April is the Month of the Military Child and an important time to recognize and support children of those serving in the United States military. When military families move, their entire lives can be disrupted. For many children, their primary concern is how to transition their lives with minimal impact to their education.
In a recent publication, K12 outlines the unique educational challenges facing students in military families, including:
- inconsistency in curriculum as students move from one state to another
- feelings of isolation, loneliness, or alienation as the “new student” in the group
- varying state-specific regulations and requirements
Erin White, a wife of an U.S. Air Force officer and mother of two students enrolled in K12’s International Academy, credits online schooling with bringing consistency to their busy and mobile lifestyle.
“My husband is retired U.S. Air Force and at one point our family moved three times over one year which would have been three separate schools in one school year for our children. That would have been extremely difficult for my children had we not schooled online.”
White’s daughter, Madeline, schooled through K12 programs from kindergarten all the way through her senior year. Madeline currently attends the College of William and Mary in Virginia. White’s son, Baker, is currently a high schooler enrolled through K12’s International Academy.
The White Family: Madeline, Erin, and Baker
Authors of a recent demographic study of military families note that “active-duty military personnel must move on average once every two to three years, meaning that military families move 2.4 times as often as civilian families.”
The White family, which have logged K12 lessons in over 10 different states, shares that schooling online has also allowed the family to spend more time together when White’s husband returned from being deployed.
“Many traditional schooling systems have strict absentee policies, which would have made spending family time together between my husband’s deployments nearly impossible.”
Children from military families face unique challenges that can impact not only their education, but their mental health, notes White.
“I know firsthand that many children of military families struggle with a variety of factors. I think sometimes people forget that many times a military family member could be deployed to a warzone which could significantly impact a child’s emotional wellbeing. I’m grateful that my children didn’t have to deal with being the ‘new kid’ over and over again or comprehend how big of a sacrifice this lifestyle can be.”
White’s personal account and K12’s publication on military families illustrate how mobile students from military families can benefit from the educational continuity and connectedness offered through online learning.