Alternative schooling has become a much-talked-about topic in the last few years. Parents are growing more concerned with the public schooling system, what children are being taught at school, and whether their children will walk away with the necessary skills to properly navigate the world and the modern working environment.
Other concerns parents have include; whether their children will be able to think for themselves? Will they be able to think critically and solve problems effectively?
In this article, we will explain what an alternative school is and how such a school could help children flourish into someone who can problem-solve and think for themselves.
What Are Alternative Schools?
An alternative school is simply a school that breaks away from the traditional educational mould. Children are still afforded a high level of education that colleges and universities accept, but the manner in which children are taught differs.
These schools will often have different attendance requirements, be more flexible, and require students to think for themselves when solving problems instead of being spoon-fed.
Are Alternative Schools Bad?
No, alternative schools are not bad. When they first emerged, alternative schools received a bit of a bad reputation as most of the children sent to these schools were the so-called “bad eggs”. Those children who were kicked out of traditional schools.
However, this sentiment has changed and alternative schools are now sought after by parents who have gifted children, special needs children, are looking for a higher quality of education, and more.
In fact, many of the children who were previously considered to be disruptive and disobedient merely did not fit into the mould that has been created by traditional schools. When placed in a setting where they had more freedom and had to take more responsibility for themselves, they flourished.
Therefore, alternative schools give children the opportunity to become more self-sufficient and grow into well-balanced adults.
The Benefits of Alternative Elementary Schools
There are a number of benefits that alternative elementary and high schools provide children that make this option a popular one in today’s society.
The Freedom of Flexible Schedules
In alternative schools, children will often have the flexibility to create their own study schedules and complete their schoolwork at their preferred times. However, there is still some structure as there are certain times at which courses need to be completed by.
For example, if a student needs to attend a doctor’s appointment, they will not miss out on school work as they would in a traditional school. They can attend their appointment and instead work an extra hour in the afternoon.
Progressing at Their Own Pace
Students in an alternative school setting can work at their own pace. Therefore, if they are struggling with a concept they can spend more time on this concept to ensure they properly understand it before moving on to the next topic.
They can also move through concepts faster than typically expected. Therefore, gifted children can work through the entire course faster and potentially finish school earlier.
Consequently, alternative schools cater more to individuals and give them the freedom to feel secure in their understanding of a subject.
Pursuing Career Paths
Some children know from a young age what they want to do with their lives. This can manifest in a child wanting to become a professional gymnast or perhaps knowing that they want to become an astrophysicist.
In the example of a gymnast, these children will often require training from the best coaches in the country. The times available for this training will in many cases be in the middle of a school day, which will be hard to accommodate in a traditional educational setting. An alternative schooling option will allow these children to spend the necessary time on their chosen profession while still obtaining a high level of education.
For those children that have a specific career path in mind such as astrophysics, they can choose to tailor their education to better prepare them for their chosen field. For example, choosing an international British Curriculum that offers specialised science subjects.
This is not possible in a traditional school and will potentially take the child longer to reach their goal.
A Positive Learning Environment
Alternative schools are known for creating a positive learning environment where children are offered more support. This manifests in smaller class sizes, giving the student more opportunity to ask questions, and have more access to a teacher.
There are also fewer cases of bullying in these environments. This is significant as bullying can result in a child losing confidence and developing a negative connection to learning.
Children will also have the freedom and opportunity to learn in a way that is suited to their specific learning style. This allows children to understand concepts faster and will allow them to build confidence in their abilities.
A High Level of Education
Many alternative schools offer a higher level of education as they make use of highly regarded international curriculums. They also employ highly trained and passionate teachers that are able to guide students through their educational journey.
As a result, children will receive a higher level of education than typically received in public schools which will provide children with more opportunities when applying to international colleges and universities.
School Alternatives for Anxiety
There are many reasons why children might suffer from anxiety at school. It could be that they do not function well in large groups of people due to a mental, physical, or psychological disposition. They could also suffer from depression or anxiety that can lead to panic attacks.
If this is not dealt with, the anxiety experienced by these students could affect their grades negatively and result in their performance dropping. This could also cause them to develop negative associations with learning.
Alternative schools can be a very good option for these students as it still provides these children with a high level of education without the crowds of hundreds and sometimes thousands of other students. Therefore, they will have the space to flourish and learn how to manage their anxiety.
A Variety of Alternative Schooling Options
There are a variety of alternative schooling options that have each been designed to accommodate different types of children and their needs. Some of the options available include homeschooling, online schooling, and learning centres.
With a traditional homeschooling option children will register with a homeschooling body and purchase their books and course material. They will then work through the course material independently.
With an online school they will receive access to online learning content such as Live Lessons, Q&A Sessions, and more which are presented by teachers. Therefore, students will be able to work through their course material independently as well as be guided by teachers on their educational journey.
Learning centres are physical centres where students can go to receive their education. These centres will offer a homeschooling or online schooling curriculum as well as teachers and tutors that are available for questions concerning the course work.
Choosing Your Brand of Alternative Schooling
Choosing which type of alternative schooling option will work for your child depends entirely on their personality and requirements. However, when choosing an alternative schooling option, it is imperative to ensure that the alternative schooling option you choose offers a curriculum that is recognised for its quality.
The curriculum should be accepted at colleges and universities in your own country as well as internationally to ensure that your child has the best chance of succeeding and following their desired career or path of interest.