Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

Fighter Pilots and the Fundamentals of Basic Homeschool Maneuvering

fighter pilot basic homeschool maneuvering

As a fighter pilot and father of five, I’ve had the privilege to watch my wife enlist into service as a homeschooling mom. I quickly learned that she would be engaged in combat far more than I ever would be as a fighter pilot. Every mom and dad brave enough to follow the calling of a fighter parent must become skilled in the art of basic homeschool maneuvering.

In order to survive these precious years of instruction and insanity, fighter parents must hit the books and learn both the science and art of basic homeschool maneuvering. As with any good fighter pilot brief, we’ll begin with a few concepts and definitions.

Concepts and Definitions

  • Attacker: a child in a homeschool
  • Defender: a homeschooling parent or teacher
  • Interloper: someone who stumbles into a conversation about homeschool
  • Friendly: any person whose worldview includes a positive view of homeschooling
  • Threat: any person or influence hostile to the preservation of a productive homeschooling environment
  • Bandit: any threat unfamiliar with the benefits of homeschooling
  • Bogey: an interloper whose opinions on homeschooling is unknown
  • Engagement: an interaction between a defender and an attacker, interloper, threat

Now that we’ve defined our terms, it’s time explain the finer points of basic homeschool maneuvering.

Fundamentals of Energy Management

When engaged with an attacker in a homeschool environment, the key to success is energy management. Energy should only be spent when it is advantageous to the defender. There are 5 main reasons to bleed energy when the attacker decides to engage:

The 5 reasons to bleed energy are:

  1. To establish authority
  2. To suppress mutiny
  3. To gain trust
  4. To create a learning opportunity
  5. To avoid or eliminate threats
fighter pilot basic homeschool maneuvering

A bled-down defender

Authority must remain intact at all costs. A fighter parent should bleed energy to maintain authority, regardless of defensive position. Mutiny must be suppressed. Attackers often band together to consolidate power and create powerful alliances. Energy must be used to maintain balkanization of adversary forces in a multiple-child engagement. Trust is crucial in keeping attackers at bay.  Defenders should execute a full unload of all other activities when presented with an opportunity to build trust. Learning opportunities do not always present themselves. Energy should be expended to create them. Finally, during an engagement, the defender must trade energy for awareness by showing the interloper or adversary different angles from which to view the homeschooling phenomenon.


fighter pilot basic homeschool maneuvering

A bled-down attacker.

Strengths and Weaknesses

In order to ensure a successful engagement, you must also evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both the attacker and defender.

Defender (fighter parent)


  • Size
  • Strength
  • Funding
  • Social Connections
  • Stability


  • High energy bleed rates
  • Low maneuverability
  • Slow speed
  • Emotional vulnerability
  • Insecurity
fighter pilot basic homeschool maneuvering

Intelligence photo of an adversary training camp

Attacker (Child in a homeschool)


  • Flexibility
  • Maneuverability
  • Energy sustainment
  • High speed
  • Guerilla tactics

Attacker Weaknesses:

  • Size
  • Strength
  • Limited resources
  • Unstable platform
  • Disenfranchisement
fighter pilot basic homeschool maneuvering

Post-fight debrief of an unsuccessful engagement

The Key To Success

Never underestimate an attacker. While small and lacking in resources, their resilience and willingness to use guerrilla tactics form a comprehensive strategy sure to frustrate even the most patient of defenders. As a fighter parent you must expend energy wisely.

Unless you want to crash and burn.

What are your tactics for ensuring a successful engagement?

Related Briefs

Photo credit: young@art / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: donnierayjones / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: anno.malie / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Evil Erin / Foter / CC BY


About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

4 Replies

  1. Oh, Jason, this is absolutely hysterical. My best friend (spiritual sister for 30 years) works AND homeschools her kids. She’s a single mom. I schooled the younger one for a year a couple of years ago. This post is SO right on.

    It’s draining enough to homeschool (I’m talking about parents here, not me), but to have to engage in energy output with bandits on top of homeschool maintenance is just the worst ever.

    Trust me, I’ve taught in public school and Christian school, and I can tell you, I advocate for homeschool every time.

    You and Karryn deserve combat pay and silver stars, my friend! 😀

    1. Encouraging to hear. I had a feeling it might connect 😉

  2. Vanessa Tyler

    Love this!