By Lizzie Weakley
Is your teen struggling in a traditional public school setting? Whether your student has learning disabilities that are not being addressed adequately or is ahead of their classmates and bored with the curriculum, it may be time to look at an alternative education solution. Here are three school solutions to consider.
Home education offers flexibility and a chance to design your teen’s education around their specific, individual needs. Homeschooling is a great option for self-motivated, engaged learners.
Many states allow your family to register as a private school with its own curriculum, but homeschooling does not have to be that complex. There are plenty of kinds of home education that don’t require that you have a teaching certificate or even a lot of free time. Many homeschool programs offer online or video components that let the student connect with a traditional classroom or live, certified teacher. Other programs have participants check in once or twice a week for assignments and evaluations from self-study instructors.
Consider joining a homeschool group. These groups allow parents to rotate teaching duties to help round out their children’s education. If, for example, you are a homemaker, you may be asked to teach the group about home economics.
2. Boarding Schools
If you have a teen with special needs or behavioral problems that are not being addressed at school, you may want to consider enrolling them in a therapeutic boarding school. These schools are geared toward children who have trouble in public school, whether it’s due to:
- Social anxiety or depression
- Learning disabilities
- Anger management issues or anti-social behavior
Struggling students often benefit from the structure and increased discipline of boarding school (www.midwestacademy.net). Choosing to send your teen to boarding school may be difficult. In some cases it will mean seeing your child less, but many boarding schools have programs that invite families to participate directly in the process of helping students discover their talents and potential.
3. Charter Schools
Charter schools are sponsored public schools. Charter schools are usually funded by a private institution like a university or non-profit organization and focus on a specific area or kind of education. Some charter schools employ nontraditional teaching methods, such as the Harkness or Reggio Emilia education approaches. An alternative approach may help students who have difficulty retaining the information they learn in public school. If your teen is constantly ahead of the class, a charter school that focuses in an area they are interested in—such as music or computer sciences—is a great alternative to a school that holds your child back.
Charter schools are free to attend, but they may require an application for attendance. Many prestigious charter schools have a waitlist or hold a lottery to determine which students will be attending, so be sure to review your options as early as possible.
Talk to your teen about what they would like to get out of school. Are they just looking to feel less anxiety? Have more friends? Engaging classes? Curriculum they can keep up with? Teachers who care about them? The best schooling option for your child will be one that best fills their needs while encouraging them to become passionate about their education.