Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homeschool and the Military Family

Dear thoughtful readers and wise ones too,

There are many perks to homeschooling kids in the military, but that's not the point of this conversation. This isn't a "homeschool vs. public school" post, or a "homeschool is the only school" discussion.  This isn't even about homeschooling your kids in the military.  It's not even necessarily a "pro homeschool" post, although if you interpret my findings as a positive result, that's up to you.  It's just a simple observation of how a certain type of education prepared me in a certain way for a certain type of lifestyle.

The point I would like to consider today is, how being homeschooled prepared me for life as a military wife.

Friends ... I have never had friends made for me.  I've always had to seek them out on my own, through various "real-life" avenues.  They were never supplied, cut-and-dried, plucked straight from my own neighborhood, to my daily existence.  I've never been forced to operate only within a set age-group, with people who seemingly share my own interests or follow my same desires.  I never had artificial social settings created for me growing up - I was instead immersed directly, sans the twelve-year-long simulation course, into the actual, factual world.  

Coping ... I was taught that learning is a life-long, never-ending process, one of great self-fulfillment and also self-entertainment.  I was given tools to learn how to seek out resources and do learning on my own, outside of a classroom, without the benefit of a given curriculum.  I've been forced into creativity.

Family ... I have solid relationships with my family, however distant they may be.  These are bonds that will never be broken.  

Diversity ... I've never been taught that one way is the only way to be human.  I've been taught that every culture, every belief, is valuable to the person embracing it.  I've been taught to know what I hold valuable, what I depend upon, what I believe in, and to be free and open to share it with others, but to nevertheless treat with respect everybody.  We were shown that it was exciting, fun, and enriching to learn about and experience people who dress differently, speak differently, act differently, believe differently.  We never even knew differently.  We never knew that sometimes you were supposed to be afraid of new things.  New languages, new forms of music, new types of food, new habits, were all objects of excitement and enrichment - not fear or ostracism.  And when given the opportunity, we were always shown that it was better to experience the new than to fearfully cling to the old!  "You're in a Chinese restaurant - you're not going to order a cheeseburger!"  

Travel ... By the age of eighteen I had already traveled to every state of the US with the exception of Alaska, and had no fear of living in any of those places.  Through our homeschool studies I learned extensively about our country, our policies, and our people, and since it was presented to me in a fascinating fashion I found it interesting and actually retained a measure of the knowledge I was given.  Before graduating high school, I traveled to Europe several times; because of my broadening education and experience with world travel, I have a great interest in learning about other cultures, people different from my own, and enjoy experiencing full and complete cultural immersion.  

How this helps ... In the past year, due to my husband's job in the Navy, I have moved five times.  I have lived in Washington, then Illinois, then California, then Washington, and now Virginia.  In every place, it was habitual for me to establish healthful routines, put myself in places where I could meet people, develop relationships, generate friendships.  I knew that hospitality and friendship was a responsibility on my own shoulders if I wanted to create community around myself, and since it had been this way my whole life I was already well-practiced in how to make that a reality.  I never found myself wanting for friendships, entertainment, education, resources, or pleasant routine in any of the places we lived thus far.  I never had a problem keeping myself occupied during the full days when Mr H was away at work, using spare moments to better my mind by study and self-education, and I made many, many close friendships in all the places we stayed.  I was surrounded by caring people who made me feel loved, needed, and wanted.  We always had things to do, places to go and people to see; life was busy everywhere we went, and I never spent any time languishing for lack of social interaction or occupation.

I had the tools to do so because of homeschool.  That's right, you heard me.  Should I rephrase that?  Should I say it a little louder?  Let me step back and speak clearly.

The experience of homeschool uniquely prepared me to properly socialize in the real world. 

Mrs H

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