FAQ Series: Tips for School Success

Teacher-and-students1Although it’s only been a few weeks since school started, it already feels like forever since summer. The days are getting shorter, leaves are starting to turn, and at our house, the piles of homework are starting to grow. Like so many families, we start every new school year with the best of intentions. This is the year we’re going to get organized, stay on top of assignments, and actually use the planner that was handed out on the first day of school. But every year, somehow, life gets the best of us and those good intentions fall by the wayside. Homework assignments get put off or forgotten, or the teacher introduces a new math concept before we’ve completely mastered the old one. Inevitably, there will come an evening when I find myself seated at the kitchen table with a kid who has a science project, math assignment, or history paper due – of course – tomorrow, and no idea where to start.

Luckily, military families have access to great resources to help us through those desperate moments or – even better – keep them from happening in the first place. Online resources are available to help with homework, prepare for college, and even make sure kids are where they need to be, academically, before a move. Here are some frequently asked questions for school success:

Q: I’ve forgotten all the geometry I ever knew. How can I help my eighth-grader?

A: Tutor.com is an online service that offers free homework help and tutoring services to military family members. Expert tutors are online 24/7 and available to help in more than 16 subjects, including algebra, chemistry, calculus, and physics. Tutors can also assist students with college applications and preparation for standardized tests. Military kids – and spouses too – can log on via their computer, tablet, or mobile device and connect with a tutor to get real-time, live homework help. Every tutoring session is anonymous, and no personal information is ever shared between tutor and student. Students can send transcripts of their tutoring sessions to their parents, allowing parents – even those who may be deployed overseas – to keep up with how their children are progressing. Visit Tutor.com to learn more and sign up your student.

Q: The SAT is coming up in a few weeks, and test prep classes are expensive. Are there any alternatives?

A: Military kids preparing for standardized tests have many sources for free and reduced-price assistance. Test prep software is offered to military-connected students at free and reduced-price through eKnowledge. Families pay only shipping and handling for standard test prep software. Premium software programs are available at a discounted price.

Many families don’t realize that the Department of Defense (DoD) has an extensive online library system. One of the many free services available to families through this system is the Peterson DoD MWR Education Resource Center, which offers online test prep assistance and classes. In order to access the Education Resource Center, military families must set up a log-in through Military OneSource. Visit Military OneSource to learn more about online library resources available through DoD.

Q: It looks like we’re moving again. How can I help my child get ready for his or her next school?

A: SOAR, or Student Online Achievement Resources, is sponsored by the Military Impacted Schools Association (MISA) and was established through a partnership among the University of Northern Iowa, Princeton Review, Skills Tutor, and CORE K12. It allows students to assess their skills against grade level standards in all 50 states and provides tutorials to help students where they may be falling short. Other education resources available on the site include links to military installations, transition resources and school websites, resources from specific states, including curriculum frameworks and testing information, and links to United States Department of Education online web resources. Registration is free for military families.

The Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) has many resources for military children, especially those transitioning to new schools. They created SchoolQuest which includes information to help transitioning military families find a school and features a library with articles, web links, and other educational resources for military students and their families.

What resources have you found to help your military-connected child in school? Let us know in the comment section!

eileenPosted by Eileen Huck, Government Relations Deputy Director


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  1. 1
    Colonel Patricia Halsey-Munroe

    Military.com says GI Bill covers SAT Review:
    GI Bill Pays for Prep Courses
    1 Comment
    “Most veterans are not aware that the GI Bill can be used to pay for college entrance exams preparation courses. Entrance exams, like the SAT, ACT and GRE are often required or used to gain admission to an institution of higher learning or graduate school.
    Any veteran, service member, or military dependent who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD), Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), Reserve Educational Assistance (REAP), Survivors & Dependents Assistance (DEA), may be eligible to pursue training in preparatory courses.

    There is no limit to the number of preparatory courses you can take. However, veterans must have remaining entitlement and your delimiting date must not have passed.
    Like other courses used under the GI Bill, your GI Bill benefit will be reduced based on the students training time (or rate of pursuit).
    For example, if a veteran is pursuing a preparatory course and he or she is considered to be training at one-half time (50% rate of pursuit), the VA will reduce his or her entitlement by a half a day for each day you are in training.
    Veterans who have never applied for GI Bill education benefits need to submit an “Application for VA Education Benefits” (VA Form 22-1990). Veterans may apply for benefits at http://www.GIBill.va.gov. Once the application has been submitted, veterans should have their institution submit an enrollment certification (VA Form 22-1999) to VA for the course.
    Vets who have applied for and are eligible for GI Bill education benefits, should have their school submit the enrollment certification (VA Form 22-1999) to the VA for the course.
    Veterans can visit http://www.GIBill.va.gov to determine which preparatory courses are approved for VA education benefits. Click on the “Find A School” button in the middle of the page and “Search for approved Education and Job Training Program.” Enter the name of the institution that offers the preparatory course to obtain a listing of all programs approved at that institution.

    If a veteran finds that the desired course is not currently approved, they should contact the institution’s VA school certifying official and ask them to contact the State approving agency and/or VA about becoming approved.”

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