These are generally schools whose educational philosophies are different from traditional programs. Typically, alternative schools have small classes, a social and emotional development curriculum and a self-paced academic curriculum. This title is used officially as well as informally to describe a wide range of schools, so it's important to ask specific schools why they are classified as "alternative."
Another option is for parents to teach their children at home instead of sending them to a public or private school. Each state has different laws governing home-schooling. Many communities have organizations that assist home-schooling families with curriculum and opportunities to meet other home-schoolers.
Excerpted from GreatSchools.org
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