Homeschooling is often a great choice for military families because it helps minimize the impact created by moving around from state to state, or even overseas. It is also a way to build consistency in your child’s education, when life is anything but consistent.
If you are considering this big decision, here are five homeschooling tips for military families.
Pay Special Attention to the Homeschool Laws of the State Where You Currently Reside
Homeschool regulations vary from state to state, and as a military family, you may experience drastic changes as you move around the USA. Some states have no requirements for homeschooling, others require a simple form submitted to your local school district, and still others have testing or assessment requirements.
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a resource for homeschooling parents. On their website, you can find an overview of the homeschool regulations in every state, plus contact information to help you get started.
Plan Way Ahead for Deployments
Most military families will have plenty of advance notice before moving to a new state or leaving for deployment. It’s important to start planning right away — research local homeschool laws, find support groups, and possibly even order curriculum. If you are moving overseas, you may find that books are much harder to order than they are in the USA. Planning ahead is also fun for kids, who can begin researching field trips, museums, and parks in their new “home”.
Find Your Tribe
It can be hard to make friends when you’re constantly moving, but it’s important for your own sanity and for your kids. A good place to start is by asking around at your new church. They are often connected with the local homeschool community and can point you in the right direction. You can also check on Facebook or Google by searching for your new city and the words “homeschool group”.
Take Advantage of Military Resources
When you move to a new state, city, or base, you may be so overwhelmed with getting settled that you neglect to take advantage of military resources. Whether you’re looking for academic services, financial assistance, or much more, there are military services to guide you. The Center for Parent Information and Resources has put together a list of resources specifically for military families.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Some days you may feel like homeschooling your kids is the most rewarding job in the world, and other days you may feel like giving up.
It’s important to accept that life is sometimes chaotic, whether you’re homeschooling as a single parent while your spouse is deployed, or uprooting your family for another move. Homeschooling can help provide needed stability when life is crazy, but if you don’t cut yourself some slack you will only add to the craziness.
Be sure to take time to breathe, pray, exercise, and stay healthy. You are the best person to teach your kids, but only if you don’t run yourself ragged. Yes, schoolwork is important, but your own sanity and the health of your family means so much more.
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