The millennial generation are now America's largest generation, giving them the reigns to change the face of the education system as we know it. Millennials believe that education is integral to a successful future, but many think that the current public school system needs to change. Valuing flexibility and creativity, millennial parents are searching for schools that can meet their child's specific needs and cater to their individual learning styles. But these schools are proving far and few between.
This has led many millennial parents to break the status quo and turn to alternative education, allowing their children to choose their own path of learning. Although not as common as a traditional classroom setting, these alternative methods, like online courses and homeschooling are proving to be incredibly beneficial to the newest generation of students. With these alternative systems, children can learn at their own pace, discover their own forms of creative expression and, most importantly, be fully prepared to enter the adult world when their schooling is complete.
Promotes EntrepreneurshipToday's rapidly evolving job market requires millennials — and their children — to adapt quickly and think independently. This means they must adopt a more entrepreneurial attitude compared to earlier generations in order to enjoy successful careers.
Many millennials have already taken initiative in this aspect and started their own businesses, leaving the traditional nine to five cubicle office job behind. Only 13 percent say they still want to climb the corporate ladder. No doubt most entrepreneurial millennials will seek to give their children a better chance at creating a sustainable career for themselves.
Tomorrow's technology will undoubtedly present new opportunities and job positions that don't even exist yet. So does traditional schooling prepare children to create new businesses and adapt to an untraversed job market? Many millennial parents think not. They fear the traditional school system is not evolving fast enough to prepare their children for the future. So, they are creating a Do It Yourself system that allows children to take initiative in their personal education and think independently and creatively.
Offers a Variety of Learning StylesThis new system of learning will look different depending on the student. Alternative education may include online courses, homeschooling, trade school, or internships instead of traditional classroom lessons. And the style of learning is determined by the student and their own needs and desires. These alternatives programs are a direct byproduct of the realization that, often, traditional teaching methods don't always equal learning.
Many millennials believe the educational system is more focused on making students understand topics through one set way — or a limited number of ways — of teaching. This, of course, does not suit all students. Some learn better through test-taking while others can better demonstrate their knowledge in an essay. Moreover, some understand subject matter through hands-on problem solving while others better retain a topic by taking notes.
Unfortunately, today's system is not flexible enough to cater to each student's individual learning style. So, millennials are finding alternative methods to help their children learn and retain information. This gives their children a much higher chance of success both in their schooling and their future careers.
Favors a Nomadic LifestyleMillennials move more frequently than older generations, uprooting and resettling once every two years. This nomadic lifestyle leads them to new cities and states quite often, so enrolling their children in a traditional school only to move a year or two later is proving to be more hassle than it's worth.
Additionally, it can be extremely difficult for children to make friendships and improve their social skills if they are constantly switching schools. Not to mention, the curriculum won't be as cohesive since they will be jumping into a different lesson plan with each new school they attend. So, many are turning to online education to teach their young ones. This better supports their travel lifestyle without putting education on the line.
Millennial parents might also opt to homeschool their children to ensure they are receiving a comprehensible education with lessons that build upon previous ones. This also gives parents the power to decide how quickly or slowly their child moves through different subject matter. And they incorporate traveling and vacations into their lessons to make learning a more hands-on, reality-based experience.
Allows for More Quality TimeBetween the hectic demands of work, school activities and household chores, American families spend only 37 minutes together per day. For most, this is barely enough time to sit down and enjoy a meal together. So, millennial parents are looking for nontraditional ways to spend more quality time with their kids. For those who support alternative education, this may come in the form of homeschooling or online classes.
Homeschooling gives parents all the time in the world to bond with their children while teaching them valuable life lessons and information. And, for many, homeschooling gives the word home a new meaning. Home may be a hotel room, a car, the museum or the park, but the common denominator is that the family is together and actively connecting with one another. This family bonding takes the place of children spending their entire day connecting with other people in a conventional classroom.
Much like homeschooling, online courses also mean that children will be learning from home, giving parents the opportunity to spend more time with them. Sure, kids will be on the computer much of the time, but they are more apt to ask their parents to help them better understand something. This gives parents the unique opportunity to cater to their child's learning style and bond with them.
Personalizes EducationOverall, alternative education gives children a more personalized learning experience that can be altered to better fit their learning style and personality. Many kids enrolled in traditional school struggle with feelings of disengagement or boredom if the classroom pace is too slow. And others may experience anxiety or depression when the pace is too quick and they fail to progress at the same rate as their classmates. Alternative teaching methods like homeschooling and online courses are flexible and able to be tailored to suit a child's needs.
This helps give every child a fair chance to learn and retain information at their own speed because the lesson meets them where they're at. Millennial parents may choose these nontraditional methods if their child is having behavioral or social issues or if they have a learning disability.
For example, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are unable to concentrate or practice self-control for long periods of time. And, at least one in five students with ADHD don't receive the school-based intervention services they need. So, instead, millennial parents of struggling children may choose to keep them at home and create an atmosphere that can cater to their specific needs.
Additionally, being home with a child can help parents identify their student's learning style. This insight impacts more than just academics. A child's learning style is reflected in everything they will ever learn to do — from riding a bike to driving a car. So millennial parents who choose an alternative education for their child will be able to help them succeed not just in school but in every area of their young lives.