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April 10, 2023

How can we support our military kids in school? Understanding the Interstate Compact, creating an education binder and facilitating a smooth transition

How can we support our military kids in school? Understanding the Interstate Compact, creating an education binder and facilitating a smooth transition
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Today I'm taking you through the book Seasons of my Military Student. We talk about the Military Interstate Compact and what it means for your military kid as you move states and schools.
 We talk about the importance of having an education binder for your kids. What should be in it and do I really need it? Spoiler alert....YES!
 How can we advocate for our military kids when we get to a new school?  Who to talk to and what information is important to share?
 Moving is hard. Especially as our kids get older and social interactions get harder. Having some tools to help set up our kids for success is incredibly important!
 Here are some of the resources we talked about in the show:
 Seasons of my Military Student BOOK

Understanding the Military Interstate Compact HERE

If you are wanting to build an education binder, check out List and File HERE (mil spouse owned!)

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello and welcome to today's show. All right, so last week we're in April month of the military child. I'm gonna try to make all of our episodes this week. I'm still working on the last one. Hopefully that's gonna come together, , about our military kids, because, you know, they're military kids year round, but, , extra little emphasis on in the month of April.

[00:00:21] So when I was doing research for our show last week, which was on Purple Star schools, I came across a book called Seasons of My Military Student, and it's practical ideas for parents and teachers. And I thought, Hey, that's, you know, that seems like it. , something interesting to look at. So I got the book, it was actually written by, uh, military spouses.

[00:00:47] So, , that's pretty cool. I went through this book and I'm going to share with you, , gosh, how do I wanna say it? Essentially, , how can we support our kids? How can we support our kids through school and. make the transition from school to school a little bit easier , for ourselves and for our kids, some things that we can look out for.

[00:01:13] And then just knowledge around, , opportunities that we have and resources that we have. Because I, you know, again, part of the reason why I started this show is because , it is a real problem in the military community. a dissemination of information and there's a ton of resources out there, but how to find them and get them.

[00:01:35] So one, one of my goals for the show is to find resources, share them with you. Hopefully you share them with more people and we can get the knowledge out there. Cuz there's a lot, there's a lot out there. Okay, , , diving into this book is, , I'm gonna be straight up honest with you, it was a little hard.

[00:01:54] I was really hard on myself as I was reading this book as a parent, cuz I was like, man, oh, I could have done that better. Or, oh, I should have done that. And oof, it is real, real, real hard to live in the kohus. And I could have done this better and could have done that better. You know what inevitably, , you're always gonna be able to do something better.

[00:02:15] You're almost always gonna have been able to handle something in a different way. But you know, we're all just doing the best that we can with the information that we have at the time, and making the best decisions that we can. And that's it. So as we're talking about all this stuff, and if you've like, oh my God, I never even thought about that, or, oh, I should have, it's just, you know, take the information and move forward with it and try to let any guilt that you may.

[00:02:42] go. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna do that with you, . Okay. So one of the, a couple we're, we're gonna focus on a couple of big topics, , around, around the book. I'm just gonna give you like the, the condensed version of it. Okay. , the seasons of my military child. So essentially they have like this diagram of, you know, you're either arriving.

[00:03:05] , like first day of school kind of thing, and then you're in like a growing phase and then you're in, whereas you're just getting used to the school, then you're in a thriving phase is like, Hey, we, I've been here for a little bit. We've settled in, I've gotten on the team, I'm doing all these things.

[00:03:16] It's all great. And then you go into the leaving phase and it just kind of keeps circling back around. So those are kind of the phases or the seasons, if you will, of transition for military kids. So that's , the overview of that. And then, , one of , the big overriding concepts of. Of the book is having , a student advocacy group, , she calls it like throughout the whole book, the student advocacy team and what it is, it's essentially.

[00:03:45] it's the you, the people that are most invested in your student. So that's you as the parent, . And then as your kid gets older, it's your kid, right? You wanna teach them a, as they're getting to middle school, and especially in the high school, how to advocate for themselves and to ask the questions and to get the information and to keep their.

[00:04:04] Own education binder. We're gonna talk about education binder. That's common. Standby for that. So having a student advocacy team, and then, you know, it includes teachers, it can include coaches, it can include guidance counselors. As your kids get older, we're gonna, we'll talk about that, , too as we start to build into this.

[00:04:20] One of the things that I, I really appreciated is that, you know, the largest contributing factor among well-adjusted military kids, and that's, you know, all perspective, right? Or relative, is a positive relationship with their parents. And good family relationships provide that buffer for the stress that military families go through.

[00:04:43] That's gonna look different for everybody and it is not always easy, but trying to stay engaged and informed on what your kids are going through and just paying attention to, how are they feeling? What are you noticing? Just, being aware is a really big deal.

[00:05:00] , because we are the first line of defense for our kids and. and we have got to, as parents, especially when they're younger, really advocate for them in some of the things that I'm gonna share with you that they recommend in this book. Last week when we were talking about Purple Star schools, we talked about the interstate compact a little bit, just briefly, this book really lays it out really cleanly.

[00:05:26] So the, in. Compact is, it's signed by all 50 states and it's essentially this governing document that is supposed to. Help ease the transition for military kids. And it's important as a military parent to understand that this is there because there's a lot of educators that don't know that this compact exists.

[00:05:50] And so if you come into a situation and you're like, hold the phone. Something doesn't smell right. This is not okay. Maybe this is a document that you can go back to for support. So we're just going to go over what the interstate compact covers, just so you have that working knowledge.

[00:06:10] And if you, hopefully you don't, you don't ever run into a situation where you're like, wait a second, this doesn't seem right. . The provisions, , again, overview is,, enrollment. Okay? So your, your student, they have to be allowed to continue enrollment at a grade level. And if they've been previously enrolled at an accredited kindergarten and ascending state, even if they don't meet the age required or whatever of the receiving state, they still have to be let in.

[00:06:35] So there's that, that space of it. , there's a placement component. A student shall be placed in appropriate grade level subjects and classes at a new school and not be required to repeat similar classes due to varying state requirements. So that's a big one, especially as you start to get into like high school stuff.

[00:06:52] , a student may continue in honors or advanced placement courses if the student had similar coursework at the sending state. , and then special service. Your kid may continue with special education or gifted services, without having to wait months to be evaluated. That's an important one, right?

[00:07:08] You're the receiving school. They can do subsequent evaluations if they want to ensure, but your kid, if they already have it from ascending state, you don't have to wait for that whole evaluation period to go over again before they continue with those services. So that's something important to know. , exams, the receiving state shall accept exit or end of course exams required for graduation from ascending state, , national achievement tests or alternative testing so that the student can graduate on time.

[00:07:36] So a lot of these are really more towards if you're moving around as your kid is getting into the high school level where they're trying to graduate in place. Right. Um, and then again, graduat. The student shall be allowed to graduate on time if all academics are completed to meet graduation requirements on either the receiving or sending state.

[00:07:57] Okay? So that's important to know. , extracurricular activities. The receiving school shall try to facilitate the student's participation in extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs, even if the student has missed tryout or enrollment dates. What I really liked about this book, the book, honestly, it's not very long.

[00:08:14] It's, you know, it's pretty big writing. It's like, I don't know, a hundred, a hundred pages or so. , what I like is that , they put in specific stories of students and, , , I really appreciate just the, the kind of real time examples. And one of the examples that they gave was a kid coming into a school, a military kid coming into a school like midway through the year and you know, pointing out the compact.

[00:08:40] They have to be allowed to try out and the coach saying, look, I know you're only gonna be here for a year or two. I am not giving you a spot on my. for a kid that could letter or get a scholarship when I know you're just gonna leave again. And I was like, burn. That is . That is brutal. And it's not allowed.

[00:09:01] But it's not to say that it doesn't happen. But anyway, , there is that in there for extracurricular activities. Again, even if they mistrial or enrollment dates, the deployment related absences, students shall be grant. excused absences to spend extra time with a military parent who has been called to duty for or is on leave from, or immediately returned from combat related deployment.

[00:09:23] So those are excused absences, which is good to know. And then student records, parents may receive copies of their student's educational records from ascending school to hand carry to a receiving school. So it's not, and that's something that we'll go into a little bit as well when, , we talk about building an education binder for your kid.

[00:09:43] And something else to keep in mind is that school personnel, they might not always be aware of the provisions of this compact. Like, no, we cannot give you a paper copy of your kids' thing to take with you. We have to send or we have to do whatever. And I think we all know. If you've been in the military long enough, things get lost.

[00:10:04] And so this didn't get sent. That didn't happen. So having a hard copy of things is really important as you're moving , duty stations. The interstate compact is not intended to give special treatment of any kind to military connected. , but just to give our military kids the same opportunities as our civilian peers.

[00:10:25] That's it. It's not special treatment of any kind, so I think that's important to to note. We need to have an education binder for our kids. And I was like, sweet Lord, do we really ? Do we really, because I already have five bazillion things to do, and especially if you're coming into a PCs, it's like, let's add a couple more things onto our plate.

[00:10:48] No thank you, but I can see. , after going through all this information, how it would be helpful to have it all in one. Positive note, I did an interview last week with the owner of List and File. She is a military spouse and she has this whole divider system, that you can use that has checklists and everything else for just like your life, for PCSs and for education.

[00:11:18] That's coming up in a couple of weeks. If you're like, oh crap, you're right. I think I do need to do an education binder. I don't even know where to start. What do I do? List and file. She'll help you out. Listen to that episode. Come up in a couple of weeks. Okay, so a portable education binder is essentially just a record of your student's progress and it's, you know, unofficial copies of grades and transcripts.

[00:11:41] And here's the other thing, it's personal notes about social and emotional develop. And it just can give a fuller picture of your students, you know, ability and personality and progress than what you might have from what schools share with each other. So I am not, I, I'm not very knowledgeable in this regard as far as like, okay, so my girls are now in fourth and fifth grade, and when we moved here they were.

[00:12:13] Um, third and fourth, and I don't, I didn't bring any copies of anything. I know when I had to register them for school, I had to provide, you know, their vaccination records and, but as far as what was communicated from our school in Washington to what they received, I don't know. I don't know what that was, if it was anything at all.

[00:12:35] I think again, where this really is gonna come into play, is as your kids get older and you're now looking at, you're completing a program, right? Like to get your diploma, you need to have X, Y, and Z. You have to check all these lists, you have to have these core classes, you have to da, da, da, da, da. It becomes a lot more important there than maybe when your kids are younger.

[00:12:59] So just kind of keep that in mind. But another thing too, and I actually asked this on, I. Do you have an education binder for your kids? Because I'm like, I can't be the only one. Right? . And , and what I found is that, , there were quite a few people that do have education binders for their kids.

[00:13:14] And the reason they have education binders for their kids already is because they have a, a child that has special needs or there is some something in there that, , their kid has extenuating circumstances. And so they have started this so they can help track that. Make this process a little bit smoother as they come to, you know, a receiving school.

[00:13:34] All right, so how would you wanna build an education binder again? List and file interview coming in a couple of weeks. She has everything that you would need for this checklist. What can you do? Keep it simple. Small steps. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, but here we go. All right, so building an education binder shot records, right?

[00:13:53] Because if you're going to a school, they wanna know if your kid's been vaccinated, what they are, da da da, da, da. Consider keeping hard copies of that on hand Also, If you have, I mean, if you have digital copies on your computer, that's one thing. But here's the thing, and this is what we, I kind of talked about , when I was talking to Liz from list and file is that, you know, I have all of this stuff, like I have my marriage certificate and I have our passports, and I have our social security cards in this folder.

[00:14:21] in that I have to go and like dig through to find it. And wouldn't it be nice, especially if you have that like type A personality like I do, everything is in its place. I can't believe I don't already have all this stuff done because I am so meticulous about that stuff. Is just having it all in one spot.

[00:14:40] It's just in what go. You need to go get the binder. You need to go get the education by everything is there. I don't have to go digging through my file cabinet. I don't. It's everything is in one spot. There's something to be said for having that together. So just throw that out there. Okay? So you're gonna want your shot records, report cards, if your kids have 'em.

[00:14:56] A lot of times they're electronic these days, but you know what? Stuff happens all the time. Computers go down, systems go down, whatever. Print out a hard copy, stick it in a clear sleeve. You've got that going into the next thing. , they also recommend putting some schoolwork samples in there. So, Like handwriting samples.

[00:15:15] Maybe if they have stories, , maybe some math . This is what I'm gonna do is, um, when you go to your, this has been my experience anyway, when you go to your kid's parent teacher conference, they give you kind of like the highlight reel of where your kid's at, right? Like for, for us, we're always given a writing example.

[00:15:34] This is what they wrote, and then we're given like their last math test. This was their math. Three hole, punch that business and put it in your, in your folder. Done that. Those are your examples, right? Of where your kid's at. Just including work that's, you know, shows their abilities, maybe where their weaknesses are.

[00:15:51] Another thing that they recommend is a list of textbooks or workbooks that are used in class. , , textbooks. I don't know that my kids are using textbooks at school. I know they're using certain programs, but like, I don't really know.

[00:16:02] But that's something that we could ask our teachers about, right? Because, that's part of, of what I learned from this book is, you know, creating that advocacy team for your child, and that includes your kid's teacher . Our teacher, they wanna help, right? And we don't wanna give them a lot of extra work, but like, they really, they care.

[00:16:20] They want your kids to succeed and they wanna do what they can. So it's just a question, Hey, do you, you know, are there specific textbooks that you've used this last year that you could share with me, , it can be easy. Okay. , a reading list. So maybe books that the student has read, whether independently 

[00:16:36] again, the, I'm not sure. Last year I know that they were reading together as a class. This year they switched to a new reading program. Savannah hates it. To be honest. Um, and I'm not really sure that they're reading like book books. , I remember reading, you know, all the classics, right?

[00:16:53] Like 1984, water Shipped Down and like all that, , all of like the classics if you will. , I'm not sure that that's where our kids are, but maybe, you know what your kid really enjoys reading right now. So like Savannah. She loves fantasy stuff. So like the Wings of Fire series, she really likes, and Sophia really likes Zoe SAS for us and she likes the cupcake di so I don't know, you know what I mean?

[00:17:12] Like, just keep it simple. It doesn't have to be crazy. , if you have standardized, standardized test, , assessment results, print that out, put that in there. , high school graduation requirements. Again, the interstate compact provisions allow a transferring high school student to graduate on time if the requirements for graduation are met for the sending.

[00:17:33] Or receiving school, right? So a copy of the standards for One One School will be really helpful at the next school if the graduation date is in question. So just, Hey, what are your core requirements? Print that out, put it in your thing. So again, as we talked last week about Purple Star schools, Wouldn't it be fantastic if you're sending school and you're receiving school?

[00:17:57] Hey, how about that? You're sending a receiving school, our purple star schools, because they probably have all this stuff ready for you, right? Because oh my gosh, wouldn't that be fantastic? A couple other things to think about. Putting in your education binder evaluations, if your kid's been evaluated for speech, occupational therapy, any kind of reports, evaluations, things like that.

[00:18:14] Have copies of that in there. If you go to your kids' conference and you take notes, I never take notes. Is that a thing? Like should I be taking this was one of those like, oh God, am I failing as a parent because I don't take. At my kids' conference, like I'm listening to what she's saying and we're having a conversation.

[00:18:32] Like I'm, I'm not taking notes, so I don't know if that's, I don't know. Let me know if you take notes at your kids' student conferences. And then if you are an E F M P, exceptional Family Member Program status. Then you might choose to have documentation available in case they, you need to substantiate your kid's need for, , for additional resources or, , an additional education plan.

[00:18:57] And then if your kid's on an I E P or 5 0 4 plan, you're gonna ha have a copy of that with you as well. Then just a couple more things. If your kid awards, you know, if your kid's gotten anything from the classroom or school achievements, awards, copies of certificates, things like that.

[00:19:12] If they were in like a spelling bee or a geography B, or a math competition or something like that, maybe they participated in essay contest. That would be something that would be great to have in your binder. A copy of your, current school or sports physical, if that's applicable to you. And then a copy of the interstate compact is kind of the last thing, and I think that that might be a good thing to have.

[00:19:33] I will find where you can get a copy of that and I will link it in the show notes for you. , and then the last one, Is teacher to teacher communication. In the teacher to teacher letter again, , , not at the last minute to try, stress the teachers any, any more than they already are at the end of the year. , but, and this again, as your kids get older, they're in like the high school level.

[00:19:57] They're gonna be starting to look for letters of recommendation and things like that for college applications and whatnot. And so having these letters is, is kind of like the, the prestep to that stuff. So things that you might ask for a teacher to include would be, you know, academic strengths and weaknesses.

[00:20:13] Behavior and peer relationships, character and demeanor, , areas of growth, learning style, seating preferences, , enrichment or support services that the student might need. , , things like that. And a lot of that stuff is gonna be. , you're gonna know that as a parent, but just from a teacher, , this is what I saw in the classroom, and this doesn't have to be anything crazy, but just something that you can take, , to the follow on school or the receiving school and just make it a little bit easier, as you transition.

[00:20:43] As you're preparing to leave , your current school, there's kind of a list of things that you are going to want to obtain before you move. , you're gonna want to request the official records from your current school. As soon as the address is available for the receiving school so that the records can be sent there.

[00:21:01] And then again, that interstate compact allows for you to hand carry. I would ask for that as well. And then keep a copy of that in your education binder. . And again, not all schools are aware of these provisions and you know, we, you wanna make sure that it, that they understand that the interstate compact provides for you to be able to hand carry their, their information.

[00:21:22] , as you're coming into a new school, if your new school's been selected, make advanced appointments with the receiving school to kind of smooth the process of enrollment and. If there's any needed evaluations, you can, ask for schedules and extracurricular tryouts and opportunities and things like that.

[00:21:40] One of the other parts of this book that I thought was kind of cool is that they were given ideas for teachers as. and, , I thought that it was really cool because they talked about, they had shared some stories where teachers were like, I did this for my, you know, I knew this kid was leaving.

[00:21:57] And so we did these things to try and ease the transition. And honestly, it made me tear up a couple of times because,

[00:22:06] You know, it's really hard. It's, it's, it's really hard for our kids. , especially when they're in that awkward like tween and middle school and high school. Like, can you remember? It is not fun. Right? . And then to put on top of that, like you're going to a new school and it's just, it's such a ugh. And then just, whatever we can do to make it easier for our kids.

[00:22:30] Finding the teachers as you get into school and then doing a little more work ahead of time, and this is something that I wish that I would've done for my kids. This is where that kind of mom guilt creeped in is that. setting your kid up for success at the beginning of school. So like, you know, your kid might be going into a situation where they're in a school where there's kids that have been at that school for years and you got a brand new kid coming in.

[00:22:52] And then, especially as you get into like middle school and high school and the whole lunchroom shenanigans and like, who am I gonna sit with and all that stuff like that was awkward for me. Having gone to middle school with most of these kids and now into high school, can you imagine coming into a brand new situation?

[00:23:12] First day of school? You don't know a soul, not a single person. There is not a friendly face to be found. in that building from anybody that you know. And now where are you gonna sit at lunch? Like how? Ugh. Like just I, I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about that. And then you put on your mama bear outfit and you're.

[00:23:34] Not my kid. We wanna protect them from everything, which we obviously can't do, but can we do things to make it easier for them? and that's what we're talking about today. All right, so receiving school, you get there. This is where we're gonna go. Walk your happy little he in that school.

[00:23:51] I know it's the summertime and it's gonna be weird. I haven't done it yet. I'll let you know how it goes for me, because this mama bear is gonna come in hot and I am like, I'm not gonna be mean. I don't wanna be mean, but I'm gonna advocate for my freaking kids and that's gonna. , c cuz they're gonna be middle schoolers.

[00:24:09] When we moved, we're slated to move summer of 24. , I'm gonna have two middle schoolers, so I'm gonna go into that school and I wanna talk to the guidance counselor. What do you have, do you have programs in place for new students? , do you have a buddy system where, Hey, this is a new kid.

[00:24:26] This is someone that's been there for a. , we've got a signup sheet. Kids wanna be mentors for other kids. They wanna help new kids coming in. Um, you know that there's kids in your school that are like, oh, pick me. I wanna help. Oh, this is where this is, this is where that is. This is where we're gonna sit for lunch.

[00:24:40] It's gonna be great. And your, your kid walks in on that first day of school and they have a poc. They have a point of contact. They have someone that's gonna hold their hand and show them through that school that's gonna sit with them at lunch, that's gonna show 'em how to you do your lockers and what you're supposed to do when you walk into the classroom for the first time.

[00:24:58] And this is how lunchroom goes. And then at the end of the day, we do this, and then we go here, and then we do this. So your kid's not standing there twiddling their thumbs, embarrassed and has no freaking clue what's going on. So, I'm gonna be advocating for that. I don't know if they have it. And that's, and that's one of the things that makes me so sad because I did not do that here going into with the, when the girls went into the school and everybody's super nice and whatnot, but like, , there wasn't any of that.

[00:25:23] So the girls, like we went, we went to the back to school night, right? Where you drop off your school supplies, this is your classroom, this is gonna be your teacher. And of course there's like 15 other kids coming in at the same time. She really don't get that much of an opportunity. And just taking a moment to engage with the teachers and let them know your situation.

[00:25:45] We are a military family because a lot of people have no freaking clue what that. So what this means for our military kids is on top of regular middle school, high school, elementary school, shenanigan, social upheaval, everybody's changing stuff. We have on top of that. That we have just moved to this new area.

[00:26:12] We don't know how long we're gonna be here for. Our life is always in transition. My dad's gonna be gone. T D y, I just have my mom. I don't know where this is. We have no fan. Like there's a lot of extra layers on top of just being a kid when you add the military into that. And I think that it's really important that we let our teachers know where our kids are coming.

[00:26:38] because teachers spend a lot of time with your kids, and hopefully I have yet to en encounter an disengaged teacher. I know they're there. They wanna help your kids. They want your kids to succeed. They care about your kids, and they're with your kids all day long. So they're gonna see, Hey, I just wanted to let you know.

[00:27:03] Savannah's really withdrawing a lot. I see her by herself. I see these things happening inside the classroom. And then there was a lot of pointers in here from the teacher perspective. How can I set up my classroom to help a military kid? Because you know what? Maybe you just moved from Germany back to the states and your household goods have yet to arrive, and you don't have the backpack and you don't have all the school supplies because you just got.

[00:27:31] now you're starting school. Your house isn't even set up yet. You know, maybe you don't even have, you don't have notebooks, you don't have all the things that you might need on that first day of school. As a teacher, what are things that you can have in your classroom to help? These new students succeed.

[00:27:47] Right. And then, , cuz it fits in here just a little bit, , one of the stories that they were talking about in the book is that it was a military mom. She had four sons. Holy molay. I can't imagine having four boys. And she said, she always told her kids, I want you to look for the new kid.

[00:28:04] And I want you to make friends with them, and I want you to show them the ropes. I want you to sit with them at lunch. I want you to introduce them to your friends because you know what it's like to be the new kid and how hard that is.

[00:28:19] So I am really gonna push my girls to be that person. And if we come to their new school and they don't have a system for new kids coming in the door, they don't have a buddy system, they don't have any kind of way to mentor and lead these new kids. Cuz you know, , there's so many different kinds of people that.

[00:28:38] Move a lot, right? That relocate people move all the time. It's not just military. I mean, I'm talking to military families, but it's not just military, right? And , I think there's things that we can do to help our kids and ease that transition for them. So regardless if it's a military family or not, There should be some kind of a program, I think for new kids coming in where there's, you know, maybe you've got kids that are like super proactive and they're really involved in the school and they love all the things, like have them sign up to be a buddy.

[00:29:04] And so here comes a new kid, okay, Leslie, you're up. This one's yours. Show 'em the ropes. Right. I think that, I think that that would be a huge, huge, huge thing. 

[00:29:15] So we talked about you're going into the new school. We wanna meet with the guidance counselors. I wanna talk to the teachers. We want a tour of the school. We want, if there's some kind of, so the middle school that Savannah's going into this year, they offer a program over the summer where the kids go for like three consecutive days, for a couple hours each day.

[00:29:34] So they. Get to know a little bit of the routine of the school. This is where you're gonna go. And then you go to this room, cuz middle school's very different, right? You're switching rooms and teachers and all kinds of other stuff. And this is kind of how the school day goes. They get to know the staff and so then on the first day of school, it's like, oh cool, okay, well I've seen this before.

[00:29:52] I remember that hallway is this and I've seen that teacher before. And it's a, it just takes some of that pressure. , that first day of school, awkward pressure off. So I'm looking for that. as far as the teachers are concerned, just give your kid an opportunity to meet them. Let them know again what our situation is, right? Because we have a very unique situation. We want our kids to be taken care of. We want them to thrive. We don't want them to be let out, left out.

[00:30:17] And if you can, uh, talk to the teacher, just be like, Hey, this is our situation. These are their concerns. Savannah especially is like a freaking hermit. Like she will curl in and read a book and she'll stay on the periphery.

[00:30:32] I don't want that for her. I want her to, I want her to feel comfortable going in. And so if you can have a teacher that can see that stuff and maybe off or icebreakers or, you know, set up the classroom in different ways so that it's not like a popularity contest of who's gonna sit where. Just being mindful of that stuff, I think is really important.

[00:30:54] and especially in the first couple of weeks of school, they call it, the fragile first two weeks where you've got, you know, two weeks when kid is new to school to help them fit in. And that is a really, really important time. And anything that we can do to help them, settle in and acclimate more, as we're approaching or coming into a new school is, you know, do they have clubs and things like that, because that's a great way for your kid to, , be able to make friends with similar interests. Like if you can, , build that bridge where you guys, there's a commonality, it can be a great way for your kid to.

[00:31:33] help settle in a little bit faster. , and then, you know, the other thing is , the, and we, we talked about this a little bit previously, is the curriculum alignment is not there at a lot of schools. So, like I, I've shared before when we moved from Washington State, girls are great, everything's fine. They're right where they're supposed to be.

[00:31:51] We moved to Colorado, they're way behind. And I'm like, holy crap. And that just, that's just the way it is. Schools are just different in every state and. , that's another thing too, that teachers can be aware of. How can we help our kids? Like, Hey, this is what we're gonna be talking about in English. Oh, okay, well they already did that book in English last year.

[00:32:10] Is there something else? You know what I'm saying? Like, just kind of knowing that they're, and it might go the other way, right? They might have already done all of this stuff and now they're doing this and they need to be, challenged in a different way. And then, you know, again, if the teachers are aware of your situation, we know nobody, we just got here that that teacher can help encourage, , and cultivate those friendships 

[00:32:34] especially as you get into the middle school and high school area. I think there's a lot that we can do to help foster and facilitate that, social engagement for our.

[00:32:43] And then, another thing, , and this is hard because again, you know, I feel like as, as a military parent and the default parent in our house, I'm tapped out already, right? I'm tired. There is like 5,000 browser tabs open in my brain at any given time for all of these various different situations and the juggling in my brain of all of the things, all of the things.

[00:33:14] Right, the house, the kids and school and are removing and the pets and the, all of the stuff, extracurricular activities. What about this? Oh, I saw this. We should blah, blah. You all know , like what? That's like to be in the mama brain. It's a little bit crazy. So adding on it feels a little overwhelming to me to be adding stuff on.

[00:33:34] So this education binder, I'm like, oh my gosh, do I really need to do this? I do believe I do need to. I also know that I can take my time and I can slowly, like, Hey, okay, today, , I'm gonna add on my calendar this week that I wanna gather all of the girls' vaccinations. That's what I'm gonna do this week.

[00:33:52] Check it off, put it in the bite, or done. Next week , I'm gonna go into the school's website and I'm gonna download and print out copies of their report cards. For this year, and I'm gonna put 'em in the education binder. Okay. Check that off now. Next. Right? Take it slow, , take it slow and take your time.

[00:34:08] , we're wrapping up here cuz , I've talked for too long. Education binder. Take your time. Be an advocate for your kid going into school there. and it's not, and this is, and this is interesting because I was like, well shoot. Cause you don't wanna be that parent that's , you gotta do everything for your kids.

[00:34:25] , I don't wanna do everything for my kids. I want them to advocate for themselves. But at the same time, I think in that initial, initial like meet and greet and that initial push to the. , I need to advocate for them. , I need to make sure that they know where they're going. I wanna talk to the guidance counselor.

[00:34:44] I wanna talk to their teachers. I want them to be comfortable going in the first day of school, that they know what to expect and that there's a system in place to help them succeed and feel like they fit in. Okay. And then the backside of that is, you know, taking a leadership. In your school or your community and , and I know that it's like, holy crap, I've got like, again, 5,000 plates in the air and spinning.

[00:35:14] There's a lot going on. Like I, there's a lot and to add something else on just seems like, holy crap. But I feel very strongly, which is why I started this podcast. that there's a hole in military families' lives, and I feel very strongly that if there is something that I can do to help ease the burden of military life, especially for our kids, I'm gonna do it.

[00:35:56] And I don't know what that's gonna look like. I can tell you what I think. This is what I. . I think that I want to do what I can and, and I'm kind of opting myself out here in Colorado to be honest, because we have one more year here and then we're leaving. So I'm not sure that I'm gonna push hard here.

[00:36:15] But at our next location, if that school's not a Purple star school, I'm gonna go to the administration and encourage. And see what I can do to facilitate them becoming that. Because I think it's important I'm going to, at our new school, if they do not have a program of any kind set up for incoming students to have that buddy system and to have that kind of orientation, I'm gonna do what I can to start it and facilitate it.

[00:36:49] And then as our kids are getting older, . I talked last week about, , that podcast that I listened to, the ssac podcast that I listened to with the two military kids. And one of the organizations they talked to was the Bloom Teen, group. And if there is not something like that at my kids' school, I'm gonna start it because I think that our military kids are hurting.

[00:37:16] I think. that we need to do better for them. And I think that we need to provide as many resources as we can for them, for them to succeed, for them to feel good in their community, and to feel heard and to be able to build that community amongst themselves. I'm gonna do what I can to facilitate that. So I think I'm gonna stop there for today because we've already talked for so.

[00:37:47] , I will definitely link this book in, , the show notes. ,

[00:37:53] and I will make sure that I link that interstate compact where you can find that. And then again, coming down the line, list and file is a system that you can use. Again, it's. Essentially like binder tabs, , that will help you organize your information and keep everything. And, and again, Liz has got all those checklists on the binder insert so you know what you need to have in there and you can just slowly start checking that stuff off so that it doesn't overwhelm you.

[00:38:25] All right, so that is it for this book Next week. Next week's a little off topic. We're gonna talk about Earth Day next week, because Earth Day is April 22nd, and I am incredibly passionate about the environment and taking care of it and, planet is often cases a dumpster fire.

[00:38:45] And what can we do to turn the ship around and to, make our planet healthier? so I'm gonna be sharing with you, some of my best tips and takeaways for, celebrating Earth Day, especially with your kids. So standby for that next week. And then at the end of the month, I'm really hoping I've got, an interview coming with.

[00:39:08] Military spouse who is stationed overseas and is traveling extensively with her small children. So hopefully that's coming at the end of the month. And then we're gonna get into PCs season. PCs season is coming and we're gonna talk to all the people, give all the resources, and that's it, that's what's coming down the line.

[00:39:27] I appreciate you listening, and I will talk to you again soon.