A survey of U.S. households after the COVID-19 pandemic reveals an increase of homeschooling rates on national and state levels.
The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the Household Pulse Survey to examine changes in homeschooling patterns, with results showing rates doubling from the 2019-20 school year to the fall of the 2020-21 school year. Data collection for the survey has continued into 2023.
For families attached to the military, the lifestyle is often one of adventure and transition. The idea of relocating every few years can be filled with joy and excitement, but for others, PCS’ing creates anxiety and uncertainty. The effects of frequent transitions on a child’s education are just one of many concerns that may arise, which can include how a child will adjust to a new school environment, new teachers or finding a highly rated school.
In some cases, this leads military families to consider homeschooling as a viable option. According to the 2021 Blue Star Families Military Family Life Survey, approximately 13% of military families chose to homeschool. I expect this number to continue rising as families struggle to make educational choices for their transient households.
Here are four things you should consider before choosing to homeschool your military child:
Homeschooling is not just an educational choice; it is a lifestyle. Where will you find the support you need as a new homeschooler? Many homeschoolers receive support by joining support groups, co-ops, homeschool enrichment clubs or groups, such as Classical Conversations.
How can you locate these groups? I often recommend inquiring on social media in Facebook groups for spouses at your installation. Lots of bases have military homeschool support groups like the one I lead here at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Take time to “shop” around before deciding; ensure that the group meets not only your children’s needs but yours as well. Support is beneficial to your entire family.
While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, each state has different levels of regulation from no requirement states, like Texas, to highly regulated states, like New York.
How will you know which laws to follow? Two ways I recommend ensuring you stay on the right side of the law are contacting the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and googling homeschool laws for your specific state.
There are thousands of homeschooling curricula. While I generally subscribe to the more the merrier, choosing math for your five kids might make you wonder if deciding to homeschool is the right decision. Believe me it is.
Once you get in your groove and become more homeschool curriculum savvy, you will know the difference between spiral and mastery math curricula, and names like Saxon and Math U See will roll off your tongue with newly found confidence.
How do you choose the right curriculum for your children? You research! Where, might you ask? Lots of places: Used Curriculum Sales (UCS), often held in the spring of the year by homeschool support groups or co-ops and at state homeschool conventions like NCHE in North Carolina or CHEA in California to name a few. FB Curriculum Sale groups, even Yahoo groups still exist, Christian Book Distributors, Rainbow Resource, Amazon, online Google search and Cathy Duffy Reviews.com. There are still a few brick-and-mortar curriculum stores like my favorites: Moore Expressions in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Homeschool Gathering Place in Raleigh, North Carolina.
One of the most common myths about homeschooling is that homeschoolers aren’t socialized. This is hilarious because, in fact, homeschooling allows for more socializations than most other forms of education. Why might you ask? Well, during a week, homeschooled children might have had conversations and interactions with a wide span of age groups, from the young postal clerk at the local post office to the seasoned cashier at the local Publix. Mom errands that are typically run during the day when non-homeschooled children are in a traditional school environment now involve not only mom but her children as well.
How will my children find friends? Homeschoolers are everywhere, in homeschooling activities during the day and in the local Cub Scout pack that meets at night. Once you begin to look for us, you will realize we are right beside you.
Considering these four things is a great start as you think about transitioning to homeschooling. You will undoubtedly have many more questions. Joining that support group is an awesome way to form friendships and get those questions answered. Don’t let the unknown scare you away! There is a whole wide world of homeschoolers waiting to meet you.