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Micro Schools providing parents with alternative option for kids education

Prenda, the company behind the trend, has been around since 2018, but grew in popularity after the COVID-19 pandemic - 13 On Your Side's Luis Lopez reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Most of us use our kitchens to cook, or maybe enjoy a meal, but others, like Stefanie Miller, are using theirs, as a classroom.

They’re called Micro-Schools, a form of homeschooling with groups of up to ten kids. It’s being ran by a company called Prenda.

Students are led by what the company calls guides, who take the kids through their schoolwork.

“I think a lot of parents, it drew in public school parents who were not ready or interested in home schooling, but maybe were looking for an alternative, and it was this great middle ground," Miller said.

There are nine of these groups throughout Yuma.

Parent Jessica Wiest has four different kids in these groups.

She says she fell in love with the program as soon as she found out about it.

“It just felt so unbelievable it felt like a hybrid between all the things that you would love about homeschool like learning how to bake, learning life skills like bike repair learning how to follow your interests,” Wiest said.

Students follow their curriculum with both online and hands on instruction, and all of it comes at no cost to parents, according to Prenda founder and CEO Kelly Smith.

“We didn’t want to be excluding people on the basis of who can pay tuition or who can’t,” Smith said.

Smith says the groups are actually funded similar to how charter schools are funded.

He says when he founded the company, it was simply to give parents another education option for their children.

“Our goal is to not to you know resist or replace it’s to be part of the landscape,” Smith said.

A landscape which now includes over 400 groups throughout Arizona.

And for guides like Miller, allows them a chance to help local parents who want the option available.

“When everything when I saw what was happening in to the community I just felt like this option needs to be available to families,” Miller said.

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Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez covers sports and weather for KYMA.

You can contact him at luis.lopez@kecytv.com

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