Military: Recruitment and Enlistment
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Cut to the chase
In general the military recruiter is looking for something that he or she recognizes: bureaucratic pigeonholes in the form of paperwork and documentation. In some cases if the enlistment candidate has a skill that is in high demand, bureaucratic pigeonholes become less important. For the majority of people who have skills of a more general nature, a recruiter will want to see evidence of a 'proper' education, ie, one that looks familiar and fits into the regulation.
In the case of a person who wants to enlist, and has the goal of completing the first hitch, the courses of action that have the best results are:
Both the mass-school choice, and the college credit hours will gain the candidate Tier I status, the priority status for enlisting in the military services. The JROTC participation has an excellent track record concerning completion of the first military enlistment, but is not recognized in law.
My point is only to specify which options have the best outcomes, not to denigrate homeschooled enlistees. My own kids were homeschooled so it isn't as if I harbor animus against the breed.
IF a young person is attracted to military service, then the preparation that provides the best result -- meaning completion of the first term of service -- is some form of institutional schooling. Public school and JROTC participation are tops, followed by public school (perhaps just the senior year), and finally, 1 full-time semester of college. Homeschoolers do succeed in the services as enlisted members, otherwise the results of the CNA survey would show 100% attrition, which it didn't. Still, as Louis Pasteur said, chance favors the prepared mind.
There is, as yet, no data on the homeschooling + JROTC combination, but the odds of doing well probably increase. I'd say it was an option.
Update after the 6 January 2006 signing into law of Section 591 of the FY 2006 Defense Authorization Act:
Enlistment by homeschooled grads in the armed forces
The main focus of The Military Homeschooler website is the needs of families whose sponsor (as military heads-of-household are called) is actively serving in one of the military services. Recruiting of homeschooled graduates is a side-issue which only recently became a matter of interest to the homeschooling community in general, because of federal legislation requiring the Department of Defense to implement a uniform policy for recruiting homeschooled graduates. Military recruiting is not the focus of this site, but it seems to have found a home here.
According to a telephone conversation I had with a staff member in the Pentagon office that deals with homeschool enlistment in the military services, the policy on homeschool recruitment has been written. I have not yet received a printed copy of the policy, but it is very similar to that contained in the current Army regulation.
Recruiting particulars are flexible, as they have to be, in order to balance the number of people coming in to the service, with whatever number of people leave the service. Military units have specific staffing limits, and units are known in the Army as either TDA or ToE, depending on mission (support or combat). The other services probably have similar staffing structures. Theoretically, units are not supposed to be either under-strength or over-strength, but mission, and personnel supply and demand, can affect this balance. If a service loses, for instance, 50 people in the mess kit repair field, it doesn't help to recruit 50 people as dental assistants. Job-fields can also be over-strength if a service compensated for a projected loss that didn't happen. The services also have to take into account the number of people any one school can train. If classes are full, then there is a waiting list, and entry into those fields can be delayed. School availability is affected, not only by new recruits who need to be trained, but also by active duty personnel who want to change job fields, and re-enlist to do so. Add all this to complications concerning homeschool education credentials, and the field is ripe for misunderstandings.
As with college entrance requirements, military entrance requirements are best met during the 'secondary' portion of homeschooling. If a homeschooled young person's desire to enlist in one of the military services isn't clear before the age of fourteen, it is hard to make those preparations, one of which is that the homeschooling 'high school years' be modeled on what most people see as 'traditional' schooling, meaning a teacher/student relationship for 5-days per week, roughly 170-days per year, and with assignments, grades and tests.
For applicants whose credentials do not meet the 'traditional' standard, one way to meet the requirements is to acquire 15 college credit-hours, or the equivalent in semester hours. Yes, this is an added requirement for homeschooled grads, but it applies to all alternative credential holders, not just homeschooled grads.
As soon as I receive it,
I will post the current enlistment policy to this site. In the meantime,
the specifics in the Army regulation are a useful guide.
The Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy enlistment regulations are linked on the Military Enlistment Requirements page on this web site. Each service's requirements of homeschooled applicants is copied from the latest online edition of each regulation.
So far, the Coast Guard regulation has not been 'found.' It's out there, somewhere, but the search words haven't yet made themselves known. Each service has it's own vocabulary, so the same words don't always have the same meaning between services.
Because some military homeschoolers choose to follow in a parent's footsteps by enlisting in the military I'm including a page on enlistment requirements. I won't include information on becoming an officer because any homeschooler who chooses that route will necessarily need to attend college (or receive a battlefield commission) which renders the homeschooling status moot. The information on the page will accumulate (as do the others) as I find it.
Accurately portraying military enlistment for homeschooled grads
In making available information about enlistment in the U.S. military services, it is a kindness to ensure that the information dispensed is accurate in fact, and in view. What prompted this concern, on my part, was reading linked pages at HSLDA's website, a collection of broadcasts from the Home School Heartbeat titled, "Homeschoolers and Military Enlistment."
It is one thing to sincerely support enlistment in the U.S. military services, it is another to encourage it with half-truths. The people who will be responsible for fulfilling the enlistment contract from beginning to end (the recruits), should be given the full story concerning homeschool-graduate enlistment, not just optimistic encouragement.
My objections are to statements at the website pages:
Driving in the car (during field trips; PCSing; vacations)
Hobby Horse Stable: Op/ed
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This site was last updated: Wednesday, 10 March 2010