Category Archives: Military kids

Be a Homework Genius! 7 Ways to Help Your Child With Any Subject!

I was a really good student back in the day. I got good grades, and didn’t struggle… but these days, my child asks me for help with his school work, and at least one a week I am losing badly at “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” I don’t think the schoolwork has become more difficult over the last 20 years or so, but I do know that I need help. I don’t remember all the ins and outs of grammar, or all the steps for finding the inverse of I-don’t-even-know-what in math class.

What I do know, is that there is help for parents like me.



Ask the Teacher
Hopefully, your child has a kind, approachable teacher. You don’t need to be embarrassed if you don’t understand how to help your child. Send them a quick email, or write them a note asking for help. Oftentimes, they will be more than willing to work with your child, and you, to be sure everyone understands the work.

Learn Alongside Them
As my child gets older, I am realizing how important it is for me to look over the lesson in the textbook so I can better help him. If he is stuck on something, sitting down with him to review the text often gets us much farther than just trying to work through the problems.

Visit Kahn Academy
Kahn Academy is my favorite website for reviewing how to do math problems. You can search for specific skills, and there will be a video lecture to explain the work. Oftentimes, there is more than one way to do the problem, and the videos will show you all your options until you find one that works for your child.

There’s an App for That
Sometimes, the problem isn’t that I don’t understand how to do the math, it’s just that I am so tired I can’t think straight. PhotoMath allows me to simply hold my phone over the problems, and it will give me the correct answer to make checking my child’s work quick and easy. Be careful though, it’s a tempting tool for kids who are inclined to take the easy way out.


Make an Appointment with
If you need one-on-one support, you can’t beat It’s free for many military families, and you can make appointments with teachers who will walk you through specific questions and concepts over video chat. If you have children writing essays, they also have a wonderful tool where you can submit an essay for review, and have it back within 24 hours with suggestions to edit it.

Use Games for Extra Practice
If you have a child who “gets it” but just needs extra practice, don’t overlook the huge amount of free resources available online. There are websites for everything from spelling games, to grammar quizzes, math facts practice, and even quizzes to check reading comprehension.

Keep Positive
Whatever you do, reassure your child that everyone needs help from time to time. Model a positive attitude for them, and teach them to be resourceful by showing them where they can go for help when they need it.

Good luck this school year!

How do you help your child when they need it? Share your tips in the comments!

HeatherPosted by Heather Aliano, Social Media Manager

A World Away: Applying to Stateside College While Living OCONUS

Senior year of high school is all about beginnings and endings. It’s the beginning of a new chapter, filled with things like transcripts, SAT scores, college applications, and financial aid. It’s an ending of 12 years of schooling, and all the highlights, bumps, and bruises endured along the way. It’s a realization that our firstborn, Rachel, is one step closer to being a full-fledged adult–living her own life, making her own decisions, becoming her own person.

Sniff, sniff…where are my tissues?

But this process is a bit tricky for us. Because we’re currently stationed in Italy.


How do you establish residency when you are outside of the continental United States (OCONUS)?
Our state of residency is South Carolina; we own a house there, we pay South Carolina taxes, are registered to vote there, and have South Carolina drivers licenses. So establishing residency is not an issue at the South Carolina colleges Rachel is applying to. But she is also applying to colleges in Virginia, a state in which we cannot claim residency. And unfortunately, there are no residency waivers or exceptions for military dependents who graduate from an overseas high school. One college waived her application fee, but she is still considered an out-of-state applicant. With the number of military dependents graduating high school from overseas each year, you would think there was a special circumstance waiver for them. That is not the case, at least, not that I have found.

Was it difficult to schedule college tours while OCONUS?
Living in Italy, you would expect us to spend our summers traveling throughout Europe. It didn’t work out quite that way for us. Instead, Rachel, her younger sister, and I spent the summer in the U.S. visiting family and friends, and visiting colleges. Scheduling college tours was very easy, since it was all done online. A few families stationed with us in Italy made trips back to the U.S. this past summer, too, for the sole purpose of visiting colleges. Some families are traveling back over the winter break for tours while others, like Rachel’s best friend, are not visiting colleges at all, and are relying on the information found on the internet to make their decision.


Is your daughter nervous about moving to another continent by herself?
Our daughters attended an international school prior to our posting in Italy–they currently attend a Department of Defense Dependents School (DoDDS). Being in an international school afforded them opportunities to travel to several countries for school related programs. We have also traveled quite a bit during our time OCONUS. My kids feel very comfortable traveling. In fact, Rachel originally wanted to go to University in London. Could she handle being a continent away from us? Absolutely!

Are there any military kid preferences on college applications?
Good question. If you find any, let me know. We have no knowledge of military kid preference. Each application has a section regarding the applicant’s affiliation with the military, but there is no indication suggesting preference for military dependents.

Rachel has 10 moves, 12 schools, and 3 OCONUS moves under her belt. She has also visited 11 countries. The experiences and opportunities she has been given through our military journey have contributed to the person she is today: a confident young woman who can adapt to any situation. She will be just fine at college.

Me, on the other, well…that’s another story.

Have you lived OCONUS with a high school student applying for college? How did things work out?

anna-nPosted by Anna Nemeth, Marine Corps Spouse and National Military Family Association Volunteer

Should I Homeschool my Military Kids? That is the Question.

When I have coffee with my girlfriends, one of the first things we talk about is our children. We discuss sports, disciplinary problems, chores, and school. My kids go to school on the installation, and my oldest has gone to the same school for the past 2 years. Our school experience hasn’t always been positive–we’ve had good teachers and bad teachers. We’re on our third year at this school, and our third principal, as well. Choosing the best school environment for our children is one of the hardest decisions a parent has…and one of the most consistent.


My husband was homeschooled. He shook my preconceived notion of homeschool kids early in our relationship. He’s incredibly intelligent, well-read, and formulates good debates. He’s social, responds well to all age groups, and has a great job. So when our kids hit the magic school-aged years, we considered homeschooling. My husband gave it more consideration than I did. My argument was always, “When you stay home with them you can homeschool.” It wasn’t completely fair, but it was just inconceivable.

But constant discussions with my friends have opened my eyes to the wonderful world of homeschooling; it is certainly less scary with all the curricula available. The homeschool groups, the co-op experiences, the online schooling–it is certainly easier than my dear friend Victoria had it when she was homeschooling four children in Europe, before the internet. (And Pinterest!)

Why I Should (Maybe?) Homeschool My Kids

My dear friend Linds has always homeschooled her oldest, who is seven. The main reason she decided to homeschool was because the curriculum being taught in schools were inconsistent with her faith. She and her husband also knew they wanted their family to have a handful of kids. One big concern for Linds was the social aspect, but not in the way we usually think of socializing homeschoolers. “I didn’t want to rip my kids out of their social circles every few years,” she explained. “And if it wasn’t us moving, it was somebody. I wanted more consistency for them.”

She finds that social aspect in homeschool groups, neighborhood friends, and a variety of other ways. “We have interactions with people all the time,” Linds told me. “My kids are probably socialized more because they aren’t just around the same age children, every day.”

The various methods of homeschooling make it something that could easily adapt to the various family lifestyles we have in our community. Linds buys one packet of curriculum and supplements with other things. It can be expensive to buy a complete, prepackaged program, so building up slowly is key. She’d like to do a co-op as the kids get older, and have them learn from others as well.

The flexibility is so desirable; you aren’t held to a school’s schedule. You have the opportunity to school year-round, and work at the pace of the child. You can take some time off to visit family when airfare isn’t sky high and enjoy those post-deployment vacations without any guilt or pressure to finish homework packets. The scheduling possibilities are endless. Linds usually sticks to the local school calendar, “It’s ingrained in me to stick to it. The past two years we’ve started in October and finished up late June. We take a break around the holidays and the summer,” she explains.


So why don’t I homeschool my kids?

Because right now, we need the separation. My kids love school; they listen better to the teacher when it comes to instruction and discipline in the classroom. They love being around the other kids, and they like telling me about their day when they come home from school. I like that I have time away from them during the day to miss them and appreciate when they come home. The weekends and days off are nice–it gives us all a break.

I knew the first few years of elementary school would be extremely important for my children, both educationally and socially. I made a deal with myself that when they moved from 2nd grade to 3rd grade (which involves a switch in schools here), we would reconsider. Or if the teacher’s couldn’t do anything with them anymore. Or if we moved overseas. Or. Or. Or.

I haven’t completely ruled it out!

No way! Last year my son asked to be homeschooled, and I thought long and hard about it. I think it boiled down to jealousy. My daughter was finishing up her pre-k year at home. She kept telling him she was “homeschooling pre-k” and he felt left out.

I have a great relationship with both of their teachers, and the staff at their school. I volunteer in the classroom whenever possible. I cut laminated things galore. I make copies. I consider chaperoning field trips. I enjoy spending the summers and breaks supplementing what they’ve learned. We pick a topic, hit the library, play, and research. We learn about sharks one week, fire the next, and food the week after.

When Linds told me her favorite part of homeschooling is watching her kids learn, I felt a little sad. I was lucky enough to see my kids learn to read when they learned before Kindergarten. But to hear her describe watching her oldest decode the words and take off reading made it sound so magical.

But the benefits to public school outweigh homeschool. For us. For now.

Did you choose homeschooling for your military kids? How did you make that decision?

rebecca-alwinePosted by Rebecca Alwine,  a military spouse of over 8 years. She enjoys traveling the world, learning about herself, running, lifting weights, is a voracious reader, and actually enjoys most of the menial tasks of motherhood. Follow her on Twitter.

6 Tips to Ease Your Military Kid Through Transition to a New School

You look over your PCS To-Do list and feel an immediate twinge of panic. There is SO much to do in so little time. Are you going to be able to find a new job in the new location? Are there any decent homes available? Are the cleaning fairies going to come help you sort through all this junk you’ve accumulated in the last three years!?

As the adults in the family, there is so much that goes on during a PCS that it is often easy to overlook, our children may be having just as much fear and anxiety about the move as we are.

While their worries look different than yours, moving to a new city, leaving behind best friends and having to start a new school are all highly intimidating thoughts running rampant in a child’s mind as they prepare for a PCS themselves.


Coming from a Montessori Education background, it is essential that we look at the WHOLE child when teaching them to be independent and how to cope with change and transition. But even in the midst of all the chaos, lists and chores that need to be done, there are still a few simple and easy things a parent can do to take care of the physical, emotional, social and cognitive components of each child, and help ease the transition of a PCS move.

Involve the children.
We are not talking about having them pack their own boxes, or deep-clean the fridge before out-processing (even though those things are still great!). Instead, think of a few simple things your children can feel like they have a say in. They can:

  • Offer where the last dinner in town can be
  • Plan their own good-bye party with their friends
  • Look through housing options with you and tell you their preferences
  • Start planning how they’d like to decorate their new room

Letting the children be a part of the moving process will not only help the child find closure, but also have something to look forward to.

Be positive.
It is easy to have your life revolve around a PCS, but chances are, the talk happening in your home is stressed or agitated. Instead, as the adult, focus on modeling positivity around the move. This could be as simple as:

  • Asking your spouse or other family members what they are looking forward to most during regular conversation
  • Inquire what you could do tomorrow to help your child get ready
  • Joke that it is the perfect time to de-clutter

These should be positive and encouraging conversations, not a time to nag or vent. Remember that you are modeling what kind of behavior and expectations you want from your children.

Talk about the move.
Sometimes, your child just needs to talk. During a moment where you can separate yourself from your own long list of things to accomplish, grab some cookies, relax on the couch and just chat with your child.

  • Ask them how they are feeling. See if they are nervous, scared or excited
  • Acknowledge these emotions and validate them. Let them know that their feelings are normal and ask them what you can do to help them
  • Be honest and share your feelings as well so that they see that everyone goes through those emotions

Sometimes, your child just needs to know that they are supported, that they have someone they can talk to and that what they are feeling is normal.

Research the new town.
Even for the most hesitant and resistant children, having them learn about their new home can get them excited for new opportunities. Think of the last time you planned a trip; as you read about the destination and the more pictures you saw, the more excited you became!

  • Bring a dose of history and culture into the mix and find out what the state is known or famous for. What sports teams are big and find out other unique and interesting information for the city and state that could spark interest
  • Research the new town together and come up with a list of places that they would like to see, explore or learn more about
  • Start collecting ideas of parks, museums, restaurants or concert halls to go to

Even in the midst of movers and in-processing, make it an absolute priority to follow through with at least one wish-list item within the first few weeks of arriving.


Look up the new school.
Transitioning to a new school is one of the hardest parts of a PCS move for a child. Preparing them BEFORE arrival can be the key to a successful transition.

  • Almost every school has a website or even Facebook page today. Look these up together and create buzz and excitement around what you see
  • With your supervision, have your child like and comment on photos and start engaging in that community before even stepping foot on the campus

Contact the new school.
Take researching the school a step further and have your child write a letter or email to the class(es) that they may be placed in.

  • Include a photo of your child doing something they love in their current town that they can share with new classmates
  • Encourage your child to write about what they enjoy doing outside of school, as well as what they look forward to at their new school.

Having your child know that the first time s/he steps into the classroom won’t be the first interaction with the group can help take the pressure off that first day.

Maintain ties with the past.
We live in a highly engaged world. This is when Facebook, Skype and What’sApp are all brilliant technologies!

  • Ask your child’s friend’s parents if they would be ok with an occasional Skype or FaceTime date. Schedule these and then follow through. Your child will love talking to their friends, just like you enjoy catching up with yours
  • If they are old enough, have phones and it is permissible in your family, have them maintain contact through texts. They can even have group chats with Apps like What’sApp, which can help keep them connected to their old gang

It is difficult leaving friends behind, but luckily in today’s day and age, we can still be in each other’s lives, despite the new distance.

One thing is sure: military children are resilient! They sometimes handle a move better than the adults in the family, and are experts in finding new friends and adapting to new locations. However, that doesn’t mean that it is always easy.

When approaching your next PCS, consider that your child may be going through a transition period themselves. Find ways to foster the whole child (mentally, emotionally, physically and socially) to help them develop coping mechanisms that they can internalize for any future and upcoming transitions and changes they may encounter in life.

Do you use any of these tips during PCS moves? Join us for a Facebook party to talk about it!

Blog Teaser Graphic back to school nmfa

You’re invited! Join us for another fast-paced evening of conversation and fun. We want to talk to you about your child’s education, and support you in helping make this the BEST SCHOOL YEAR EVER for your military child. Join us, and our panel of experts on October 15th, from 9-10 PM EST on Facebook. We’ll be ready to answer question on everything from supporting your child through transitions, getting your child’s school the funding it deserves, communicating with teachers, and even educating your child at home if you are considering homeschooling. Join us for a fast-paced hour of fun, support, and of course, PRIZES!

Posted by LeAnna Brown, an Elementary Certified teacher with a certification in Montessori Ages 6-12, with a background in Special Education. Now living in Germany, she helps military members learn how they can see the world and bring real-life education through travel to their families through her website, Economical Excursionists.

Think Outside the Box: Exploring Overseas Educational Opportunities for Military Kids

As a military family, we move frequently. While most families move within the United States, we have lived in six different countries in the past ten years, and we have two school-aged children who are a part of our adventures. In the last three years, they have attended three different schools. Maneuvering through schools, educational systems, and cultures can be overwhelming and rewarding.


In northern Italy, our kids were able to attend a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school where they were surrounded by Americans. There were lots of resources, extracurricular activities, and support services. However, interactions with local Italians were limited to hours outside of the classroom, which minimized the possibility of immersion within the host country. In order to provide more cultural opportunities, we found local Italian soccer clubs for one of daughters. Consequently, both her soccer skills and her Italian improved. After some time in northern Italy, we moved south to the capital city, Rome.

In Rome, there is no DoDEA school. We needed to find a schooling option in the city of Rome with English as the instructional language, and one that had tuition within the allowance DoDEA provides. We also needed to apply through the Non-DoD School Program (NDSP) to have payments made to the school. NDSP is a DoDEA program that provides funding and support to dependents of military members and Department of Defense civilian employees who are in locations where there is no DoDEA school available.

The school in Rome was different than the one they attended in the north Italy because, in Rome, they attended school with mostly Italians and several international students. The school had fewer resources, but the staff was willing to think outside the box. For example, our daughter needed to take geometry, but it was not a class offered at the school. We started looking into the possibility of DoDEA virtual high school–an option available to eligible DoDEA students. In the end, a teacher was willing to teach geometry, one on one, to our daughter. Amazing! The small community feel of international schools is hard to beat.

We now find ourselves in another international school setting. This one, however, is quite different than Rome. We are in Africa. Our children are attending school with local children, whose parents can afford the tuition, and other international students. To be fully American is the novelty, not the norm. Here, the challenge for us is that the school offers integrated math as part of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) program. While that is great for students who will be here long term, or for those are working at grade level ( 9th and 10th grade) while they are here, it does not work for those who don’t fit into those two categories. But it doesn’t work for us. If our children do the suggested math for their grade level, it will not prepare them for the math classes they will take at our next duty station.


To complicate matters more, both of our children have been in gifted programs and need math placement in classes that are a higher level than the norm for a given grade level. One child has been placed in a math class that is not part of the integrated math program which will prepare her for the correct level of math (for her) at the high school at our next assignment. Our other daughter will take a class here at the school this year but most likely will need to use an on-line option next year in order to be prepared for the next level of math once we move. While this school does their best to meet the needs of our children, the reality is that we, as parents, have the responsibility to be advocates for our daughters.

Military life is challenging for all of us, whether you are in the US, or if you’re like us, and you move all over the world. We don’t always understand the language or the culture, but that is also part of what makes this adventure so great. Our children are well-rounded, flexible, open-minded students, and more importantly, the same can be said for who they are as people. Maneuvering through schools, educational systems, and cultures can be a full-time job, but the opportunities given to my kids from living in different places and attending different types of schools have helped to create who they are, and who they are yet to become. That makes it worth it.

Have you lived overseas with school-aged kids? What obstacles did you overcome? Join us for a Facebook party to talk about it!

Blog Teaser Graphic back to school nmfa

You’re invited! Join us for another fast-paced evening of conversation and fun. We want to talk to you about your child’s education, and support you in helping make this the BEST SCHOOL YEAR EVER for your military child. Join us, and our panel of experts on October 15th, from 9-10 PM EST on Facebook. We’ll be ready to answer question on everything from supporting your child through transitions, getting your child’s school the funding it deserves, communicating with teachers, and even educating your child at home if you are considering homeschooling. Join us for a fast-paced hour of fun, support, and of course, PRIZES!

Posted by Guest Author, Army spouse and mother of two

Homeschooling Your Kids Through Military Life Transitions

If there’s one thing to count on in the military lifestyle, it’s that military transitions never come at opportune times. Summer Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season is only a dream for some families, and sometimes even a summer PCS doesn’t actually mean moving during summer break from school. Deployments aren’t scheduled around holidays, birthdays, final exams, or the big elementary science fair. Even the every day work routine can be changed at any time.

As a military spouse, I can’t do anything to control the timing of deployments, PCS moves, or even job schedule changes. About twelve years ago, I discovered a way to make all those military transitions a bit easier for our family: homeschooling.


Homeschooling through a PCS
We were a little more than halfway through our first year of homeschooling when we received orders to move from Illinois to Virginia. Instead of worrying about how much time my daughter could afford to miss from school, or how she would be able to cope with a new school (especially a school in the midst of annual testing), I just packed up a box of school books to read and work on when we had time. She did a few assignments in the Temporary Lodging Facility (TLF) at our old base, and a few more while waiting for the moving truck to arrive at our new house.

In subsequent moves, we adjusted our homeschool schedule to work around the chaos of unpacking boxes and finding our way around a new location. When we arrived in Arizona, in August a few years ago, we found out students had already been in school for several weeks. We spent a few days house hunting, unpacked a few boxes of school books to use in the TLF, took a few days off to settle into a temporary apartment, and then took a whole week off when we finally moved into a house in October. We didn’t take as long of a fall break as our public school friends, but we managed to finish our required number of school days before the following summer rolled around.


Homeschooling through a Deployment
Just as I have no control over PCS orders, I also have no control over deployment orders. Since we couldn’t pick the day he left, I rearranged our lives to be as forgiving as possible during that stressful time. We spent the first weeks of the deployment reviewing math concepts instead of doing timed math facts drills, reading books together instead of writing research papers, and so on. There weren’t any huge projects to stress over or final exams that counted for 50% of the final grade in a class.

Months later, I rearranged our school schedule to accommodate the R&R trip that didn’t fall during a regular school break time. If the kids had been younger, we might have let them skip school for a week or two; my high school student would have been hopelessly behind in Physics or AP Calculus if she had missed that much class work. With our adjusted homeschool schedule none of the kids fell behind. Who says fall break can’t be in August, anyway?

Our school hours also changed significantly during the deployment. Since there was nobody telling us that school had to start exactly at 8:10 am, we often managed to squeeze in time to Skype with Dad before starting our schoolwork. Time zone changes from the states to the other side of the world often meant that the best times to connect with my husband would’ve been impossible if I had been trying to get three kids to three schools on time every morning.


Everyday Homeschooling
Even when my husband is home and we’ve unpacked most of the boxes from the last PCS, I still appreciate our homeschool flexibility. Schedule change? Maybe we’ll take that day off, too. Working swing shifts or nights? Maybe school needs to be at the library this week. TDY coming up? Maybe we’ll tag along.

There are so many things I cannot control as a military spouse. Many of those things are easier to handle because I’m not simultaneously trying to force unyielding school commitments into our crazy military life. There are many reasons why I homeschool my children — one of the biggest is that it helps reduce my military-spouse stress level to a manageable level.

Do you military kids who are homeschooled? Do you find it less stressful than regular school? Join us for a Facebook Party!

Blog Teaser Graphic back to school nmfa

You’re invited! Join us for another fast-paced evening of conversation and fun. We want to talk to you about your child’s education, and support you in helping make this the BEST SCHOOL YEAR EVER for your military child. Join us, and our panel of experts on October 15th, from 9-10 PM EST on Facebook. We’ll be ready to answer question on everything from supporting your child through transitions, getting your child’s school the funding it deserves, communicating with teachers, and even educating your child at home if you are considering homeschooling. Join us for a fast-paced hour of fun, support, and of course, PRIZES!

cristi schwambPosted by Crisit Schwamb, military spouse and blogger at Through the Calm and Through the Storm, Cristi  now shares homeschool product reviews, years-ago stories about their family, allergy-friendly recipes, and other random thoughts

8 Tips for Teachers of Resilient, Interesting Military Kids

Congrats, Teacher! You have a military child in your class, and you’re the proud educator of a resilient and interesting student. This child has likely lived in multiple states, and perhaps several different countries, but will need some help from you to make this year a success.


First, welcome this family with open arms. Send out a welcome email or phone call to them, even if they come in the middle of the year; this is a great policy to have for all of your students’ families, every single school year. Let them know about your classroom policies, homework practices, and the basic curriculum.

Next, ask about their last school. The student may have come from another state, and potentially a different set of educational standards, so find out how they did on the state assessments, and ask if you can take a peek at any report cards or comments from the last school. You might also want to contact previous teachers, if your student’s family feels comfortable with this.

Does this student have an Individual Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan? If so, get eyes on that document as soon as possible, and hopefully before the first day of school. Remember this is a legal education plan that needs to be put into place as soon as possible. Check with the family to ensure the special education department and school administration also have copies of this document. Since these documents are transferring from another district, the student will need to be evaluated by your district within 60 days. This could result in more services, the same services, or even the end of services if a student no longer qualifies for special education services.

Everyone is nervous on the first day of school; it’s twice as tough for a military kid. He or she is coming into a school where social groups are established and there is a shared history–he is perpetually the “new kid.” Make that first day, or week, easier for her. Use icebreakers to help your students get comfortable with each other. Good examples are Two Truths and a Lie, partner interviews, creating a flag to depict themselves, icebreaker BINGO, or a find-your-partner guessing game.

Play to your student’s strengths. If they’ve lived in Okinawa, and your grade studies Japanese history or culture, ask the child to share their experiences. Or ask one, or both, parents to visit your class. If the student has a passion for history, or reading, or science, enlist them to help you create teachable moments or create depth in your lessons. A military child has a lot of experiences, and sharing their knowledge will help other students get to know and respect the new addition to their school.


Find out which topics your military student already knows or has covered in depth. For many MilKids, they have covered many topics over and over again due to moves and differences in education pacing. These students might also have gaping holes in their knowledge because of these same factors. If there are gaps, try and fill them through additional assignments, one-on-one teaching time, or by recommending resources to parents. If a student seems to have mastery of a topic, you should try and extend their knowledge and skills through enrichment activities. You can find many ideas for both remediation and extension online.

Keep meticulous records on this student. Your records are probably excellent to begin with, but for military children, exceptional records are crucial. As they move school to school, between Common Core States, international schools, DoDEA schools, and state-created educational standards, things can get lost in the shuffle. Think about the next teacher, and the next school. Think about what you wish you had known on day one, and include that in the file.

Be real, be reliable, and communicate. Don’t pander to this child, or his family. Be honest about any academic or social concerns you have, and talk about them sooner, rather than later. Military families are proactive! Don’t just save communication for the negatives. Let her parents know how she is settling in, if she has made a close friend, and when she demonstrates exceptional character.

As a teacher, you have the unique opportunity to make a mark on the lives of children. An excellent teacher can change a child’s life, and this is especially true for our resilient and interesting military children.

Are you a teacher with military kids in your classroom? Do they make your classroom more dynamic?

meg-flanaganPosted by Marguerite Flanagan, M.Ed, founder of MilKids Education Consulting, a blog focusing on military and special needs children offering practical tips, fun ideas, and advice on decoding the very dense special education laws.