Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / USA

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old Nov 11th 2013, 9:17 am   #1
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Sussex
Posts: 66
transatlantic_chap is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

I was curious to hear from people whose kids have experienced both systems -- what do you like and dislike about each? Is one better than the other, in your opinion?

(I am aware that it is very hard to compare an entire nation's schools, and that everyone's experience will depend on the individual towns and schools they have seen, but still, I thought this would provoke some interesting discussion...)
transatlantic_chap is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 11th 2013, 4:01 pm   #2
Flail to the Thief
 
Sally Redux's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Edgbaston, UK
Posts: 38,052
Sally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Much of it will be specific to the area you end up living in.

Where we are, I find it underfunded, with a tendency to teach to test.

There have been a number of discussions on the subject recently which the search function should turn up.
__________________
I am flailing, I am flailing, home again.
Sally Redux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 11th 2013, 4:43 pm   #3
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 260
Homeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by transatlantic_chap View Post
I was curious to hear from people whose kids have experienced both systems -- what do you like and dislike about each? Is one better than the other, in your opinion?

(I am aware that it is very hard to compare an entire nation's schools, and that everyone's experience will depend on the individual towns and schools they have seen, but still, I thought this would provoke some interesting discussion...)
As already mentioned it is very state to state and just like the UK it is very school to school. As in there are schools in the UK that I wouldn't sent my dog to, same in the US.

I can give you what I feel about my US education system which is in NV (one of the worst tested areas in the US), and was Lincolnshire in the UK.

I have two children, one aged 10 with special needs and one aged 12 who is gifted academically. 6 years in the UK education systems, 2 years in the US one. One in Elementary, one in Middle school.

I have to tell you my prospective is rather negative, but I will try to be balanced.


US Negatives

No social time at school, both elementary and middle only have 40 mins for lunch no playtime.

Very grade lead, every piece of work is graded and goes towards the result each semester, means that if you not academic you are always being faced with negative grades as a show of your ability (I feel this more in the US that the UK at elementary level).

Standards not very high, e.g my DD with special needs (reading age 8, maths aged 8) had just passed the state tests as meets required standards and she is 11! DS started here two years ago and said the work asked of him was what he had done two years earlier in the UK.

DS does the same subjects day in day out in the same order everyday in Middle school. Maths, Reading, English, History, Band, Science. He doesn't even do PE.

Having to buy school supplies.

The school hols of 3 months a year, mean my kids forget what they have learnt the year before and spent 3 months at the beginning of the year going over last years work. I believe this has been studied and shown it has a negative affect on children. They are also shattered with such long semesters without much of a break.

US Plus

The schools have to accept you if you live in the catchment area, which means if you are financially ok and can afford the areas of good schools you are sorted.

UK Negatives

You are not guaranteed a place at a school if it is full, even if you live next door to it.

Expensive uniform for high schools and having to buy it.

UK positives

All the opposite of the US negatives.

Gosh I have racked my brain trying to be more positive re the US and even more negative about the UK, but I can't think of anymore. Thats one of the reasons I going home in 3 weeks:-)

BUT and its a massive but, it is very individual to each state and school. I was very lucky to live in a small town with a choice of excellent schools in the UK. In the US we go to the best schools as we can afford to live in a very good area.

As we are returning I am going to be in a good position to see how the US eduction has affected my kids, be a good or bad. I will post on here how I feel they are doing.


Also, not all people see what I see as negatives/positives.
Homeiswheretheheartis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 12:19 pm   #4
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Sussex
Posts: 66
transatlantic_chap is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

That was interesting to read -- I did wonder about the three-month summers. I have a hard enough time retaining info over the weekend, never mind three months off. I guess it also means that it is very hard for two-income families. One parent would pretty much have to stay home to cover that time, as there is no way you could do it even if you had a VERY generous time off allowance from work. (Which you won't if you're in the US.)
transatlantic_chap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 1:10 pm   #5
Lt Col (Retd)
Premium Member
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 16,307
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by transatlantic_chap View Post
That was interesting to read -- I did wonder about the three-month summers. I have a hard enough time retaining info over the weekend, never mind three months off. I guess it also means that it is very hard for two-income families. One parent would pretty much have to stay home to cover that time, as there is no way you could do it even if you had a VERY generous time off allowance from work. ...
That's what "summer camp" is for. Most have little or nothing to do with camping, but the good ones provide an interesting and stimulating range of activities. Little Miss P had a great time last summer at a local "camp", with two field trips every week, on site activities, and time set aside for reading and/or writing every day, as well as crafts and a good chance to make friends with a different group of children from those she goes to school with.

There are also special "theme" camps focused on specific sports or activities.

The costs can vary widely based on region and the type of activities offered. Anything from $200 to $1,000/ week is possible for summer camp, but it is usually possible to have money deducted before tax throughout the year by your employer to pay for camp, and also after school programs if you need that throughout the year (subject to a cap for tax purposes, for the annual aggregate of camp and after school program costs).

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 12th 2013 at 1:26 pm.
Pulaski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 1:19 pm   #6
Bob Male
Not so super superslob
Moderator
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 85,894
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by transatlantic_chap View Post
That was interesting to read -- I did wonder about the three-month summers. I have a hard enough time retaining info over the weekend, never mind three months off. I guess it also means that it is very hard for two-income families. One parent would pretty much have to stay home to cover that time, as there is no way you could do it even if you had a VERY generous time off allowance from work. (Which you won't if you're in the US.)
That's what those summer camps are for...but they can be pricey....people send their kids well out to places if they're cheaper.

Down my way, hour a morning ballet camp is about a grand a week, but up where the in-laws are that's the whole summer camp for half days. Though the golf/tennis ones tend to be more pricey out their way.
__________________
When I was born I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half. ~ Gracie Allen
You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. ~ Dave Barry

Immigrants should be tarred and feathered....Yes, I like it kinky.
Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 2:40 pm   #7
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 21,936
AmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by transatlantic_chap View Post
That was interesting to read -- I did wonder about the three-month summers. I have a hard enough time retaining info over the weekend, never mind three months off. I guess it also means that it is very hard for two-income families. One parent would pretty much have to stay home to cover that time, as there is no way you could do it even if you had a VERY generous time off allowance from work. (Which you won't if you're in the US.)
But even in the UK you get 6 weeks off during the summer.... How do you handle that?

I would find it more annoying to get the odd week off here and there, it would be easier, in my opinion, to plan for a summer. I have summers off, so I don't have to worry, but other people I know have had their kids at the YMCA (for example) and they keep kids pretty busy during the summer, probably busier than they would be at home.
__________________
AmerLisa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 4:47 pm   #8
Premium Member
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6,333
Englishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond repute
Post Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
But even in the UK you get 6 weeks off during the summer.... How do you handle that?

I would find it more annoying to get the odd week off here and there, it would be easier, in my opinion, to plan for a summer. I have summers off, so I don't have to worry, but other people I know have had their kids at the YMCA (for example) and they keep kids pretty busy during the summer, probably busier than they would be at home.
Well, most people in the UK get at least 4 weeks annual vacation, I used to get 5 weeks and my husband (still gets) 6 weeks. Plus public aka Bank holidays I also worked flexi-time so was able to use save some hours up and take the odd day off here and there.

Most Brits do a bit of juggling; for example I would take a week off, spouse would separately take a week off with the kids and then we would have a fortnight's family holiday. Then for the rest of the school holidays the kids would get packed off to see my parents . My sister still does this with her son, although he's recently started secondary school as he's nearly 12 so I doubt he will be spending much time with my mum in the future lol and will do Summer soccer courses instead!

Occasionally I was able to put the kids into a Summer Playscheme operated by the local council, but the hours were/are often shorter than a typical working day. However, compared to the US it was soooo much cheaper in the UK!

My son also went on a PGL (aka Parents Get Lost) camp for a week at a boarding school in Oxfordshire which he enjoyed with his friend.

http://www.pgl.co.uk/pglweb
Englishmum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:26 pm   #9
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 21,936
AmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
Well, most people in the UK get at least 4 weeks annual vacation, I used to get 5 weeks and my husband (still gets) 6 weeks. Plus public aka Bank holidays I also worked flexi-time so was able to use save some hours up and take the odd day off here and there.

Most Brits do a bit of juggling; for example I would take a week off, spouse would separately take a week off with the kids and then we would have a fortnight's family holiday. Then for the rest of the school holidays the kids would get packed off to see my parents . My sister still does this with her son, although he's recently started secondary school as he's nearly 12 so I doubt he will be spending much time with my mum in the future lol and will do Summer soccer courses instead!

Occasionally I was able to put the kids into a Summer Playscheme operated by the local council, but the hours were/are often shorter than a typical working day. However, compared to the US it was soooo much cheaper in the UK!

My son also went on a PGL (aka Parents Get Lost) camp for a week at a boarding school in Oxfordshire which he enjoyed with his friend.

http://www.pgl.co.uk/pglweb
Not everyone will take a whole 5 or 6 weeks off though. My husband had 6 weeks off but he surely couldn't have told his employer he was taking that whole time off to stay with his child. And that doesn't help when you get a week off for end of term, 3 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks at Easter.

With both parents working there's always going to be some problems with children being out of school, here or there. In my opinion no place is better or worse than the other.
__________________
AmerLisa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:28 pm   #10
Flail to the Thief
 
Sally Redux's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Edgbaston, UK
Posts: 38,052
Sally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond reputeSally Redux has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

I prefer the way the school year is divided up in the UK. Half-terms give the kids a nice break. Also 2 weeks at Easter is more useful.
__________________
I am flailing, I am flailing, home again.
Sally Redux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:35 pm   #11
BE Forum Addict
 
kins's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Maine
Posts: 1,407
kins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

My friends in the UK who work full time really struggle in the summer holidays. There just aren't that many childcare options like there are in the US.

I usually hire a summer nanny - a student who's home for the summer generally. Then I sign the kids up for a few camps they're interested in eg sailing, drama, kayaking, and the nanny covers the rest.
kins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:37 pm   #12
Bob Male
Not so super superslob
Moderator
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 85,894
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
Not everyone will take a whole 5 or 6 weeks off though. My husband had 6 weeks off but he surely couldn't have told his employer he was taking that whole time off to stay with his child. And that doesn't help when you get a week off for end of term, 3 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks at Easter.

With both parents working there's always going to be some problems with children being out of school, here or there. In my opinion no place is better or worse than the other.
Yeah, but both won't be taking all that time off at once...hence the staggered holidays...unless a parent isn't capable of looking after the hoodlums on their own... :/
__________________
When I was born I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half. ~ Gracie Allen
You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. ~ Dave Barry

Immigrants should be tarred and feathered....Yes, I like it kinky.
Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:37 pm   #13
BE Forum Addict
 
kins's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Maine
Posts: 1,407
kins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond reputekins has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

In terms of UK vs US schools my experience of US schools has been excellent, but then I live in an area that chooses to fund schools well.
kins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:40 pm   #14
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 260
Homeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond reputeHomeiswheretheheartis has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

The main point I was making about the extra long holidays has more to do with the fact that children forget a lot of what they have learnt over the holidays. The summer camps do not replace school.

This is especially true for my DD who has special needs. She struggles to remember even basic maths after 3 months. Yes the UK is still 6 weeks but she doesn't forget as much in that period of time.

Add to the fact we live in an area that is far to hot to spend anytime outside in the summer over 100 F most of the summer. Also, I can't afford summer camps. We live in a nice area because my husbands job subsidizes our rent. I am pretty poor compared to everyone else in my area.

You know its too long when even your hormonal grumpy pre teen is complaining its too long.
Homeiswheretheheartis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12th 2013, 8:43 pm   #15
Premium Member
 
N1cky's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Google Town
Posts: 6,522
N1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond reputeN1cky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Your experience with US schools vs. UK schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
Not everyone will take a whole 5 or 6 weeks off though. My husband had 6 weeks off but he surely couldn't have told his employer he was taking that whole time off to stay with his child. And that doesn't help when you get a week off for end of term, 3 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks at Easter.

With both parents working there's always going to be some problems with children being out of school, here or there. In my opinion no place is better or worse than the other.
I found UK summer holidays much harder to deal with too. We'd take a 2 week vacation in summer, and then have to juggle our daughter between grandparents. I couldn't take more time off work, as most people in the department had school age kids and were also having the same problems.

I wish they didn't have quite as long in the summer here, and had another week at Easter. But I love the summer camps, the variety is excellent and my daughter always has a fantastic time.
__________________
I mistrust total competence. I've always felt life is a series of small disasters we try to get through.
N1cky is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / USA

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

All times are GMT. The time now is 4:24 am.


Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1999-2010 BritishExpats.com