School is back in session.
Summer morning routines are a thing of the past. Bedtimes have been moved up. Wake-up calls are earlier than most would like.
Lunches are being made and packed. Backpacks are coming home filled with homework.
New friendships are being forged while old friendships strengthen. Summer vacation stories are being shared.
Days are being spent learning with a little time for fun with friends.
For us, this year is a very different one; our oldest is in her senior year of high school. For us, the SAT scores are being tallied. College visits are taking place and application essays are being crafted.
It got me thinking about our military children and their final year. College may not be the journey for every graduating senior: It may be a technical school to learn a specific trade or it may be straight into the workforce.
Whatever path it is, the changes are big and the responsibilities become even greater.
Our situation is different because our girls have lived in the same place and maintained their education in one school district. That is not the case for most of my friends.
What I have learned from watching our Army family and friends is that moving is hard on our children.
Most military families move at least 6 times during their school years. Although moving and starting over is hard, I have watched so many military children grow into the most amazing humans that will undoubtedly make this world a better place.
As I watch these young adults head off to colleges, from VMI to Texas A&M, I am in awe of the strength of our military children and families.
Here at Fort Hood, we have witnessed first hand the battles our neighbors and friends have faced regarding educational opportunities for their children. These families become advocates not only for their own children, but all our military children.
So I started looking at organizations out there that support and guide our military families. You may or may not be familiar with some of these organizations.
The Military Child Education Coalition is an organization that works to “ensure inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, transition, deployments and family separation.” The coalition continues to find ways to better understand the challenges faced by multiple school transitions. This includes how schools can play a role in assisting and mitigating the challenges faced by our military families.
The Military Child Education Coalition offers a variety of programs to assist students, parents and professionals to make sure parents feel empowered and community partners understand where and how military children can succeed. Interested in more, visit militarychild.org.
There is the National Military Family Association. The organization has some detailed information about Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The compact assists with a more seamless transition for our military children as they move from school to school. The agreement is recognized throughout the United States, yet there are still teachers and administrators who may not be familiar with the law and the requirements. If you are unfamiliar with the compact, take some time to educate yourself so you can eliminate some of the roadblocks out there. To find out more, visit militaryfamily.org.
Last but not least, you can always head over to Military One Source. There are many resources and stories to help you support your child’s education. It is important to help build a foundation of learning for your child. Visit militaryonesource.mil and search education to find ways to set your child up for success.
Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald Correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.