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How to prepare children for USA schooling?

(9 Posts)
NetballandFootball Sat 15-Apr-17 16:47:05

We are soon to move to the US. One DC will be in middle school, the other in high school.
Does anyone know of any online education courses they can do?
And practical knowledge to prepare them for schools that are very different to where they are now?

Any info and tips appreciated!

curcur Sun 16-Apr-17 17:38:09

No experience but bumping as we will be moving next year for 3 years. Is your move permanent or for a set time?

Want2bSupermum Sun 16-Apr-17 19:03:51

If you know where you will be living speak to that school district to identify gaps. The public schools here are generally good and better than private.

You can also sign a release enabling the American school to speak to the current school.

BradleyPooper Mon 17-Apr-17 03:26:37

Agree with super mum, speak with the school district. Each school district has different guidelines and slightly different curriculum (my local Texan school district is pretty different to a New York district in terms of covering evolution for example but we won't go into that here....)

NetballandFootball Mon 17-Apr-17 16:42:25

Thanks so much for the responses.

Curcur - initially on a 3 year visa but hoping it will be permanent.

Want2b - thank you, I will be asking the school about the release. Will add that to my things to remember list!

Bradley - have already spoken to the state education authority (also Texas) but don't yet know the district. They have just asked me to bring examples of the DC's work and reports and they will evaluate them when we arrive and place them in the correct grades. They said any other questions in need to direct to the school.

I can't, however, find any info or work examples that my DC could go through now so we already have an idea of what to expect with regard to work.

And with other aspects of the schooling.... the schools look huge compared to where the are now. Are there any other big differences that they need to get their heads around?

Please note, though, my DC aren't too worried about this. They have changed schools more than once before and it always works out. I think the need for preparation is solely mine. grin

Want2bSupermum Mon 17-Apr-17 19:09:14

You need to be very careful if moving to schools in Texas. Make sure the schools are well rated with good reviews from parents. School digger and greatschools.org are both good sites. The area you live in determines the schools you DC will go to. There is no 'give' in this. Out of district placements are for extreme special needs.

In Texas a lot of families go private because they don't like the huge schools or their DC have gotten lost in the huge school so not reaching their potential. Yes you pay less for property taxes but you also get what you pay for.

BradleyPooper Mon 17-Apr-17 22:32:53

Agree again. We are private, still in the international system because we didn't know how long we would be here. Our local (catchment) elementary school is excellent, one of the best in the state, but so oversubscribed that some kids are eating lunch before 11am and there are no art or music lessons because they don't have space. Schools are obliged to take in all kids in their catchment areas.

NetballandFootball Thu 20-Apr-17 19:15:51

Thank you both again. V helpful.

Pallisers Thu 20-Apr-17 19:32:37

you definitely need to check out the schools very carefully.

Will your children be in the public school system? If so the schools, particularly the high school will be pretty large. And like PP said obliged to take everyone in catchment so there can be bulge years.

The high school system is very different from the UK system (slightly more like the Irish one though). You don't specialise in two or three subjects like A levels (as I understand them).

There are 2 things going on in high school. the first is actually graduating high school. Each school district/school will have its own requirements but generally you need to achieve a certain level of math (geometry and algebra II mostly - I think calculus is optional), foreign language (usually 2 years I think), science (taught year by year so bio in freshman year, chemisty in sophomore, physics in junior year), and english. Have a look on the texas school websites. Often schools have a requirement for hours of community service or athletics.

The second thing for a lot of kids is college applications. So for that your GPA matters and it is calculated from day 1 of freshman year. All homework assignments, quizes, tests, end of year exams all go into the calculation so you can't coast along missing homeworks (yes DD1 that means you!) and then recover with a good final exam.

There are honors and AP (advanced placement) courses available but you usually qualify into them - so for your high school student, his transcript and maybe even some teacher recommendations would be very useful.

Depending on your package, it might be worth looking at some independent schools - very pricy usually (although probably less in Texas than other areas).

good luck.

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