National Guard Opens Doors to Homeschoolers
Recently, the Army National Guard adopted a new enlistment policy ensuring that homeschool graduates will now receive equal consideration and have access to a full range of benefits when they enlist.
Courtesy of the family
Nationwide head of recruitment Colonel Michael Jones worked with HSLDA to craft a new policy giving equal consideration to homeschool enlistees.
The policy process began in March 2008, when Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka, along with Will Estrada and Jeremiah Lorrig of HSLDA’s federal relations department, met with Colonel Michael L. Jones, chief of the Army National Guard’s strength maintenance division and nationwide head of recruitment. Col. Jones and his assistant, Captain Paul Douglas, are homeschooling dads who wanted to help homeschool graduates get into the National Guard. Col. Jones indicated that the National Guard wanted to give full benefits to homeschool graduates who were accepted into enlistment. Many college and graduate school scholarships could also be made available.
Klicka prepared a draft policy for distribution to local recruiters throughout the 50 states to help streamline the enlistment process for homeschool graduates. After several months, the draft policy was accepted, implemented, and distributed to recruiters. (See a summary of the policy.)
The new policy allows several options for homeschool enlistment. Homeschoolers are now able to qualify for up to $20,000 in enlistment bonuses. Other benefits include:
- 100% federal tuition assistance to cover tuition and fees, not to exceed $4,500 per year;
- the Montgomery GI Bill, which pays up to $11,124 for college or other approved technical training;
- the National Guard GI Bill Kicker, which provides additional funding up to $12,600 for enlisted soldiers, for college or approved technical training;
- leadership training and career skills;
- health and dental insurance.
The National Guard’s “Homeschool Path to Honor” webpage states:
The National Guard will not treat you differently because of your homeschool education. The National Guard recognizes and values the unique skills, abilities, and character that homeschoolers can bring to our organization. Homeschoolers are known for their high levels of cooperation, assertiveness, and self control. The values young men and women hold will naturally mesh with the Army values. There are definite educational and personal benefits for homeschoolers who pursue a career in the National Guard.
The eligibility requirements for homeschoolers provide several options. A homeschooler needs to provide a homeschool diploma and transcript from the parent or guardian, accompanied by a third party verification memorandum. Examples of verification options include:
- a memorandum from a local public school district, verifying the homeschool’s compliance with the state law;
- a memorandum from Home School Legal Defense Association—if the family is a member—verifying that the family was in compliance with the state law;
- a memorandum from a private school program that sponsored the homeschool program; or
- a memorandum from a certified educational consultant or private school teacher verifying completion of the course work.
HSLDA is excited about these developments and opportunities for homeschoolers to continue their higher education while providing service to their country. You can read more on the National Guard’s website.