Military schools are a viable option for parents who want to ensure their sons have a strong preparation for college and grow up with a sense of discipline. Most military schools start at the sixth grade, though they may have a separate school for younger boys, without the same intensity of military discipline as the older boys experience. These schools are usually private or organised under a charter.
St. Catherine's Academy
St. Catherine's, located in Anaheim, California, is the only U.S. military school that accepts students beginning in kindergarten, according to the school's brochure. However, boys in kindergarten to the second grade are not a part of the military program. They wear a simplified version of the schools uniform, but they do not participate in military activities like marching or running obstacle courses. Once a student reaches the third grade, he becomes a cadet. He must wear the school's military uniform and he can earn ribbons for academic and leadership achievement. Cadets can even earn promotions and lead other groups of cadets. Beginning in the fifth grade, cadets can attend summer leadership programs and play in the marching band. There are junior varsity and varsity basketball, football, soccer and volleyball teams for the older boys.
St. Cathrine's offers a flexible day program so students who live nearby can live at home with their families.
Lyman Ward Military Academy
The Lyman Ward Military Academy has two components: the junior school and the senior school. The junior school is attended by boys in sixth through eighth grade while the senior school is for boys in the ninth through 12th grades. The campus is located in Camp Hill, Alabama.
When young boys first attend Lyman Ward in the sixth grade, they must go through a period of initial military training. This time is designed to transition the new student from a world where they had significantly more freedom to the structures of a military school. Their days are regulated from when they wake up to when they go to bed. Boys eat together, exercise together and take classes together as a unit. Typical classes Lyman Ward junior school students take include English literature, world history, pre-algebra and keyboarding.
Cadets in the senior school are members of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. In addition to their academic studies, they receive formal training from Army officers on leadership and military skills like marching, first aid and land navigation. This training prepares students for enlisting in the military after high school or for participation in ROTC in college.
Marine Military Academy
The Marine Military Academy, located in Harlingen, Texas, is unique in that it employs only retired Marine Corp commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The academy's goal is to instil its cadets with the spirit and discipline with uniforms, training, values and an organizational structure that is similar to the Marine Corps.
The Marine Military Academy is a college prep school and therefore has high academic standards. Between the ninth and 12th grades, cadets must complete four years of English, math and science. They are also responsible for three and a half years of social science and two years of a foreign language. Advanced placement classes are available for students with a strong scholastic aptitude. Students who successfully pass an AP course can earn credits toward a college degree while still at the academy.
Fork Union Military Academy
Like Lyman Ward, Fork Union Military Academy has a middle school and an upper school. The campus is in central Virginia, midway between Charlottesville and Richmond. Students in grades six through eight attend the middle school which has a separate administration, faculty and barracks from the boys in grades nine through 12. The military emphasis at Fork Union is on developing teamwork and leadership skills. Activities like drill and ceremony are emphasised but military tactics and training are not. Students wear uniforms and live in barracks but the primary function of the school is college preparation. To facilitate each cadet's growth as a leader there is an abundance of extra-curricular activities to choose from including football, track, debate club, marching band and woodworking.