Proyecto Padres

Alternative Ways of Teaching

Alternatives to Public Schools For Your Child

 Many people are becoming dissatisfied with the public school and education system in the United States. District performances are constantly being regulated and reformed into standardized testing and one-size-fits-all teaching methods. For many parents, these changes just aren’t working. In other cases, parents are highly concerned for their children’s safety, whether because of recent tragedies or because of the location of their child’s school. It is also hard for parents to trust the school system to protect their children if they have disabilities, food allergies, or behavioral needs. Even more parents wish their child received a different education than the one they are earning, for whatever reason that may be. There are a number of other options for parents facing these predicaments, each with their own upsides and downsides.

Private School

Private schools can vary in their format. They can be essentially public, with higher standards of education that is not dictated by the school districts in the area. They can be religious or collegiate-intensive in nature. They can also be very, very expensive and require your child to adhere to a very strict set of rules, including the infamous dress code. A lot of people believe that private schools produce smarter or more successful children, and that may be true in some cases. However, it is still an institution and you have to be sure that the teaching methods in whichever private school you choose align with your values as a parent.

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Co-Op School

Co-op schools may be one of the least known options on this list, but are a great choice if you still want a “school setting” to educate your children without all of the downsides of public or private school. Cooperative schools generally combine teachers (who are usually parents) for different subjects, parents who help take care of every child in the class, and alternate recess, lunch, homework, and other duties. It is a parent-intensive setting, where children benefit from having their parents near, while also experiencing structure and a “school day” set up. Downsides to this may be that teachers are less educated in some arenas, or that children with behavioral issues may act out more when their parents are involved. There is also some concern about accreditation, and whether or not colleges and the workplace officially recognize a co-op school for children as they age.

Online School

 There are a number of online platforms that help teach children K-12 standard education. It usually involves modules and units on the computer that a child must complete before accessing the next set. In this way, a child has structure, goals, and visible movement through their learning career. This is becoming very popular among parents with safety concerns, or who are attempting to care for a child with physical or mental disabilities or who have had a hard time in a public school setting. Concerns with motivation and structure are prominent, and are something a parent needs to evaluate prior to moving their child to this method. Some children do not learn well from reading or engaging with a computer.



Nearly 2 million children are homeschooled in the U.S. That’s a fairly large number, about 3% of the school-aged population. There are a number of benefits to this, including children benefiting from time with their parents, learning specific topics that relate to each child or what they find interesting, and the parent’s ability to provide a well-rounded or specific education to their children. Homeschooling is difficult not only for the children, but also for the parents. This is the method where people must consider how much patience and ability they have to teach their children; it’s not easy. Homeschooling is becoming much more acceptable in certain areas, and many times is “accredited” for higher education and so on.

As you can see, public school is not your only option when educating your child(ren). It’s important to weigh each option and see how it fits with your family, your child, and what you want from an education. Each method can be tweaked to fit your needs, but no one method is perfect. Educating a child is a tough business, but it is necessary and so worth it in the end.

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Three Reasons to Never Rely on a School to Teach Your Children

In most Western cultures, a child is raised to five or six years old and is then sent off to kindergarten and elementary school to learn the basics. Our children become more socialized, make friends, develop social identities, work through adversity, and create many memories. They learn a variety of subjects from teachers who are well versed in teaching methods, curriculum planning, and also happen to be very knowledgeable in the subject they’re teaching. The aim of public and private school education is to prepare children for life, higher education, and a successful career in whichever field they choose. Seems pretty great, right? While the benefits are well documented, there are also downsides to relying on an institution to teach your children.

1. Schools Cannot Do Everything

Imagine being an elementary school teacher, required to provide the building blocks for future education in a group of 20-30 kids. You spend all day working through a variety of subjects, teaching in a specific way according to district standards. Then, they go home with a few worksheets, some reading, or a project to complete over the next week. Some students get everything done early, some students do some of the homework, some students get everything wrong on their homework, and some students did absolutely nothing. There is no way a teacher can control what a child learns (or doesn’t learn) outside of his or her classroom. All they can do is provide the best learning environment while in school, and hope for the best when a student leaves the classroom.


2. Districts Control What a Child is Taught

If you have an elementary school student, you understand the difficulties associated with changing teaching methods, “updated” models of basics like adding and division, and the unique tactics teachers use to engage their students. If you have a middle or high school student, you also see the type of sexual education a child gets, the type of courses he or she must take to graduate, and many other expectations placed on him or her. Moreover, small towns, private religious schools, and differing geographic locations can also influence how a specific subject is taught, from evolution to sex education to banned books and more. If you disagree with any of these standards, you are responsible as a parent for either finding a more appropriate school system, or providing the education at home yourself.

3. School Doesn’t Teach Students How to Live

Many schools no longer provide education in “adult basics,” like financial planning, goal planning, career placement, resume building, life skills (cooking, sewing, etc.), or trade skills (woodworking, mechanics, etc.). Most parents are often shocked at how little their teenagers, soon to be college students, know about life in general. This wouldn’t be quite as shocking if parents knew to rely on themselves first as their child’s source of information. Think of yourself as your child’s life teacher: provide the resources they need to be productive members of society.

It Starts At Home

It is often lamented among parents that school “just isn’t what it you used to be,” whether in regards to fun games, safety, lunches, or curriculum. Obviously, times change and standards vary, but school should only be a place that a child goes to learn and interact with his or her peers. School is not a babysitter, or a replacement parent. If there’s something you want your child to know, it is up to you to teach it to him or her. Never rely on a school to teach your children something you believe to be crucial to their experiences in life. You will connect better with your child by doing so, alleviate the burden from the school system, and help generate a more productive generation.

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The Rising Popularity of “Unschooling”

 The opposite of school- unschool- is the latest trend among parents who are fed up with the traditional education process. These parents, often much younger, higher on the socioeconomic scale, and generally Caucasian, are removing their children from (or never placing them in) a classic school institution. Many people want to consider it homeschooling, but these individuals disagree with the title. Their unique approach to the problem of educating their children involves a number of aspects, most of which are based on parent-child interaction.

Child-Led Learning

Child-Led Learning

Many parents in the unschooling movement tout the benefits of engaging with their children in only the ways a child wants. This means that if a child likes trains, parents find materials to explore every aspect of a train a child wants to learn about. If a child wants to go outside and play, parents teach them about plants or the sky, and so on. By directly connecting to a child’s environment and interests, these parents believe they are providing a more thorough and useful education than what children in a public school setting can earn.

Learning for Life

Learning for Life

As children grow in an unschooling setting, they will generate the skills needed to be independent and productive members of society. In public school and higher education, unschooling parents believe, children do not learn applicable skills that could help them later in life. In unschooling, parents take their children through the steps needed to problem-solve, generate creative ideas, and think for themselves. Many young children and preteens in this setting learn entrepreneurial skills, learn how to run a household, and learn the value of strong interpersonal relationships. All of these things hopefully lead the child to grow into a successful adult.

Education as a Natural Evolution

No child or parent wants unschooling so they don’t have to learn or teach the basics, like addition, division, and even algebra or trigonometry. Literature and history, geography and science; these are all still taught in the unschooling movement. The difference, however, is when and how they are taught. For some children, they may have a natural curiosity for science, and want to learn about a number of different subjects therein. Another child may love books, and will advance quickly to classic literature. Each child develops their own skills based on their natural evolution in learning; they still learn the basics and may even acquire the basics more easily than their schooled peers because they’re actually using the information, and they want the information. Wanting and using information are the keys to natural evolution in education.

Strengthen Relationships

Strengthen Relationships

Many people who are considering a non-traditional approach to learning are often concerned with the social ramifications. “Won’t my kid be ‘weird’ if he/she isn’t in school?” The answer is a solid No for unschooling parents. Because of the design (or lack thereof) in unschooling, a child can develop friendships with whomever he or she wants, without worrying about social climates in school or who has the cutest new bag/coolest new toy. It also strengthens parent/child relationships, where a child has access to his parents, feels that their needs and interests are entirely respected, and they build the confidence to explore the world while having their parents there to guide them. Relationships are stronger when a child is not being forced to do something he or she doesn’t want to do, and parents have more confidence in their abilities if they know they are making their child(ren) happy while teaching them.

Unschooling is very non-traditional, and is arguably not for everyone. There is much misunderstanding and criticism of this movement, but it is gaining steam. Anyone who is frustrated with the ever-failing public school system has a number of options for schooling their children (private or homeschool, etc.), but parents who truly desire a way to interact with their children will find themselves drawn to the unschooling method. Teaching your children is organic and natural, and you provide them every tool they need to become successful adults.

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