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schooling for tweens in UK

schooling for tweens in UK

Old May 4th 2011, 7:38 pm
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Default schooling for tweens in UK

This forum has been a God-send. Offering empathy, understanding and loads of knowledge for those of us "stranded' in a land we cannot see as our home.

I would love some insight from those of you who have moved back to the UK with US born tweens. How have the kids adjusted to the British curriculum, different subjects, maths/history/geography lessons etc, making friends, after-school activities, even the food.

I am not worried about my 3 and 5 year olds. But the 11 and 12 year olds are really retaliating, especially my oldest son, with regards to a possible move back.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare them if we do go back. Any books to check out, or school sites I can go to that may help us with a smooth transition.

Thankyou
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Old May 4th 2011, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

I also live in NJ and have a hankering for moving back with my tweens (almost 11 and 12 yr olds) they have been schooled here since 2007 and so worry they wouldn't get to grips with the UK curriculum.

Also, on another note, sorry usoruk, is the UK as doom and gloomy as the press make it out to be??
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Old May 5th 2011, 1:27 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

I have been back twice in the last 8 months, (my dad passed away, last Feb)It was a difficult time going back due to the situation, but otherwise things seem the same as before.

I really am concerned for the older kids as USA schooling is all they know, and am not sure they will adjust back in the UK. I am desperate to go back, especially now since my dad's passing. I don't want to be far from my family anymore and regret spending 15 years away from them.
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:16 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

I am returning with (what will be ) a 13 & 8 year old needing to go to school

I have asked on quite a few forums (and here ) the general feeling is that American kids normally adjust very well .

Depending on the school and age ,returnees often find that their kids are ahead in some subjects and at at even keel with others .

You can research KEY STAGES in schools (in the UK ) for various ages on the net ,just google what you are trying to find out and lots of sites will pop up

Good Luck
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:20 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Originally Posted by usoruk
This forum has been a God-send. Offering empathy, understanding and loads of knowledge for those of us "stranded' in a land we cannot see as our home.

I would love some insight from those of you who have moved back to the UK with US born tweens. How have the kids adjusted to the British curriculum, different subjects, maths/history/geography lessons etc, making friends, after-school activities, even the food.

I am not worried about my 3 and 5 year olds. But the 11 and 12 year olds are really retaliating, especially my oldest son, with regards to a possible move back.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare them if we do go back. Any books to check out, or school sites I can go to that may help us with a smooth transition.

Thankyou
My 12 year old son is also retaliating (in a big way lol ) we came here when he was 7 ~understandably he is frustrated at the prospect of having to blend in again . I know he will be fine ,it is hard to convince him though ...
Sorry to hear you are going through it also .

PM me if you need any moral/other support
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:27 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Originally Posted by G.n.Tgirl
I also live in NJ and have a hankering for moving back with my tweens (almost 11 and 12 yr olds) they have been schooled here since 2007 and so worry they wouldn't get to grips with the UK curriculum.

Also, on another note, sorry usoruk, is the UK as doom and gloomy as the press make it out to be??
Just to cheer you up on a teen level lol ...I have siblings that are teens ,they are doing very well and seem as happy as they could be .

Talking to my Dad ,he thinks many things have changed business wise ,but in all other respects it is still a wonderful place to raise a family .
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Old May 5th 2011, 8:26 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

I am hoping they will adjust, but we moved to NJ from another state last summer, and it took my 12 year old ages to adjust. It takes time for him to make friends.

He gets upset and quarrels about it, and says he does not want to go through it all over again. Not to mention losing all his US video games!!!

Also do I need the kids to have British nationality before they begin schooling in th UK and obviously the older kids have missed their chance to do the 11+.

A side question. Due to my dad being sick and his subsequent passing , I had to go back to the UK twice in the last 7 months, with my 3 year old. I bought one way tickets as I did not know the exact date of my return. Immigration seemed suspicious of this set up.
Once we do go back, I would go first with the kids and my USC husband would follow at a later date. How is it arranged? Do I let immigration know at the airport? Or do I just travel as usual but just not return. Would my husband need to do anything in terms of citizenship in order to stay.

thanks
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Originally Posted by usoruk
I am hoping they will adjust, but we moved to NJ from another state last summer, and it took my 12 year old ages to adjust. It takes time for him to make friends.

He gets upset and quarrels about it, and says he does not want to go through it all over again. Not to mention losing all his US video games!!!

Also do I need the kids to have British nationality before they begin schooling in th UK and obviously the older kids have missed their chance to do the 11+.

A side question. Due to my dad being sick and his subsequent passing , I had to go back to the UK twice in the last 7 months, with my 3 year old. I bought one way tickets as I did not know the exact date of my return. Immigration seemed suspicious of this set up.
Once we do go back, I would go first with the kids and my USC husband would follow at a later date. How is it arranged? Do I let immigration know at the airport? Or do I just travel as usual but just not return. Would my husband need to do anything in terms of citizenship in order to stay.

thanks
As long as you all have UK passports (you and the kids) you don't need to do anything speacial. Your USC husband will need a UK spouse visa and would be able to apply for UK citizenship after living in the UK for 3 years. He must have the UK visa before he arrives in the UK (trips to look at housing etc are fine but by the time he comes to settle he will need the visa).
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:00 pm
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Sorry, but I can't answer any of the questions in your last post, just wanted to give you some moral support.

We did this the opposite way, moving from the UK to US last February with a 16, 12 and 10 year old. They were absolutely terrified at the prospect of going to a new school with a different accent, the middle one absolutely refused to go on the school bus etc etc.

As a mother, you want your children to feel secure and settled and I worried myself sick over whether we were doing the right thing. The youngest one settled the quickest, made friends relatively easy and all in all, she had the easiest transition. The middle one took slightly longer, took longer to make friends, the first day that I took her, she was in tears and it ripped my heart out The oldest (long story) eventually didn't go to High School, but is now at College and the first 8 months or so with her over here were torture. She hated it, didn't have any friends, hated us I think. It was a hard struggle that first year.

A year or so on, the 2 youngest ones are excelling at school, always out in the fresh air with their friends, have been on field trips they wouldn't have got back home and have become a lot more independent. The oldest one now has an american boyfriend (she left one back home!!) and is doing really well at college, is back to her old self.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that your worries are totally normal, you're a mum and worry for everyone in the family. I know that your tweens are going to rebel, they may even say that they hate you the odd time, but you have to do what's right for the whole family. I'm sure that they will adjust fine to the UK schooling system and I'm sure there will be guidance counsellors to help them settle in too. Don't stress too much about it, this is a big move for you all and I'm sure it will all fall in to place. Sending you good wishes for your future and I'm sure someone else will be along to advise you on your other questions
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Old May 6th 2011, 1:14 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Brat1- as you have done the reverse. Are you happy with the move. Do you wish at any point that you would have rather brought the children up in a British lifestyle. Any major differences in subjects ie maths conversions, history/geography??

I do not want to leave the move later than I have already. But with no jobs/home etc, to go to, will it be possible, am I just dreaming.

I will continue to research and hope a great opportunity will allow us to make a positive move forward...thanks to all...
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Old May 6th 2011, 4:27 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

I'm contemplating bringing an 11 year old and a 13 year old back to the UK later this year.

Am dreading the "finding a decent school" bit, let alone getting them settled in.

With regards to curriculum, I'm thinking extra Maths tuition would be prudent, but they can hopefully slot back in with most other stuff.

The 11 year old is OK about it all and her first question was Do I have to wear school uniform again?

The 13 year old, not so much - many tears and worries for her I think. She is happy here.
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Old May 6th 2011, 11:41 am
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Originally Posted by usoruk
Brat1- as you have done the reverse. Are you happy with the move. Do you wish at any point that you would have rather brought the children up in a British lifestyle. Any major differences in subjects ie maths conversions, history/geography??

I do not want to leave the move later than I have already. But with no jobs/home etc, to go to, will it be possible, am I just dreaming.

I will continue to research and hope a great opportunity will allow us to make a positive move forward...thanks to all...
Yes, after a lot of ups and downs, I am happy with the move overall with regards to the kids. I think they have become much more respectful to people round about them, and I've found the kids here in our town very polite and it's definitely rubbed off on my own so that can only be a good thing. I haven't seen nearly as much drinking or hanging around street corners here, but I don't know if that's just where we are or more widespread so again, for me, that's a good thing. At no point would I criticise back home, it's just I've found the culture here different and feel that my kids certainly haven't suffered with us moving here.

However, the move to a different curriculum did come with some problems. The Math for my 8th grader seemed further ahead than back home and they seem to progress on to new stuff quicker, so they have to keep up more in my opinion. The amount of homework and projects is a lot more than what they got back home, to a point where sometimes I think it's too much. The subject of History and Geography is totally different here according to my kids, I'd have to take their word on that I'm afraid.

You know, kids are resilient, as mine have proved. When we said goodbye to the girls grandparents, my middle daughter was physically sick outside their home because she had got so upset. When I look at her now, I don't regret a minute of it. Was it hard, God yes. Was there times when I sat and thought "what the hell are we doing to these kids" - yes. Would I put them through it again if we had to move back to the UK - yes. I think the whole experience has made them more adaptable to change and more outgoing in the whole making new friends thing.

I don't know if any of this helps you in your decision. The fact that if we had to move back tomorrow, we'd have no jobs, no home etc, scares the c..p out of me, but we would cope. You make decisions in life that you think are the right ones at the time, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but you do what you think is right and somehow, we always work our way through it. I'm sorry you're in this do I or don't I position at the moment, but it will work out and if you take my advice, always keep the kids in the loop with what's happening. Feel free to PM me if you need a chat, I'm a good listener

Good luck!!
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Old May 6th 2011, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

thanks all- I feel I really want to go back for me. None of my family are saying lets go to the UK. its just me wanting to be nearer to my mum/siblings and I miss all things English and can not find it here.

All I think about why did'nt we move years ago, when kids were little and what was I thinking, leaving everything behind as if it would not matter. The regret of not being nearer to my dad when he passed away, my kids did not get to spend quality time with him or any of my side of the family.

Hubby's family is spread out, as are most American families I feel, in UK we are, perhaps more close knit than here, so miss them more. I don't know what we are doing here so far from the ones we love. I am so desperate to go back and get my kids intergrated in British culture quickly before they are any older and get used to the empty American suburban way of life. thanks again
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Old May 6th 2011, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Originally Posted by usoruk
thanks all- I feel I really want to go back for me. None of my family are saying lets go to the UK. its just me wanting to be nearer to my mum/siblings and I miss all things English and can not find it here.

All I think about why did'nt we move years ago, when kids were little and what was I thinking, leaving everything behind as if it would not matter. The regret of not being nearer to my dad when he passed away, my kids did not get to spend quality time with him or any of my side of the family.

Hubby's family is spread out, as are most American families I feel, in UK we are, perhaps more close knit than here, so miss them more. I don't know what we are doing here so far from the ones we love. I am so desperate to go back and get my kids intergrated in British culture quickly before they are any older and get used to the empty American suburban way of life. thanks again
Looks like you've made your mind up - good luck, I'm sure it will all work out just fine so stop worrying
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Old May 6th 2011, 3:41 pm
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Lightbulb Re: schooling for tweens in UK

Originally Posted by usoruk
thanks all- I feel I really want to go back for me. None of my family are saying lets go to the UK. its just me wanting to be nearer to my mum/siblings and I miss all things English and can not find it here.

All I think about why did'nt we move years ago, when kids were little and what was I thinking, leaving everything behind as if it would not matter. The regret of not being nearer to my dad when he passed away, my kids did not get to spend quality time with him or any of my side of the family.

Hubby's family is spread out, as are most American families I feel, in UK we are, perhaps more close knit than here, so miss them more. I don't know what we are doing here so far from the ones we love. I am so desperate to go back and get my kids intergrated in British culture quickly before they are any older and get used to the empty American suburban way of life. thanks again
Oh you poor thing! I live in a northern New Jersey suburban town too. It's pleasant enough, but I've never felt it as "home" and I will be leaving the US in the next 18-24 months. Which part of NJ are you in?

Do any of your kids have British passports? If they enter the UK on their US ones they will be deemed as 'tourists' lol so it's far better that you get British passports for them - they're automatically British citizens so no need to get long term visas for them.

As for your husband, it's apparently very much easier to take a spouse to the UK than into the US; he will need to apply for a visa (called "Indefinite Leave to Remain" ie. permanent residency). All of you will be eligible for NHS care as soon as you move to the UK.

You will find a wealth of information about getting your spouse a visa on the UK-Yankee website (for Americans and Canadian expats moving to or living in the UK):

http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?board=17.0 (visa info)

http://talk.uk-yankee.com/ (all other forums)

http://www.uk-yankee.com/ (Home page)

Hope this helps!

PS: If you need to get British passports for your children, all the info is in a 'sticky' at the top of the US forums on this website.....apparently it's taking quite a few weeks at the moment....and be warned, it's not cheap!
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