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Military Bases Provide Support for Home Schoolers

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Military bases are providing more support for the growing number of military families who are choosing to home school their children.

According to an article published Oct. 26 by the Associated Press, bases are providing resources, hosting events, and opening up school activities for children who are being home-schooled.

The average military family moves every three years, making school transitions difficult for some children, reporter Kimberly Hefling writes. Home schooling is gaining popularity with some military parents seeking to make those frequent moves less jarring for their children. The flexibility of home schooling also allows families to schedule school lessons around a parent's military deployment and training sessions.

The Home School Legal Defense Association, based in Purcellville, Va., estimates that from 5 percent to 10 percent of military children are home-schooled. Most military children are enrolled in public schools, according to the National Military Family Association. A 2007 National Center for Education Statistics survey found that about 3 percent of K-12 students are home-schooled in America.

Mike Donnelly, a former Army officer and an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the military provided little support for home schoolers in the 1990s. But a 2002 military-wide memo that said home schooling can be a "legitimate alternative form of education" for a military member's children has led most bases to be more welcoming toward its home schoolers, he said in the article.

Sharon Moore, the education liaison at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, said that she typically receives about 20 calls from families moving to the base in the summer with home-schooling questions. She connects home-schooling families together and invites home-schooled children to some school-related functions, like field trips.

With the military's backing, it will be interesting to see if home schooling will continue to grow in popularity among its families or if the added pressure of educating their children at home while a spouse is deployed may prove to be overwhelming.

Read more about home schooling here.

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