Reviewing Jade’s book, Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget, is peculiar for me, and I can’t bear to use her surname as she is one of my oldest and closest friends. I first heard about her contract to write a book for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum while hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore. I had great expectations, followed with awe and appreciation.
Jade begins Micro-Schools with empathic and insightful descriptions of how giftedness and additional exceptionalities can impact a young person. She extends this empathic awareness to the impact on families and friends.
In short, these kids need a balance of freedom and structure that is different from the norm.
Jade offers practical advice and questions to consider. Following the model of empathy before education, she encourages authentic assessment of a family’s hopes and needs.
People need to be heard, and this book tells what questions to ask. She quotes from parents and business owners who have felt the palpable relief of finding an option where their child can be fully known.
Forming any community, particularly one focused on education, could seem like an overwhelming task of executive functioning. Developing a cohort of like-minded families who perhaps were misfitted for other available strategies can be both necessary and abundant; not all necessity leads to just barely getting by.
With prescient wisdom, Jade lines out details about how to care for the adults who work with these children. She makes the connection between how gifted kids often prefer the company of older people and the relevant self-care and compensation needed.
While clearly useful for families contemplating starting their own micro-school, educators in a variety of other settings can learn from how Jade suggests a tailored approach to the needs of the individuals while sorting out how to be a functional community.
It’s almost like micro-schools are in a liminal space between friends and family. As Jade writes, “people will move for an established program that is doing good things.”
It’s all about community.