My daughter is finishing her last week of K-12 learning, and it has got me thinking of how successfully my children navigated their 6+ different schools through those years (and how fortunate my husband and I were). Children of military families often attend as many schools as their families have moves, showing an amazing ability to adapt and conquer new challenges.
As families face each posting, school choices are often limited to the schools on post, home schooling or private schools. Determining what is the best place for your child can be a puzzle, especially when living in the DC area. Not only can you choose between Virginia or Maryland schools, you then look at the county school district performance records, balanced with commutes and cost of living. Finding the right fit can be intimidating.
I remember moving to this area for the first time, when our son was entering his sophomore year of high school, middle daughter would be in middle school and the youngest in grade school. Trying to find a place to live that placed us within the footprint of three schools that matched each child's needs, plus were within the reasonable commute zone, meant a lot of hours spent on school district websites, along side home-finding sites. And moving from Ft. Polk, LA, l was amazed at the size of many of the area schools. How would my children make friends, get on teams, fit into large classrooms?
My focus was on finding smaller schools within our identified prime living location and was able to make a successful match of home and schools. But I have to admit that the searching would have been a lot easier if there had been a forum of military families available to add valuable insight to the local schools.
As the prime PCS season approaches, let's start a dialogue on how your families made the decision on were to live and what education choices you made (whether public, private or home-schooling). What resources were helpful? Did you rely on test scores, school size, diversity or another factor? Were you able to get information from local military welcome packets or sponsors? It could be valuable information for incoming military families.