Parents of troubled teens often struggle to keep their education on track. The issues that these teens run into at school might be social, behavioral or academic, but the end result is that the child is unable to function in a traditional learning environment. In these situations, parents can find alternative education options, many free of charge.
Sometimes, sending the child to a boarding school is the only way to get positive results. Boarding schools provide a distraction-free environment and can teach teens discipline. They can also help remove negative influences from the teen's life. Free boarding schools include Mercy Ministries, which has locations in Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana and California. Eagle Rock School in Colorado, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch and Girlstown USA in Texas also provide free residential programs for teens.
Parents can find free military schools throughout the United States. Online directory Military School USA notes that Bataan Military Academy, Carver Military Academy, Kenosha Military Academy and Delaware Military Academy offer programs aimed at helping students to improve their behavior and become contributing members of society in the future. These schools are free of charge because they are part of the public school system in their respective areas. The Department of Defense also funds 35 Youth ChalleNGe academies on behalf of the National Guard to help high school dropouts complete their education and gain employment.
Charter schools have smaller class sizes, providing more adult attention for troubled students. Teens do not live at the school, but rather return home every night. Examples of free charter schools in the United States include the George Gervin Youth Center in San Antonio, Texas, Oakland Flex Tech Academy in Novi, Michigan, and the Bonner Academy at Cross Creek in Columbus, Ohio. All of these schools offer free education in an alternative setting for at-risk teens in those areas.
When the teen does not respond to anyone but his parents, homeschooling might become the best option. Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, reports that on average, the 2.2 million home schooled students in the United States score 15 to 30 percentile points higher on standardized tests than those educated within the public education system. Ray claims that they also tend to internalize their parents' values at a higher rate, which could lead to fewer behavioral problems.