shutterstock_96547867.jpgWhen my homeschooling friends talk about their days it all sounds so wonderful: interest based learning, flexible schedules, creative projects and adventurous field trips. I confess, it seems liked the perfect situation. These moms don’t have to deal with new schools after a military move. Their kids don’t have to catch up on curriculum they should have learned in a previous semester, adjust to new school start times, or tackle the adventure of riding the bus. Just one problem, I have trouble getting my son to make his bed or feed the dog much less motivate him to tackle a complicated math equation…on my own.


For many of my friends homeschooling is their family’s choice for a variety of reasons. They would be the first to share, it is indeed a family decision and not one that should be entered into without some careful thought, research and planning. This past year we decided attending an online high school was best for our youngest son and our family. It’s been a learning process and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.


First off, I didn’t realize homeschooling was so popular. Maybe you are like me and thinking perhaps homeschooling is fad that will fizzle out? Not so says the research by the National Home Education Research Institute, “homeschooling – home education or home-based education – has grown from nearly extinct in the United States in the 1970s to now about 2 million school-age students.”


Here are some tips to consider when determining if Homeschooling is right for your family:


  1. Do your research: Ask other spouses in your command, extended family, friends, anyone who homeschools what their experience has been like and to share how their children are doing with their studies. Chances are one or more local homeschooling groups exist in your area, check them out and ask questions.
  2. Check the laws on homeschooling in your state: Each state has unique laws for homeschooling. Check with your individual state for all the details.
  3. Research homeschooling methods / schools: With the popularity of homeschooling, many methods are out there for you to choose from: Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Classical, etc. Online schools like K12 and others provide online based, “individualized, one-on-one learning solutions to students from kindergarten through high school across the country.” In the state of Texas for example, The University of Texas at Austin provides an online high school option that is a “state-approved educational alternative to students who want to earn a high school diploma and need, or prefer, the flexibility of distance education to complete their course work.” 
  4. Talk to your spouse: Deciding on your own while your spouse is deployed that you have begun to homeschool your children might not be the best approach. Even though your spouse is away, still keep them involved in this important decision that in my opinion should be made as a family. Set up a Skype session, talk about the pros and cons. Have your kids share their opinion. Having the discussion is important.


Making the homeschooling/online school switch has been a big transition for our family and the jury is still out as to if he will return to “regular school” next year. For now he is enjoying this new way of learning and we are taking it one step at a time.


Are you homeschooling your kids? Why does homeschooling work for your family? I’d love to hear from experienced homeschooling moms, please share your thoughts in the comments section.


For more information and tips on homeschooling, be sure to visit the below list of resources:


Resources: – The Best Homeschooling Resources Online


National Home Education Research Institute

The University of Texas High School


Source Articles:

SheKnows: Homeschooling 101: How to get started homeschooling

The Wall Street Journal: My Education in Homeschooling

Occasional Visitor

I'm a homeschool Mom, and a homeschool graduate!  It isn't always as dreamy as you make it out to be.  It's hard work, without a break.  My kids are around me all the time, and that is mentally exhausting at times.  But, with that being said, I wouldn't have it any other way.  We are given one chance, one chance to raise our children.  For my husband and I, this is the best we can give them.  I can imagine putting them in school, looking back and then saying, "I wish we would've homeschooled them.", but not the other way around.  I do not think I would ever say, "Man, I wish I put them in school."; I've seen the village and it's not raising my children.   To me, giving them this opportunity is worth every sacrifice I have to make to make sure they are safe, sound, challenged, and in this world but not of this world. 

Thanks for your post!!

Jim G.

Hey, mommas aren't the only ones who homeschool their kids.  It is important that couples talk before committing to homeschool or deciding not to, but both parents can teach.  We homeschooled our two oldest for a couple of years back in the early 2000's but the circumstances weren't right for us to continue.  I admire those who make the commitment to teach their own kids, and the overwhelmingly positives outcomes prove that teaching isn't so much a profession that one must be highly qualified to do (at least in the younger grades) so much as the extension of an existing relationship as parent.  Parents are a child's first teacher, anyway.  Adopting the Army's "see one, do one, teach one" model, most homeschooling families fare very well.  We found that a curriculum based heavily on reading classical childrens literature and, while covering down on modern basics, allowing your children some freedom to explore topics that interest them right there and then pays multiple educational dividends.  It sinks in quicker and sticks.  Toward the end, we were modeling the classical trivium.  Grammar, rhetoric, and logic.  That is fancy language for learning language so you can read good books, learning how to hold your own in discussing them (and other things), and acquiring the mental tools that will help you uncover B.S. when people try to feed it to you.  

Wendy Poling USAA

Moxie Moma, I am very new to the home school experience, thanks for your insight! I love hearing stories of how it is working. Let me know what other homeschooling topics I can cover here on the blog, or if there is someone you'd like me to interview! My homeschooling friends inspire me everyday. 

Wendy Poling USAA

Jim G, I do love the aspect of interest based learning that you pointed out. It's one of the things that has made a big impact with our student. Didn't mean to leave out the homeschooling dads!!! I'm the daughter of an educator and grew up with dad's classroom not far from my locker in school! Thank you for your valuable insight. Please let me know if there are other topics you'd like me to cover here on the blog.  

AnnMarie HH6Diva
New Member

What a great aspect of military life for USAA to be covering! Our family began our homeschool journey last spring and yes it's been a LOT of work at times, but it also has made transitioning to a new duty station a lot easier!  Looking forward to reading your posts and sharing this journey with you Wendy! :)


Pleasantly surpirsed to see an article like this featured on USAA. My dad served in the Army for twenty years and continues to serve in the DOD. Because of the military lifestyle, my parents decided early on that they were going to homeschool. It wasn't always easy (like the article states), but it sure was fun along the way, and I think my whole family would agreed to do all over again.


We lived overseas for the majority of my dad's military career, and were blessed with a wonderful network of homeschooling families on various Army posts. Military moms overseas find it challenging enough to be away from the support of family, but our homeschool friends became like family and were the support my mom needed. In a way, I believe we had it easier than our school-going friends, who were constantly frustrated with being either behind or bored out of their minds with relearning what they already had been taught. Homeschooling certainly lent itself well to our "pack up and go" lifestyle.


Although homeschooling isn't for everyone, I would definitely recommend considering to any military family. The family sacrifices a lot for the one who is serving, but it was nice knowing in the midst of it all, my parents were also sacrificing for me - going the extra mile in my education. They have been homeschooling for about 20 years now, with three down and four to go. I thank my dad for his years of service to his country, and I thank my mom for her years of service to her family.



Wendy Poling USAA

Anne Marie! Thanks for the comment. I'm so glad you are back to blogging and I can't wait to read about your Homeschool tips and strategies.

Wendy Poling USAA

Berlingirl, It seems like more and more of my friends are choosing to homeschool. Your comment about our "pack up and go" lifestyle is spot on and it sure sounds like you are a homeschool success story. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story and insight.