As I write this, my husband is away on yet another TDY. During his eleven years in the Air Force, I have lost track of the number he’s been on. I am often asked about my military husband. How is he involved with the homeschool process? How does he stay involved when he’s somewhere that isn’t home?
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From the initial decision to make it happen to every single day of the week, homeschooling is not something done as individuals. It’s done as a whole family unit. When you mix the often unpredictable life of a military family with everything else needed to make educating your children at home work, sometimes things get a little wild.
Here’s how to keep everyone in the loop, when the loop can span more than half the globe.
Keep a journal. There is nothing more exciting than watching your child grasp long division. Don’t just include the day to day activities, but keep track of your feelings, and your goals.
Don’t make big decisions without them. Sometimes things have got to change, and you’re the one that has got to change them. Still, there is no faster way of leaving the military spouse in the dust than to drastically change the way you homeschool without talking to them first. Keep in mind, you are in this together, you’re on the same team
Take pictures, every day, or as much as possible. The whole time my husband has been gone, I’ve taken pictures of my six-year-old twins doing their math assignments. I also took pictures of all the kids observing the weather. Since he was easily reached by phone or email, I’d send them to him every day. If they are deployed somewhere that communication is limited, take those pictures and turn them into a scrapbook. Nothing soothes the heart as much as cutting and pasting.
Have your own briefings. Make them mandatory for both of you. It’s good to put into words your school plans for any given period. We have our briefings the first Sunday of the month, and if he’s not home then he gets a digital version. Lay out what your goals are, don’t think you have to say what you are doing every second of every day—but let them know when you start a new skill or get into something exciting. Be willing to get feedback. My husband is forever telling me I’ve got too much scheduled, and usually he’s right.
Update them weekly, bi-weekly, monthly. It doesn’t matter so long as you do it. Little Jimmy can’t remember what he learned in school today at the dinner table, he sure as heck won’t remember if he has to think back months while a parent was deployed. If you can’t do it face to face, keep records, send letters, or have the kids send letters.
Make them your new substitute teacher. Nothing clues the spouse into exactly what is happening in the homeschool than to let them live it. Pick any day they have off—work with them on the day’s lesson plans, and then let them teach it. It will be good for you to let them have that level of involvement, and it will be good for them, even if it just helps them learn the right kinds of questions to ask you.
Mostly, let the military spouse know, that you’re glad they want to be involved; even when their job takes them away, and even when you have different roles.
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