Should your military family homeschool? More and more military families love having the option to homeschool. It might be the best option you’ve never considered.
Despite gaining popularity across the United States, many parents look slightly aghast at the idea of homeschooling. It seems terrifying to be totally responsible for your child(ren)’s education! But it doesn’t have to be so scary.
So many resources can make homeschool easy and accessible. Families can choose online programs, boxed curriculum, or more unit oriented resources like we offer on our sister site AweFilled Homemaker. Parents can choose what kind of education, secular or Bible-based, and how much development and planning is best for their family.
Why should your military family homeschool?
Homeschooling is easier than it looks and the benefits of homeschooling make me wonder why more parents don’t consider homeschooling, especially during active duty service.
Military Families are on the move!
Frequent relocation is one of the main educational concerns in the military community. Even just being out of school long enough to move across the country, get settled, and registered can disrupt a child’s education. The military tries to move families during the summer season to prevent educational disruptions, but that isn’t always the case. And if you move to a post that has a long waiting list for housing, you might have to wait weeks before being able to enroll.
Also, depending on the military service member’s M.O.S., a family might move more often than once a year. Some positions are inherently more mobile. Sometimes a service member is only stationed somewhere for a school or training, lasting a few months. While some families choose to be apart during shorter stints, this military life is so full of separations, one more is just too much. If we get a choice to be together, we’ll take it, even if it means moving twice in a year.
For families who move often, homeschool allows consistency, even during relocations.
Changing states is more that just a few days off and a new zip code. Because education is (mostly) state based, each state decides the state standards and objectives for each grade level.
As a former teacher, I have seen many students come into my classroom halfway through the year only to find that our curriculum was what they did last year or that they had never seen any of what we were doing and were months behind.
Homeschool curriculum would follow wherever you travel, whether a PCS or TDY, and could provide the difficulty level appropriate for your child. I love being able to choose different grade levels for subjects she either excels or struggles in.
Educationally, having consistent curriculum is crucial to academic success.
While traveling and meeting new people at each duty station is an adventure, changing curriculum and teaching styles mid-year can really upset a child. Younger students would be most affected emotionally, but older students can find themselves penalized because their American history credit from Tennessee doesn’t quite transfer into the same slot in Connecticut.
Homeschooling allows your children’s education to continue no matter where you go. Want to spend a month of block leave at grandma’s house? No problem, assuming you like your parents ;). Want to travel to see your first niece born? No problem.
Homeschool doesn’t have to happen at home!
We’ve spent months traveling during our homeschool years, a few weeks here, a few weeks there. Packing up our books, we just packed up our books and hit the road. As we drive, we study geography of the United States. We stop at historical sites on the way and watch educational videos in the car.
My daughter got to learn about the daily life of the early pioneers by visiting a living museum across the country from our home. She had concrete experiences that made colonial American come to life for her. She collected eggs, fed the pigs, helped build a buckthorn fence, flailed flax.
For a mobile military family, homeschool provides more consistent curriculum, no matter where you call home.
Flexibility is my favorite reason for a military family to homeschool.
Many military families operate on a different daily clock then typical families. Most military members start their days before 5 a.m. for physical training and often work late evenings, and weekends. Children can go several days without seeing their military parent on a typical schedule.
Homeschooling allows you to tailor your daily schedule to your family’s unique needs.
For example, my friend’s husband doesn’t get home until after 8 o’clock at night. By the time they have dinner and family time, it’s 10 p.m. Her girls stay up until 10:30 so they have a normal evening together. Homeschooling allows them to start their school day a little later and adjust their sleep schedule.
The last reason is for the flexibility of the school calendar.
Military families get strange vacations. We get 30 days of leave before and after deployments. My husband might get three weeks of block leave at a random time during the year. We might have 14-21 days of R&R in the middle of February during a deployment.
We live far from family. Having the flexibility to pick up and go to visit grandma during the “school year” is wonderful. Even being able to work our schedule around the random long weekends or training days is a tremendous blessing. Being able to take family time around the military’s schedule is priceless.
Homeschooling allows us to give our daughter an amazing education, build our family relationships with daily quality time due to the flexible schedules and calendar.
The 5 Love Languages Military Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts The Ultimate Military Life Guide for New Spouses and Significant OthersYou Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military SpouseDon’t forget the Must have Deployment Journal for Military Spouses.
Is it easy?
No, being parent, teacher, and homemaker is challenging. But for our military family homeschool is always worth it because we have more time together as a family. My daughter has a consistent education with personally tailored curriculum. And we can do school wherever we are, even if we aren’t home.