By Rheanna Christine
The dreaded PCS, that time in a military family’s life where their home is packed up in boxes, put in a moving truck and transported across land and sea. It might be exciting for some, fill others with dread and anxiety; but all of us are a little sad. We know that it’s part of our lives, leaving our friends and support system to start over somewhere new. There is also a sense of adventure that fills us up, as we set out on a new journey. There are, however, factors that might make some adventures a little more complicated than others; and one of those things is the mid-school year PCS. Pulling the kids out of school before the end of the school year can be very stressful and sometimes complicated.
Here are some tips for making the mid-school year PCS as easy as possible for ourselves and our children.
Create a binder with all your child’s school information in it, including immunization records, contact information for the school your child is leaving, transcripts for classes taken for junior high or high school classes taken, birth certificate, report cards and IEP information, unofficial school records (until official ones can be sent) and a copy of orders. This binder should be kept with you while you move. DO NOT pack these items!
One thing military families are experts at is research. We research our new hometowns to familiarize ourselves with where we are headed (PCSGrades is a major help here!) And for those of us with school-age children, we apply those same research skills to placing them in their new schools.
Visit www.militaryimpactedschoolsassociation.org for some great resources and checklists to make sure you’ve crossed all your T’s and dotted your I’s. The Military Interstate Compact Act passed in 50 states, makes our job slightly easier, but as a military family we have to take it upon ourselves to make sure that schools are following the rules. Issues often surface such as not having a permanent address when you arrive, hand-carrying school records, meeting immunization requirements and meeting age requirements for Kindergarten.
Moving anytime can be difficult for kids. Focus on the positives! When asked about a positive aspect of the mid-school year move, many military parents express excitement about the opportunity for their children to make new friendships before summer hits! But it’s hard for kids no matter what. They are leaving friends and sometimes the only place they’ve ever really known. Create a pen-pal kit for them to take with them and to pass out to their friends at the school they are leaving. Look up the new school on PCSgrades.com to get them excited about what is to come! Sesame Street has a great moving and transition kit to share with your kids. For older children make sure you check out the Military Child Education Coalition’s Student 2Student program, which is designed to get children connected as soon as possible.
Moving is never simple, but in this day and age, we have so many resources like PCSgrades that can help. We are more connected to each other than ever with things like Facebook and Instagram. There are countless groups on Facebook that aid in connecting military families on base, while support organizations are continuously working to advocate and support military families. Make sure to check out PCSgrades for information on your new hometown.
Author: Rheanna Christine is a PCSgrades’ Blogger Affiliate currently based in Washington, DC. When she isn’t writing, she stays at home with her three children. You can find her checking out all the historical sites in the city, reading, getting crafty or watching black and white movies. She has been featured in Military Spouse Magazine, USA Today, and National Guard and Reserve Magazine. In 2016, she co-founded and launched SpouseTalks, an interactive forum targeted to all branches of the Guard and Reserves, with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). She and her high school sweetheart hubby have been living this military life for almost fifteen years. Visit her blog at www.cammostylelove.com.