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Moving to Silicon Valley -- feeling overwhelmed

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Looks like we'll be moving to Silicon Valley in a few weeks/months, specific location to be determined (seems we have some influence on it). Coming from small-town Ontario, with 4 kids in tow Boy (9), Girl (6), Boy (2), Girl (newborn). Feeling overwhelmed, and look for some input where to live and what we'll find there. On the side of crunchy-everything......extended bf, cosleeping, ec-ing, organic food....thanks!

post #2 of 25
What area will you be working in and what price range?
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Seems it is going to be in commuting distance to somewhere in Redwood City (but DH doesn't want to settle IN Redwood City, but further South-- more central in SV?). Price range......given the size of our family I guess we are looking at 1Million Dollar properties......the property market looks scary if you are coming from small-town Ontario, I had no idea!

post #4 of 25

I would start with looking at where he's looking and how his commute will work (train, car, corporate bus...) Then start drawing circles and looking at communities. Santa Cruz is lovely, but it would be a killer commute. Mountain View has a nice downtown. Further south can be nice, too.

post #5 of 25

If you're looking at 1mil+ properties, mountain view is really nice. Cupertino supposedly has really good schools if that is something you're looking for, but the train doesn't go out there (if he wants that option for commuting). Lots of people love palo alto, but I've never really been a fan. It seems like you pay so much for a town that isn't any better than mountain view or other areas. The general "rule" that I heard when I moved here was that east of 101 was the cheapest, but also generally has higher crime and worse schools. In between 101 and El Camino is slightly better, and slightly more expensive. Those also tend to be the most walkable areas. West of El Camino is generally the lowest-crime and best schools, but also the most expensive. Those also tend to be the most suburban-feeling areas. There are areas that don't conform to these rules, but it's a place to start when you're looking.

post #6 of 25

I live in Santa Cruz and personally match your crunchy description. :)  But it is a long commute from Redwood City.  You might try Berkeley, which has a similar vibe but is a bigger city, or San Francisco if you can afford it.  Los Gatos or Saratoga if you are looking further south, but they are both fairly upscale and *can* be conservative. Los Gatos has some nice rural bits along its edge, but that will add to commute times. I think you are going to find Cupertino and Mountain View a little conservative (Mounain View less so). Cupertino and Saratoga are known for good schools because of higher income tax brackets in those communities.  Feel free to private message me if you want to chat more.  I have a 2-year-old and have lived in this area my whole life.

post #7 of 25
Hi there...what do you mean by "crunchy?" I am new to this site.
post #8 of 25
I live in morgan hill, just south of san jose. It would be a long commute to redwood city but it is very lovely down here. Lots of open space, a great community, and it is a bit cheaper then other places up north but just because of the distance. My husband works in palo alto and i used to work in menlo park so it is definitely doable. Also the train is a good option as well. It is close enough to the all the south bay/peninsula attractions but a bit removed and more country/natural living smile.gif
post #9 of 25

I live in Fremont and I've just got to give it a strong plug. My husband has often commuted to Redwood City from here. He can comfortably commute almost anywhere in the bay except for San Francisco and that's just because train + muni takes too much time and parking is so expensive in the city.

 

Fremont is substantially cheaper than all of the surrounding cities. We don't have a great school system though folks are trying hard to rally. I'm planning to homeschool so I don't care. We have a noticeably large home schooling population (I can think of five other families in our city proper off the top of my head including one that is four doors down from us) so I feel like we aren't particularly isolated. With just a little bit of driving or public transit you can access all of the wonderful advantages of living in the bay area without the ruinous cost of housing.

post #10 of 25

lol, "crunchy" is crunchy like granola, like a granola munching hippie... organic eating, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, attachment parenting, homeschooling, unschooling, tree hugging, etc., outside mainstream, all, i think, fall under crunchy :) treehugger.gif

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your caring responses!

we were able to delay the decision for a while, with DH working remotely from home. The prospect still looks scary to me, but it is nice to know there are options. Surely will ask for more info when the subject comes up again!

post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

And here I am, reviving my own thread and re-reading all your responses. So helpful, as it seems it is going to happen now! to be decided by some HQ this week (it's hubby's work that will bring us there) and then we'll be moving on quickly........Well, with little baby being a bit older, it suddenly feels less overwhelming....gotta bribe our 10-year old.....ANY GOOD THEME PARKS????

post #13 of 25

There a lots of good theme parks!  Great America and Six Flags probably suit the older kids.  We love Happy Hollow for the little kid rides.  Santa Cruz has a beach front theme park too.

 

We live in Campbell.  It's nothing amazing in terms of crunchy but there is a great farmer's market and lots of attachment parenting, organic eating families around.  Our preschool is full of full term breastfeeders, cosleepers, organic healthy eaters etc.  Most of the parents send their children to the local parent co-op elementary school, which generally run on positive discipline and engaged learning.  There seems to be one in each school district around us.  

 

Campbell suits us as my husband commutes to Mountain View and it's quick on the 85, but I have day time access to visit south of us in Los Gatos and surrounds where it's lovely and green and the families we have met are all wonderful.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks, dynnyrne! It seems it's going to happen, and next week we'll learn how fast it's going to happen.....Possibly we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving twice this year! (We are in Ontario right now....)

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

definitely moving there for Jan 1, 2014.

 

Will be renting for half a year or so while our house here in Canada sells.

 

We are public schoolers, so we need to choose our location based on schools. Trying to understand how this will work. I notice most of the schools are K-5 or K-6 (with "K" starting at what age? mandatory at what age? ). How does this work with foreign languages??? My children do French Immersion here, I guess there is no hope they can continue that? Do all schools offer French as first foreign language, or just some, or none? If no French, I guess my children would have to learn Spanish?? From what grade is Spanish taught? Does this vary by the school district, or is this something uniform for the area?? How can I most effectively learn the local school systems?

Also, if we take residence in a school's catchment area, I guess they have to take our children, right? What if we settle outside the catchment area, initially, any chance to get in there?

Thanks for any insights! There is a lot to consider and decide right now......

post #16 of 25

For immersion programs, you may be able to find Spanish programs (though they're generally lottery-based) It looks like there's also a Mandarin program in Cupertino. Other than that, foreign languages generally start in middle school. Which ones are offered will depend on the specific school.

 

Kindergarten starts at age 5.

 

https://sites.google.com/site/spanishimmersionadvocates/immersion-information/links-to-others

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinap View Post
 

For immersion programs, you may be able to find Spanish programs (though they're generally lottery-based) It looks like there's also a Mandarin program in Cupertino. Other than that, foreign languages generally start in middle school. Which ones are offered will depend on the specific school.

 

Kindergarten starts at age 5.

 

https://sites.google.com/site/spanishimmersionadvocates/immersion-information/links-to-others

Thanks for the info, and thanks for much for the link! This link also mentions the German Intl language school in Mountain View.......which has a Saturday school, which is what we need as well (as my mother tongue is German and my children currently go to German Saturday school.) Cool.

post #18 of 25

Glad it was useful!

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonInLion View Post
 

definitely moving there for Jan 1, 2014.

 

Will be renting for half a year or so while our house here in Canada sells.

 

We are public schoolers, so we need to choose our location based on schools. Trying to understand how this will work. I notice most of the schools are K-5 or K-6 (with "K" starting at what age? mandatory at what age? ). How does this work with foreign languages??? My children do French Immersion here, I guess there is no hope they can continue that? Do all schools offer French as first foreign language, or just some, or none? If no French, I guess my children would have to learn Spanish?? From what grade is Spanish taught? Does this vary by the school district, or is this something uniform for the area?? How can I most effectively learn the local school systems?

Also, if we take residence in a school's catchment area, I guess they have to take our children, right? What if we settle outside the catchment area, initially, any chance to get in there?

Thanks for any insights! There is a lot to consider and decide right now......

 

Hello - Welcome! We relocated to SV a few years ago as well, though just from SoCal, not Canada.  You may find schools with immersion, most often Spanish, but it's not universal - depends upon the school. Maybe a Charter school might offer more? There are two private German schools though, or at least two. This is the other I have heard of: http://www.gais.org/ (though I know nothing about the two of them other than their existence). We also have a Waldorf School (no German classes, but you might be familiar with the philosophy). 

 

The public school system here seems difficult to navigate to me. The districts don't line up with the cities, but are often named after the cities - though not all parts of that city will lie within it.  Sometimes the High Schools are in a different district that the rest of the schools and also don't line up with city boundaries. I think you have a good chance of getting into a school if oyu are within the area, but if it's a very popular area, I'm not sure what happens if they are full. Where we used to live, that could happen and you'd then have to go to another school in the district.  You can request to get into other schools, maybe even districts, but of course residents get first crack and some areas are very competitive. When we first lived here we rented in Cupertino (highly sought-after district by the high-academic-achieving test taking set) and someone told me he'd heard of people renting anything they could there, just for the address to get into the schools and living elsewhere! 

 

The age to start public Kindergarten is (I think...they're slowly moving it each year so don't take my word for it) is age 5 by September 1st. It used to be, insanely, December 1st and finally someone figured out that wasn't helping anyone. I think school isn't mandatory until age 6, but if you're going the public school route I wouldn't wait until First grade. People often have their children in preschool (which are almost always private unless you are low income or your child is "disadvantaged" in some other way) and they start learning numbers and letters there, then beginning math and reading in Kindergarten...again talking mainstream schools. 

 

Anyway, I have found the following sites extraordinarily helpful in the pursuit of housing:

www.city-data.com (forums for discussion)

www.crime-reports.com (be sure to play around with the filters)

www.greatschools.net (I'd take the ratings and reviews with a grain of salt but it also gives test scores, "grades," teacher/student ratios and other facts)

sfbay.craigslist.org (essentially how most rentals are found...it's a tough market, don't rush into anything and take that corporate housing so you have time to find the right place. I speak from experience on this...we've lived in three houses in 4 years and the cost to rent keeps rising. If I'd taken my time the first time around and found the "right" place it would have saved us a lot of money. For some reason I was just really afraid we wouldn't find anything and took the first thing that I thought would remotely work and we were miserable)

www.yelp.com (review site heavily used by people for anything and everything..including property managers...I SO wish I would have know THAT before we signed our first lease!)

 

Working in Redwood City, I would look at living in Redwood City (it's the cheapest of the surround areas except East Palo Alto and you do not want to live there), Menlo Park, San Mateo, Foster City...I tend to think of points north as slight cheaper than points south, until you get to San Jose.  Moutain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos are obvious choices for commuting and public schools but really pricey. Like way over a million dollars for a bigger house, probably over 2 mil. Sunnyvale is a little less, but still very pricey, same with Cupertino. I even found Santa Clara to be pricey. As far as I can tell the cost of housing is centered around Google and goes outward. LOL (but partly serious!) I like parts of San Jose and Campbell, but I really wouldn't want to live so far if your husband words in Redwood City. Commuting in rush hour traffic can be really miserable, I'd try to stay as close to his work as you can.  I commute with the benefit of the carpool lane and it still can be slow and go in the mornings, forget about in the regular lanes. 

Good Luck! 


Edited by Melaniee - 11/19/13 at 12:03am
post #20 of 25

There is nothing wrong with Redwood city. People do not like it because of its blue collar reputations, but actually, it had WF, Ferrari dealerships and awesome schools. If you live on county side, you can keep chickens.  Houses are cheaper in RWC.

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