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Taking Control of Your Child’s Education

Taking Control of Your Child’s Education

It’s Easier Than Ever to Find the Right Fit

By Everett Catts

One of the positive outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic—when students were confined to remote learning for months or longer—is that there is a much wider variety of school options available to choose from. Now more than ever, parents can be in more control of their child’s education.

There are many reasons you might want to explore your child’s education options beyond what’s offered by your local public school system. You may feel your child isn’t being challenged in a public school setting and could benefit from a more rigorous curriculum. Or you might just want to have more direct involvement in their education.

Whether you’re looking for religious or character-based instruction, or you want smaller class sizes or the ability for your child to alternate between in-school and at-home learning, the good news is that there are many additional options available today than ever before.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are free public schools that enjoy more freedom from certain state or local regulations than regular schools. These schools commit to specific educational goals in return for the charter that allows them to operate the school.

Charter schools permit parents to “have a degree of choice in their students’ educational programs by offering unique educational programs and models that may not be available in a student’s zoned neighborhood school,” says Matt Underwood, executive director of Atlanta Public Schools’ Office of Charter & Partner Schools.

APS has 19 charter schools, including its first, Drew Charter, which opened in 2000.

Richard and Nekeidra Taylor have three children, all of whom attend charter schools. Mason, 11, attends Drew, and Breanne, 8, and R.J., 12, attend Westside Atlanta Charter. Nekeidra says they enrolled their children in charter schools because “we felt like the education and just the curriculum would be better for them from a perspective of challenging them a little more.”

Due to the popularity of charter schools, students are selected through a lottery system, and the Taylors were lucky enough to enroll all three of their kids the first year they applied.

“The thing I like the most about charter schools is the sense of community and the parent involvement,” Nekeidra says. “There’s definitely a difference.”

Classical Schools

Another option is a classical school, which is a public charter school that uses the classical model. The mission of a classi- cal school is to develop not only students’ minds but also their character through curriculum that stresses virtuous and tradi- tional learning and civic responsibility.

“We acknowledge the parent as the first and primary educator of the child,” says Josh Andrew, head of school for APS’ Atlanta Classical Academy in Buckhead. “So we respect and cherish our parents’ roles in educating their children and see ourselves as partners.”

This approach definitely has its fans. Atlanta Classical has 1,600 students on its wait list to attend the school, Andrew says. A sister classical school, Northwest Classical Academy in Kennesaw, just opened in 2021 and has a wait list of over 1,000 students.


Home-schooling is a program where parents can teach their children classes from home. Maxcine Bland, a Fulton County resident and single mother, has home- schooled all four of her children, three of which are now adults.

All four kids struggled with attending other types of schools, including traditional and charter public schools, private schools and a virtual school. Bland says her youngest daughter, Amaria, 12, has thrived since switching to home-schooling.

“What my daughter was missing was me, so what I was always willing to do was to figure out which direction I should go in so she could have the best education possible,” she says.

Hybrid Schools

Hybrid schools are independent schools that combine traditional classes with home-schooling. At The King’s Academy in Woodstock, students attend classes on campus two days a week with full instruction, and then take classes at home administered by their parents.
Jason and Kendra Hopkins’ daughter Sophi, a fifth-grader, started attending King’s Academy in August 2023 after attending public schools for kindergarten through fourth grade.

“Our biggest reason is to have more access to Sophi’s education and what she’s learning,” Jason says of the decision to enroll her in the school. “Also, we have more time with her on a one-on-one basis. We chose the school, too, mainly because it was a Christian school. We liked the hybrid format because it’s a nice blend of having in-school instruction with at-home administration.”

One benefit of the hybrid format, he says, is that it allows Sophi to have more time outside when at home, and like at a traditional public or private school, she can take part in extracurricular activities including sports and the arts.

Independent Schools

Independent schools, also known as private schools, offer a variety of benefits, from small class sizes to religious instruction and specific styles of education like Montessori. Students often benefit from more personalized attention and more flexibility when it comes to following subjects that interest them.

At Woodward Academy, a two-campus Atlanta independent school for pre-K through 12th grade, educators take the time “to get to know every student so they can grow to their fullest potential,” says Nigel A. Traylor, vice president for academic and student life.

“At Woodward students are able to mix and match the level of challenge for their courses to help them flourish in areas where they have strong aptitude and to get support in areas where they need more reinforcement,” he says.


Micro-schools, also called learning pods, are schools that reimagine the one-room schoolhouse, with less than 15 students per class or less than 150 students total. Andrew Shahan, founder and executive director of Acton Academy in Buckhead, says the school has high standards for its students, meaning they must get a 90% grade or above to pass a class.

“It’s project-based learning on steroids,” Shahan says. “This is real-world stuff. In our particular education, it’s much more challenging. You are not just directed by an adult, but you have to take responsibility.”

Virtual Schools

Another option is virtual schools, which feature 100% remote learning. Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE), a school for grades 3-12 in the Fulton County School District, opened in 2021 and had about 480 students during the 2023-24 academic year.

The school allows students who perform well enough academically to take classes outside the traditional school hours, says Principal Taylor Barton. “While it’s online, our students are not alone,” he says. “They’re able to connect with like-minded students, and parents are our biggest fans. A lot of our new enrollees are coming through word of mouth.”

Anatavia Benson, a south Fulton mother, enrolled all three of her children—twin 13-year-old daughters and a 15-year-old son—in FAVE partly because her family is immunocompromised, and because they were already used to online classes due to learning remotely during the pandemic.

Benson feels that the teachers at FAVE are more attentive than at her kids’ previous schools. One teacher even helped notice quirks in her son’s behavior, leading to a diagnosis of ADHD and autism.

Now that you know more about the additional options that are available to you and your child, you can zero in on the type of school that you feel best fits their needs.

For More Information

Acton Academy

Atlanta Classical Academy

Atlanta Public Schools

Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence

Georgia Charter School Commission

Georgia Home Education Association

Georgia School Choice

The King’s Academy

Woodward Academy

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