Some Information for Parents on Different Kinds of Alternative High Schools

There are times when teens are not flourishing in traditional school systems. Some teens are more challenged than others, or have other needs and inclinations than other students. Some just fare better in an alternative educational system because their needs are accommodated better and the environment is just what they need to gain academic success. Many parents consider alternative education for their children as a response to being dissatisfied about several aspects of traditional education.

Here are a few alternative high schools information for parents who are interested. Generally, these schools fall into four major categories:

1. School choice – These are also known as “schools within schools” where state-funded traditional public schools have semi-autonomous classrooms within the campus. These schools may also be private initiatives that receive funding from the state. For example, pre-professional schools or schools for students who are specially inclined towards sports, math, sciences, or similar interests. Children who have special inclinations towards a discipline would better benefit from schools who have indepth programs for them. Those who have special aptitude in athletics may be given better opportunities that suit their talents.

2. Alternative high school – These schools have a nontraditional academic program and/or surroundings. Alternative schools are usually designed for struggling teens; teens who are not doing well in a traditional public school system. They can also be helpful for teens who have disciplinary challenges or have special needs such as those with ADHD and/or learning differences. One of the main criticisms about alternative high schools is that students with special needs may not benefit at all from interacting with teens who have behavioral issues or are considered out of control.

3. Independent Schools – These are schools that are privately funded and have more flexibility with their academic programs. Though they comply with the state-mandated requirements of educating young people, the way they present education may be a lot different. A good example is schools that offer experiential education to their students. In such schools, students enjoy a more hands-on approach and learn in an environment that’s not always confined within the four walls of their classroom. It encourages creativity, intimate knowledge with the subject matter, and arouses children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. Some of these schools allow students to learn in a rugged environment for part of the school year. Wilderness schools, for example, integrate wilderness therapy and experiential learning.

4. Home schooling – This is one of the most popular alternatives to traditional public school education. Many parents prefer this because it gives them flexibility in schedule, freedom to exercise their religious, philosophical and other personal beliefs. Home schooling includes students who learn through online classrooms as well as “unschoolers” whose academic programs are predominantly determined by their interests rather than following a rigid curriculum.

Different students have different needs, and as such one type of alternative school may not be as effective on one student as it is for other students. It’s important for parents or guardians to be involved in getting to know the needs, strengths and challenges of students especially when considering taking them out of the traditional public school system. Getting alternative high schools information can help parents and guardians make a more informed choice which is more likely to be helpful to students in the long run.

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