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The next time your kids are complaining about school, ask them if they’d prefer to take classes on a boat. Or maybe they’d prefer studying in a cave. How would they like to attend wizard school? There are tons of different types of schools out there – some a bit more unusual than others. We’ve got the rundown on some of the strangest, most surreal, and most awesome educational options out there.

Elf School – Iceland

You read that right; there’s a school in Iceland for those who are very fond of elves. Students can spend hours studying the history of elves, and even take tours of their habitat. If you’re a fan of Tolkien (or elves in general), this is an educational dream come true.

Boat School – Bangladesh

When your home runs the regular risk of flooding, you have to take precautions to keep life running smoothly. One of the ways the people of Bangladesh deal with their twice-annual floods is through boat school. There are about 100 of these boat schools currently in action, and they provide students with a consistent education no matter what the weather offers up. The schools are solar-powered and have Internet access, providing children with a complete education no matter how rough the waves may get.

Brooklyn Free School – New York

If your child likes running the show, they’ll love the idea of the Brooklyn Free School. This unique educational experience doesn’t have grades or tests; they don’t even take attendance. What the school does, instead, is have students design their own curriculum. Teachers are more like moderators; children run the classes and decide where their education goes. 

Forest Kindergarten – Germany

For parents who want their children to commune with nature, there’s always Forest Kindergarten. This preschool operates on the theory that children learn and develop more exploring the natural environment instead of in a confined classroom. Children are encouraged to explore the forest and the natural world and learn as they play.

Wizard School – California

If your child were more than a little obsessed with the boarding schools described in the Harry Potter universe, they’d go wild for this California-based university. The Grey School of Wizardry is the first such establishment to be recognized as an academic establishment. Young aspiring wizards and witches can take courses on subjects like Wand-Making, Alchemy, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. It may not be Hogwarts, but it’s pretty darn close.

Gulu Elementary School – China

It’s all about location for this tiny school in the mountains of Sichuan Province. Tucked safely away in the hills, getting to this school is a journey in itself. You have to travel along a circuitous path that leads you through narrow passageways, over rickety bridges, and between steep rock walls. Imagine having to deal with all that and then having a pop quiz!

The Cave School – China

Can you imagine taking classes in a cave? For one of the poorest places in China, this proved the ideal place for providing education to underprivileged children. Eight different teachers, who operated the elementary school entirely from the cave, taught about 186 children. Sadly the Chinese government shut the school down in 2011, saying that the country is not a ‘society of cavemen.’ During its brief existence, this little school made an enormous impact – and proved how far people are willing to go for an education. 

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