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Something Different: 5 Alternatives to Public School for your Children

Though teachers work hard to provide a positive learning environment for each student, some kids just don’t thrive in the public school system. Whether your child is slipping behind due to class size, getting bullied by classmates or the material just isn’t clicking, there are alternatives for you to consider. The age of the child and your personal situation will play a role in the choice you make, but consider the following choices.

Cyber School

Online schools, such as the Agora charter cyber schools in PA, are becoming more and more popular. Students log on to the system, where they might read important material, watch a lecture and do assignments. Typically, there’s a teacher who guides the process and the student is able to complete all of the assignments at home in his own time. This system works well for kids who are self-directed traditional learners.

Private Prep School

Private prep schools are often a good choice for those who are looking for smaller class sizes and a more rigorous academic environment. Many have additional electives that are more interesting than the options at a public school. Private prep schools can cost more than $20,000 a year, so students tend to come from wealthy families. In some cases, scholarships are available, so it never hurts to ask.

Parochial School

Parochial schools tend to offer smaller class sizes in an environment that foster’s a particular religious belief. Classes will include religious education, but most schools do allow students coming from families that aren’t from that religion as long as they are respectful of the beliefs. Parochial schools are private schools that require tuition, but they are usually less expensive than other private schools.

Alternative Schools

Some children do well in school environments that take on a different philosophy. While most public schools require kids to sit in desks and listen to the teacher for a lot of the time, other schools might allow more independence. For example, in the Montessori environment, children are allowed to work on skills independently at their own pace. Students often help each other. In a Sudbury school or “free” school, students aren’t required to do any work at all. They are allowed to follow their passions with a teacher as a guide.


Homeschooling is a good solution for many students. It allows the parents to work one-on-one with the child, selecting curriculum that’s most appropriate for their needs. Methods include a “school at home” approach to “unschooling,” where students do what they want. Regulations vary by state, but homeschooling typically requires a parent to be home with the child.

If your child is not doing well in the public school system, it’s time to look at the alternatives. A child who’s fighting learning in the classroom may thrive under different circumstances.

Tim Esterdahl

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