According to the United States Census Bureau every year between 42 and 43 million people relocate, with approximately one-fourth this population are children between the ages of one and 19, it is assumed a majority of these people are of the 1.2 million military affiliated children. Moving is hard on anyone but imagine what it is like to be 10 years old getting a phone call that tells you to pack your things, say goodbye to your friends, and leave your homework. Your child may understand your job and the sacrifices it takes to be a member of the military, but it still causes a great amount of pain and stress. Students of military families that are in the relocation process are under the stress of the move plus many factors in the academic realm. Moving to a new location brings the question “will I fit in?” The trends are different, the clothes are different, and the key to making new friends, communication may be different by accent, local slang, or even native language. With all the stress of the being in a new house that is not your home, being the “new kid,” and missing your old life, there is also the stress of school.
Many military families do not move during summer, leaving students to make the transition during the school year. This means new teachers and therefore teaching styles, differing academic standards, and playing the game of catch-up. No matter if your move of schools was within the Department of Defense (DoD) network with the same academic standards or a new state with differing standards the amount of time the move takes leaves the student with a lot of homework to complete, tests to take, and lessons to learn. The DoD tries to support students in the move by offering transition counselors, youth sponsorship programs, and counseling for social and personal issues but it still may not be enough. Through a survey of the DoD Education Activity organization (DoDEA) most parents did not know to use the transition planning services by 57 percent of the 18,075 parents surveyed in 2008 while only 15 percent were satisfied with the services. There are a few things you can do and encourage your student to do to make sure they are both ready for their new school and able to catch-up on previous schoolwork.
Have the new school meet the old school.
Contact your new school find out what they need and how your student’s credentials line up. Have your student’s guidance counselor send their official transcript to the new school so they can start working on the placement and academic support your student may need before you get there. Make sure to get a copy of the transcript to bring along with you just incase.
Get in the know.
Utilize the services offered by the DoD such as transition planners and counselors that help your child ease into their new life. These transition planners help the student to find the proper classes and academic support they made need to make the transition a positive one.
Reduce the stress with new people.
Encourage your student to get involved at school. This may reduce the stress of catching up academically as well as finding new peers to possibly help them complete the catching-up process. However, make sure your student balances this social and academic life so they do not fall even further behind.
Get a Tutor (dotcom)
The DoD allows for 24/7 unlimited online one-to-one tutoring for members of the military and their families. This is a great resource for a student to just catch-up on work or lessons. Our tutors are available for your student any day of the week at any hour and most importantly it is free. Students can have a tutor review their homework to make sure they have everything correct and making a great first impression on their new teacher or engage in a hour long session where they learn how to solve quadratic equations. This is a great resource for students in a new location, if they are too embarrassed to ask for help at their new school, they can do so at home and online. Not only does Tutor.com offer online virtual tutoring but also a homework help resource database with links to hundreds of homework help websites for the exact topic they are looking for.
The DoD seeks to make this process as easy as possible and by utilizing their services whether it be transition planners and counselors or using Tutor.com, it is up to you and your student to make it successful. Making new friends, catching up on homework, and turning a negative into a positive experience is the ultimate goal because in the end it is most important that your student is happy, healthy, and successful in their new home.