Oh how I know the anxiety and stress a momma can have when searching for a new school for her little people in a completely new, strange city. It’s stressful knowing that your decisions on selecting a new house can affect your children and their education. I mean there’s enough pressure finding the right house but mix in the kids and it can be brain overload. First and foremost, if you are a Christian, TRUST the Lord with ALL your heart. Have faith that God will lead you to the right school for you and your kiddos. If you do, the stress will dramatically decrease and you will feel such a peace. I’m not gonna say I’m perfect at this (I’m human) but I can tell you that looking back with each move, God’s hand has been all over each and every one.
As Angeline pointed out in Part 1 of our Back to School series, there are a lot of resources you can utilize to help search out schools in this unknown territory known as your future home. My process is pretty similar to hers – one word – RESEARCH!
My man and I make a great team! We’ve got our system down. He asks around with coworkers and does the logistics research (commute and such) while I focus on community and school life. Oh and let’s not forget to mention reaching out to all the many friends I have made across the country to see if someone, anyone knows anybody familiar with my new town. Desperate times call for desperate measures people – I am not shy to ask around! When looking for a realtor, find one who has kids. They will know about schools and family life without a doubt. I would also highly suggest a house hunting trip if possible. Just spend a few days driving around trying to find an area you like (you’ll get a good idea when you see it). For example, when we moved to the DC area, my man and I took a week long house hunting trip and drove from one end of the area to the other. An entire week of driving, need I say more?? My hubby kept saying that he wanted, and thought I would like, Loudon county in Northern VA so that’s where he took me first. I kept saying no, because the only person I knew in the entire area lived in Fairfax county and I wanted to be near her. (HAHA – what a reason, right?) I should know by now to listen to my husband -shhh don’t tell him that. After that week of driving, where was it I liked best? The very first place we visited. The one my husband thought I would like most. Of course. Sometimes just driving by schools and communities can determine the location you like best and then you can do more in-depth school research.
Another reason I didn’t want to even look at Loudon county was because my research showed 1/2 day kindergarten for that county. WHAT?!?! That was NOT in my plan! LOL. Thank goodness life doesn’t go by our plans. However, there is a point to all this…..there are still states who have 1/2 day kindergartens out there. As a Southerner this was so foreign to me. There are also schools who require tuition for full day kindergarten. (I’ve had two boys go through both scenarios!) Do your research. I know this is all about kindergarten but it can go for any grade. Go to the school websites. District websites. Read everything you can about every aspect of the school. Know what the schools teach and make sure you agree with it. Look up busing information for the district (some require a certain amount of distance for transportation). If you have special needs (gifted, autism, speech,etc) – look up the information regarding those services for the district. Greatschools.org is a great resource but don’t just go by the number rating scale. Read the parent comments. A school can rate low just because of test scores – and we all know how most people feel about test scores. Anyway, parents will give the truer indication of the school and its environment.
My move to Vegas was really interesting. We had a house. I had researched the school, it rated awesome and I was ready. However, our move out there, the seller backed out of the sale and we had to house hunt all over again! Talk about stress!
However, we found a great house (with a better commute) but the school didn’t rate as well as the first school. The school building didn’t even look as nice on the outside. BUT…it wasn’t the worst school either. Just the average norm. Well, we were blessed by that school, and the teachers, and I got very involved and by the time we left I felt like that school was on the up and up and was taking off to be the best in the area.
All that to say….God had a plan. One I couldn’t see. You see, because of that school, I became friends with a gal from Minnesota. I was blessed (when God’s in control – it’s not luck folks) with a friend who just so happened to be from the Twin Cities area in MN and knew everything about it. At the time did I know I would move to MN and need such a friend? Lord no! But God did and that friend really assisted and reached out to her MN friends in order to help me with my school search here.
TRUST in the Lord with ALL your HEART. God has a plan. We may not recognize it or see it but He does. He cares about the big things and the little things in our lives and our moves. TRUST He will help you find the right school for your kids. It may or may not be the award winning school but if you let Him be in control, He will direct your path. That’s when you know you found the right one!