When Traditional School Doesn’t Work for Your Child

We are thrilled to partner with Laurel Springs School to share with Houston moms an alternative to traditional school.

Traditional school is not a fit for all children. Fortunately, there are other options available for families, like online education.

When Traditional School Doesn't Work for Your Child | Houston Moms BlogOnce upon a time, I lived in the land of I Know Things. I had pre-set expectations and 10-year plans. I was sure that I knew exactly what to do in all of the situations. My list of ‘I will nevers’ was long. Very long. And then I had children. Even when they were younger, I held onto my deep convictions of knowing. But the more days that passed, the more my best plans and directions did not always work out. So I had to learn. I had to learn to ask better questions. I had to be willing to release the desire to follow the ‘plan’ so as to free myself to lean into the best.

There is no area of my life that this is more true than in my quest to meet my kid’s educational needs. This is not a new journey. For more than 15 years, our family has struggled to meet the needs of our unique children. Sometimes we have failed. In recent years we have soared to new heights because I was finally willing to lay aside my known for the sake of learning something new.

When my oldest daughter’s needs could not be met in her 2,000+ public high school setting, we began to look for alternatives. I am the poster child for traditional brick and mortar school. Attending both public and private schools and following a very traditional education path gave me no knowledge or even willingness to consider other educational options. On more than one occasion, my pre-set ideas about other forms of school had me professing to all that my kids “will never be homeschooled.” My opinions about not being educated in a traditional classroom setting were passionately held beliefs that that were based in fear of the unknown.

Upon the realization that it was past time to consider other school options, I faced a dilemma. Our list of demands included::

  • High rigor and college preparatory curriculum
  • Flexible schedule that allowed for days or weeks of breaks during the semester
  • Individual attention by staff at all levels

The Overwhelming Task

When Traditional School Doesn't Work for Your Child | Houston Moms BlogWe arrived at the decision to move out of traditional school in a crisis time. At the same time, we had a child whose college dream list included Duke and Vanderbilt, so as parents our goal was to take nothing off the table. I must confess that I didn’t think these things were realistic possibilities with a move to a non-traditional school. I was wrong.

On a particularly scary day, I was introduced to Laurel Springs School. I was mentally preparing to forever change the course of my goal-setting kiddo’s life, and instead, we opened an entirely new chapter. Upon talking with an admissions counselor, I was not only sold, I was excited. She explained to me the various course selection options, including the Gifted and Talented program. She encouraged me to ask the hard questions and she assured me that not only could our expectations be met. But, in fact , they would be exceeded

After our initial registration, we were connected to our daughter’s teachers and counselor. With the desire to personalize instruction {even within AP courses}, evaluations were made on her language arts and math leveling. Within her areas of deficiencies, her teachers worked to fill in missing skills. After each graded assignment, she received individualized feedback. She was challenged to develop communication skills and individual accountability that will mirror the requirements that she will need in a college setting. One of my favorite moments occurred during parent conference week. For more than 10 years, I had not met with a teacher about my child’s success in the classroom. At Laurel Springs, I received scheduled calls from teachers that gave me honest and helpful feedback on helping our daughter thrive in all areas of school life.

Our love for LSS was firmly cemented last June when we attended the End of Year events. Alongside her virtual classmates, our daughter was inducted into the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and attended prom. While she knew names and hometowns from class connection, this face to face weekend helped her know that she was part of a tremendous school community. We are already excitedly planning to attend her high school graduation next June where teachers, administrators and family will gather to individually celebrate the unique journeys of each graduate. 

A New Level of Excitement

When Traditional School Doesn't Work for Your Child | Houston Moms BlogAfter two years of online school, our family fell in love with the opportunities that were opened for my oldest child. She was able to take dual credit college courses, she could travel, she could intern during the school year. These created the perfect setting for HER. But we have another child. One that has very different goals and gifts. She is an athlete, with her sights set high in her sport. When It came time for high school, her training schedule and personal goals in sport would be hard to obtain in a traditional school setting. With a new educational challenge in front of us, I asked different questions of Laurel Springs School, and again, my expectations were exceeded

“Not all online high schools have NCAA approved courses, due to the high academic expectations associated with NCAA approval,” says the school’s website.. “Laurel Springs has a variety of resources to educate students about NCAA procedures. Our School Counseling Department has NCAA specialists on staff to help answer questions about the eligibility process.”

I am currently sitting on the porch of a lakeside cabin as my youngest’s team prepares for their biggest competition of the season. Our oldest daughter is serving on a learn-and-serve project in another state. We will all leave for a week of down time the first day of our area’s public school. These are not summer time exceptions. This type of dream and life life-giving schedule is made possible by our decision to believe that the best of educational opportunities for our family are not found in the hallways of a building. Neither of my children long to participle in the band or drill team. These are not their things. Their passions are all things that were not enhanced in the one-size-fits-all model of Texas high schools. 

I spent way too many years trying to place my heart and star shaped children in a square educational box. Most days ended {or started} with children in tears. The last two years have given our family the gifts of laughter, travel, dreaming, working, learning and challenge. The world of Laurel Springs School has lifted the spirit of our household to new heights and depths and I am eternally grateful. 

If you find yourself dreading the Back to School days because you know your child is struggling in their current school context, maybe it’s time for a change. Our family would be shortchanging our kids, their dreams and many exciting new opportunities if we had not been willing to think outside of our box. What if this school year is the time to dream a new dream? Perhaps it is your opportunity to be strategic in planning for the whole of your child’s learning. Consider joining us at Laurel Springs School.


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One Response to When Traditional School Doesn’t Work for Your Child

  1. Kathryn Y
    Kathryn Y August 18, 2019 at 8:58 pm #

    If my youngest does not see some improvement in the upcoming school year, online schooling is something we may have to consider. It’s not something I ever thought I would but my son is clearly a round peg trying to fit in a square hole!

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