In order to start my Five Days Of Homeschooling In The Military posts off with a bang, I wanted to share a little bit about how we came to be a military, homeschooling family.

Keep checking each day this week as I share about:

  • finding friends and groups
  • PCS-ing and other military moves
  • separations and deployment
  • and more!

Our Military Life

Jay and I were married on my 18th birthday, just one week after I had graduated from high school.

He had graduated the year before and joined the Marine Corps.  When we got married, he was serving at his first (and only) duty station in the Marines- Cherry Point, NC.

In a way, you can say that the only married life I have ever known is military life.

During that time, September 11th happened- along with a lot of other personal things.  We went through very rough times.  But we came out the other side stronger and smarter than ever.

After serving for 4 years, Jay left the Marine Corps and tried to find a civilian job.  We stayed with family and rented a home but could never seem to make ends meet.  So, we started praying about the National Guard or Reserve.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Jay was afraid that I would be against him joining the military full-time again.  When I found out, I told him that if he felt led in that direction I was behind him 100%.

So he joined the Army.  It gave us the choice to be stationed closer to family.

Here we are now, and Jay has served in the military for 13 years!

We have been through every experience imaginable, except living accompanied overseas.  Currently Jay is stationed in Korea but we decided to stay behind so he could come right back to Fort Riley when his year is up.

Homeschooling In The Military

The idea of homeschooling our children came from a combination of experiences we had:

  • Meeting a lot of friends who homeschooled in Wisconsin
  • Living in a very homeschooling-friendly state at the time (Texas)
  • Our negative experiences in school
  • The school Raven would have gone to was large and mostly Spanish-speaking
  • We were going to be moving in 6-9 months after Raven would start school

When I first started thinking about homeschooling, Raven was 4 and Denna was a newborn.  Since Raven would be going to K4 (an early kindergarten program for those born later in the year), and I was confident that I could teach her how to read, Jay agreed to a one year trial period.

He wasn’t immediately on board with the idea of homeschooling.  He had the same concerns that you hear over and over again- socialization, structure, and academics.

As you can tell, our first year went great.  Over the years, homeschooling has fit within our lifestyle so well that now Jay doesn’t want the kids to ever go to traditional school.

I will talk more about the benefits of homeschooling in the military in my next post.  Let’s just say that it is a very flexible, family oriented way to live and learn that fits us perfectly.

When we started homeschooling, I just pieced together fun activities and phonics lessons for Raven to do.  As she got into elementary grades, we become more structured.  We had a schoolroom complete with dry-erase board, assignment schedules, and red grading pens.

If you’ve read this blog at all you know that our schoolish ways didn’t last long.

The short version of the story is that Raven struggles with traditional methods of learning.  We got frustrated, I went in search of answers, and we discovered lapbooking and living books.

Then I started reading about notebooking, Charlotte Mason, and unschooling.

It was our 3000+ mile trip to Kansas and living in an RV for 4 months that pushed us over the edge into the world of relaxed homeschooling and eventually unschooling.

And unschooling in the military is even more flexible and accommodating for us!

This fall, we will be on our 7th year of homeschooling together, and Jay and I will be on our 13th year of marriage.  All of those years (except for 8 months) have been military!

Since we are such experts {ha!}– I want to share with you this week the ups, downs, goods, bads, legals, emotionals, communicationals, and transportationals of homeschooling in the military!

Share Your Experience!

I would love for you to share your experiences with homeschooling in the military!  You can leave them in the comments below or email me  via my contact form.

Share your questions, successes, tips, and struggles and I will try to include them on my posts or on my Facebook page this week!

Check out the entire collection of Summer Series, Five Days Of. . . over at iHomeschool Network!

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6 Responses to Introduction To Our Military, Homeschooling Life

  1. Aadel, I find this fascinating. Since military life is so hierarchal and structured and unschooling is… not. Great intro to your story.

    • Aadel says:

      Military life may be structured in that you go where they send you, but as a family you have to be super flexible and intentional. More often than not, the military makes our personal lives a jumbled chaos! Unschooling goes well with that because it is so unstructured. We can learn wherever, whenever, and with whatever we have.

      I think that is one of the biggest misunderstandings that people have about military life. And it is NOT the same military as it was 10 years ago- that is for sure.

  2. Shannon W. says:

    That was AWESOME Aadel! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    I don’t remember exactly how I first heard about homeschooling but I remember thinking to myself, “is that even legal?” lol! As many of the moms I know, I had every intention of sending my children to traditional school. I was even looking forward to it!
    We lived in an area at that time that had very low rated schools. I also had hopes of my children getting a christian education from a private school. We checked the tuition at the local schools and knew that wouldn’t be an option for us at that time. So after some thought, we decided to give homeschooling a try. The first year was nerve racking to say the least! I was so unsure of myself! Am I doing this right? Will my daughter be behind? Am I making a mistake? Not to mention I didn’t get alot of support from my family members. But we stuck through that first year of kindergarten, then the next year and the next year… The more I researched and the more time that passed by the more confident I became. Homeschooling now is such a JOY! I am so thankful that we made the decision and stuck with it through that rough first year. Over the years we found that there were so many benefits to homeschooling and being a military family, homeschooling fit us so perfectly! I wouldn’t want it any other way! My daughter is now about to start the 4th grade, my son is going into 2nd and another is working in preschool.

  3. I just left a message somewhere else, but wanted to say an official hello. After reading your Bio, I think our older two are similar ages. Baby 3 didn’t happen here though. I’ll have to read the rest of the series, and see what else we have in common.

    My posts aren’t as regular as yours, but you can come meet me at http://proverbs2six.blogspot.com

    Blessings, Bethany

  4. Holly says:

    I am really glad to have found your page! We are a military family also and just moved to our last duty station before retirement, but this was the first time we have ever thought about homeschooling! We were stationed up at Ft. Campbell and lived in Clarksville. Clarksville’s schools are really good! We PCSed in Aug to Tampa and moved to where everyone was ranting and raving about the schools! So, we told our kids to step it up… it is going to be harder then in TN. We were sadly mistaken. The schools here are about 2 yrs behind TN. I have felt like we have wasted a year… our oldest is super smart and so bored. She would come home begging us to talk with her teacher (even after we did) to give her harder work… She even wrote to her teacher asking for harder words for spelling. She is so excited that we chose to homeschool! Our middle child is smart but plays it off… But, even she is bored. She knows that half the stuff she does is just busy work! I am so done with the school system here. I am giving the girls till spring break and then they will be home with me! I am nervous and excited, scared and trilled, happy and sad all at the same time! The one nice thing about living here is that there are 3 large homeschool resource centers here and our church is a big supporter of homeschoolers! Now, decision has been made to homeschool… now on to figuring out what curriculum to use! 🙂

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