When moving with children, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is a big one: Where are the best schools to send the kids?
Do Your Homework
If at all possible, research your options before you move. Among the choices: local schools, charter and magnet schools, private schools and boarding schools, and, if moving abroad, international schools.
- Charter schools are independent, publicly funded schools that are approved by the state. Teachers, parents and the community establish and operate these schools, giving them more freedom and authority than regular public schools in their academic structure. Periodically, charters are reviewed to ensure the school is meeting its mission and standards, and sometimes charters are revoked. Students typically must apply to enroll.
- Magnet schools, often located in old schools or declining areas of the community, are public schools that offer special programs to draw a more diverse student population. Check into enrollment and transportation procedures, as they may be different from your child’s assigned base school policies.
- American International Schools specifically cater to American students preparing for entry to U.S. colleges and universities. If moving to a major city, this might be an option. Due to their popularity abroad, enrollment is about 3.5 international students to 1 U.S. student.
- Foreign K12 Schools, which teach kindergarten through twelfth grades (also called primary and secondary education), offer curriculums from other countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. You might find one that closely coordinates with your child’s current school, possibly making adjustment easier.
Ask Around About the Best Schools
Seek the advice of your real estate agent, new colleagues and neighbors in your first weeks in your new city or country. An insider’s opinion on local schools is invaluable. If moving temporarily – for a single school year – it might be less disruptive to find a school whose curriculum and schedule line up most closely with your child’s current school.
Consider Online Classes
Virtual learning has increased in popularity and accessibility. Both public and tuition-based private schools offer distance learning through online classrooms. If your child has trouble adjusting, or you expect to return to your original home, check into virtual classes.
Have all your child’s documents assembled and easily accessible. These include passports for international moves, birth certificates, medical records, and any housing documents needed for registration. Visit the school with your child, if possible. Use websites, email, and phone or video calls to introduce yourself and your children to the teachers. Make sure the school schedule coordinates with your new work schedule. Don’t forget to arrange for before- and after-school transportation.