Homeschooling

Different states, different curriculums – is homeschooling the best option?

We have PCS’d 3 times since my son has been in school. We’re having issues with curriculum, and how each state measures up. Is homeschooling the best option for him at this point? Sincerely, Amy L.

A:

Ah… many of us have felt your pain Amy! The variety isn’t just limited to state to state – but can even vary by school district. Toss in private school options and you can certainly be challenged to try to adapt to all the changes in curricula, teaching styles, grading systems, ‘school rules’ and more found within the school systems.

I’ll be honest – homeschooling is not for everyone… but for many military kids / families it has proven to be advantageous. Here are just a few of the benefits mentioned by military homeschoolers:

  • Value of stability and continuity: With military families on the move (as you’re all too aware!), homeschooling enables kids to have their education continue much more smoothly. There’s no period of adjustment for new schools, new curriculum or teachers. This in turn allows kids to develop greater self-confidence and security. Once you’re settled in your new home you can dive in! 
  • Mobile options: There are a wide variety of curriculum options (and methods) to choose from. With homeschooling, keep in mind you are not limited to use of traditional text/workbooks. Parents are able to engage their student in any number of ways – including online/distance-learning for today’s tech savvy generation. (Be sure to check us out at Time4Learning.com for full curriculum, record-keeping and support from K5 – 12!) The only thing you’ll have to pack is your computer or tablet!
  • Child-paced progression: Granted – this one is shared by all homeschool families (and probably the biggest + for me.) If your child is struggling to understand fractions, instead of moving on to something else, you can take time out to go over fractions until he gets it. (This can be particularly important in building block subjects like math.) Likewise, if your daughter is extra-proficient in Language Arts – don’t let her become bored. Move on to keep her challenged. In other words, homeschooling is the ultimate No-Child-Left-Behind!
  • Vacations, days off – even daily routines – all can work on ‘military time’ vs. being locked into a school schedule which doesn’t mesh.  (This bonus allows you to take advantage of the all too precious family time!) 
  • Exploring the ‘world’ – or at least your new piece of it! My optimistic spirit reminds me one of best parts of being a military fam is being able to explore new surroundings. By homeschooling, you are able to adapt lessons, plan field days and truly become immersed in new cultures (and in some cases languages!)  

One of the primary objections you’ll hear raised is ‘How will your kid make new friends if they are not in (traditional) school in a new location?’ The socialization argument has been long won since I started 20+ years ago. In the U.S. there are hundreds of homeschool support groups, co-ops, tutorials and more. Most overseas bases also have support groups available (and depending on country you may find more local options.)  Then, there are all the extra-curriculars to choose from: sports, theater, dance, music, youth groups, special interest clubs and more. Volunteering within the community opens even more doors. Our bigger challenge was not a *lack* of socialization but instead making sure we don’t over pack our schedule! 

Once again, homeschooling isn’t the best fit for everyone but as a military family it is an option worthy of heavy consideration. Let us know if you have any further questions here! Best of luck!

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