Alternatives to Middle School… Revisited

At my partner Sally’s suggestion and based on her research, we have one more followup on Emily’s son in middle school looking for a profoundly different educational path. Another path through the high school years that we have seen work is the academic homeschooling coordinated through a private independent study school like Clonlara @ (located actually in my hometown of Ann Arbor but facilitating online students all over the country). They work with you to decide on the appropriate curriculum (including the appropriate “classes” for college prep) and then you work at your own pace and on a regular basis (weekly or monthly or whatever you work out) share your work with your remote supervising teacher who certifies your completion of each subject area and, when you have completed your program, creates your transcript and issues you a high school diploma.

Just so you know this actually works, my partner Sally’s cousin’s son (who is now 20), decided to do this sort off academic homeschooling after his freshman year at Granada Hills High (here in Los Angeles). After a year in this fairly conventional high school environment, he decided that much of his time at school was wasted on bureaucratic tasks rather than real learning.

He ended up doing his independent study under a local Los Angeles private school that specialized in supervising homeschooled students through their academic program. He got assignments which he did on his own time, met with a teacher periodically and adjusted as needed. They developed a transcript for him with all the required coursework for college and gave him his official high school diploma once he had completed his work. He then appllied and get accepted at the film school at California State University Northridge. He is now in his junior year at CSUN and doing very well.

FYI… the homeschool movement has matured enough that there are books, people, resources available addressing going to college after homeschooling. It is a very common question now. In addition to, check out and

And as I said before, there are also ways to go to college without getting a high school diploma. One is taking classes at community college and transferring to a four year college from there. In California, you do not need a high school diploma to take community college classes. Another is developing a portfolio of work and applying to a growing number of four year colleges that will accept homeschooled students without the standard SATs , high school diploma, and other credentials.

One reply

  1. Do you know Nat Needle? He used to be the director/principal of Clonlara but now he lives out here in Massachusetts.

    Oh, man. So many Ann Arbor people that I want to ask you if you know. Do you happen to know David Sebolt? Oh, the Strawbale Studio Natural Building Project in Oxford (maybe 30 minutes north of Pontiac) now has a wonderful but very small natural building program for homeschoolers. I think it’s free, or if not, extremely reasonable. They get together and chat and learn things about cob and strawbale construction and basically just work on whatever they’re interested in doing — and there are a lot of opportunities there. I’m sure you’d be welcome to stop by for a visit. will have some information and you could email Deanne who runs the place at I spent two summer/fall seasons volunteering there and absolutely loved it. Also, It’s 6 miles down the road from the Upland Hills School which is fantastic alternative school.

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