New Changes to Military Enlistment for Homeschool Graduates
- William A. Estrada, Esq. Director of Federal Relations
- 2013 1 May
Is your son or daughter interested in a career in the U.S. Armed Forces? In 2011, HSLDA worked with Congress to include an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ensure that homeschool graduates could enlist in the military. Congress included the amendment in the bill it sent to President Obama for his signature, and it was signed into law in early 2012.
The military has new policies for homeschool graduates who seek to enlist. These are simply to determine if your child was actually homeschooled and not for any other reason. We are very pleased that the new law is leading to good policies for homeschool enlistment across the services.
Under the new policy, if your state law requires you to file some type of notice with the state or local school district, you will need to show that documentation (and any response you received back from the school district) to the recruiter. If you live in a state that doesn’t require you to file anything with the school district, the recruiter will ask you to supply some additional documentation. This additional documentation may vary depending on the branch of the military and what state you live in.
All homeschool graduates must submit transcripts showing that they have completed high school. We encourage you to include in the transcripts details such as course descriptions, grades, and whether certain curriculum was considered advanced. If you need assistance drafting a transcript, HSLDA’s high school consultants are happy to help HSLDA member families.
All homeschoolers need to have a high school diploma issued by a parent, guardian, or national, state, or county homeschool association or organization. Please note that the military is seeking high school graduates with these types of diplomas. If you present a GED certificate instead it will cause unnecessary complications in the enlistment process.
You should make it clear to the recruiter that you, the parent, directed the education of your child. The military understands that some homeschoolers employ co-op programs, and those are completely fine as long as they were a supplement to your homeschool program.
Homeschool students need to score at or above the 50th percentile on the AFQT. If a homeschooler does not score a 50, there may be one or two more opportunities for the applicant to retake the test. HSLDA is working with Congress to make sure that homeschool graduates do not need to score higher on the AFQT than public or private school graduates.
- Understand that questions regarding your graduate’s education are only the beginning of the recruitment process. The military has high moral, medical, and overall standards and numerous applicants. The enlistment process is designed to weed out applicants in favor of those who the military believes will be the best fit.
The military is significantly downsizing, and it is becoming much harder to enlist. There are many people seeking enlistment and few positions open. Ultimately, the military understands that homeschoolers are legally guaranteed an equal opportunity at enlisting, just like a graduate of any other school.
The Pentagon’s policy that was written soon after Congress passed its legislation last year is available online. The Army followed this policy and created a more detailed enlistment procedure which is available in its entirety online. The Pentagon has assured us that all other branches have adopted a policy for homeschool enlistment that is in line with the Army’s policy.
If you have questions, please contact HSLDA at 540-338-5600.
Courtesy HSLDA. Used with permission.
Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom.
Publication date: May 1, 2013