Why didn't you tell me my son would attend nine schools by the time he reached the seventh grade?
The other day I was late to an event because I started obsessing over these numbers. We will be moving this summer so I wanted the answer to the common question, “Which number move is this for your family?”
It will be my eighth move as a military spouse, my 12 year-old's seventh move and my 10-year olds sixth move.
Then I thought about the number of schools my children have attended. It sounds crazy but when my son starts seventh grade this fall he will be in his ninth school.
We started him in preschool when he was three years old in Nevada and he attended three preschools in three years alone (NV, AL, and VA). That should have been my first clue to keep an education binder.
Not every new school was due to a move. Like most kids in the public school system he found himself in a new school when he transitioned from preschool to kindergarten. Again this past year he went to a new school when he transitioned from elementary school to middle school for sixth grade.
I count those transitions under new schools because they are new education environments for him to adjust to. But I still wasn’t done counting.
It occurred to me because of the frequency of our most recent moves, combined with the typical school age transitions, when he starts school this fall he will be walking into his fourth new school in 4 years. Now I wonder, what does that do to a kid?
As a school psychologist I read the research. I teach other parents how to raise resilient children. I practice what I preach. I am afraid however, none of my degrees are in fortune telling so I just don’t know the long term effects this amount of transition might have on my son or his sister.
What about his education? Since pre-school my son has been enrolled in seven different programs in four different states. I don’t know much about Common Core but I would be surprised if it was designed for this type of educational diversity. Regardless, the two states he has spent his school age years in, Virginia and Texas, don’t adhere to Common Core standards so I can stop researching that topic.
As the school year is winding down its time to stop counting, start that education binder, and research the next school district.
One bit of good news about their future education: I received a letter from my alma mater, Holy Cross College, and among the many qualities they look for in students who attend is: adaptability.
Regardless of my kids’ other qualifications I am confident they will have that box checked by the time they finish high school.
Becky Harris, MA, is Director of Research and Programming at H&H Family, Education and Advocacy Center. H&H has a mission to develop an awareness of the unique challenges military families experience because of their transitional lifestyle. She is a school psychologist, AF military spouse, and mother of two children. You can follow her at www.hhfamilycenter.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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