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Military School Life
Military school life focuses on instilling in students a sense of discipline and responsibility and in preparing them for success in life after school. This process generally extends beyond the classroom into all aspects of military school life.
The exact structure of military schoos life varies by school, which is one of the reasons it's important for parents and students to ask a lot of questions before enrolling in a military school, and to visit the school to see what military school life there is like.
Most military schools have a strict routine and nearly constant monitoring of students, whether formal or informal. School uniforms are frequently required on at least some days of the week, and students’ rooms and clothing may be inspected for neatness. Students usually wake early in the morning and have a set lights-out time at night as part of the military school life. It is common for the day to start at 6 AM and end at 10 or 11 PM.
Students at military schools generally share rooms with one or more fellow students. They also may eat together with their dorm mates or their entire class. Doing activities together is intended to increase solidarity and the sense of responsibility to one another. Often younger students are supervised or led by older students, which gives the older students leadership opportunities. The older students are usually supervised by school staff as part of the military school life.
Classes occupy much of the day at most military schools. There is usually a time in the evening set aside for studying, doing homework, or tutoring. Students often have limited free time in military schol life, with their non-school hours occupied by military drill practice, sports, clubs, or other approved activities. Junior ROTC or a similar program is usually a main focus of student military school life. Students participate in drills and practices as well as classroom learning about military history and strategy.
Academics are a strong focus of most military school programs, which generally strive to prepare students for college or a military career. In addition to regular middle school or high school classes, students may also take military history and tactics classes, and other classes with a specific military focus depending on the school, including marksmanship, sailing, or flying.
Athletics are an important part of military school life at most military schools. Most military schools have a strong athletics program to encourage physical fitness and teamwork. Most military schools require students to be engaged in some athletic activity, while others allow them to participate in other approved activities instead. Sports may include traditional sports like football, basketball, soccer, tennis, wrestling, and swimming, as well as less common high school sports like fencing, rifle team, SCUBA, and climbing or rappelling.
Many military schools offer other extracurricular activities like clubs. Many of the clubs are service-oriented or focus on intellectual interests like chess, debate, or producing school papers. The Boy Scout program is available at many schools, and band is another common activity available. Students with particular interests should check and see if the military schools they are considering offer opportunities to pursue those interests as part of their military school life. Some schools also offer social activities like dances.
Some military schools are sponsored or founded by religious organizations and have a strong religious component, including attending mandatory religious services. Generally these services are non-denominational, and students of all faiths are welcome to attend and to practice their religion provided they also attend the school religious services.
Discipline is another important part of military school life. Though many military schools do not accept very troubled teens, they do provide a structured environment and a strict honor code. Students who do not behave according to expectations may lose privileges, while those who excel may gain extra privileges. This system is meant to encourage a desire to excel and to develop self-discipline. Peer pressure to discipline oneself may also be felt, as the students may be rewarded or punished as a group. Hazing, however, should be strictly prohibited.
The structure of military school life is part of its appeal for many parents and students, thought it is not the right environment for all students. Students and parents should be aware, for instance, that special learning or medical needs may be a problem at a military school because of its specific structure and goals.
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