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OK where to start.....

OK where to start.....

Old Jun 4th 2015, 8:18 pm
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Default OK where to start.....

My husband is almost guaranteed a special immigration visa with his work (obviously things can and do go wrong), and we are thinking of moving to Texas as our first base and experience of US life, as have heard many a good thing about the state.

I will be on my own there with our 6 children and am focusing our search to Austin area, notably Round Rock and Pflugerville. I have read a lot about the driving situation and how to get a licence (a red taped procedure) despite being very nervous at the prospect of driving on the other side of the road and eventually passing yet another test less than 2 years from taking it in the UK. I am not sure how the SSN and insurance for pre existing conditions (gallbladder issues and child with epilepsy) would work though.

I think I get the school system and have read about the vaccinations and that you have an assigned school. I however am not sure how good the SEN provision is and how you go about making sure they get the help they deserve within a school setting. With 2 boys with learning needs, this is my main concern.

I think what I want to know is how good are these areas for a young family (aged 15 to 2), and what is transport like for those days when I do not feel like driving? How hot does it really get? I have never been to the states at all, Husband has but I haven't and not sure what should I expect really.

I am quite adaptable and easy going yet understand that this is a massive move for us and being on my own in a new country is going to take more adaptations than I have ever had to do. That said I am looking forward to this new experience for myself and our children and a new start should bring some amazing opportunities hopefully.

Any thoughts on Spring, San Antonio and Flower Mound area would be welcomed too as back up solutions especially when you can get a pool with a house for our budget.

Sorry for the ramble and waffle, just thought I would ask as there is such a lot to think about in preparation.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 8:51 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Type of visa?

One presumes you are getting insurance through your husband's work. Even so for now, pre-existing conditions are not an issue.

Good luck with six kids, I have enough trouble with one!
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Husband has insurance which we will be added to, that is interesting that pre existing conditions are not an issue.

The type of Visa will be a Special Immigration visa (specialized green card) which is issued to Afghan nationals helping the US government

6 kids are not an issue really, they are a joy (most of the time), has become easier the more I have had if I am honest.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Originally Posted by stockhall View Post
Husband has insurance which we will be added to, that is interesting that pre existing conditions are not an issue.
All health insurance must be ACA compliant which means the premium can only be based on age and smoking. What your out of pocket expenses to treat a particular condition are is a different matter and will depend on the fine print.

The type of Visa will be a Special Immigration visa (specialized green card) which is issued to Afghan nationals helping the US government
I doubt many people here would have any experience of those. If the bottom line is that you have an actual greencard, I'd say it's pretty good.

I found this link for others reading that might be interested http://travel.state.gov/content/visa...rk-for-us.html

6 kids are not an issue really, they are a joy (most of the time), has become easier the more I have had if I am honest.
I'll take your word on that.

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Old Jun 4th 2015, 9:11 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Spring in the Houston suburbs, or a different Spring?

The Austin area probably has the best public transport in Texas, but that really doesn't mean much. You will get used to driving pretty much everywhere. There are a few areas in Texas where you could possibly get by without public transport, but unless you have a high income, you would not be able to afford somewhere which would both fit six kids and feel safe.

On the driving, do not worry about the driving test, other than maybe practicing parallel parking. Worry instead about the fact that anyone can drive once they've passed this very basic test, and drive as defensively as you can.

The heat? In the height of summer, few people spend long periods outside if they can avoid it. You go from your air-conditioned house to your air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned work and back again each day, with a few minutes outside walking in from the work car park. That said, most of the year the weather is pretty pleasant.

What does the US offer you that the UK doesn't?

On the pool, bear in mind you will need to pay for maintenance as well. Depending on your likely income, you may be better off finding somewhere with a good community pool. Most, but not all, decent suburban subdivisions have one, sometimes more.

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Old Jun 4th 2015, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

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Old Jun 4th 2015, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Owen, for the what does it offer?

we loose a fair amount of money every time husband sends money home converting from dollars to pounds thanks to the charging system not just the currency conversion. I have a friend in Austin that talks a lot about how living expenses are cheaper once you ignore insurance etc.... the cost of a 5 bed house is much less in the states than in the UK, we would find it very hard to find a property in the UK for the same price and same space in a good schooling district. I just makes more economical sense and we need to move basically.

In answer to your other question yes it is Spring near Houston.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Hi Stockhall, I'm in NW Austin with 3 kids. JJMB might be along and she lives in Pflugerville so she will be able to give you headsup on schools there.

You will be driving everywhere. Don't even hope to use public transport as it's useless. Getting your driver's license is fairly easy to do - Social security number comes first and the only issue you might have is that if your marriage certificate is not in English then the social security people will send it away to be translated and this takes a bit of time. No big deal, you can drive on your UK license until you get that sorted.

It's pretty hot here - today will be about 88 F degrees (31Celsius) and that is cooler than normal for this time of year. A pool is great BUT the water costs are high so if you can get a community pool that's a good option, maintenance is not too onerous once you've got the hang of it all.

My kids are in Round Rock school district even though we are 10 miles or so from Round Rock. Schools are very variable around here. My kids go to Westwood HS and Canyon Vista MS which are both excellent and the "poster schools" for roundrock isd. Be careful when you choose your school, I think JJMB wasn't desperately stunned with the pflugerville school her kids went to although they turned out OK!

I think Austin is a good place to live and bring up kids. It's pleasant, green, lots of parks, protected green spaces. There isn't a huge amount to keep kids entertained but there are lots of places to go..(does that make sense?) most of them involving cool clear water...

if you have specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 9:43 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

I am British and husband is a dual citizen part Afghan part British, everything we have is in English.

I don't mind venturing off but my kids can not swim (for many reasons I will not divulge into) so water probably not the best option.

All I need to start off with are parks and green spaces (forgot to mention I am looking into bringing our Lab over).

I think the HS we tend to come under for my saved searches is Hendrickson which at first glance has a good SEN provision. Researching schools from afar is quite tricky though.

Thanks for the imput.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 10:27 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

If your kids can't swim, then I would not advise getting a house with a pool. You'll be a nervous wreck. We had a pool when the kids were little and even with a fence and locked gate I had to be very vigilant and was constantly enforcing the "pool rules". To this day, my kids can recite the 4 rules.....
We brought our dog over, not a big deal although she doesn't like the heat much, nor the coyotes, ants, rats, cockroaches. And I live in a lovely clean house in a v nice suburb!
You could try looking through austincitydata for more info about special needs.

parks and green spaces - nearly all come with water. It's just too hot to go and play in the park during the day unless you can cool off somewhere. We tend to take our dog out at the very end of the day unless one of us gets up early for a run.

I don't know if any of your kids has a sport they are into but the cost and time that is invested in sports here was a bit of a surprise. My son likes swimming but he doesn't want to swim 2 hours a day every day before school......and I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for it either and this seems to be the case with most sports.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 10:45 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

we would be in rented accommodation to start and i plan for them to learn to swim, it is a fundamental life skill, and yes not the best idea, but space to get one for when they are water confident. sorry if I sounded rather thick, but been a long day.

I love the fact that your dog doesn't like the fauna of the area.

No sports fans here although I do have two interested in martial arts, being non sporty could be an interesting affair I feel.

will look on the city data page cheers.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Originally Posted by stockhall View Post

No sports fans here although I do have two interested in martial arts, being non sporty could be an interesting affair I feel.
my son could possibly be on the Olympic team for league of legends (or league of losers as we say just to annoy him..)! About par for the course for 15/16 yr old boys. At least he doesn't take drugs - always look on the bright side???

I think one of the reasons that sports are taken seriously here is the whole college application thing. Even if they're never going to be good enough to get a college sports scholarship it looks good to have a real interest in sport on the application form.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 10:59 pm
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I think that is a fab thing, gives the non academic a fair chance to further their schooling.

Fair to say I am very excited about giving this one hell of a good shot. My kids are bound to love the whole experience. Such a diverse country to explore over the years too.
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Old Jun 5th 2015, 12:23 am
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

This is a good guide to schools in Texas.
School Rankings | CHILDREN AT RISK
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Old Jun 5th 2015, 1:00 am
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Default Re: OK where to start.....

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
.... I'll take your word on that.
When I was a student I lodged with a family which comprised seven children. The youngest ones were largely ignored, especially by their father, and basic parenting was often delegated to the oldest ones who still lived at home.

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To the OP. The quality of schools is typically a function of the funds raised from taxation and parent donations/ "fundraising" of the municipality the school is located in. Therefore the schools your children will attend will be related to where you can afford to live. Don't set your heart on the very best rated schools because the cost of housing in the catchment area can be disproportionately expensive.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 5th 2015 at 1:08 am.
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