Another Blue Star Summer is winding down. And you know what that means.
Parents across the country are jumping for joy and doing happy dances at the bus stop over their kids going back to school.
While the same may be true for you, it can still be an equally stressful and trying time for you and your military family—especially if you just experienced a PCS.
Even though you can finally soak up some freedom while the kids return to learning, you may be wondering how you can ease the transition for them while being the “new kid” once again.
Thankfully, there are plenty of organizations and resources to help lessen the overwhelm and ensure your MilKids (and the entire family) feel supported and eager to rock another school year!
Check them out:
1. Military Children Education Coalition (MCEC)
MCEC, a national organization, is on a mission to ensure inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, transition, deployments, and family separation. And it strives to do exactly that through resources and programs such as:
- Student 2 Student: provides support to military-connected and civilian students via student-led, peer-to-peer mentoring programs at the K-12 levels.
- Parent to Parent: provides support to parents of milkids via community workshops focused on practical ideas, proven techniques, and resources that support military families.
- The Call for the Arts: encourages military children from every service and of all ages to send in drawings, poems, and interpretations of what it means to be a military child. The artwork is then featured at the MCEC Annual Conference as well as in the On the Move magazine, annual calendar, and additional MCEC publications.
- Digital Videos, Webinars & Downloads: from videos on the topic of changing schools and keys to success in school to checklists for school moves, and more, plenty of digital resources are at your fingertips.
2. Blue Star Books
Blue Star Books is an innovative program that focuses on ensuring our nation’s milkids can continue to grow and learn throughout the many hurdles they face. And since its start in 2009, BSF, with the help of partners such as Disney, has given thousands of books away to more than 560,000 military children.
Also worth mentioning is the Blue Star Books initiative START (Serving, Thriving, and Reading Together). You, along with your milkids ages 6-12, can visit a participating local public library to take part in six weekly storytelling, reading, and discussion sessions. You’ll build new friendships in your community and plant seeds for future academic success!
3. Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School Brigade
Back-to-School Brigade is an annual nationwide school supply collection campaign that provides military children who will be in Kindergarten through 12th grade with backpacks and school supplies. To date, this Operation Homefront program has distributed more than 350,000 backpacks to milkids (woohoo!).
Interested in registering your family for a Back-to-School Brigade near you or getting involved as a supporter? Click here for more information. Keep in mind, however, that most of the events are during August and September.
4. Our Military Kids
Is your National Guard or Reserve soldier currently deployed? Or was your service member wounded while serving in any of the branches of the U.S. military?
Our Military Kids was created with your family in mind. Its mission is to provide grants of up to $300 (for a chosen activity) to milkids with parents who are deployed or recovering from severe injuries sustained in combat. That way, they can be empowered to participate in sports, arts, and other activities that help them cope with stress and build self-confidence during difficult times.
Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families is brought to you thanks to funding by the U.S. Department of Defense and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. This program provides your milkids with free around-the-clock online tutoring and homework help in more than 50 subjects. (Yes, you read that right!)
And you can rest assured that your kids are getting nothing but the best academic assistance. Reason being, every tutor on Tutor.com goes through a rigorous application process and background check to serve your family as a carefully-screened subject matter expert. Many are certified teachers, college professors, and graduate students from accredited universities, and also military-affiliated!
6. School Success Secrets from Meg Flanagan
Could you use a few free school tips? Check out Meg Flanagan’s free milkid-focused resources!
She’s a fellow military spouse who has a wealth of knowledge to share with you! Most notably, as a special and elementary education teacher, she holds an M.Ed in special education and a B.S. in elementary education. Ultimately, Meg is passionate about education advocacy for all children, but especially for children with special needs and of military and state department personnel.
7. School Liaison Officers (SLOs) & Military Family Life Counselors (MFLCs)
Last, but certainly not least are two major installation-based resources: school liaison officers and military family life counselors.
If you’ve recently moved to a new duty station (or even just a new school district), school liaison officers can make a world of difference during your milkids transition and address the curriculum differences between schools. Click here to get connected to one near your installation.
Additionally, if your milkid needs extra support adjusting to a new environment or handling various MilLife experiences, military family life counselors are available to help them talk through and address any issues in a healthy way.
Looking for even more support for your milkids and family?
In addition to exploring these back-to-school resources, the team here at Blue Star Families invites you to become a member for free today. We’ve got plenty of events and programs that are designed to support your milfam throughout your entire journey. We can’t wait to welcome you!