Alternative Education Programs Help Kids Make The Grade

Alternative education programs can help children reach their potential. Here are some tips on how to help kids make the grades.

At first glance, it looks like Shane Bruce is sitting at the kitchen table in Los Angeles, California, working on his homework assignment. In reality, the typical seven-year-old is being introduced to the multiplication table by the only teacher he has ever known -- his mother.

Leslie Anne Bruce said she knew from the moment her only son muttered his first word that homeschooling would be in his future. So far, she has had no regrets. Shane has remained healthy from childhood diseases, viruses, peer pressure and all other distractions that bombard many students who attend traditional schools.

By the time Shane reaches the twelfth grade level, his mother is confident her son will be ready for college.

According to recent statistics, her choice may have been a wise one.

Shane is one of more than a million Americans who are enjoying academic freedom in the privacy of their homes.

Since religion is not taught in public schools, homeschoolers are able to open a religious or spiritual study manual alongside an English Literature textbook.

Although less than one percent of all homeschoolers take the SAT, they score higher than the national average in both verbal and math, according to the National Homeschool Association. Those who take the difficult ACT, the exam required by all ivy-league institutions, homeschoolers' average composite score is 22.8, compared to the national average of 21. A perfect ACT score is 36.

Richard and Marcella Burns of Imlay City, Michigan, have taught each of their nine children from their home. They also offer, from personal experiences, a video course for the struggling homeschool parent. At their web site, which can be searched for, the Burns family shares with potential homeschoolers the advantages and pitfalls of alternative education.

Homeschool Mall Central is a recommended web site to locate many homeschool resources. In addition to elementary and middle school curriculum,features study resources in art, religion, character, foreign language, history, language arts, math, music appreciation and science. It also offers educational software for homeschool planners.

Getting started is perhaps the most difficult challenge. There is an excellent site aimed at helping parents make education fun for their preschoolers. For instance, you're playing in the sand with your five-year-old. You're showing him/her how to make a road for cars. A hole is scooped out to make a hill. Water is poured into the hole to make a lake. Although your preschooler may not know it, the youngster is actually learning the basic principles of geography.

Homeschooling may not be suitable for everyone. But with school violence and class overcrowdedness topping daily news, alternative education is an area worth exploring.

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