The idea for this book surfaced on the email list, HomeschoolMilitary, in July of 2002 when one listmember asked if anyone knew of a military homeschooling book and someone else commented that I’d written one. What I’d written was a 24-page booklet for homeschoolers in Germany, Frequently Asked Questions About Military Homeschooling in Europe And One Homeschooler’s Answers.
At the time of the discussion I’d just returned from an ocean cruise that had reunited me with my best friend from my freshman year of high school, as well as with many of our schoolmates of the 1960s and 1970s. We were also reunited with some of our local friends (who, we found out, despise the world “local” when applied to themselves). The school was Kindley Air Force Base High School, that later became Roger B. Chaffee High School, and is now Clearwater Middle School. The school is on the piece of land that was Kindley Air Force Base, which became Kindley Naval Air Station, and is now property that is being redeveloped. All of this is located on St. David’s Island, Bermuda and me and my cruise-mates all lived there. The cruise and my reunion with my fellow- Brats shows only part of my qualification for writing this book – Brathood.
As for how I myself got to this point concerning homeschooling it all began on a Thursday in 1989 in my Munich kitchen as I sat eating breakfast and reading the Stars and Stripes newspaper. I saw a feature article (carried only on Thursdays) about these families about fifty miles away in Augsburg doing something strange: they called it home schooling. By 1990 I, too, was doing this strange thing, and I kept on doing it until 1998 in Havré, Belgium.
My first year of homeschooling consisted alternately of trying to meet the demands of a boxed curriculum; keeping an eye out the window for terrorists because of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, now called The Gulf War (we had duty rosters for the families to keep watch through the night); and watching CNN just in case our eldest son would be shown with the rest of the Army’s Big Red One. We thought our son was in Saudi Arabia but Norman Schwartzkopf and Colin Powell had him and the other troops sneak into Iraq. It was a momentous year.
During that same year our oldest son returned to the US and I progressed from using a planned curriculum to unschooling. In the years that followed the three ‘little’ kids grew up, received high school diplomas and have gone to college. One is still there but she’s becoming a veterinarian and that takes longer. I ‘left’ homeschooling after the kids received their diplomas but came back in 2001 when American military homeschoolers, first in Germany and then elsewhere, were faced with a push for regulation. One thing led to another and here I am.
I hope through this book to provide a reference for military homeschoolers concerning questions that most homeschooling books don’t address:
- Is it recommended to homeschool through a PCS?
(yes, but change the focus from academic skills to life skills)
- Should you carry your homeschooling materials with you? (no, mail them)
- How do we go sightseeing when we’ve just moved and we’re broke? (look around town for what is ordinary to the ‘locals’ but unusual to you)
- What kind of curriculum is best? (as an unschooler I prefer a do-it-yourself ‘curriculum,’ but at a remote assignment using a boxed curriculum might be a sanity saver)
- Should we live in quarters or on the economy?
(quarters are generally smaller than economy housing but the kids will have a built-in ‘peer group.’ ‘The Economy’ can offer a rich cultural experience)
- How do we cope with homeschooling while Dad is deployed? (one day at a time, and then continue coping after he returns thinking he’s still in charge)
By the way, if you are reading this at a site other than Tossed by the Fates, and no attribution is given to hard-working and generous Valerie Bonham Moon, the person(s) using this text is passing my work off as theirs, the slimy rotters. If you paid for this information, you were schnookered. There isn’t much I can do about plagiarists, but I thought you should know that about the site you’re visiting.
So, anchors aweigh my boys as those caissons go rolling with one helluva roar north and south and east and west from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. Hoo-ah!
Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon
This work may be copied and distributed for free as long as the copyright and this notice are included.