Military Recruitment

By Janice Dowden

Home School Portfolio

A well-planned entrance portfolio should aid in speeding the approval process. My Texas homeschooled student was recently accepted as Tier I in the U.S. Army under the previously mentioned pilot program, and I believe that our presentation of a detailed portfolio to the recruiter was very helpful. In order to assist parents of other Texas home schooled students wishing to join the military, based on our successful experience, I have prepared a check-list of things to cover in an entrance portfolio.

Cover Letter

“To Whom It May Concern,” signed by a parent or a parental authority, which includes the following:

  • A statement of the student’s home schooled status and the fact that he has been awarded a high school diploma verifying mastery of educational subjects according to the laws of the state of Texas.
  • A brief statement regarding the current Texas state laws governing home schools, such as the following: In April of 1987, the state district court in Tarrant County in Leeper v. Arlington
    I.S.D. No. 17-88761-85 determined home schools to be private schools in the state of Texas. That decision was subsequently upheld by the Second District Court of Appeals in 1991 and the Texas Supreme Court in 1994. The state has subsequently confirmed home schools as private schools in the following ways:

    1. In 1999 the Texas Administrative Code dealing with the Texas Workforce Commission and admission into proprietary schools {Section 807.2(21)} was modified to define secondary education as “successful completion of public, private or home schooling at the high school level or obtainment of a recognized high school equivalency credential.”
    2. In 2001, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board issued a memorandum to all colleges and universities in Texas to explain that home school graduates are eligible for Texas grants and scholarships.
    3. In 2001 the Texas legislature adopted legislation (SB 82) mandating that Texas junior colleges make dual credit courses available to students from private schools—including home schools—on the same basis as public school students.
    4. In 2003 the Texas legislature amended the Texas Education Code (HB 944) by stating “… the State of Texas considers successful completion of a nontraditional secondary education to be equivalent to graduation from a public high school …” The definition of nontraditional secondary education includes a home school
  • An explanation of why the student attended any semesters in a public high school–Example: “In preparation for graduation and future college attendance …”
  • The grading system implemented throughout the student’s course of study at home (e.g. pass/fail, letter grades, numeric grades representing percentage of mastery, etc.)
  • The sources for the final grades listed on the transcript
  • An invitation to telephone the parent with any questions

Include with the Letter

  • A high school diploma, signed and dated.
  • A signed and notarized transcript listing high school courses completed, the grades earned, and date each course was completed. The transcript should state that the student has “completed high school as a home school student according to the laws of the state of Texas.” A notary seal lends credibility. The transcript should also include the full name of the student, date of birth, and social security number.
  • A description of all the curriculum and courses listed on the transcript. If much of the study material was purchased from one specific source, parents might want to name the seller.
  • A letter from (a) a public school representative, (b) an umbrella school, (c) your pastor, or (d) a community leader. This letter should include information indicating the third party’s personal knowledge that the student was homeschooled, recommendations regarding the student’s good character, intelligence, social skills, community contributions, etc.
  • A public school transcript (signed original if applicable) for any semester(s) completed at a public school.
  • Parental authorization assigning “parental authority” to another individual for the purpose of educating their child if the diploma and/or transcript are signed by someone other than the parents.
  • A parent’s personal qualifications for home educating (While statistics have shown that the parent’s level of education has very little effect on the education of the child, it still might be helpful to list any college credits or degrees or any external or home studies completed by the parents to better their teaching skills.) Also list any affiliation with a home school network or association.

Other Helpful Hints

  • Have the student study for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and take timed practice tests at home before reporting for enlistment. The ASVAB should be available at the local public library and bookstores. A high score on the actual test should give further reassurance to the recruiter that the student does indeed have the necessary level of education to pursue a military career.
  • Conduct a mock interview to prepare the student for the questions he will probably face from the recruiter concerning his education. This will help the student present himself and his credentials in a confident manner.