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April is Military Child Month. Remember their struggles.

By Staff | Apr 24, 2009

April is Military Child Month. For children of military families who can’t squeeze enough learning into the school year, the Department of Defense Education Activity has the perfect solution.

For the fifth year, the agency is offering eligible students in kindergarten through 8th grade a free, four-week summer enrichment program with a curriculum emphasizing math and language arts. Two of my sons, Patrick, 13, and Ryan, 9, participated in a similar education program last summer after I was deployed.

DoDEA officials expect enrollment of about 10 percent of all the 6,500 students in kindergarten through 8th grade in the activity’s school system. It’s not a remedial program. It’s not a program to help students catch up. It is designed to support and reinforce student learning in high-interest activities.

The curriculum for kindergarten through 5th grade, called “Mysteries” is provided by Texas-based Voyager Expanded Learning Co. I am hoping that my son, Benjamin, 6, will want to participate this year. It’s the same company that provides the “Media Magic” program for older students, like my son Patrick.

My wife, Kathy, thought that the teachers that were involved in the program last summer enjoyed teaching it. Some of them have been teaching it for several years straight. By the way, all of the teachers volunteer for the program.

While students usually are kept with other students their age, in some cases the program will conduct multi-age groups. From what my sons told me about some of the activities, kids just have a great time.

There are a lot of opportunities for students to have fun, to be active and engaged.

The children of military families display tremendous strength and courage each day, bravely bearing the burden of having a loved one serving in harm’s way. They may move many times, across the nation and even around the world, as they grow up. They may not see their loved ones for months on end.

Let us all keep military children in our thoughts and prayers and to do our part to reach out to and support them and their families.

– Tom Maiden lives in Shepherdstown with his wife and four children. He is currently serving in Iraq. When not serving as a “Citizen Sailor” Tom works part-time teaching insurance and financial planning at Shepherd University and owns a financial planning practice in Shepherdstown.