Going Nontraditional

Originally published in LA Parent’s Education Guide

Are homeschooling, online classes and other self-paced options right for your student?

As kids settle into the new school year, education options continue to evolve. Students in and around L.A. have many choices, from online schools and classes to homeschooling programs and traditional schools that offer online components. Which of these might be right for your family? Which students benefit most from nontraditional education and what challenges should families be ready to tackle? Here are some of the basics.

Reasons to Go Nontraditional

There are many reasons why families opt out of traditional public – or private – school options. Many students who have fallen behind academically choose online schools to help them catch up, and in some cases get their high school diplomas online, according to San Marino High School counselor Lisa Perry.

Michael Kraft, vice president of online education K12, which offers private school and tuition-free public school programs, says his programs are great for students who may be struggling. “A struggling student may be one who has failed certain courses, is bored or turned off by school, misses school days, feels unsafe at school, or perhaps has received suspensions or been left back,” he explains.

Conditions on traditional campuses can also drive families toward nontraditional options. “More and more, we are seeing families with concerns about bullying and school violence looking for online or homeschool,” says John Edelson, founder of online homeschool curriculum Time4Learning.

Beverly Hills-based college admissions counselor Danny Ruderman (who has worked with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and actors Don Cheadle and Dylan McDermott) says “students who may need to learn material in a different way than the traditional classroom lecture format offers those who might need the time and flexibility to pursue an outside interest such as a sport or acting, or those whose families simply want the flexibility for their children to get ahead or travel or learn information not taught in textbooks” are good candidates for nontraditional learning. Read more here.

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