By now, there’s a good deal written about and for homeschooling families. But sometimes, there are underlying assumptions that don’t fit all families, and military families may have special homeschooling situations and needs. Here are some ideas and resources for homeschooling families.
Check out DoDEA
Even if your child is receiving no services or teaching at a the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school, you may find information of interest on their website here: http://dodea.edu/home/index.cfm For example, you can check the curriculum standards in the Curriculum section to see what your child’s friends who attend Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) will be learning and maybe get some ideas for your own instruction as well as help you make decisions about having your children take one or more classes in a DoDDS. Also take a look at the Parents & Communities section.
Homeschooling Laws for Military Families in the United States
Homeschooling by military families who reside in one of the 50 United States is just like homeschooling for any other stateside family. This means that they must follow their home state’s compulsory education and homeschooling laws. If you are in this situation, you will want to check with your state department of education for the following information:
- ages for compulsory school attendance
- homeschool curriculum requirements
- homeschool days/year and hours/day attendance requirements
- subjects required for the grades your children are in
- assessment requirements, such as standardized tests
- teacher requirements, if any
- student enrollment requirements, which clarify who can be in your homeschool (i.e., whether you can have anyone outside your family, and if so, how many and who)
- any documentation, such as approval documents, that you need to fill out
Homeschooling for Military Families Outside the United States
As more and more military families consider homeschooling as an education alternative – especially one that stays consistent when they move from place to place and provides secure support when children face issues such as deployment and injury of a parent – the Department of Defense has still not come down strongly in favor of homeschooling across the board. Officially, it is neither encouraged nor discouraged.
Nevertheless, military families have the right to homeschool, implicit in the fact that children who do reside in any of the 50 states may be homeschooled according to their home state’s statutes and children who do not reside in any of the 50 states are not subject to mandatory attendance at the elementary and secondary DoDDS. Another important element of military homeschooling is the DoDEA policy that states that homeschooled students may participate in DoDDS classes and special education services. They can also participate in extracurricular classes.
Like other homeschoolers, military families who are homeschooling may find it useful to have support for a variety of reasons. Fellow homeschoolers might have ideas about curriculum to share, old textbooks that you could use, warnings about products and methods that aren’t up to snuff, kind words when you’re having a bad day and/or ideas about joining together to homeschool collectively. You may find other homeschoolers at the base where you live. If not, Yahoo! has a HomeschoolMilitary group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomeschoolMilitary/ The National Military Family Association website also provides a Children’s Education page http://www.nmfa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=childrens_education Note that this page requires cookies to be enabled in order to function properly.
Also, you might want to consider searching outside the military for homeschool support. Other people from your hometown, your religion, or who embrace the same type of homeschooling you do may have a lot to offer. Another place to have a lok around is the Military Child Education Coalition website here: http://www.militarychild.org/