KILLEEN, Texas — Distance learning and homeschooling, for some families, is the norm these days. But for Anna Larson and her family, it's a way of life that has taken them to different parts of the world.
"The military lifestyle does not lend itself very well to transferring kids in out of schools during PCS season," Larson said. "Our PCS's always happened in the winter right in the middle of a school year."
Larson and her husband, CW3 John Larson, decided that homeschooling their children would be the best way to go moving forward, especially, she said, after her daughter was far more advanced learning-wise than her peers.
"Our transfer timelines were always longer because we would be shuttling back and forth between the states and another country, and that kept my children out of school longer," she explained. "When we started homeschooling that meant I could school them on an airplane and in hotel rooms."
That's the way it has been over the last seven years for Anna Larson. She teaches Bella and Jax in various places of Europe and Africa, which sometimes replaces a textbook with real-life experiences and uses their newfound surroundings as a canvas to learn from.
"It really was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore our surroundings like never before," she said. "Things like safari's, different animals and trips around town and the unique culture that we were living within. The social structure that we saw within the community, we explored all of that in their school work."
Anna said she knows the challenges that some parents feel and go through but said adding some fun to the school work makes things easier for everyone.
"It is hard to be a working parent and home school your children at the same time," Larson said. "I think just carving out an hour of time where you sit and talk to them about what they learned, what they're interested in, what classes are going well, what they're struggling with."
As the history lesson for the day on Ancient China and Confucius came to a close and cookies baked in a nearby oven, this veteran homeschool Mom said she always gives her children the chance to attend public school.
"I ask them every year, 'Do you want to try out public school this year,' and the answer is always no," she said. "I always tell them that they are welcome to try it out if they want to and this isn't something that we forcing onto them. They just recognize they learn best this way, at least for now."
Larson, a proud military wife and veteran teacher of two said that all the textbooks and lessons aside, she's hopeful one thing comes from all of this time with her kids, and that's the appreciation of doing things together.
"I hope they look back and just say, 'My mom spent a lot of time with me and we had fun together,'" she said. "And I want them to have, I just want that relationship their entire lives."