ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, MD.
A growing number of military parents want to end the age-old tradition of switching schools for their kids.
They’ve embraced homeschooling, and are finding support on bases, which are providing resources for families and opening their doors for home-schooling cooperatives and other events.
“If there’s a military installation, there’s very likely home-schoolers there if you look,” said Nicole McGhee, 31, of Cameron, N.C., a mother of three with a husband stationed at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg who runs a Facebook site on military home schooling.
At Andrews Air Force Base about 15 miles outside of Washington, more than 40 families participate on Wednesdays in a home-schooling cooperative at the base’s youth center. Earlier this month, teenagers in one room warmed up for a mock audition reciting sayings such as “red leather, yellow leather.” Younger kids downstairs learned to sign words such as “play” and searched for “Special Agent Stan” during a math game. Military moms taught each class.
Military families move on average nearly every three years. The transition can be tough for children, and home schooling can make it easier, advocates say. The children don’t have to adjust to a new teacher or worry that they’re behind because the new school’s curriculum is different.
Some military families also cite the same reasons for choosing home schooling as those in the civilian population: a desire to educate their kids in a religious environment, concern about the school environment or to provide for a child with special needs.
Participating military families say there’s an added bonus to home schooling. It allows them to schedule school time around the rigorous deployment, training and school schedules of the military member.