A few decades ago we explored the idea of pulling our child (the only one at the time) out of public school and becoming part of the Milford Free School. If we had the resources then that are available today, I would have definitely gone with non-public education.
At that time (mid-1970s), alternate education plans needed approval by the state of NH and the local community school board. We decided to keep our daughter in the public system but to make sure she got plenty of additional opportunities for learning in an unstructured manner. When her sister came along a couple years later we needed two incomes, but we ensured that our day care provider followed the same philosophy. Both girls did well in school as well as with their independent learning experiences, so I think we gave them the best of both options available within our means.
Today, many forms of alternative education including alternative public school curricula, home school arrangements, cyber-schools and unschooling have been endorsed and even embraced by the worldwide community of parents and educators. Hooray!
Here's a brief interview of Dayna Martin of Madison, NH - her family of 4 gets a great unschooling experience at home from Dayna and her husband Joe. I wonder how my grandkids would enjoy the unschooling experience? I know I would have loved it ... both as a child and as a parent!