The military is full of changing circumstances and the entire family can be affected—including kids.
If you’ve ever had to relocate during a school year, you may have dealt with the hassle of transferring curriculum in order to keep your child on track. New teachers, educational style, curriculum, and the constant changing quality of schools from location to location can unsettle students and some find it impacts their student’s performance in school.
Some military families choose to take matters into their own hands and choose to home school their children.
As with most decisions there are advantages and disadvantages to home schooling military children and ultimately families have to make the decision on what is right for them.
If you’re considering home schooling, here are some aspects to review:
In a 2010 study on transitioning schools for military adolescents, students expressed the difficulty of having to get accustomed to new buildings, policies and class structure. Sometimes students have to repeat courses or miss out on topics entirely. Parents may try to fill in the gaps, but when sometimes they don’t have the tools to do so.
Home schooling can insure a sense of continual curriculum and avoid both repetition and omissions. Your child can avoid the stresses of different school policies and mapping out new building structures as well. They will still have to get use to a new community, but on a self-regulated basis.
Military children have special circumstances: they may be dealing with a deployed parent or have extra needs to catch up in class work. In the previously mentioned study, parents expressed they felt it was often “hit-or-miss” experiences with finding teachers that understand the military lifestyle. With home schooling, parents either do it themselves or have a qualified tutor that will better understand the student’s individual needs both emotionally and in course work .
Schools may not always offer the same sports, programs or opportunities for extra curricular activities, a child may be a star lacrosse player only to find that at the next school lacrosse is not even played. Not only that, when students try to get into varsity or student government positions, they may lose out because they have not been able to showcase their skills or establish a reputation.
Your student may not be able to avoid the “new kid” status, but many communities offer club sports, activities and extracurricular activities that you may find to be more inviting and they often offer more options than a single school could provide. While they still may not offer exact matches as the location you’re leaving, children might feel more comfortable transitioning into a less formal club sport as opposed to school sports and activities.
In regards to home schooling, there are a few options that parents frequently choose from:
Private School Affidavit: Some states, such as California, have loose requirements to form a home schooling program by filing for a private school affidavit. As long as a parent follows the statutory requirements, they can form a program without needing any teaching credentials.
Charter/Public Home School: There are “brick and mortar” as well as virtual charter schools where students learn by following a curriculum with a flexible schedule and although it is not technically parent led, it allows for a great deal of parental involvement. Typically students complete work online or turn their work in to accredited teachers.
Private Tutor: Home school tutors can provide a military child with a one-on-one approach and free parents from the responsibility of forming academic lessons. This option often is the most costly but often costs can be reduced by joining or forming your own co-op of sorts where several home school share one tutor.
Heart of the Matter blog, homeschooling mom talks about unique programs, rules and regulations for military families home schooling
National Home Education Network, has a section for military families
HSLDA, Home School Legal Defense Association, talks about military families and even details homeschooling overseas
Photo thanks to Andreas Ebling via Flickr Creative Commons