Dealing with Confusion
To add to the general sense of bedlam, 30 to 50 percent of the families get transferred elsewhere every school year, says David. What’s more, many of the parents who home school when they are in Japan, send their children to private schools when they are in the United States. The how-to-home-school learning curve for these families is initially steep and the need for assistance from the group is great.
And of course, the current war on terror increases all of this confusion. Military schedules change frequently due to ongoing operations. Rebecca Garvey says that on her base in Germany, it is often difficult to find a place to meet for group activities since they never know when a building is going to be commandeered for an Army activity.
Despite the difficulties, military home schoolers are thriving. In typical “home school” fashion, many turn these trials into learning experiences for their children. The Beddo family can see firsthand how terrorists are brought to justice when home-school father Sheldon Beddo, a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is transferred temporarily to Cuba to interrogate Taliban prisoners.
When Julie Swogger’s children are frightened of the soldiers patrolling their base neighborhood in full battle gear, Julie has her children make cookies and coffee to take to them. Soldiers munching snacks seem a little less ominous-and that gives them the opportunity to explain to the children what they are doing.
Perhaps the most profound lesson for these children is to learn firsthand the price some of us pay for the freedoms we all enjoy. “My husband left on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt on September 19,” says Tarita Bacon. “The sacrifices Americans are sometimes called to make for our freedoms became very real to my children. ‘This is what Daddy does,’ they realized ‘Daddy has to go to war.’”

For more information on Home School Legal Defense Association, visit their Web site at