Our Approach

/Our Approach
Our Approach 2019-11-07T20:04:11+00:00


Established by John Lackey in 1981, the Alger Learning Center offers uniquely creative, student-centered approaches to learning, providing a true alternative to the often curiosity-stifling curriculum and structure of mainstream schools, both public and private.

Programs & Services

In addition to our approved private school, we offer a homeschool extension program for local homeschoolers and independent learners; programs for distance learners; and “umbrella” and satellite school programs. Other services include annual assessments, diagnostic testing, tutoring, transcript evaluation and credit analysis. As a Washington State approved private school, we can work with public school districts and accept dualschoolers. We issue official Washington State transcripts, and high school diplomas to Independence High School students who have met the graduation requirements of the Washington State Board of Education.

State Approval & Accreditation

We have been approved by the Washington State Board of Education as a private school K-12 annually since 1991. In the state of Washington, accreditation of approved private schools is voluntary – an approved private school does not have to be accredited in order to operate and serve students. The Washington State Board does not refer any approved private school to a third party accreditor. “Private schools must be approved by the State Board of Education as offering a program that ensures a sufficient basic education to meet usual graduation requirements and that meets reasonable standards for the health and safety of private school students.” (SBE Website)

Philosophy & Approach

Starting from the premise that learning is an ongoing, lifelong experience, we strongly believe that young people, from an early age, deserve the freedom to have a voice in the direction of their own education and lives, to put their own ideas into action, and grow and learn independently, in their own way.

In the homeschool extension program, we help define each student’s goals and needs as we customize their individualized learning program, and use a variety of methods to identify and evaluate their learning skills, styles, and differences. Experienced teachers then work with both student and parents to design appropriate courses, suggesting and helping locate stimulating resources. We also provide easy-to-understand hints on getting started, recordkeeping, and meeting state requirements, and suggest user-friendly resources for those who have little or no experience in homeschooling, helping them make a smooth and stress-free transition to independent learning.

We support and encourage the concept of Unschooling. We recognize and validate learning that takes place both in and out of the classroom, spontaneous or unplanned learning that occurs during the course of each learning contract, and life and work experience.

Assistance by Program

The degree of assistance provided to families in our homeschool assisted learning programs varies, depending on the program in which they are enrolled.

The Local Homeschool Extension Program offers the most assistance, including direct teacher-student contact for a minimum required average of 4 1/3 hours per month, as well as access by phone, fax, and email.

In the Distance Learning Program, students work independently with the assistance and support of their contact teacher, maintaining regular contact by phone, email, skype, smart phone apps, fax, and snail mail.

The Satellite School program provides an opportunity for teachers to start their own schools under our aegis. They are assisted in starting up their programs, and receive our consultation and advice as needed. We provide validation, transcripts and diplomas, and maintenance of records of their students’ educational programs.

Past, Present, & Future

Director John Lackey has close to 50 years of experience in education. While setting up and teaching prototypical alternative classes and programs in a public high school in the 70’s, he envisioned the Alger Learning Center, establishing it in 1981, followed by Independence High School in the early 1990s. The writings and ideas of many diverse thinkers, philosophers, educators, and advocates for homeschooling and freedom in learning, such as Leo Tolstoy, A. S. Neil, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Benjamin Bloom, Frank Smith, John Holt, and John Taylor Gatto, among many others, contributed to the model for the Alger Learning Center.

For nearly 30 years, Independence High School has influenced the lives and education of thousands of students from Washington and other states, and from around the world, as they proudly completed their high school studies and received diplomas from Independence High School.

John Lackey’s exceptional and varied educational background, along with an experienced, professional, and enthusiastic staff, have allowed the Alger Learning Center/Independence High School to stay in the vanguard of the constantly evolving homeschooling experience for over a quarter century. With informed and up-to-date knowledge of the ever-expanding catalog of creative and innovative technology, resources, and curriculum, available in many forms and media for independent learners, we enthusiastically look forward to meeting the challenges of the future, while using the creative and flexible approaches that have allowed us to assist so many young people to succeed academically, regain or build inquisitiveness and self-esteem, and become life-long learners.

Students & Graduates

Our programs and services are tailored to meet all the needs of homeschoolers, independent learners, students traveling or working globally, students with learning differences and/or special needs, and many others. Graduates from our program have been accepted to a significant number of major colleges and universities, both here and abroad, to community and technical colleges, as well as vocational and art institutes. View Colleges & Universities

Enrollment, Attendance, Tuition

The Alger Learning Center/Independence High School’s programs are offered and available year around. Students may enroll at any time and begin their studies, and can complete their learning program at their own chosen pace. With students graduating throughout the year, we hold a memorable annual commencement celebration and ceremony, usually in July, for those who want to attend.

The extension program is not attendance-based. Students enrolled in the local homeschool extension program must have a minimum of one hour per week of teacher/student contact time at our campus (this may be averaged).

Tuition and other fees vary with the specific service(s) rendered; families may choose from several payment schedule options.