Table of contents

Tossed by the Fates is a blogged book for homeschooling parents with the American military.  At this time it is still a work in progress, with new entries added as time goes by.  This post is the table of contents to the book.

Notes to a blog:

  • Because of the structure of blogs in general (first entries are at the bottom of the heap), and because of the structure of the particular WordPress blog format (categories don’t seem to be in plain sight),
  • To make it easier to find specific information, or to see the structure of the blog, I’ve put this ‘table of contents’ as the permanent first page of the blog.
  • Chapters (categories) are listed in bold, and the subparagraphs of the chapters (the blog posts) are  the pages that are linked.  Some of the individual pages stand better on their own than others.  The book was written in the normal fashion with all the subparagraphs following each other on the same page.  When published as blog posts, the continuity is not as obvious.
  • Please note that any “automatically generated” links to allegedly “related” posts are cooked up by this particular WordPress system, and are not added by me.  I looked for a way to disable the function, but if there is a way to disable the seemingly random links, it is not readily apparent.


History of homeschooling

About this site

Site Booklets

Military Homeschooling

Military Life

  • Military life from the perspective of family members
    In the chapters on family life with one parent ‘in the military,’ the generic family will be that of an active duty husband, and a civilian wife.  This is for my convenience as a writer since all of the parents I’ve met from homeschooling families have fit this model.  I do not mean for this structure to exclude stay-at-home homeschool dads, or active duty homeschool moms, it is just that the ‘he/she/them’ constructions in sentences are just too bulky.  Also, after reading texts in which the subject seems to be the victim of back-to-back sex-change surgeries – in one paragraph the subject is male, yet in the next paragraph, the subject is female – I feel as if I have mental whiplash.  I use the word “spouse” only occasionally.  As a matter of personal taste, it is just too close in sound and spelling to the word “souse,” and I think the word clangs rather than rings.  C’est la vie.

Coping with deployment

How to start homeschooling

Making the homeschooling decision

Reasons for homeschooling


Socialization — the S-word

Sheltered children

Styles and methods of homeschooling

Public school at home

Corporate Homeschooling


Homeschooling over the holidays

After Graduation


Future topics:

  • Military jurisdictions and families
  • Homeschooling and military life
  • Homeschooling in the American states and possessions
  • Homeschooling overseas
  • Legal concerns about homeschooling
  • Record keeping
  • Support groups

Corporate homeschooling

The following link is to an article by Lawrence Williams, founder of Oak Meadow. The article discusses for-profit school-at-home programs that are often available to parents through state-funding, and Dr. Williams’s decision to make Oak Meadow a non-profit organization.

Corporate Homeschooling, Lawrence Williams, Education (AERO)

I’ve finally realized that education and for-profit organizations don’t mix. Perhaps the thrill of enormous profits inherent in the for-profit world is simply incompatible with the educational arena in which compassion, integrity, and self-sacrifice are valued so highly. If we want to teach our children to become strong, intelligent, compassionate adults—and thoughtful members of the global community—that can be best accomplished through a business structure that sets an example of disciplined, responsible, ethical behavior.

Over the years, we’ve had many offers to sell Oak Meadow, but on each occasion it was clear that the motivation of the buyers was for profit, not for children. Many other homeschool organizations have started, grown, and been sold to large for-profit corporations since we began, and the number of heavily-capitalized for-profit educational corporations seems to be increasing daily.

DOD Updates Enlistment Priority for Certain Education Credentials

DoD News Release:  28 June 2012

DOD Updates Enlistment Priority for Certain Education Credentials

 The Department of Defense announced today that eligible students with diplomas from home schools, virtual/distance learning and adult/alternative schools, who score 50 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), will now receive Tier 1 enlistment priority.

The policy change implements the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act requirement.  Previously, many of these graduates received Tier 2 enlistment priority.

 The purpose of the DoD education credential policy is to predict adaptation to the military and successful completion of military service.  The education credential tiers were initially developed more than 30 years ago, based on first-term attrition rates associated with various education credential types.  Because Tier 1 graduates are more likely to complete their first term of enlistment, department benchmarks require that at least 90 percent of recruits enlisting possess a Tier 1 credential.

While numerous studies have shown education credential source or type as a predictor of first-term attrition, aptitude, as measured by the AFQT, also predicts attrition behavior.  Those with diplomas from home schools, virtual/distance learning and adult/alternative schools who score above 50 on the AFQT have similar attrition to traditional high school graduates.

“It’s important for everyone interested in joining the military to understand that the current competitive recruiting environment, high retention, and force reductions, have impacted the number of positions available to interested applicants,” said Lernes Hebert, acting director of accession policy.  “High demand has also affected the waiting time to enter the military.  On average, a typical recruit is now entering the military eight or nine months after his or her initial visit with a recruiter.”

All applicants for military service, regardless of credential type, must also meet a variety of other enlistment standards – including aptitude, medical, and conduct standards.

Homeschooling through DoDDS in ‘remote’ areas

At some overseas assignments, the number of children accompanying sponsors stationed in the area may not meet the minimum requirement for the establishment of a DoD dependent school:  100 elementary children, or  300 secondary students (PDF-page 19, C1.5.2.1. Establishment).

At such assignments, the military services do not provide a DoD Dependent School.  Children living with their parents in such an area may be attend a non-DoD school, may remain in the U.S. with friends or relatives to continue their schooling, may attend a private school overseas, or may be  homeschooled.  If the parents prefer to homeschool the children rather than choose one of the other schooling methods, DoD will provide a stipend to the sponsor to cover some expenses.

Sponsors who are assigned to an area with no local DoD dependent school, and who wish to homeschool their accompanying children, may submit their requests according to the information at:

Please note:  This guidance does not apply to families who choose to homeschool in overseas locations where a DoD school exists.

If your military community has a DoDDS facility then you may still homeschool, but DoD will not provide the stipend.  You will pay for your homeschooling materials as usual.

Site booklets

Before the Internet and the World Wide Web became useful tools for everyday use, I put together homeschooling information in printed booklets.  I saved those files and have since converted them to PDF documents.

  • What’s all the fuss about (an unfinished history in news articles and military regulations about military homeschooling overseas — it is unfinished because we moved back to the US while I was writing it, and I lost the access I needed to newspaper files and regulation libraries)
  • Frequently Asked Questions (a ‘vintage’ booklet whose generalities still apply, but whose regulation references are outdated, superseded or have expired)

Legally homeschooling in CONUS as a military family

This blog entry and the attached article are opinions, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.


The arrival of PCS orders may set off an alarm for some homeschooling families.  Parents new to homeschooling often wonder, “Which rules do I follow?  Do I follow the rules of my home state?  Do I follow the rules at the new assignment?  Do I follow some special rules for military families?”  The short answer is that you follow the laws of the place where you sleep each night.

Educational jurisdiction

The Constitution of the United States does not address education, so schooling bypasses direct federal control and each state manages its own school system.

In the United States, schooling laws for children of compulsory attendance ages vary by state, as do the compulsory attendance ages themselves.  Although states maintain schooling laws under the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the federal government uses financial carrots or sticks to influence how states run their schools: “Do this and you will be given X-amount of dollars.  Don’t do this and the money will dry up.”  Most everyone wants that ‘free’ money, so some ‘best practices’ tend to follow federal wishes.

To read full article, plus links, please click here.

Copyright 2010, Valerie Bonham Moon

Military life from the perspective of family members


Military life has more rules to it than does civilian life.  The two modes of living have many parallels such as ID cards and driver’s licenses for identification, housing officials and code enforcement officers for minding your Ps and Qs in residential neighborhoods, and city police and military police for general law enforcement.  The difference is that life close to the military is more tightly controlled.  Installations closely document the registry of large personal belongings such as cars or motorcycles, restricted areas take up more space, and ‘gate-keepers’ check more often to make sure you are ‘authorized.’  It seems as if ‘the military’ controls your life, and, for active-duty, Reserve or National Guard members, ‘the military’ does control their lives.  But is this true for family members?

This part, of the chapters on the military-specific life of homeschooling parents, lays the groundwork for the chapter on military authority over the families of servicemembers.  I want to draw a rough picture of what it means to live alongside a servicemember so that I can more easily explain my view of who is in charge of whom, and why, and lay out the relationship between civilian family members and military authorities.  Some readers here will be new to military life and may have an idea that, because they are married to a servicemember, their husband’s chain of command has legal authority over the family.

To read the full article, with links, please click here.

Copyright 2010, Valerie Bonham Moon

Beyond homeschooling: joining the military

This article tells about some differences between the two largest career paths in the military services, becoming an officer or enlisting.  It also looks at how home education affects those choices.  From the view of the military services, homeschooling has an effect on enlistment more than it does on the commissioning of an officer.

This article includes a look at what it means to be an officer or an enlisted person.  Included are the ways a college student can become an officer, and how a homeschooled graduate can enlist.  Statistics are included from a Navy study that is important to homeschooled graduates who want to enlist, and a complaint, and an answer to the complaint, about the study.

In this article, I propose that the best way to prepare to enlist is to earn a regular high school diploma, but the ‘best’ way does not rule out other ways.  This article is not a step-by-step guide telling homeschooled grads how to join the military, but it does have advice on good ways to prepare to join.

  • To read the full article, please click here.
  • A quick overview of the ways for homeschooled grads to join the military is here
  • A compilation of sections of military recruiting regulations for homeschooled grads is here.

Beyond homeschooling: what to do after graduation

When you think seriously about what your child will do ‘after homeschooling,’ you’re either at the beginning of your child’s ‘high school’ years (the ages from about 14 and up), or are actually contemplating ‘graduating’ near the end-of-homeschooling.  You may wonder what comes next?  How do people who were homeschooled fit themselves into everyday adult life?  The answer, of course, is “just like everyone else.”

Before your child makes the change from at-home dependent to competent-adult, it is usually best to prepare for it, and not just expect the teen to step out onto adulthood’s doorstep looking for the taxi to Grownup Land.  This is only common sense.  The trouble with preparation is, that to make specific plans, the teen must have a goal in mind, sometimes as early as fourteen.  The ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ question must leave the realm of the wishful thinking of six-year-olds, although fire fighters, dinosaur hunters, and astronauts have to come from somewhere.  Making plans early is useful so that when ‘graduation’ arrives, both you and your teen are as ready as you can be for that next step.

The usual possibilities (or a mix of possibilities) beyond and after homeschooling are:

  • continuing to live as a family
  • a job
  • attending college or specialized schooling
  • joining the military

Since a ‘gap year’ (or more) may not require as much groundwork for entry as the other choices, I won’t discuss it.  And since marriage is such a personal choice, I’ll leave that discussion to the families.

To read the full article, please click here

Hug-a-hero dolls

No time to wait for the “Deployment” part of the blog, it starts now.

Children miss parents when they go away, whether it is for a deployment, or for any other reason.  The dolls from this site give children the ability to keep the parent nearby, and the dolls are more durable, and portable, than a normal photograph.

The site is called “Daddy Dolls,” and while that gender-identification applies to most deployed personnel, it doesn’t apply to all.  I imagine that families with a mom-sponsor would be able to buy the dolls, too.

Daddy Dolls

Regardless of what the site is called, the idea is wonderful.

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