Switching schools in the middle of the year isn’t easy for high school students, let alone for children who are at elementary and middle school levels. Yet, this is what your children may have to do in order to continue to be with you as you extend your military career. Online education can ease the transition of changing schools for your military dependents.
February 8, 2012, the United States Department of Defense announced in its “Compact Eases School Transitions for Military Children” article that, “The Defense Department, in collaboration with the Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts, developed the interstate compact in 2007 to ease military families’ challenges as they transition between school systems, whether it’s DOD schools, public schools on a military installation, or public schools in communities.” The announcement continued, “By joining the compact, states agree to follow common guidelines in handling issues such as class placement, records transfer, immunization requirements, course placement, graduation requirements, exit testing and extracurricular opportunities.”
Another step you can take to make it easier for your children to adjust to frequent moves you must undergo while you serve in the military is to consider enrolling your children in distance learning schools. Online K-12 schools are administered by state education departments. Both online public and private schools are available for your children to enroll in. As with offline schools, some public schools that offer distance learning programs do not require that you pay tuition.
In the distance learning classes your military dependents connect with their teachers via online web seminars, recorded emails, etc. Schools offering distance learning programs are available around the country. Basic courses taught at the schools are similar to courses taught in traditional school settings (e.g. mathematics, history, science, reading, English). Your children will also likely have to take and pass standardized tests to graduate to the next grade level. Additionally, as a parent you can attend virtual information sessions and get more information, including having specific questions you may have answered, on a particular online school you’re thinking about enrolling your children in.Furthermore, as a your children get accustomed to learning online they may become better prepared to succeed while taking distance learning courses in college. To ensure your children do well while enrolled at online schools encourage them to practice strong time management skills as they’ll need to complete and submit their school work on time, the same as they would if they were attending a brick and mortar school. Also give your children opportunities to play and engage with other children in the neighborhoods where you’re stationed as this can help your children develop healthy social skills.
Your military dependents have it tough enough packing and moving to a new duty station every two or more years after you receive your new orders. By enrolling your dependents in online schools you may be able to ease their transitions, making it easier for them to continue courses regardless of where you are stationed. Furthermore, if your military dependents perform exceptionally well in their online courses, they may qualify to receive college scholarships.