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Is Independent Study Right for My Student?

Where to find information on independent study, what is required of the student to be successful, and some of the ways in which schools offering independent study may vary.

Generally, success in independent study requires motivation and a strong commitment on the part of the student and, especially for a young student, his or her parents/guardians/caregivers. It also requires sufficient academic preparation to enable the student to work independently. Some schools require the student’s academic performance to be at or close to grade level, while other schools work with students who have fallen behind by providing additional individualized support necessary for success.

As with other types of education, independent study may vary greatly from school to school. In deciding whether the independent study offered in a particular school or program would be appropriate for your student, it will be important to consider the characteristics of that school and whether the characteristics meet your student’s needs. Below are some of the ways in which schools offering independent study may vary:

It is important to learn about the characteristics of the independent study options available to your student to consider whether they will meet your student’s needs and interests. Here are some ways to locate information about an independent study school:

Independent study can be a great option for some students; however, it may not be the right option for every student who is not thriving at a traditional school. Some students might be better served in an educational option that is classroom-based and offers a smaller learning environment and more individualization. Many charter schools, alternative schools of choice, or magnet schools meet this description; these schools may also offer a particular academic focus or approach that would engage an individual student’s interests and best meet the student’s learning style.

Questions: Dan Sackheim | dsackhei@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-5595 
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