What can I do instead of high school?
Many parents worry that their local public school isn’t up to par for whatever reason. Perhaps their child has already had a bad experience in the school district, or perhaps you yourself are not satisfied with the way things are being done. That’s a frustrating situation to be in, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. You have choices. While the district public school may be the default for many people, the fact is that it doesn’t work for everyone. There are a number of reasons why a parent may want to investigate their options, and it’s their right to do so. Take a look at the list below to see if any of these criteria fit your child.
Signs That Your Child Might Benefit from Alternatives to Public School
• Child Is Unhappy, or Being Bullied
The environment in which a child learns can have a huge impact on their ability to succeed. If repeated complaints of bullying seem to be falling on deaf ears, or if the overall classroom culture leaves your child feeling depressed or unhappy, a different school may be exactly what they need.
• Child Is Underperforming
You know your child has the knowledge and ability to get better grades, but it just isn’t happening. Perhaps the school district is struggling to make certain accommodations for your child, or overcrowding leads to a lack of individualized attention, or even the chemistry of the place simply isn’t working for your child. Grades matter, especially in high school. If you know your child can do better, seeking an alternative to public school may spark higher achievement.
• Child Is Bored or Not Challenged Enough
Gifted and advanced students are every bit as much in need of special education as the students who are struggling. Highly advanced students learn in different ways, and if they are not being appropriately challenged, they may grow bored and restless. It’s not at all uncommon for highly intelligent students to develop behavior problems simply because it provides stimulation for their mind.
• Local School District Isn’t Satisfactory
We can’t all pull up stakes and move to the highest-performing school districts. Most of the people living in the United States are where they are due to happenstance, and the fact is that some schools just don’t perform as well as others. If you are unhappy with the local public school, you may find much better alternatives to high school out there for your child which will challenge them appropriately and bolster their success.
• Child Needs Flexibility in Scheduling or More Opportunity to Work at Their Own Pace
If you notice that your child is often losing points on tests or projects because they ran out of time, that could mean your child needs a more flexible schedule. Likewise, if you have a child who can finish 60 minutes worth of work in 15 minutes, they could also greatly benefit from flexibility and working at their own pace. The average public school schedule is not the best fit for every child.
If you feel that any of these bullet points accurately describe your high schooler, it is worth your while to look into high school alternatives. High school is a time when learning should take a higher priority. If the school itself is holding your child back, they can greatly benefit from an appropriate change. But what types of alternatives should parents be checking into? Below is a list of the most popular options other than your local public school.
Private schools can be found all throughout the country. Some may be tied to a specific religion (such as parochial or Catholic schools), while others are purely secular. One thing all private schools have in common is tuition. Depending on the school, some parents find private school to be entirely too cost prohibitive. However, many private schools offer scholarship programs and financial assistance. If you are seriously considering a certain private school but have reservations about the tuition cost, it’s always best to contact the school directly and discuss your options. The benefits of private school tend to be smaller class sizes, a wider range of available courses (a private school may offer more advanced learning opportunities, or a wider range of foreign languages for instance) and in some cases, better opportunities for college admission. Private schools are also able to enforce stricter codes of conduct. Some parents find that the regimented structure in a private school is very beneficial to their child.
Vo-tech is short for “vocational-technical,” and is sometimes available through your local public high school. These are special programs designed for students who show a strong interest in studying a skilled trade. Usually, students will spend part of the day in their regular high school for subjects like math and English, but then a large part of the day will be spent either in a separate area of the school, or in a separate building altogether. Vo-tech high schools offer programs such as carpentry, computer programming, cosmetology, health science, culinary arts, veterinary studies, financial services, etc. Students gain hands-on experience in their chosen vocation which can help prepare them for a trade career after graduation. In some areas, there are devoted vo-tech high schools which allow students to spend the entire day following a course of study designed to both meet educational standards and prepare them for their career.
Homeschooling is a legal alternative to public school which allows the student to complete their education at home, usually with a parent or a tutor taking the reins. This option allows for a greater level of parent involvement in a child’s education and allows great flexibility in scheduling. It’s important for parents to understand and accept the amount of work they will be taking on as the primary teacher of their child, but for motivated parents, this can be a great opportunity for both them and their child. Parents who do not feel comfortable taking on the role of the primary educator can consider hiring a tutor, or looking into cyber charter schools (more on that below). Parents are free to explore different teaching methods which better align with their child’s individual learning style and can incorporate more hands-on experiences into their child’s personalized curriculum. Armed with these options, you’re ready to consider what model works for you, and find the best school for your child!
Echoes is a new platform that encourages the establishment of small learning pods at the local church or a local home. It can even be done at the office! 4 or 5 families band together to accomplish the oversight of the students and the echoes system takes care of the educating, grading, and reporting. The entire system is gamified so that kids love it. Students are able to move at their own pace and the entire education is Christian—based. Check out echoes at https://www.flexeducation.org/echoes/.