Friday, June 25, 2010

Not public, home, or private but Alternative or Charter schools

I know a lot of families who aren’t thrilled with their public school options, can’t afford private school, and don’t feel that homeschool is the right answer for them. If this is how you feel, maybe a charter or alternative school is the answer.

I think almost every state has something like this. I know charter schools are big in California. I recently learned about WA State’s version, Alternative Public Schools or Parent Partnership Programs. They cater towards homeschoolers but many families use these schools and don't consider themselves homeschoolers.

These schools are publicly funded but the parents have a lot more control over the curriculum and there are a variety of schedules and ways to use the schools. When you sign up with one of them you get $ to use on school supplies and lessons.

I have a friend who uses this school and gets $450 each year for each child. There are restrictions and limits on how she can use the money but it sounded pretty great and it's way better than paying private school tuition - you actually get to make use of your tax dollars. This school is in Monroe but there are kids in it that come from Everett. My friend said you can tour the school to see what it's really like. She said every school district probably has one and they are all run differently. You don't have to be in the school district though - you can go to any of them if they have room.

Here's the site for the Everett school.

Here's the site for the Snohomish school

Here's the site for the Lake Stevens school

Here's the site for the Edmonds school

Here's the site for the Shoreline school

Here's the site for the Northshore school

Those are just the ones in my area. I found them by looking at each school district's website and clicking on all the school names until I found the alternative school.

What are you doing for school next year?


Christina said...

I think Columbia Virtual Academy gives more money - we are looking into that for next year. They'll pay for things like piano or tennis lessons if those things are part of your learning plan.

Jennifer said...

I've heard of CVA - I think it's pretty popular. I'd love to hear how that goes for you guys!

Kathleen said...

Very good info. This was what we were looking into in Spokane for Mia. When we looked into it I loved how they had some really interesting/different classes you wouldn't find everywhere. And I love the idea of getting $ to use on other learning things. Not like this applies to me but do you know if the ones you have listed require you to ONLY use the money on books and things of that nature or can you use them on lessons. Now it's making me curious about California.

Jennifer said...


I think the $ can be used for lessons too. I'm sure it depends on the program.

Paige said...

Thanks for this post. I'm kind of in that inbetween spot--not feeling like I'm up for "HOMESCHOOLING" but certainly not wanting to go the regular school district route, either.
I didn't know that we didn't have to be in the same district--from what I'd heard I thought it would be difficult to use a different district's program. I'll definitely look into it some more. I still have a year to research.

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad this is helpful Paige! If you want to talk to my friend who participate's in the Monroe School, let me know. I can connect you. The whole school thing can be overwhelming no matter what you choose. Good luck!