HSAMF Family Resource
HSAMF Community Outreach Director, Carmen Blackmore
School Liaison Officers as a Homeschooling Resource
Did you know school liaison officers are there to support homeschool families as well as traditional and private school students? My first experience with a School Liaison Officer (SLO) was during a deployment. I was concerned with the quality of education that my children were receiving at the local public school. My youngest was in first grade at the time and I was at that point in life where I was doing the happy dance because all the kids were in school! Also, I had gone back to school full time to complete my Bachelor’s degree and was only a semester away from graduation.
The realization that I had no other choice but to homeschool came during a parent/ teacher conference. Our son’s teacher informed me that our son was struggling with basic skills, including sight words and focusing in class. We began to work with him for several hours each day to help him improve. The teacher explained to me that she needed more parents to step up and become more involved in their child's education. I was proud of all the hard work we had put in and I began volunteering twice a week in his class. That is when I realized the true reason why my son was having difficulty. One teacher to 28+ students and a part time aid was not enough.
The teacher spent most of her time on classroom management, not educating students. Then we received a letter from the school informing parents that the school had failed testing expectations for the last four years. The letter stated we had the option to send our child by bus to another school 45 minutes away. My first thought is how is that going to work? They’re going to be on the bus an hour and a half each day and then come home and do school work. This option would also limit our ability to be as involved in the classroom as parent volunteers. This was the last straw!
My first call was to the School Liaison Officer. I was devastated when I made that call and held back tears while explaining our situation. She listened quietly and when I was done asked me if I was able to come to her office. She explained that she could provide me with deployment resources for the kids and would like to discuss homeschooling options. After our meeting I was not completely confident about homeschooling our children, but I felt that at least I had enough Information to research the option of homeschooling. The School Liaison Officer also told me about a support group that met monthly at the youth center.
After much prayer and discussion with my deployed husband, we decided to withdraw the kids from public school and homeschool them. I began to attend the monthly support meetings, which led to an on-post co-op that was started with the help and support of our School Liaison Officer. Making the decision to homeschool has been very rewarding. We have been able to spend more quality family time together, travel abroad, foster unique learning experiences, and tailor educational goals to the needs of our children. So now that I've shared with you my story, here is some information about what School Liaison Officers can do to support your family!
School Liaison Officers:
- serve as the primary point of contact for school-related matters for military students
- represents, informs, and assists Commands to ensure that service members and their families have the resources they need for educational success
- assist military families with educational issues from kindergarten to college or trade school
- coordinates with local school systems to guarantee students are supported
- helps to connect families to resources identified specifically for military students
- forge partnerships between the military and schools
- Identify barriers to academic success and develop solutions
- are here to help your military student succeed!