Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of summer slipping by as we get ready for a new school year. I know it’s still July and honestly, it’s beyond hot here in Texas so the thought of back to school shopping might be depressing. However, In many regions, students are back to school as early as the first Monday of August (I’m looking at you Georgia!).
So what happens after you house hunt and you know where your kids are going to school after a move? First, you need to make sure you know what you need to register your kids at their new school. Please don’t wait to do this with the excuse you must pack up your current house before you can focus on the new place. Can you imagine the frustration of not being able to register your kids because you have no idea where everything is that you need? Exactly. If you don’t already have a file of important papers for the move, you should. And in this file, you need copies of birth certificates, social security cards, immunization records, insurance information and contact information for anyone doing any part of the move.
My oldest daughter attended her third elementary school starting in third grade. This doesn’t count the first school that she was enrolled in but didn’t get a chance to attend before we moved. Each school was in a different state – Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and Texas. And each school had different requirement for registration. So for your easiest transition, you need to call the new school BEFORE you move. We moved to Georgia during spring break of her first grade year. In Cobb Country, kids are required to have a certain health and dental form completed before they can attend school. So one of the first errands I got to run in my new city (with a 1st grader, a preschooler and a baby) was to visit the Health department. My daughter’s immunization records had to be transcribed onto the form and then her mouth had to be visually inspected for decay. And I had to pay for this privilege. My point is this – had I waited until I moved and tried registering her for school on the first day, I would have really been scrambling and who knows when she would have been in an actual classroom. And although she wasn’t likely going to miss a great deal in first grade, we all needed to be back in our school routine pronto!
When it comes to new schools, especially in new districts or new states, remember that you are your kid’s expert. No one knows your kid like you do. And if your child has special needs, do your research and be ready to be an advocate for your child. I’m not saying you show up at the principal’s door demanding your child get special treatment. I’m saying that be educated in your rights and try and research district, state or federal policies based on your situation.
Starting a new school is just one part of the moving journey. But it is an important part. The more you do before the move, the better. However just like Kim mentioned in her Back To School post, even the most prepared mom can have a curve ball or two thrown her way. And that’s ok too. Unfortunately, curve balls are also part of the moving journey. But remember there is no curve ball to God.