Educational Sacrifices of the Military Child

By: Nekeesha Carter

The military child is a very special and unique person.  He is smart, well-rounded, and very sociable.  He has had many experiences in eighteen years.   He may have experienced more than an average adult has experienced in a lifetime.  Due to his parent’s, or in some cases both of the parents, military obligation he must move around the world frequently.  He changes schools often.  He is faced with having to make friends yet again.  There is truly no permanent place for him to call home.  Home might have been two states and one country in the past 3 years.  To make matters worse, he is separated from a parent due to deployment, and he fears for his parent’s safety.  Due to the unique circumstances of the military child, adjustments must be made constantly.  However, some adjustments are not easily made.  For the military child, education oftentimes is sacrificed. 

Due to the transient nature of a military family, the child is enrolled in several schools throughout their time spent in the military.  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where their academic achievements lie.  Moving from state to state puts the child at an extreme disadvantage as each state has its own standards and specific set of requirements.  Curriculum standards, upon which assessment tests are based, vary from state to state.

A child may be required to learn one state’s history only to have to move again before the school year is over to learn another state’s history.  He will be tested on state history at the end of the school year. How can he when there is so much he does not know?  It can be almost guaranteed that the child will not perform well on that portion of the test.  Standardized test scores are difficult to interpret as each state has its own baseline score. Even grade point scale averages vary.  A child classified as gifted and talented in one state may not be classified as such in another.  As a result of the differing state curriculums, the child may experience mild to severe educational gaps. 

A parent’s deployment may adversely affect the child’s academic performance, too.  A child preoccupied with worry may begin experiencing difficulties in the classroom.  The child may be plagued with behavioral problems, failing grades, or worse they may drop out of school. 

What can be done to close the educational gap for the military child?  First, a parent at home may elect to home school the child.  There are many homeschooling programs available for use.  The parent may elect to create her own curriculum.  A military homeschooling parent will provide educational continuity for the child and will be able to maintain easily accessible records should the child return to the traditional school system.  Second, a parent can locate and enroll the child in a virtual school.  Virtual schools are becoming popular now.  All of the child’s classes are held entirely online, a very appealing quality.  Even in transitioning periods, the child can still be logged on and is able to maintain his academic studies.  Last, a parent may not have the time or the resources for homeschooling.  The parent may not feel comfortable with a totally virtual curriculum format.  Alas, there is help!  Schooling in the traditional sense is feasible for the military child along with some added academic support.   A child can benefit greatly from an online tutor who will provide enrichment opportunities. The tutor can serve as a resource for the homeschooling parent, too.   An online tutor can follow a military child wherever the armed forces may take him in the world.   He will be able to maintain the continuity of academic support without making educational sacrifices.

Kids and Teens
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