I get asked a lot whether military families are allowed to homeschool wherever they go. The answer is an emphatic yes!
The Armed Forces, while they don’t encourage homeschooling, have made efforts to support military families who choose to homeschool. It is legal in all 50 states and is allowed in overseas stations depending on your sponsorship status.
Not only is homeschooling allowed in the military, it is very popular.
For this week’s 10 in 10, I came up with a list of serious and silly benefits to homeschooling as a military family.
1. We are unaffected by furloughs
Everyone is talking about the civilian furloughs that are being implemented due to the sequester. Thankfully, the DoD schools only have to cut back 5 days but it still affects every military child that is enrolled in a DoD school.
As homeschoolers, we don’t have to be flustered trying to realign our schedules because of cut-backs.
It’s kind of a silly benefit – but I am thankful for it. A lot of families are being affected.
2. You don’t have to shop at the commissary on payday weekend
This is another silly benefit. I know it’s not just for homeschool moms.
But it is nice to be able to go to the commissary during off-peak times. I can shop in the middle of the pay period on a weekday morning, bring my kids along, and have a nice peaceful experience.
3. Leave any time of the year = vacation
Jay’s schedule is so busy sometimes that his chances to take leave usually don’t come during the traditional vacation times. But that kind of works for us.
We don’t have to worry about taking a vacation in the summer. Any leave time Jay has can be a vacation – regardless of the time of year!
And we intentionally schedule some of our big trips to avoid the crowds.
4. Easier transition after a PCS move
When we get to a new location, we don’t have to jump right into a new school, new schedule, and new community.
There is time to ease back into homeschooling. We can explore the community a little.
5. You keep the same curriculum and teacher
Again – no matter when or where you move, homeschooling allows for stability. Your kids have the same teacher, the same curriculum, you can keep the same schedule.
Moving during the middle of the school year, or multiple moves in a short time doesn’t create chaos.
And being the military travelers you dreamed of is more feasible. Hop around the world and the schoolwork comes with you.
6. It’s more mainstream in the Armed Forces
A higher percentage of military families homeschool compared to the general population.
That means you will probably find a homeschool group, or at least some fellow homeschoolers, at each place you are stationed.
And you won’t worry about being stationed in a remote area where people might not homeschool. Chances are, there are some military families there that are homeschooling.
7. Being flexible for medical appointments
Military moms will recognize this. You call the morning appointment line for a somewhat urgent need and you hear, “There is an appointment open at 8:30 this morning – can you be there in 20 minutes?”
To me, it’s a big deal that I can usually say yes.
8. No worries about moving into the wrong school district
When we are looking for a place to rent, and when we bought our house, we didn’t have to worry about if we were moving into a good or bad school district.
Sometimes it’s an indicator of the safety of a neighborhood, but it was nice to not have to care too much.
9. You can visit family long-term during a deployment
Deployments and separations can be hard, especially when I am trying to do it all from home.
Several times, the kids and I have taken long trips to see family while Jay was gone. It provided me with a break and we made many memories with grandparents and cousins.
It’s nice to be able to visit for an entire month. I know homeschool families that spend the entire deployment with family.
10. College discounts and benefits
Many colleges offer discounts and special benefits to military dependents. The benefit to homeschoolers is that many of these can be taken advantage of even in high school.
Raven is already in the process of looking into what she wants to do for her high school years. We found that she can attend college classes for free when she is ready (regardless of age) from a local community college that works closely with the Army.
We also found several online colleges that will give her discounts (for being military) and allow her to attend without a diploma. It’s considered dual enrollment, but since she is enrolled in homeschool they will really be serving as college.
Right now we are reading Blake Bole’s College Without High School together and taking note of not only the benefits of “skipping” high school, but also all the discounts she can get because she is a military dependent. Once she leaves the house, most of those won’t apply any longer.