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Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Old Dec 30th 2014, 10:02 pm
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Default Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

I've done some research (scanned the web) and found conflicting opinions on moving children older than 11 or so. This appears to be mainly age and education system related and can also impact a person's emotional well-being in later life.

I'm going to get some professional advise too but just wondered if anybody had any first-hand experience?

We have approximately 6 months to prepare and I plan to get a tutor to educate the children on the US system and any gaps there might be in their knowledge, which could detrimentally impact their first year. Obviously, I'm not going to be able to cover everything and there will be challenges. Just wondering how big those challenges could be...
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Are you planing to stay in the US or is this short term? What visa?
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 10:14 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
Are you planing to stay in the US or is this short term? What visa?
The plan would be to stay indefinitely. I'll be transferring on an L-1A.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Do you have any specific concerns?

They're young enough to get into the swing of things before they need to start on GPA points. My kids adapted very well, slightly trickier for the older one since she was 16 and in junior year at high school and we weren't able to get GPA credit for her work from France, still on track to get into a great uni though (Pulaski!!!) . No probs at all for the younger two.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Do you have any specific concerns?

They're young enough to get into the swing of things before they need to start on GPA points. My kids adapted very well, slightly trickier for the older one since she was 16 and in junior year at high school and we weren't able to get GPA credit for her work from France, still on track to get into a great uni though (Pulaski!!!) . No probs at all for the younger two.
Nothing specific as such - just had people looking at me like I have multiple heads and asking how I could do it to them. Some of my family are not very supportive and it makes me wonder whether they are right or not. I do worry about the children not getting on there and either having to come home or living with unhappy children. That's my worst nightmare - unhappy children.

That's what I was hoping (GPA points) and if I can get them some knowledge before they get out there, I'm hoping they won't be too stressed. I also have two younger ones and am not so concerned about them.

Thanks for your reply.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:15 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by Suspended View Post
The plan would be to stay indefinitely. I'll be transferring on an L-1A.
Make sure you have a guarantee of a green card application in your contract, after a relatively short period, say a year. Others know more about this than me, though. If the L1 is for five years and you are returned to the UK with a 17 and 18 year old, that would impact them much more than moving them at 12 and 13.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:17 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

We moved our 14 & 16 year old sons to Pennsylvania this summer. They are both settling in well so far - younger one is more of a joiner-in, elder one has got his head down and is working hard to get his credits in place over this year and next.

My sister-in-law lives in Port Charlotte, Florida and despairs of her local schools for her 8 year old son.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post
Make sure you have a guarantee of a green card application in your contract, after a relatively short period, say a year. Others know more about this than me, though. If the L1 is for five years and you are returned to the UK with a 17 and 18 year old, that would impact them much more than moving them at 12 and 13.
Thanks, that's already been discussed and would be a show-stopper for me if it wasn't written in.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by lizzyq View Post
We moved our 14 & 16 year old sons to Pennsylvania this summer. They are both settling in well so far - younger one is more of a joiner-in, elder one has got his head down and is working hard to get his credits in place over this year and next.

My sister-in-law lives in Port Charlotte, Florida and despairs of her local schools for her 8 year old son.
That's good to hear about yours in PA. I've also heard some horrors re the schools in Florida. Apart from my colleagues, I'm also going on ratings found in greatschools.org. Can these be relied upon? The areas I'm looking at rate highly but I'll also be talking with parents that send their children to the same schools.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

We're moving our 18, 16 and 11 year olds to Chicago next month. The older 2 did an induction day at their new HS and the youngest spent a morning at his new Middle school when we visited in Oct. This helped them with the 'what to expect' issues.

People here in the UK and on this forum think we're bonkers to make the move at their ages, but equally I've had some great advice from forum members too.

As an aside, I can see it from the other side as I was uprooted at the end of 8th grade of my American International and send back to England to go to boarding school as there wasn't a suitable high school. I don't think the change of education system was detrimental to me.
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

If you are committed to staying forever it won't be a huge problem, although my 12-year-old son didn't find it easy to start with (California).

If you leave in a few years' time it is more difficult all round.
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 12:56 am
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

If the kids are happy about the move, and looking forward to the experience, it'll be fine. I moved an almost 12 year old here, who'd been educated in Switzerland in French for almost 4 years previously, and even that went remarkably well.

I honestly don't think they'll need tutors. The only thing to watch for is the Maths - the vocabulary is sometimes a little different here (exponents rather than powers, etc), and they go muuuuch deeper into fractions than the more sensible metric-using countries, so if they don't already effortlessly know how to multiply and divide things like 13/11 into 8 and 6/7, then that'll need brushing up. Kahn Academy would be excellent for this.

A quick and cheap way to check where they are versus US peers is to go onto US Amazon and order '7th (or whatever) grade Math' workbooks, which say that they're compatible with Common Core (National Curriculum for most of the US, adopted over the last couple of years).

Math is usually the only thing to really focus on, because most schools do an accelerated track for the academically stronger kids - in my son's school, this is around the top 20%, so if your kids are in high sets for Math, get them on this path. It'll pay off in spades in high school, as they'll be ahead of the game in credits and able to progress to more complicated stuff like Calculus in their Junior or Senior year. When you get here, make an appointment to see the school counsellor and have them explain the middle/ high school process to you, and find out what the possible roadblocks are at each stage; the 'doh, if only I'd known that two years ago' things.

Mapping a path like this is incredibly important, as the high school classes are so individualized - kids aren't in a school year as such, they're in a sequence of classes, per subject. My son, for example, is doing 9th grade English and Social Studies, but 10th grade Math and Science, and entirely leapfrogged a year in French from his Swiss schooling so is the only 9th grader in that class. This is all perfectly normal, and the counsellors will (in my experience) be really helpful about getting the level right per subject, but sometimes the trajectory is easier to set back in 7th and 8th grade.

Other than maths, I wouldn't worry overmuch. You might want to get a Language Arts workbook and check they're up to speed on the ridiculously formulaic essay writing (3 or 5 paragraph, main idea, topic sentences, conclusion, painting by numbers for words) but they'll probably be comfortably ahead on writing anyway. For US history, watch The Story of Us - DVD, or perhaps on Netflix - it's outrageously jingoistic hoopla-hoopla nonsense, but very engaging for this age group, and covers off the main events and characters at more than the level a middle schooler would need. Mine seemed to spend most of middle school doing the Ancient World and WWII anyway.

Honestly, it'll be fine. At their ages, they'll integrate perfectly well academically, so as long as they're comfortable with the move and prepared to make a little effort socially, they'll slot right in. (I'm assuming British kids are a bit more standard in Florida; my teen is a total accent god and treated like a celebrity here in Arizona).
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 1:27 am
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by Suspended View Post
That's good to hear about yours in PA. I've also heard some horrors re the schools in Florida. Apart from my colleagues, I'm also going on ratings found in greatschools.org. Can these be relied upon? The areas I'm looking at rate highly but I'll also be talking with parents that send their children to the same schools.
Where are you looking in Florida?

Husband was offered a job in Orlando, but after I checked out the local schools we decided not to make the move.

I looked into private schools which cost $15-20k per year per child and seemed like a reasonable option, but they didn't seem much better than the public schools we have locally so I was loath to make the move.
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 1:40 am
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

The biggest difference in education I foresee for your kids in terms of curriculum is American history. If your children can start reading up on it now that will help them. My kids have done nothing but American history, world history seems to come in high school where I am. You should be able to go to the county's education website (you intend to relocate to) and download the curriculum.

I recently downloaded the UK curriculum and compared it with our US one and the core subjects seem on par for my kids. Mine are 7 and 9 years old so it may be different for yours.

My husband grew up in Casselberry Florida (Orlando area) and in laws still live there so if you need any further info give me a shout.
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 2:07 am
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Default Re: Moving a 12 and 13 year old to Florida

Originally Posted by Bnet36 View Post
My kids have done nothing but American history, world history seems to come in high school where I am.
I think that, when the time comes, you will find that "world history" looks remarkably like "more American history" ...
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