CAP Curriculum for Homeschoolers
Granite Cadet Squadron serves primarily homeschooled cadets in the central Maryland area. We meet during the school day - on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to Noon. Our emphasis is growing future leaders by challenging our cadets academically, building their life skills and experiences, while using the outstanding curriculum materials and opportunities provided by Civil Air Patrol.
Granite Cadet Squadron uses Civil Air Patrol's leadership, aerospace education, and character development curriculum for our cadets in addition to CAP's physical fitness training program which is aligned with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP). At Granite, we focus on building leadership and life skills, including public speaking, leadership development, interviews, study skills, and test taking. Our cadets, under the mentorship of adult leaders, plan and lead the cadet program. As our cadets progress in the cadet program, their responsibilities increase.
All Civil Air Patrol cadets are offered 10 free cadet orientation flights as an introduction to aviation and flying. Five flights are in powered Cessna aircraft and five flights are in gliders. Each of these flights follows a structured lesson plan. As cadets progress in the cadet program, they can take advantage of additional flight training, including solo and the pursuit of a private pilot certificate. Scholarships are available through CAP and the US Air Force.
Leadership and Aerospace
Once a cadet joins CAP, they are sent the leadership and aerospace texts and manuals. These are also available for download. Our leadership program is designed to take a new cadet through the followership phase and into the leadership phase. Our aerospace education modules incorporate the fundamentals of aviation and space. Additional activities and classes help our cadets put their academics to practice. The squadron has participated in CAP's High-Altitude Balloon Challenge for two years. We meet on the site of a Cold War-era Nike missile base and our cadets regularly help with the restoration of this aerospace artifact. Some cadets have become docents for tours at the site.
In addition to the aerospace education modules, Granite cadets participate in regular aerospace education lessons using CAP STEM kits as the foundation as well as current events. Granite cadets have used a telescope to study astronomy, Sphero educational globes to learn more about coding, studied weather systems with our weather station, and designed projects using robotics kits. Cadets are given hands-on lessons during the meetings, homework, and are expected to give presentations as assigned. Homework and presentations are designed to meet the age levels of the cadets. In the past year, we have welcomed guest speakers to our aerospace classroom, including NASA engineers, astrophotographers, and military officers from U.S. Cyber Command.
A new addition to our Granite curriculum is cyber security training. Currently, cadets are offered monthly optional classes to learn more about this very timely topic. Cadets with a deep interest in the topic or career plans in cyber can participate in Cyber Patriot, a national competition hosted by the Air Force Association. Granite squadron has both a middle school and high school team for this competition.
Our character development lessons are designed by Civil Air Patrol's Chaplain Corps and are taught by a qualified CAP character development instructor. These monthly lessons introduce our cadets to positive character traits using real life experiences, historical lessons, and large/small group discussions.
Emergency Services / Ground Search and Rescue
In our emergency services training, cadets learn life skills that can be used in search and rescue missions. Using a compass, survival skills, nature hazards, first aid, radio use, and more are taught at the squadron as well as offered at wing-level training events. Our squadron has a ground team to which cadets strive to join through the progression in their ES training. Cadets often attend training at the group and wing levels to further pursue their emergency services skills.
As Granite cadets progress in the cadet program, they can take advantage of many events at the wing, region, and national levels. Summer encampments and national cadet special activities are part of the events they can participate in. Flying academies give cadets pursuing a pilot's certificate the opportunity to learn and practice their skills in CAP aircraft.
Civil Air Patrol's leadership, aerospace, character development, and emergency services materials are outstanding additions to your homeschool curriculum.
"Homeschooled Cadets: Families across America turn to CAP for leadership skills" - an article from the Civil Air Patrol Volunteer, January-February 2007, by Lenore Vickrey.
This presentation was given at the virtual 2021 Civil Air Patrol National Conference. Lt Col Reed talks about how CAP can partner with homeschooling families and specifically discusses Granite Cadet Squadron.
Here is a video from a webinar discussing homeschooling and CAP from 2019 while we were exploring the possibility of forming a squadron of homeschooled cadets.