Consider the quality of the school system when choosing the location of your new home. Try to match your child with the right school. If your child isn't an academic superstar, a school where the pressure for high achievement is strong may not be the right choice. When your child is a sports hero, make sure that sports are an important part of the agenda, not an afterthought. The last thing you want to do is damage self-esteem by placing your child in an environment that just doesn't fit the individual.
Check the area's public, parochial, and private schools. In your information gathering phase, call school district offices, churches, and check the Internet for information you require in making an enrollment decision. Bonus: A top-rated local school system increases property values!
Ease The Transition
When you know where you will be moving, there are some steps you can take to help make your child's move easier.
As soon as you can, make contact with the new school to get accurate registration information. You will need a birth certificate and possibly a physical exam accompanied by certain immunizations. Get the correct dates for orientation and schedule your appointment. Be sure you have all academic credit transfer information and get started on the transfer before you reach your new location.
Another very important item on the registration list is establishing all the sign-up deadlines and requirements necessary for the sports or other activities in which your child may want to participate.
Acquaint yourself and your student with bus stop locations and transportation rules to and from school. Some systems do not provide transportation, or provide it only under specific conditions. Verify school location, classroom locations, and school dress codes.
Prior to school shopping, try to observe with your child the way the students dress in the new school. This is a very important step in helping them to fit in and be accepted by their new classmates. Remember, the older the child, the more important it is for them to "dress right" for school. After you have determined "what's in", plan a shopping trip together to make quick wardrobe updates.
Moving In The Summer
Moving during the summer is very common because it allows a student to complete the academic year without having to adapt to a different curriculum. However, making new friends during the vacation period can be difficult. Try to find at least one friend for your child before or immediately after you move. Arrange a meeting prior to the start of school. The first day of school is easier when there is at least one friendly face.
Ascertain whether any of the activities your child plans to participate in during the school year offer summer camps or practice. Being involved in the new school at the beginning of the school year allows time to make friends before cliques are formed. On the other hand, a new child is sometimes a novelty when school starts and friendships can be quickly forged.
If you are reading this via the Internet, you probably already have a computer with Internet access at home. If you are reading this from a connection at work, you may want to consider investing in a home computer as a family gift because the computer is an invaluable tool for students doing projects for school. Internet access is almost a must today for school research papers and homework requirements.
If you are concerned about access to inappropriate material on the Internet, you can buy a computer nanny service (software) to block the web content you do not want your child to see. The cost is minimal. In considering which Internet access provider to choose, it is important that your access is "unlimited" and "toll-free". Most areas offer this service for $19.95 a month or less.
If you do not have a home computer, your student may be able to use one at a local library. About 45% of North American libraries have some sort of Internet access.
For Children With Special Needs
Inform the school administration of your child's special requirements. When you are on the "house hunting trip", meet with school officials to discuss special needs issues. If you have a gifted or disabled student, special education needs may be a major consideration in your new home's location. In families where both parents work outside the home, be sure to inquire about after school programs for students. Some schools offer them; some don't. Some programs are free; some are fee-based. Get the details.
If you are the parent of a college student, be sensitive to the fact that moving is difficult for them too. Although local school issues may not be as important in your new location decision when you don't have a student living at home, be understanding if your college-age son or daughter is not eager to come home to spend vacations in your new location. When you "make" them move and leave their high school friends behind, it is possible that your new house will never be considered "home". By all means, do not take this opportunity to turn their bedroom into the guest room or home office you've always wanted!