Are you looking for alternatives to public school? You are not alone. As I mentioned yesterday, there is a groundswell of voices crying out for better options in education. Here’s some you may wish to consider:
Public Charter Schools- Contrary to the shrill voices of opposition, these are NOT private schools funded by tax dollars. They are PUBLIC schools and receive tax dollars just like any other public school. The difference is they are governed by an independent board and may have a specific focus or mission statement.
Google”Arizona Charter Schools” to see the wonderful variety these schools bring to the table. There are schools that focus on classical education and some that focus on the trades or technology or the arts! When we moved to AZ, we specifically chose Cottonwood, AZ because of American Heritage Academy and their focus on training leaders…we were THAT impressed with what we saw.
Private schools- Yeah, I know. You know this one already but it’s too costly for your budge. I get that. Really I do. But it’s still an option.
Start a school- Yes, this IS an option. I turn this suggestion over to education expert Marty Nemko, here.
Homeschool- Oh yawn, tell me something I don’t already know. And I can hear the reasons why this is NOT an option for you. I get that too. It isn’t for everyone. But here’s a hint…if you’re planning on recreating school in your home, it is NOT something I recommend. (Unless you enjoy stress-related health problems.)
Unschool- Before you scoff at this notion, check out some of the late John Holt’s material; you can find plenty of his books on Amazon, like this one my friend Chelsea told me about. Go on. I’m going to go fetch another cup of coffee while I wait for you.
Online- This would fall under “homeschool” however; the explosive growth of online options makes this worth mentioning as an option. Check out Kahn Academy on You Tube for absolutely free online classes. Many universities offer free online classes too. The opportunities are endless and the barriers that once held us back….have crumbled. I have a good friend whose teenaged kids have taken some pretty lofty college courses.
Free Range Education- Not quite “school” but not quite “unschool” either, this is the approach I’ve learned through many years of homeschooling. This is the “There is No Map” approach to educating your children. (If you’re a Seth Godin fan like I am, you’ll recognize the language.) This is new territory folks!
It’s an unsettling and disorienting approach in a scope and sequence dominated society. FREd uses a little of this and a little of that with the goal of finding what works for your child.
FREd is also based on the premise that your child is wired and gifted in certain areas and THAT is where you should focus your energy. My good friend Chris Davis just wrote another brilliant piece on this very thing. You may read it here.
Still finding these options don’t work for you? May I make a radical suggestion?
Yes, as in move. I am not suggesting that flippantly. We spent half of last year unemployed and know that in these times a family’s got to go where there’s work. However, if school has become such an issue for your kid (ESPECIALLY if they have special needs,) this may be something you should consider.
Crazy idea? Yes. But lately, I see this is precisely what some families are doing. I know one family who recently left Montana because of the state of affairs here in the Helena school district. Private school or homeschool wasn’t an option due to various circumstances.
American Heritage Academy in Cottonwood, AZ was a decisive factor in our move to that small city. (We would still be there had we found employment in the area.)
Indeed, I am hearing of more and more families who take this option.
Those are my suggestions. And now a question for you:
What has worked for your kids?
Filed under: education, Free Range Education, homeschooling, Public schooling, The Mother Lode Project | Tagged: Chris Davis, Education reform, FREd, free range education, John Holt, Seth Godin | 6 Comments »