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Military:  PCSing

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Homeschooling Information
Whether to homeschool during a PCS
General Information
Destination Information

Homeschooling Information

  • When military homeschoolers PCS from one state to another state, territory or commonwealth, or to a foreign country, they follow the rules of their new home.  Even though there may be a change in the detail of  homeschooling requirements (such as testing may be a new requirement, or it may be that it is no longer a requirement), this is by no means a situation affecting only homeschoolers.  Differences between schools, school systems and state laws have been a thorn in the side of military Brats and their parents for decades.  This is a fact of military life and all families can be affected.  The benefit for homeschoolers is that their children have continuity of instruction and won't 'lose credits' because a class is not 'recognized' by a new school system.
  • CONUS homeschooling
  • OCONUS homeschooling

Whether to homeschool during a PCS

  • A not-infrequent question on email lists is:  "Should we continuing homeschooling during the PCS?"  The answer may depend on your family outlook and your homeschooling style.

    Some families choose to continue book learning during the PCS.  Mothers report that the schoolwork gives the children something to keep their attention, and keeps them from 'losing ground' in their lessons during the move.  On one overseas move, before I heard about homeschooling, I used a similar technique using one of E.D. Hirsch's children's dictionaries of cultural literacy.  I was the 'game moderator' and asked questions of my child-'contestants' in a game of cultural trivia.  We played the game in the airports while waiting for our flights to be called.

    A caveat on trying to continue regular lessons while traveling: 
    -- books are heavy
    -- someone has to carry them
    -- someone has to keep track of them

    Items that might be more useful during travel, and few people will get very angry if they're lost:
    -- Goofy Mad Libs
    -- Crossword books
    -- Portable math games

    Other families choose to make the PCS itself part of the homeschooling experience.  Geography, map-skills, financial-planning, and logistics may all come into play during the move.  By using a small notebook to jot down various activity-times, or by using either a digital camera or disposable cameras (if you're mailing the good cameras), to take snapshots of the activities, you can accrue documented 'school time' without textbooks, lessons or books.

    A National Parks Pass can be useful if you are driving and your travel route will take you past national parks.  You can also find historical landmark information at Perry-Castaņeda Library Map Collection from the University of Texas at Austin.

    Another 'subject' in which the kids can accrue clock-hours is home-ec, or, independent living.  Learning how to properly clean a house you're moving out of isn't a popular skill, but it is universally useful and in line with 'lifelong living.'

Cleaning house at 21 Leharstrasse during the move from Germany to Belgium

General Information  (I hope the military URLs stay put for a while.  They are the most unreliable of nearly all URLs.  I'm guessing that each time a webmaster PCSes, his or her replacement decides to put an individual stamp on the website and changes everything.  It's unhelpful and inconvenient.)

  • For specific financial preparation information see your unit's finance or transportation office. 
  • general relocation information PDF booklet from Ft. Rucker
  • It's Your Move Military web site concerning PCSing
  • Military Education Coalition builds understanding between students and educators Information on PCSing with a child in school
  • No-Fee Passports for Diplomatic, Official, Military Dependent and Peace Corps personnel
    State Department website

  • Don't Do Another Military PCS Move (or any Move) Without Reading This! (blog post by military wife)

  • Overweight on Household Goods
    If you are at or near you maximum household goods weight allowance you can pay less to ship your books and some other educational materials by using the US Postal Service's Media Mail.  Overweight shipping fees can run anywhere from $0 .50 to $3.00 per pound.
  • Full weight allowance permitted for Japan (2008 news article)
  •'s US Military page on Assignments and Moving
  • Shipping Your POV
  • Helpful packing hints for your household-goods are:
    -- Don't pack breakables in hold/unaccompanied/express baggage.
    -- Hand-carry or mail (registered or certified) important papers
    -- Wrap small items in dishcloths and pack them in Tupperware containers. When you're unpacking it is very easy to overlook children's silverware, cake decorating tubes, knick-knacks, and so on.  Wrapping these items in dishcloths or towels also cuts down on the amount of packing paper you need to deal with later.
    -- Don't trust movers to save all the nuts & bolts from disassembled items -- disassemble the items before the movers show up, put the items in a plastic freezer bag, and use packing tape to secure it to an unfinished surface on the item.
    -- Don't pack items and seal them so that the packers can't determine whether or not the items are broken or damaged. Boxes that are sealed will be marked PBO -- packed by owner -- and the movers aren't responsible for the condition when you unpack.
    -- Pack anything that can be damaged by water in 2-gal. Ziploc bags. Most shipments don't get dropped in the water when they're being offloaded, but every once in a while it does happen and I've seen the results.  In 30 years it never happened to us (or to my parents), but I figured Ziploc bags were cheap insurance.
    -- If you think you might be over the limit for your weight allowance, and you can't bear to part with certain items, keep in mind that the media rate through the post office is cheaper than overweight charges (scroll to "Excess Weight Can Cost Big Money").  Most homeschooling items qualify for media mail postage.
    -- If you have anything that is not to be packed, put it in a particular room and label the room as off limits.  A large X of masking tape from door jamb to door jamb gets the point across nicely -- in any language.
    -- Put out the garbage before the movers arrive, and keep an eye on things.  I once -- Scout's honor -- picked a paper-wrapped item out of a box during one quarters-to-quarters move, and unwrapped our stove-top percolator.  The coffee inside was still warm.

Destination Information



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The Military Homeschooler is a private web site and is not affiliated with the US government or the DoD.  The opinions stated on the site are those of the site owner and the content is provided for information only. The Military Homeschooler  contains links to other Web sites. These other sites are not under the control of The Military Homeschooler and The Military Homeschooler is not responsible for the contents of any other site. The Military Homeschooler  provides the links only as a convenience to this site's readers, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by The Military Homeschooler of the site.   You are responsible for your own viewing and any dealings with other sites.

Regarding any legal opinions expressed, I am not a lawyer.  If you have a legal problem, check with JAG or retain your own legal counsel.

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This site was last updated:  Tuesday, 13 April 2010