By Amanda Trimillos
A good book club is an opportunity to gather with friends, enjoy favorite beverages, snacks, and good conversation. The best book clubs are those where everyone in the room is engaged in the book, eager to know more, and ready to dig into the content. This describes the book clubs I’ve attended to talk about Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers. Many of the participants come with stories to share and a list of questions to discuss. The pages of their books are bright with highlighted sections, the margins filled with penciled notes, because this is a book that speaks to their experiences, both personal and professional.
The pages of their books are bright with highlighted sections, the margins filled with penciled notes, because this is a book that speaks to their experiences, both personal and professional.
Seasons of My Military Student book clubs are for groups and individuals interested in supporting military-connected students. In these clubs, parents, teachers, administrators, and civic organizations can engage networks of support while learning about the lives and perspectives of students in military families.
These groups have a common focus on understanding military-connected students. They include parents, school counselors, administrators, faculty, school liaison officers, and others, all with a desire to create a community of support for themselves as well as for students.
Seasons of My Military Student covers the Seasons of TransitionTM that mobile military students experience with each school change, offering tools and strategies for each season and storm of military life. The book gives parents and teachers a closer look at how the education of military-connected students is affected by each challenge these students face. Reading as a group gives everyone a chance to discuss their own perspectives and hear from others.
Any group or individual interested in supporting military kids can start a Seasons of My Military Student book club: a parent-teacher organization, family support group, military spouse organization, school advisory committee, school administration, faculty, parents, civic group, or local church.
The essentials include:
- Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers book for each participant
- Downloadable Seasons Book Club Guide, which includes Discussion Guide and Getting Started Guide
- A comfortable place to meet for one to four sessions
Each book club may choose a different focus depending on the needs of the attendees. For example, one group could be geared toward families in the community who are facing deployment, to discuss how family separation affects a child’s education. Another might be for families who have just moved into the community—or those who are preparing to leave. Still another group might be aimed at the needs of military-connected high school students and their parents, or parents helping their elementary students transition to middle school.
Seasons of My Military Student is designed to address various challenges for students in military life and offer practical and healthy ways to meet those challenges. Participants learn about maintaining student records in an Education Binder, how to use resources such as the Military Child Interstate Compact Commission, essential questions for parent-teacher meetings, and more.
An ideal group ranges from five to fifteen people, small enough for meaningful conversations and large enough to include a variety of perspectives. Larger sessions are possible too, with good planning and enough time to allow discussion.
For me, the most beautiful part of a Seasons of My Military Student book club is watching group participants form support networks for themselves while learning about supporting military kids. Each participant could simply read Seasons of My Military Student on his or her own, and they do. The added value of the book club is the camaraderie, encouragement, confirmation, help, and friendship they gain, all while learning to see military life through the eyes of their students.
And that is exactly what Seasons of My Military Student is about—as a book and as a community—building teams of advocacy, building support, and building resilience for military-connected students.
Amanda Trimillos, EdD, is the coauthor with Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman of Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers. Amanda is a teacher, a military spouse, and mother of four military-connected students.