Home schooling may appeal to some military families who are concerned that frequent moves and new school systems might disrupt their children's education. If you're thinking about educating your child at home, or have already made the decision, the information here will help guide you to support and resources.
Home schooling means that you, as parents, assume responsibility for directing your child's education and use your home as the base for that education instead of a traditional public or independent school. You'll find these resources on your installation:
- School liaison officer. A school liaison officer can fill you in on state and local home-schooling requirements and connect you with nearby home-school groups.
- Child, youth and teen programs. Youth programs offer enrichment classes and may open its facilities during the school day to children who usually receive home education.
- Department of Defense Education Activity. Military children may be able to enroll in enrichment classes, access academic resources and participate in extracurricular activities at your installation's Department of Defense Education Activity school. The Department of Defense Education Activity also offers a fully accredited online high school that grants diplomas.
Other military resources
Branch-specific and other military resources include:
- The Non-Department of Defense Schools Program. The Non-Department of Defense Schools Program provides support and funding if you're stationed overseas and want to home-school your child.
- Military support services. Each service branch sponsors information and support programs for service members and their families, and can help you regardless of your service affiliation. If you aren't near an installation, look up your closest National Guard Family Assistance Center on the National Guard Family Program website.
- Military OneSource. This service is available at no cost to all active-duty service members, National Guard and reserves (regardless of activation status) and their families. Counselors provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues, including parenting, education and home-schooling programs. Learn more at Military OneSource or call 800-342-9647.
Check out your local area for more resources and help with home schooling with a few of these ideas:
- Public libraries. Chat up your local librarian to learn about programs, services and information for home-schoolers, such as reading programs and no-cost museum passes.
- Community centers and YMCAs. Many community centers and YMCAs offer classes to home-schooled students, including some designed just for them.
- Museums and arts organizations. You may find education programs for children at museums, orchestras, and theater or dance groups. Also check out zoos, wildlife centers and nature preserves for children's programs.
- Community colleges and vocational training programs. Teenagers may be able to take vocational training or courses at a four-year or community college. These may be a good option for older kids who want to explore an area that you don't feel qualified to teach.
Doing activities with other home-schooled students can give children a strong sense of camaraderie. Ask around and do online searches for the following in your area:
- Umbrella schools. Also called "cover schools," these organizations supervise the education of home-schooled children and build ties among families based on similar interests.
- Home-schooling networks and support groups. Many communities have networks or organizations for home-schooling families. They provide a broad range of support on home-schooling issues and offer opportunities to meet other home-schooling parents.
Home-schooling your child may be a big commitment, but with local and military resources, you and your student will have plenty of support.