PCS season is over for our family. We recently PCSed from Okinawa, Japan to California. PCSing is stressful in itself, whether it‚Äôs just a single person or a family. Between the packing, deciding what to take, what to sell, and what to take to the thrift shop, selling our vehicles, then moving into lodging, clearing housing, and finally getting on that really long flight, it was the most stressful move we‚Äôve had yet. Let me tell you, receiving orders 30 days out didn‚Äôt help.
Since arriving, it has been much less stressful, but as parents to small children, we have the additional concern of finding a good school district to live in that is also affordable and within easy commuting distance to base.
When we got orders for Okinawa, our oldest was just starting kindergarten. Being overseas and on a military base, we didn‚Äôt really have options for where he would attend school, but thankfully, we lucked out and managed to live in the area of one of the better schools on base. In moving back to the States, this was one of my biggest concerns. My husband was familiar with the area we were moving too and already knew where he wanted us to live. I just had to make sure the schools were up to par.
We lucked out because my husband is so familiar with the area. He did his recruiting duty here. Sure, he only visited high schools, but those give an indication of the rest of the school district. We also have friends who are local and a couple happen to be teachers. I grilled them about what they knew of towns and school districts. I also checked out greatschools.org. The site rates schools on a scale of 1 ‚Äì 10, based on standardized test scores. A person can also leave a personal review of schools. I think this proved to be more helpful than anything. Between the schools grade and the variety of reviews, it gives you a good picture of the school.
After my research, we had it exact area we wanted to live in narrowed down. Next stop was the realtor. She helped us find a house and brought up the topic of schools before I did. While we were narrowing down the houses we wanted her to show us, she was making a note of the school ratings based on the greatschools.org site. We managed to find a house in a great neighborhood and the school is within walking distance of our house. My son will have friends from school that are also our neighbors. It doesn‚Äôt get much better than that! School starts in a couple weeks and I think he is well-prepared for the change.
I realize that we got lucky in our search for a good school. Most of the time we move to an area blind and rely on word of mouth from people wedon‚Äôt really know. There are resources out there though, thanks to the internet. I know we won‚Äôt live here forever, but I still wantmy kids to have the best education I can give them.
Kara is the mother of two, mostly good kids and the wife of Marine. She loves to blog about the family‚Äôs adventures in the military life, which most recently include the recent PCS and the countdown to receiving HHG shipments for their empty house. She spends her time volunteering and looking for a job to cover the student loan payments. She is a blogger at MoreRamblingsOfaMarineWife.org. You can also connect with her on Facebook.