community, we don't require parent volunteerism. It is up to you to decide the level of involvement you want to have.
Do you offer part-time and full-time options?
We offer two standard versions of our program: Full-School Replacement and Hybrid Homeschool.
Full-School Replacement is for learners in grades K-5 and is offered M-Th (+Fridays in the Park) from 9-3:30pm.
Our Hybrid Homeschool program is currently for children in grades K-2. It is offered 2 days per week (T/Th) from 9-3pm. We are gauging interest for an additional 2 day per week enrichment program for Mondays and Wednesdays. If you are interested, please submit an Interest Form to be put on our waitlist.
We also offer an additional 1 day per week program called "Fridays in the Park." We spend every Friday at Twin Lakes Park and Brushy Creek Trail, from 9-3:30, immersing our students in Nature Studies, Forest School, and parent-led specials (Art, PE/Health, Music). Our entire student body is invited to join us on these days, and we hope to offer this as a standalone program for families who are interested in a one-day-a-week schedule.
Contact us or fill out an Interest Form to get more details on each program.
Do you offer lunch?
We do not prepare lunch for our learners, but we have partnered with Loaf me Tender to provide daily delivery of school lunches made from high-quality, natural, & locally sourced ingredients. Lunches range from $5-$8.50 on average. Of course, our learners can also bring a lunch from home. We have a refrigerator and a microwave available to keep lunches cool and warm them up.
How do you handle students with special needs?
We do not have any formal services available to serve kids with special-needs. Many of our students might fall under the ‘special needs’ umbrella in a traditional system (mild learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, etc), and because we are such a small community, we are able to naturally serve their needs by serving them as individuals. That being said, we are not currently staffed or equipped to provide special services for students with cognitive disabilities, emotional issues, or behavior issues which manifest in violent or angry outbursts. We do not have the resources necessary to help these students reach their full potential.
How do you verify that the education is meeting certain standards?
We've developed mechanisms to routinely assess and check that our students are meeting grade level standards. We call these "oversight assessments," because the learner rarely knows that we are testing their knowledge. In most instances, our students far exceed the typical benchmarks that are outlined by the TEKS standards.
We also believe that one of the most important indicators of academic success is the quality of the teachers. We spend a lot of time recruiting, vetting, and placing outstanding teachers in our classrooms.
Does Nature's Schoolhouse participate in statewide standardized testing?
No. Like homeschooling and private schools, we are not required to participate in standardized testing.
How do we make sure we have the right documentation if we decide to transition our kids back to a public school after a year or two?
Much like homeschooling, part of the microschooling process is making sure that you keep records that your children are making sufficient academic progress. This can vary by age-level, but generally it looks like maintaining a portfolio of student work and assessments.
You will receive completed work and assessment records during your child's time at Nature's Schoolhouse. We also keep a copy of these records at our school. When your child leaves, we will provide you with an official transcript, if requested.
Your local school district must re-enroll students who transition from microschools back into public school. Private schools may require some type of entrance exam or demonstration of grade-level competency in order to determine grade level placement.
How much does it cost?
Please refer to our Tuition Rates for the most updated information on cost of attendance.