What Is Alternative Education?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Libraries provide different resources for people looking to pursue an alternative education curriculum.
Libraries provide different resources for people looking to pursue an alternative education curriculum.

Alternative education is an approach to education with a philosophy and style which differs from that of mainstream education. There are a number of alternative forms of education, geared at a wide variety of students, and many nations have some option available for people who want it, especially in urban areas. This also isn't limited to grade school or middle school students. In fact, more and more people are hiring college math tutors in addition to signing up for alternative education programs. Some people refer to this type of education as “nontraditional education,” to emphasize the fact that it does not use traditional practices, and to avoid bringing up the stigma which some people associate with “alternative.” But in the heart of it all is accessible learning in however form is necessary. Whether you are opting for private tutors to protect your kids from COVID or to guarantee focused learning, alternate education can provide you with several options.

The focal point of alternative education is school choice.
The focal point of alternative education is school choice.

The focal point of alternative education is school choice. In communities without alternative options for education, students generally only have one school which they can attend, in contrast with communities in which students can explore multiple schools and educational paths. Hiring professionals like Science, English, or Math tutors offers the same level of flexibility to students and their parents, although a formal and standardized education is still advantageous. If possible, it's best to utilize both to achieve maximum learning for a student. This type of education also does not have to occur in the classroom. Home-based learning, apprenticeships, and independent study are all forms of alternative learning. If you want to teach high school level Math, you need to prepare for the Praxis Mathematics Content Knowledge exam required by several states for credential candidates. Alternative education can help you get ready for this test so you can fulfill your dream of passing on your knowledge to other kids.

Television programs may be used as part of an alternative education system.
Television programs may be used as part of an alternative education system.

In many cases, alternative educational principles are aimed at particular types of students. Some focus on at-risk youth, while others provide college-track programs, or schools with a heavy focus on environmental ethics, social responsibility, or other philosophical approaches. Many religious schools are also alternative forms of education, especially in secular countries. The practice of alternative education is certainly not a new thing, and some very venerable academic institutions were actually originally founded as education resources for people who disliked the conventional school system. This is also why there has been a growing need for virtual tutors nowadays. Aside from removing the time restrictions in regular school settings, having a private tutor also allows a more realistic progression in learning key concepts in any subject.

Alternative education may allow students to focus on personal expression.
Alternative education may allow students to focus on personal expression.

Critics of traditional education argue that it can be a disservice to many students, since it tends to have a one size fits all approach which may leave some students behind. Advocates for youth rights feel that conventional education also encourages conformity and discourages freedom of thought, personal expression, and social development, while alternative education allows students to become independent thinkers. Mainstream education can also be problematic for people with developmental disabilities or economic and social disadvantages.

Alternative education might be an option for teens who have been expelled from traditional school.
Alternative education might be an option for teens who have been expelled from traditional school.

In school districts where alternative education options are available, parents and students can get information at open houses and other events hosted by alternative schools. School counselors may also make specific recommendations to particular students who might benefit from going to an alternative school. It may be necessary for students to submit special application materials in order to attend an alternative school, and in the case of private schools, tuition payments will also be required. Some schools have scholarship programs in place so that low-income students can still take advantage of their programs.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

suntan12

Sunny27- You are so right. Children need a tailored education and parents need to provide it so their children succeed. Many overcrowded schools do not have the time or resources to offer varying levels of education within a classroom.

Some even suggest that the curriculum is “dumbed down” so that the average student succeeds. But what about the needs of the advanced students that might even be gifted? If these students are not challenged, they tend to lose interest in school and associate future learning with being boring. This just can’t happen.

Sunny27

Great article, I agree that traditional education settings don’t work for all children. The homeschooling movement continues to grow for that reason.

Many parents feel that their school system does not address the needs of their children, thus offering a sub-par education. By homeschooling, a parent is empowered to teach the curriculum in a format that best suits his or her child. For example, a gifted child with ADHD needs a rigorous curriculum, but will need to take additional breaks as a result of the ADHD.

Most schools do not have the ability to provide the optimal education environment for this child because his needs fall outside the norm.

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    • Libraries provide different resources for people looking to pursue an alternative education curriculum.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Libraries provide different resources for people looking to pursue an alternative education curriculum.
    • The focal point of alternative education is school choice.
      By: libyphhoto
      The focal point of alternative education is school choice.
    • Television programs may be used as part of an alternative education system.
      By: Joanna Zielinska
      Television programs may be used as part of an alternative education system.
    • Alternative education may allow students to focus on personal expression.
      By: Petro Feketa
      Alternative education may allow students to focus on personal expression.
    • Alternative education might be an option for teens who have been expelled from traditional school.
      By: Monkey Business
      Alternative education might be an option for teens who have been expelled from traditional school.
    • School counselors may be able to make specific recommendations to students who might benefit from going to an alternative school.
      By: Monkey Business
      School counselors may be able to make specific recommendations to students who might benefit from going to an alternative school.
    • Alternative education classrooms may emphasize student participation over teacher led lessons.
      By: Prod. Numérik
      Alternative education classrooms may emphasize student participation over teacher led lessons.
    • Virtual homeschool programs should be used in conjunction with social activities with peers in order to prevent isolation and depression.
      By: emde71
      Virtual homeschool programs should be used in conjunction with social activities with peers in order to prevent isolation and depression.
    • Alternative education programs might focus on individual mentoring by someone who is older.
      By: Daddy Cool
      Alternative education programs might focus on individual mentoring by someone who is older.