Home School: Is This the Best Option for Military Kids?

By: MJ Boice

“I am acutely aware that my child’s future is in my hands. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Military families aren’t able to control how often they move or how long their service member will be deployed. For many, this takes a huge toll on their children’s education. Perhaps this is why more and more military families are choosing to homeschool their military-connected kids.

“We chose to homeschool our children when we received orders to Germany,” said Air Force spouse, Heather Aliano. “My oldest was in kindergarten and it seemed silly for him to be stuck behind a desk when we could be out exploring the world and learning about other cultures.”

One of the benefits homeschooling offers military families is the ability for parents to provide academic continuity in their children’s education. “No matter where or when you move, your child won’t have to change teachers, schools, or curriculum,” said Aliano. “Homeschooling offers stability, and you can meet your kids where they’re at—whether they’re gifted, or have special needs.”

While homeschooling offers significant flexibility throughout each move, there are still a few rules of the road. “The first thing families should do is research the legalities of where they live,” Aliano explained. “Every state has different laws, and you need to be prepared to follow them.”

Homeschooling regulations vary greatly from state to state in terms of content and subjects students are required to take. “You don’t need to go out and buy a lot of supplies of curriculum right away,” said Aliano. “The only thing you HAVE to do to get started is make sure you are following the law.”

It’s also important to remember that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking into the homeschool scene for your military-connected kid, you’ll be taking on the bulk of responsibility for your child’s education, so it’s best to be prepared for that commitment. “Homeschooling is a lot of pressure,” Aliano shared. “I’m acutely aware that my child’s future is in my hands. It’s a huge responsibility.”

In addition to providing resources and learning opportunities for your child to succeed, you must be willing to be the teacher, too. “There are many different ways to homeschool, but no matter what, there is a commitment of time and energy,” Aliano advised. “When the kids are young, it can be challenging to always have them with you.”

Aside from homeschooling her four children, grades pre-k to 8th, Aliano is also the creator of Only Passionate Curiosity, a resource website dedicated to all things homeschooling. The website offers free printable resources, curriculum reviews. and advice on how to start homeschooling. “Find something that works for your family and do it without guilt or reservation,” said Aliano. “Know that you’ll have good days and bad days, but the number one goal is to teach your child how to learn and how to love learning.”

If you’ve been toying with the idea of homeschooling your Mil-Kid and would like more information, check out our list of resources to help get you started.

Military OneSource

Military Child Education Coalition

Home School Association for Military Families

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)

Posted April 19, 2018

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