Schools are meant to be a place where every student can go and learn. In some cases, though, certain populations find that mainstream public schools don’t always meet their unique needs or aren’t inclusive enough.
Whether a child has a disability or just specific religious beliefs, public schools may or may not be the best option for them. However, there are other options out there, like these seven alternatives to public schools.
Homeschooling is a type of education that takes learning out of the traditional classroom setting and takes it into the home. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, many parents love having their child’s education in their hands so they can help their kid reach their full potential. In fact, homeschooling gives parents the freedom to completely customize their child’s education to meet their individual needs.
There are many homeschool approaches parents can take, especially if you live in an area where homeschool groups are available. There are also a wide variety of curriculums, or options like unschooling.
6 Private Schools
Unlike public schools, which are typically free for anyone, private schools are institutions that are supported through private funds. In most cases, private schools are run by individuals or private organizations.
Since private schools are not funded and governed by federal or local governments, they are not required to follow the same rules and regulations as public schools. This often means that private schools have application processes, charge tuition, and require students to meet specific criteria to stay enrolled. While this can make private schools trickier, it also helps them offer unique educational opportunities for children, especially children who are intelligent, creative, or interested in specific topics.
5 Charter Schools
A charter school is a combination of a public school and a private one. Essentially, charter schools are funded like public schools but privately run. These schools don’t charge tuition, but families can choose to send their children to them, regardless of how close these schools are to their primary residence.
According to Education Week, charter schools are often exempt from most of the laws that public schools follow. Instead, each charter school draws up a specific contract (called a charter) that includes the school’s mission, academic goals, accountability measures, and financial guidelines. This gives charter schools more freedom in terms of education and curriculum plans, while also ensuring that students are still learning and meeting academic milestones.
4 Magnet Schools
Believe it or not, magnet schools are actually a specific type of public school that offers unique instructional programs that aren’t offered within traditional public schools in the areas. In many instances, these schools have a focus area, such as the arts, technology, or science.
Unlike other public schools, though, magnet schools operate as “school of choice” buildings, meaning students complete applications to attend there. While students don’t have to live in a specific “zone” to attend the magnet school, many of them do have certain admission requirements, which are often academic related or tied to the magnet school’s focus area. Overall, though, these schools are great options for children with special interests.
3 Virtual School
As the name implies, a virtual school is a unique type of school where everything is provided online. According to the team at Method Schools, students typically login to an online portal and attend school. Some of these have virtual classes, whereas others are just assignment-based.
Virtual schools are sometimes offered through the public school system, but other virtual schools are operated through private or charter schools. There are many options out there, but parents should carefully research their options before selecting a virtual school as some are not fully accredited.
2 Parochial Schools
Parochial Schools are a specific type of private school that is affiliated with a specific religious denomination and usually supported by an individual church. While these schools started out as Catholic schools connected to a specific Catholic parish, they have expanded into other religious systems as well.
Like other private schools, parochial schools have the flexibility to choose their own curriculum and academic offerings, which means they often include religious teachings within their school day. However, these schools often still cover the same subjects taught in public schools, like math, reading, and science.
1 Military Schools
Military Schools are a specific type of private school that’s modeled similarly to many of the military colleges throughout the United States. These schools offer discipline and structure for students, while also teaching them valuable life skills and preparing them for future careers both inside and outside the military.
Military schools operate like other private schools in that they have enrollment requirements and rules students must follow once accepted. However, these schools can be great options for certain children, and many students thrive with the structure and strict requirements.
While public schools are great for most students, they don’t always meet the unique needs of certain populations. Luckily, there are other options, like the ones listed above. School should never be a one-size-fits-all approach, and these options make sure that each student has a place where they can succeed.
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