Starting kindergarten + a midyear move - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 07-15-2013, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My family is building a new home about twenty miles from our current location. When we signed on to the project, the home was expected to be completed this September. As it turns out, the home will likely not be move-in ready until January. DS1 is will be entering kindergarten this year. I am a SAHM and also have DS2 who will be three in October (attending two-morning co-op preschool near current home for the year) and DD who is now 3 months old. Please help me evaluate our schooling and housing options. DH works from home part of the time and travels part of the time. His schedule is unpredictable and it would be difficult to convince him that sharing in school drives or being with the littles would be a reality of our mixed up year and not a massive favor he'd be doing for me on occasion.

1) Remain in current home until new home is complete. Begin kindergarten near current home and complete the school year there. Change schools for first grade.
Pro: Easiest registration procedure. Shorter drive while DD is really young. We'd always be in a home that is at worst adequate, only moving once.
Con: 1-hour round trip drive2x/day (or long day trips during school hours) for part of the year, little kids in tow. We get hit the hardest by winter weather in January and February. DS1 would switch to a new school for 1st grade.

2) Remain in current home until new home is complete. Begin kindergarten near future home.
Pro: DS1 enjoys familiarity and routine, optimally, he'd remain in the same school for K-5. We'd always be in a home that is at least adequate, only moving once.
Con: 1-hour round trip drive 2x/day (or long day trips during school hours) for part of the year, little kids in tow.

3) Remain in current home until new home is complete. Attend current district's school 1st semester, attend future dostrict's school second semester.
Pro: Long drives are minimized. We'd always be in a home that is at worst adequate, only moving once.
Con: DS1 will just be adjusting to kindergarten when we pull the switcheroo and place him in a new environment.

4) Remain in current home until new home is complete. Homeschool for all or part of the year.
Pro: All benefits of homeschooling. We'd always be in a home that is at worst adequate, only moving once.
Con: I believe that DS1 would enjoy and thrive in kindergarten. He's excited about it. What do I do with the littles while homeschooling?

5) Put current home on market immediately, find a temporary rental in future school district.
Pro: We'd be very close to future school all year long.
Con: Home itself may or may not be ideal. Any trauma involved in moving would be felt again when we move from the temp home to the future home.

6) Other?
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#2 of 23 Old 07-15-2013, 11:26 AM
 
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I think it depends on your particular kid. My DD would have had no problem switching schools mid year.
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#3 of 23 Old 07-15-2013, 12:06 PM
 
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Mine would have had a huge problem switching schools mid year (or at all).  She was very invested in HER teacher, HER school, HER classmates from the very beginning.  Some kids wouldn't be phased at all. 

 

I would try really hard to start at the new school or homeschool the first half and start the new school when you move. 

 

I grew up riding a bus to school in another town - one hour each way.  It made for a very long day.  I can not imagine that my mom would've been willing to drive me.  You may have the option of finding someone close to carpool?
 

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#4 of 23 Old 07-15-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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Option #4 - not moving and homeschooling until the new home is ready - seems like it's the easiest, in terms of requiring the least amount of "finessing" to make it work. At the kindergarten stage, you won't need to do much (or any) deskwork/direct instruction, so you will be able to continue on with all 3 children just as you have been doing. You might be able to reduce his disappointment at not going to kindergarten if you have local homeschool groups or extra-curricular groups (Scouts, sports teams or arts clubs, Lego clubs etc.) where he can join other children for activities. 

 

Option #3 is the next simplest, as long as he is the type of child who doesn't struggle in new situations. It's probably the solution I would choose, but that's based on my children's characters and my knowledge of their coping skills, social abilities and strength of personalities. My DS moved schools half-way through kindergarten. He wasn't happy about it but he managed fine and enjoyed his new school and new friends. Both DS and DD have switched schools fairly often (approximately every 1 to 3 years). At this point, they are incredibly comfortable in new social situations, very flexible and accommodating and fluid in their friendships and circumstances. We had a lot of faith in their resilience. I know a lot of children would have trouble coping, so it really depends on personality.

 

Good luck working out the details.  

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#5 of 23 Old 07-15-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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option 2 or 3 would be my choice.

Is kindergarten full day or half day? I guess that would really be the kicker.

For me if I was building a house I would want to walk through site (I guess it depends on your builder/developer) multiple times a week anyways. So I'd be travelling anyways.

If I didn't want to travel then I'd start after the winter break in the new school, it *may or may not* be a bit tougher for your child, but then he will have time to make friendships before summer and you will have time to make some new connections if you need to in the new school smile.gif

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#6 of 23 Old 07-16-2013, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies, Mamas. I'm glad there's not a consensus that one or more of the options is totally rediculous. I'll post again when we figure out our deal.
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#7 of 23 Old 07-18-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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I would start him in school where you live right now, and make the decision about whether to leave him then until the end of the year or switch him when the move happens when you actually move.

 

You may not move in January -- your date could slide further, and ,if it does, it might impact your decision.

 

You might learn more about your DS as he starts school, and feel more strongly one way or the other.

 

I think that *most* kids can handle a mid year move. It might not be their first choice, and it might be a bit difficult for them, but children grow from things that challenge them a bit and just because something is a little uncomfortable for a week or so for our child, it doesn't mean that it is better for them for us to spare them from it. If you child is capable of the adjustment and you drive her to the old school instead, you may make the transition in the fall more difficult by giving her the message that changing schools is something she can't handle. She CAN handle it -- kids do it all the time and are just fine. 

 

The reason I wouldn't take the other options:

 

  • I wouldn't add an extra move for the whole family over this issue. We've moved a bunch of times and it is brutal with small children and a DH who sometimes just isn't there. Sometimes a double move is necessary, but it is best for EVERYONE in your family to try to avoid it.
  • I wouldn't keep a kid out of half of a grade and then plunk them in the middle of it. Kinder isn't what it used to be -- they read, write stories, add, subtract. Plus they learn how to function in elementary school. I work at a school and I think if a parent did that, the child would be retained because they would be seriously behind. If you can't bring yourself to start him in your local school this year, then I think it would be preferable to not start him AT ALL this year, and have him do Kindergarten next year. The statement that you "really don't need to do anything for Kinder" isn't true in 2013.
  • I think the drive (either starting at the new school now or planning on staying at the old school after the move) would be too much with your other children in tow and no one to trade off with (since your DH is frequently gone), especially considering that your DS has no special needs or issues to make such a drive necessary. I do know a lot of parents who have done crazy drives for their schools, but the kids had tried the closer schools and they didn't work -- it was kids dealing with things like autism. Typically developing children really don't need that.
     

In short, I suspect that your DS is a strong enough person to handle the move because you haven't listed one thing that was specific to him. I don't think we do children any favors when we try to spare them from completely normal life experiences that they can handle.

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#8 of 23 Old 07-18-2013, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Linda- This is the best solution for our family. Your assessment was sensible and empowering. You have a gift. You have given me a gift. Thank you!
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#9 of 23 Old 07-18-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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your welcome -- but you are much too generous with your praise. My youngest is 15 and learning to let my kids go through difficult things and just parent them through the difficult things was tough for me -- I would have preferred to spare them from ANY challenges in life!  My thoughts now are to:

 

  1. Let them know we are there for them, really listen, hug, validate their feelings, hug some more.
  2. Let them know we have 100% confidence in them to handle it. We know they are strong people

 

It was tricky for me to figure out how to do both at once, but it CAN be done.

 

Plus, last year I got a job in a school. My day was split between K and first. I watched several new kids start, and a couple of kids leave. So here is some more advice:

 

  • Let the teacher know ahead a time when the last day will be so they can have all paper ready.
  • Ask if it is OK to bring in a treat on the last day to share with the class, and any restrictions guidelines for doing so. (cupcakes from a bakery are pretty standard).
  • Assure you child that they can stay friends with any buddies they have made from school, and plan an outing/playdate for them a week or two after the move. The friendship will most likely dissipate over time, but it might make your child feel better during the transition.
  • See if you can arrange for your child to meet his new teacher and see his new classroom before he starts, such as stopping by one day after school. The known is always less scary than the unknown.
  • Trust that the other kids will be SO EXCITED that he has joined the class and that they get to show him EVERYTHING. I can't get over how much little kids love this. When a new child started, the teacher would introduce them at the beginning of the day and ask who wanted to be their special helper and show them around, go through the lunch line with them, and all the kids would go nuts -- waving their arms wildly with enthusiasm.

 

Congratulations on your new house!


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 23 Old 07-20-2013, 05:26 AM
 
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I think they are all viable options but just wanted to throw in another 2Cents about kindergarten. I agree with Linda that k-garten is much more academic than before. But I also would stress that the social relationships and the process of learning how to be a community together is just as important. Even as academics have been added, good k-garten teachers still really work hard on the social/emotional aspect of adjusting to life in school with lots of friends.

 

So I would worry about your child developing all kinds of relationships and then having to start over in a classroom where those things were already in gear for another group. I am not talking about friendships or specific social connections for YOUR child, but more about group social processes that develop in a class of kids due to spending many weeks together and learning how to navigate social terrain together.

 

I would lean toward either option 1 or 2 for the sake of continuity. Because although homeschooling is great, if you intend to use public school, the social learning in kindergarten is invaluable, and does not necessarily get stressed in the later grades---they kind of assume that they learned all the negotiation and navigation skills in k-garten. Just as important as the academics!
 


 
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#11 of 23 Old 07-20-2013, 05:46 AM
 
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Sounds like you are feeling good about starting in your neighborhood school and taking a "see how it goes" approach for the move. I think that's a good way to go. Myself, I would have voted for starting at his new school and doing a schlep for the first half year. That's more of a personality thing though in that I like having the 'easy' stuff to look forward to. Good luck whatever you decide! 


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#12 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 12:22 AM
 
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Although I think that the points Lauren and IdentityCrisesMom have value, because the OPer has a 3 year old, a 3 month old, a husband with a unpredictable schedule, and is getting ready for a move, I don't think that committing to 2 hours of commute time per day is truly feasible.


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#13 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 05:07 AM
 
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Although I think that the points Lauren and IdentityCrisesMom have value, because the OPer has a 3 year old, a 3 month old, a husband with a unpredictable schedule, and is getting ready for a move, I don't think that committing to 2 hours of commute time per day is truly feasible.

I agree. My DD is starting at a new charter school on Wednesday. I'm really hoping to join a carpool because I'd have the same commute time. I'm already dreading the two hours in the car, and I don't have an infant.

And is attending the new school even a possibility since the OP isn't even living in the new district? That wouldn't be allowed here.
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#14 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 05:19 AM
 
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And is attending the new school even a possibility since the OP isn't even living in the new district? That wouldn't be allowed here.

 

Would it make a difference that the family owns property in the new district? Even if they aren't yet resident because the house isn't finished, presumably they are already on the tax rolls and have some entitlements. I'm not sure whether school attendance would be one of them. 

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#15 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 05:50 AM
 
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Very true about the commute with the two younger children. I can't even imagine having three children under 5 let alone commuting with them!  Exactly how bad the commute would be is really for the OP to say. For me, my city is a "car city" in many ways. Being in the car for 20 minutes to get to a different neighborhood is common. No one here really thinks of it as a "20 minute commute" though because it's through the city, traffic lights and etc. The type of commute would influence my opinion for sure. As would how my younger kids are in the car. It happens that my toddler LOVES the car. It's crazy how much she likes it and our (admittedly short) commute for DC gave the toddler some much craved structure to the day. 

 

Also to consider is how the child will get to the local school. Is it a nice walk down the street, a cool school bus, or is that also a drive? If the OP is loading the kids up anyway, that may be something to consider. 

 

And, yes, to the idea that switching is probably fine but also probably more to do with the individual child. My DC did switch schools in Kindergarten (after the first month of school) and was FINE. She switched again for 1st grade and again was fine. That said, she did spend the elementary years as a kid who hadn't been there from the start - didn't know the kindy teacher and etc. She isn't on the K page of the 5th grade graduation book. This is a SMALL thing and not something I would factor high in the decision making process but something to consider if the OP is on the fence. 

 

Also to consider is how transient your town is. If new kids are coming and going all the time, I'd be more open to moving...if not, I may factor that too. For DC, I imagine she was comforted by knowing she was not the only new kid starting 1st grade when she switched. And then there were new kids all the time. She was only "the new kid" for a few months before someone else was introduced to the class. 


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#16 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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Would it make a difference that the family owns property in the new district? Even if they aren't yet resident because the house isn't finished, presumably they are already on the tax rolls and have some entitlements. I'm not sure whether school attendance would be one of them. 

I would think so. If it were me, and I were deciding on my new district, I would just enroll from my new home. I would not tell an un-truth if that came up on the application but I think if the OP is a homeowner and intends to live in her new home during that school year, there should be little hassle. 

 

One other thing to consider... 

 

This is not true of our current district, OP, but I lived in San Jose, CA for a while and that district "fills up" slots in neighborhood schools. I heard of one family who was out of the country for the summer before school started, tried to do a late registration and was denied a spot in the school RIGHT down the street. It was a huge bummer!  

 

Whatever you choose, check in to see if a mid-year move will guarantee your DC a space in both schools...lest you end up with a commute on the tail end of the year (which would be the worst of both worlds, IMO).  


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#17 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 11:00 AM
 
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Very true about the commute with the two younger children. I can't even imagine having three children under 5 let alone commuting with them!  Exactly how bad the commute would be is really for the OP to say. For me, my city is a "car city" in many ways. Being in the car for 20 minutes to get to a different neighborhood is common. No one here really thinks of it as a "20 minute commute" though because it's through the city, traffic lights and etc. 

 

She said 20 miles, not 20 minutes.

 

Also, pickups and drop offs for school take extra time. If there are very many parents at the school who drive their children, there is a traffic jam both am and pm. I suspect that whatever the DRIVE time, the actual time is going to be significantly more.

 

Depending on how they are going about building their house, they might not yet actually own anything. Where I live, all districts have open enrollment, and unless the school is full to capacity, they have to accept out of district students.


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#18 of 23 Old 07-21-2013, 09:32 PM
 
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She said 20 miles, not 20 minutes.

 

Also, pickups and drop offs for school take extra time. If there are very many parents at the school who drive their children, there is a traffic jam both am and pm. I suspect that whatever the DRIVE time, the actual time is going to be significantly more.

 

 

Very good point. My son's school is 17miles away, with about half of that on a 55mph highway and very rural even in town. It's still about half an hour one way. When all is said and done, my younger daughter is in the car for 2 hours/day unless her dad can take her in the afternoon. It's very guilt-inducing when I think about the amount of time my 3 year old spends in the car.

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#19 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 07:37 AM
 
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20 minutes is not that bad, in a city it's 20 minutes to everywhere. and if it looks like your builder is realistic in getting git done for Jan, then it is only 4 months.

 

I would absolutely NOT move twice.n I've moved several times with little kids and you are going to do way more work by packing and unpacking twice, moving twice, distrupting everyones schedules twice, getting your kids used to 2 new homes! That is definitely not going to go well, even if you put most of your stuff in storage.

 

My child started a new school in grade 1 at the beginning of the year, it went fine, he is also really outgoing, but I do think it would be a lot harder to come in midway than beginning of the year.

 

We didnt' live 20 minutes from the school, but we still ended up driving for that long for 1 school year. We lived 10 minutes from school (no bussing), so I drove him to school, then drove my preschooler to preschool which was  another 10-15(longer in winter) minute drive down the highway, then back home, all the while dragging along the baby (6 months old at the beginning of the school year). preschool was only half a day, 5 days/week so then I also had to go and get him at noon everyday. I did it all, because school started after my husband already left for work. I did it because I knew it was just for 1 year, then my preschooler would be at the same school as the oldest. I spent a lot of time driving that year, and felt like my whole life was drive to school,home, nap time for baby, drive to school home, lunch, nap time, drive to school, home, because that was what my life was that year. So for you only 4 months is not really that bad considering the other options fo moving or putting your child in a new school mid year. 

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#20 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 08:01 AM
 
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It's 30 minutes... I confused the issue discussing the average commute in my city, which, like you, is 20 mins.

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#21 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 08:04 AM
 
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It's not 20 minutes. It's one hour round trip, according to the OP. My DD just started at a charter school about 25 minutes from our house. It's only been three days, and I can't wait to get a carpool in place. Driving in circles for two hours a day, is driving me crazy.
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#22 of 23 Old 08-01-2013, 02:40 PM
 
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I would enroll in the local schools and start your life. Home may not be ready in January. Moving will take awhile. Enroll in the school that makes sense now and revaluate later.

 

I think the worst option would be in to drive two hours a day the first year of K. THat sounds miserable.

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#23 of 23 Old 08-25-2013, 05:40 PM
 
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I imagine school is about underway, and the decision is made, but I just want to agree that the 1 hr round trip commute thing is pretty miserable.  My girl started preschool last year at the world's most lovely montessori school.  At the time, about 15 minutes from home, and where we lived *all* the schools were 15 minutes from home.  Midway through the fall we sold our house and moved 10-15 minutes away (was not in the cards when we were making the preschool choice a year earlier), effectively doubling our school commute.  I also have a now 2 year old.  It was really a tough commute, and I felt terrible that he was in the car all the time.  We are letting her finish her second year there, before starting kindergarten in our community school (the original plan was 3-6 at the montessori school), because she is a very slow to warm kid, and I didn't want to add one more transition to her life, but I am *already* looking forward to next year and the year hasn't even started yet.  If I had to do it over, I would definitely have biased toward proximity, but life is unpredictable, we make do!

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