I am very thankful to be a homeschooling family! Our military life is fraught with change and uncertainty, so having a constant in my children’s life is a huge blessing!!
We home school our children for these exact moments. Our family has moved more than any other military family I know. Since hubby entered the military as a chaplain in 2006, we have done the PCS thing 4 times. This makes our 5th military move in 7 years…if you do the math, you will understand why I believe that homeschooling gives us one constant in life. My children know who their teacher will be when we move, they know and understand the school environment, and they find comfort with this.
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This PCS will be unique for us in that we already know that we are moving again after the 6 month military course. That means that our school year will be chopped up in the middle and be cut short at the end. This gives me a much shorter time frame to cover our curriculum. I would love to be a laissez-faire homeschool mother and just go with the wind. But we don’t have the privilege of doing that. Because we move around the country to various states with very different homeschool laws, we choose to run a very tight ship to stay in line with all homeschooling laws. This way we keep our noses clean and I stay in the habit of being organized.
That being said, we had to hit homeschool overdrive for the rest of our Alaska experience. In these moments, you have to decide what is important, and what can be cast aside. Sometimes prioritizing can be a real challenge! You learn to ask yourself: what subjects count? In our current situation, our kids must take the annual exams aligning them with the common core standards that are generally accepted in the educational arena. Not all public or homeschool teachers agree to these standards, but as long as my children are being tested by the standard, then they must learn the material.
Doubling up on our core subjects did mean that piano lessons had to go. I would have possibly dropped them from swimming lessons if I had not already paid, the money been non-refundable, and I needed it for my own mental stability. We hadn’t signed up for a coop class as yet, but those would have had to end as well. When you have 5 weeks to cram in 3 months of material, you have to prioritize!
That generally means making lists! We had been using a simple weekly schedule that I created on Pages. But I finally found a homeschool scheduling app that helped keep us on track. You can check out the myHomework review if you like. We also had to be more strict on our start time in the morning, which is a challenge because Alaska is heading into its ‘dark days’ phase. We don’t get sunlight until after 9 am right now. It makes for a very challenging morning dragging kids out of bed. Lastly, we had to streamline the playdates and friend time. I hate doing that part, but we have things that must be accomplished before we can roll out. No, it’s not fun, but that all part and parcel of being a good parent. You make the tough call and stick to it.
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I have to confess that when it comes to PCS-ing, public school kids have it very rough. It is never easy to be the new kid! But a unique challenge for the military child comes when the new school has to determine where to place the child. There are often tests that have to be performed to find out if that child in on par with the new school’s program. Sometimes kids enter a school that is behind the last one, sometimes they are ahead. Several of my friends have had to fight with a school for the educational records when they move, other have had to fight a new school administration to get their child placed where they need to be. With all this in mind, I am again so very thankful that we have the opportunity to homeschool, especially during moves!
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This is part of a blogging series Planning a Military Move.