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Attending on-post and off-post schools as a military kid

Military children either attend a public school or an on-post school wherever they happen to be living at the time. A military kid might attend an on-post school, then move to a place where there is no installation and have to attend a public school. I have personally attended both public and on-post schools, and have found that I prefer on-post schools.

A few years ago, I was living in on-post housing and attending an on-post school. My family was then moved to a location far from a post, and I had to enroll in the local public school. It was a big change. The people I met did not really understand what it was like to be a military kid or the experiences that come with it, like having a parent deploy for over a year. Initially, this made it difficult to relate to other people and make friends. Adapting to this new life was challenging.

Eventually, I moved back to a military base and was able to attend the on-post school. The people there were understanding, as they had experiences similar to mine. They helped me comfortably settle into my new life, for the next year or so at least. On-post schools are also more accommodating to students who move during or between school years because moving is a frequent occurrence and they are equipped to handle this. The available assistance helped me to not feel too lost on the first day of classes in a new school.

On the other hand, many military kids prefer public schools. I had a diverse group of friends when attending a public school, and I loved being able to learn about their perspectives of the world. Also, the people and community are closer in public schools because children and their peers are able to attend the same school through most of their education.

Personally, I feel that on-post schools are better suited for military kids. Staff and peers in on-post schools know how to interact with military students and act in their best interest. Whether a student is moving, staying for years, coming in the middle of the year or the beginning, on-post schools can help make the experience a bit better. Strong, knowledgeable support for students regardless of their moving or educational situation is pretty nice.


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