There is a growing trend in the western world of alternative high schools. These schools are created in the public school system. Alternative schools can vary widely but a few common traits among them include lower student to teacher ratios which allows for a stronger relationship between the student and teacher, diverse curriculum, non-traditional learning techniques that are adapted to each student based on their needs, and preparation for the future involving peers, parents, and community. The program is more flexible and accommodating to the needs of the student.
Often the students at alternative schools are considered “at risk”, a term based on the 1983 article “A Nation at Risk,” published by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, that discusses what common signs or situations can put a student “at risk” for academic failure. Some of these include negative peer pressure, single-parent family, below average grades in middle school, low socio-economic status, or older siblings who did not finish high school. Not all students in the categories need to attend an alternative high school to be successful, and not all students in an alternative high school fall into the groups mentioned. Some schools have expanded their alternative programs to include gifted students or students with specific needs. The expanded programs offer the students the option of moving back and forth between programs.
Other alternative education options include charter schools or home schooling. One concern in the past with home schooling was regulation, but many areas now have association, and regulations that ensure the homeschooled children get a proper education as well as socialization. Charter schools vary and some require teachers to be licensed while others do not. Other options, though often out of many parent’s financial means, are private or boarding schools.
The good news is that your child can obtain a good and even great education without spending a fortune on tutors or private schools. If the traditional school programs are not working for your child, look into what other options are available in your community before you start shelling out the big bucks on private schools.