Microschool curriculum

Learning at Primer is designed to support students through critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. Even though our academics aren’t built around arbitrary milestones, our curriculum exceeds state standards. Most importantly, we meet students where they are and help them develop a true passion for learning.

Each lesson is uniquely chosen to support students to learn at their own pace, and master each skill. Through our technology-enabled curriculum, our students learn more and get more 1:1 support every day.

Core academics


Most students in 4th grade know what 4 x 6 equals – but many don’t understand what 4 x 6 means. Students at Primer develop a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics that builds on each core concept. We challenge students to create visual representations and use multiple strategies as they tackle real-world questions. Our goal is simple: creating real depth of mastery, not the bare minimum to pass the next test.

English Language Arts (ELA)

Our ELA curriculum supports students in developing their curiosity about the world and a deep understanding for both writing and reading comprehension. Students read together both in small groups and also independently from their classroom libraries. They engage in Socratic seminars and work with partners to publish writing pieces that cultivate their mastery of the written word.


Every afternoon at Primer is magic. We call this time Pursuits – because this window is structured to give kids focused time to pursue the things that make them tick. Whether they’re writing a book to publish on Amazon, starting a business, researching volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean, or recording a song to release on Spotify – students are always in the driver’s seat. Through their work, the Primer team helps kids connect core academics to their passions, and develop important skills like creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Students work both independently and in small groups during this time, which helps them make meaningful connections and deepen friendships.


We’ll be honest: we’re not huge fans of tests here at Primer. There are all sorts of negative effects of testing (anxiety, stress, etc.), but the real problem is that excessive testing inevitably leads to a narrow curriculum that’s designed to help kids pass tests, not become curious, independent learners. We’re unabashedly focused on the latter, and we’ll never “teach to the test.”

We do think some testing can be a valuable way to benchmark student progress, so you can expect your student to take three norm-referenced assessments (we use the gold-standard NWEA MAP testing & DIBELS reading assessment) each year. These results help us understand your student’s progression, as well as Primer’s academic efficacy across the whole student body. 

If you’d like your student to take state tests, we will facilitate for families who opt in.

‘Almost’ No Homework

As much as the teachers of the 1980s wanted it to, the reality is that homework just doesn’t correlate with academic achievement. As you may know all too well, homework at many schools has evolved into busy work that parents force their kids to do at the expense of meaningful family time, playing outside, or exploring their kids’ interests together.

Our commitment to you is that we’ll always set your student up to go as deep as they’d like on any subject – there is no speed limit at Primer. If they are falling behind their peers, we’ll also be honest with you about how skill-building outside of school hours will be supportive. But we’ll never – and we mean never – assign busywork or homework just for the sake of it. We want your kids outside playing with their friends, building Lego sets, and having fun with their siblings as much as you do!