Public education in the United States has a long history with many success stories. However, your local brick and mortar public school–or even private school–may not be the best choice for every student. More and more, families are responding to inequities in education, concerns over bullying, school violence, dissatisfaction related to quality, or other personal needs by seeking other options.

Below are some alternatives to public or private school that may work for your family:


Homeschooling is an option that has been slowly becoming more popular across the world in recent years as parents seek other options to public education. There are many types of homeschooling methods, curriculum types (textbook and online), and other resources. In addition, there are networks of homeschooling communities, online support groups, and even learning pods that can help those just getting started on their homeschooling journey. An added advantage of homeschooling is its flexibility – it can begin anytime and can be customized to meet the needs of your family and student. As you embark on this journey, consider the comprehensive and flexible curriculum offered by Time4Learning, which can provide a structured yet adaptable approach to your child’s education with lots of support for you.


While some have argued that unschooling is a homeschooling method, in essence, it is the opposite of public school. Regardless of its classification, if you choose to unschool, you let your child follow personal interests without a particular curriculum or standards. You may even try to undo what has been learned (academically and otherwise) within the public school system through a process called deschooling. Unschoolers focus on real-life learning experiences with the child taking the lead on what is learned.

Military/Boarding Schools

Military schools have become popular due to their independence and character building, rigorous level of academics, and outlook for opportunities after graduation. You can also find boarding schools that are not military based. Military and boarding schools may be a great option for a child who can benefit from a full-service, round-the-clock education.

Virtual Schools

This option usually consists of lessons being taught by experienced teachers who follow a predetermined curriculum. The teachers handle student grades, records, and more. Some online schools may also provide a curriculum for students that allows them to log in and learn on their time. Just like some of the other options listed, online schools may be secular or religious in nature. A notable institution in this realm, recently launched by Time4Learning, is Brightspire Virtual School, offering a comprehensive and accredited self-paced program and expert educators who guide students through their academic journey.

Charter Schools

Charter schools, like public schools, receive government money, but they do have more control over some of the things public schools do not. Charter schools cannot charge tuition, but there are limited numbers of them, so often you need to be chosen through a lottery in order to enroll. Charter schools identify and focus on specific educational objectives and may have more capacity for individualized learning than their public school counterparts.

School Choice Financial Support Options

Did you know that certain states provide funding to support alternatives to public education? Voucher programs in some states promote parental choice by diverting public school funds to charter or private schools when families choose those options. In some states, homeschoolers can receive funding to offset the costs of homeschooling. Be sure to check with your state regarding regulations, your rights and responsibilities, and available funding related to alternatives to public education.

Is It Time to Switch Schools?

How do you know if now is the time to look for a different educational approach for your child? Asking these questions can help you get started:

  • Have your child’s grades dropped? 
  • Does your child complain about school?
  • Does your child seem irritated or sad after coming home from school?
  • Is your child constantly looking for an excuse to not attend school?
  • Does your child exhibit behavioral issues at school?
  • Are you concerned with the quality of education or level of services your child is receiving?
  • Are you concerned about their health or safety at school?
  • Would you like more control over what your child is learning at school?

If the answer to these questions is “YES,” you may want to start looking for other options. All children deserve to learn in a safe environment with plenty of opportunities to reach their full potential. As technology and society continue to evolve, so should the education of our children. Whatever you decide, be sure to do your research when it comes to state laws, as well as the academic and financial details of each of your options. After all, knowledge is a powerful tool when making such an important decision about your child’s education!