CALGARY -- A former Calgary Board of Education junior high school teacher has started a new school option for students enrolled in online learning in the public and Catholic systems.

Ben Carson has launched Glenbrook Academy, a home-based micro-school in southwest Calgary.

“What I want to do is create value for parents by reducing their stress. A lot of parents found out during (the lockdown was) that doing the online learning with their kids wasn't just as easy as putting them in front of the computer, so I want to offer parents that extremely valuable educational component, but also have a highly safe COVID environment,' he said.

The program is open to a maximum of six students ranging from Grade 1 to 6 but, so far, only two are enrolled. Tuition is $1,750 per month.

"The market that we're actually going after are students who have already registered for Hub and their parents may be finding that it's not going very well doing them on their own. That's why they would come to us," said Carson.

In the learning pod, students work on their online work through their registered school for half of the school day. The remaining periods are spend on supplemental programs in areas including music, art and physical education.

"This micro-school has been our saving grace," said mom Erin Bernier, who registered her eight-year-old son Mylo in the program.

Bernier chose the CBE’s Hub online learning program because she has family members who are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications. Bernier said she was worried about the commitment for parents since she and her husband work full-time, so she started looking for options.

"We actually considered hiring a tutor and childcare but then we discovered this micro-school. What we really loved about it, he's really here a regular full school day in a structured environment with a certified teacher who can really give him the support that he needs with the online hub, but then he also still gets that socialization with other students but it also minimizes our health risk because he’s only here with six students."

A second micro-school is opening Oct. 5 at Yamaha Music Academy in the northwest. Carson said because the music school only requires the building at night, tuition will be lower at this location.