Alternative Schools & Independent Study
Berkeley Parents Network >
K-12 Schools >
Alternative Schools & Independent Study
My 15 year old recently left high school due to acute anxiety and
depression. I am now looking for an independent study program so that
he can complete high school at home. I cannot afford private
independent study programs. Does anyone have experience with this
situation, or know anything about alternative ways to educate a high
I have tried Berkeley High independent study program but they are not
Mom at a loss
The California Virtual Academy is an accredited independent free public school program.
They have a curriculum as well as a teacher who will meet with the student on a regular
basis. Here's the link to their website to get you started: http://www.k12.com/cava/.
even offer special services, such as speech-language therapy, when needed. Good luck in
finding the right match for your son.
If you're looking for public school options, there are two home study
charter schools that go through high school, Connecting Waters and
Basis. I haven't used them so I don't know any details, but I do know
that they both offer a curriculum of subjects you work through at
home, with periodic teacher meetings.
My older daughter attended 10th through 12th grades at Venture in
San Ramon, it is an independent study public school that took us as
transfers from Contra Costa county. She had an excellent experience
there and is now a college sophmore at a UC. My younger daughter is
currently enrolled at Vista, which is an independent study public
school in San Pablo. You could check them both out and see if
either would work for you.
my kids couldn't stand high school either
There's a terrific book that can help guide you in analyzing your child's needs and
searching for alternative education methods. It's ''The Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your
Child's School with Confidence'' by Bryan Hassel and Emily Ayscue Hassel. A treasure trove
of information, it's available from pickyparent.com. We decided not to go the independent
study route and finally found the perfect school for our 9th grader, who loathed
school: Envision Academy in Oakland. Search this BPN site for previous postings on this
school. Best of luck--your child is lucky to have you as an advocate.
My high school sophomore is at odds with his high-pressure
Lamorinda high school environment - he's extremely bright,
but not engaged with classes/teachers. He manages decent
grades but is working under capacity. He is quiet, seriously
into computers and somewhat socially isolated, and had some
depression last year which has improved with treatment. I
wish we could find a place where he'd get more attention,
have less pressure and could allow himself to catch fire
with his classes. We might be able to handle a private
school for a year or two, or would consider letting him try
DVC. Looking for good advice from others who have been here.
Also looking for comments on the School for Independent
Learners or options such as Bentley in this area. Thanks in
Consider Orinda Academy
for your teen. Small class size with a lot of
individual attention, responsive teachers, nice kids, accepting
community. My son is a sophomore there, and is thriving.
My son, too, struggled with similar problems-- wasn't engaged with his high school classes,
spent way too much time on the computer playing video games, and was not very social. He
also struggled with anxiety. I took him out of his too large and too hectic high school and
is doing much better at the
School for Independent Learners
in Albany. The directors, Shary
and Karen, are fantastic, and so are the teachers. I wish I'd known about this school when
my son first began high school. It is wonderful to see him excited about learning.
If you believe your son is capable of working independently, you
might want to consider enrolling him at Venture
(http://www.venture.srvusd.k12.ca.us/), an independent study school
which is part of the San Ramon Valley public school system. My
daughter hated high school and started at Venture the end of 10th
grade, graduated last spring and is now a freshman at UC Santa Cruz.
If you would like to know more about our experience at Venture feel
free to email me.
My son went to Miramonte in Orinda for his freshmen year and became
very depressed. The kids were cliquish and cruel. He did like his
English class because the teacher, Mr. Lytton, was creative and
inspired, but my son was not impressed by his other teachers.
We are sending him to Bentley this
year and he has a lot of respect for all of his teachers. Also, he is
a guitarist and he is thrilled with the music program. Socially
things are OK - not great - but the Bentley administration and faculty
take the well-being of the students very seriously. Intolerance and
the kind of teasing that goes on at Miramonte is not allowed. It may
be a better place for your son - I don't know - it is so hard to know
what to do when your child is depressed. I hope things work out for you.
Dear Lamorinda Mom,
go for private school. Your sophmore sounds like the perfect candidate.
I have Three kids, all different, and I have had to research all kinds of school. I would be
happy to speak to you and pass on anything information I can. Feel free to email and I will
give you my phone no.
My son has had great success at Holden High School
in Orinda. The
staff is supportive, understanding and dedicated. The class sizes
are small so the students get more attention and are less
distracted. There is also a counseling component built into the
program. Found to be very helpful for teens. A great sense of
community and acceptance is felt between staff, students and
families. Check it out at www.holdenhigh.org. It is the East Bay's
best kept secret in our opinion. Best of luck to you and your son.
I have a 14 y.o. boy who hust started high school in
Albany.He's smart but has a bad track record with motivation
and doing work. He states school really bores him and the high
school is no exception. If he straightens up with his
responsibilities and does okay this year I promised him We'd
get him into Berkeley High or maybe Bekeley's independant
program. I've heard of ''intern schools'' where the student goes
to class 3x a week and then sits in on some college classes 2x
a week.I haven't had any luck finding any.So...can anyone tell
me of their recommendations,experiences about any of these
modes of learning? I would ideally like a combination of
independant and classroom work. I don't think I could handle an
intense or exclusively home based program.Thanx in advance
You might want to consider Venture H.S., which is an
independent study high school, part of the San Ramon School
District. My daughter also hated high school, and at
Venture she can work independently under the supervision of
a teacher, and take community college classes also. Their
website is http://www.venture.srvusd.k12.ca.us/default.asp
Check out Urban Renaissance on
Stanford near the Oakland/Berkeley border ... (click for full review)
Just a second on Urban Renaissance in Oakland. My older
daughter attended a similar school in Napa ...
I am a Co-Director at Holden High School, a small private
school in Orinda. We work with students like your son who
are bright, but have not enjoyed or have been bored by
school. Our school schedule is such that students have
flexibility to take community college classes:we have a
fairly short school day, and we have a requirement that
students take at least 1 community college class. If you
would like more information, please feel free to email me,
call the school to have a brochure sent, or check out our
web-site at www.holdenhigh.org. It may not be the right fit,
but might be worth checking out. Good luck in your search!
Co-Director at Holden High School
this page was last updated: Oct 18, 2013
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network