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StephH May 31st 2012 12:40 pm

School entry age in Houston
 
Hi, we are planning a work move from UK to Houston. My twin girls will be four in July this year and in Scotland that means they don't start school for another full year, in August 2013.

When do they start in US? Would my children be at a disadvantage? Thanks for your help!

penguinsix May 31st 2012 1:00 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
Finland starts kids at age 7 and has what is generally regarded as the best education system in the world so I wouldn't worry too much about a later start.

You might want to start here. Do you know exactly where you will be living in Houston? Schools are based on house location so it is rather important you get the right house.

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Educat...s_in_school%3F

Weeze May 31st 2012 1:07 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 

Originally Posted by StephH (Post 10092726)
Hi, we are planning a work move from UK to Houston. My twin girls will be four in July this year and in Scotland that means they don't start school for another full year, in August 2013.

When do they start in US? Would my children be at a disadvantage? Thanks for your help!

They'd start pre-k in August (if you paid for it) and Kindergarden the following August.

Yorkieabroad May 31st 2012 1:33 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
(I think) the age cut off here in Katy ISD is Sept 1st - they need to be 5 on that date to start school that year. Houston will have a similar date - you should be able to find out on their website, or calling the admissions teacher to the school you are/will be zoned to.

My Sister in Law in Austin was facing similar rules, so they have opted to do a private Kindergarten year this year, and then they are going to get their son tested for 1st grade. If he passes (which he will - reading 5th grade level already etc etc) then he will start 1st grade in the Fall.

With summer birthdays, a lot of folk hold them over till the following year - our pre-K teacher tried to persuade me to do that with my eldest (June birthday) but we didn't and he has done fine. But he "graduated" yesterday at 10 year old (11 next month) and there are quite a few 12 year olds in his class - there is even one girl in his class that is 13 already. Thats a big difference at this age!!

gemmabl May 31st 2012 3:48 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
Yes, schools are based on where you live in the city - and the school your children would go to is not necessarily the closest school. You could live in a great neighborhood, and your kids might be bused to a crummy school in a bad neighborhood. Wish we'd known that before moving here.

When my family moved here they bought a house before checking out the schools, and I was going to be bused to a school notorious for gang activity. My dad made a deal with his company and they paid for me to attend a private school instead. Could that be an option for you as part of your relocation package negotiations?

A year later we moved to another city in the US, and my parents checked out the schools and the zones before buying a house.

naomi May 31st 2012 4:07 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
Most children typically start Kindergarten at 5, going on 6. Different school districts have various policies though. Some parents hold their late summer-born children back a year though, so they start at 6 going on 7. Your girls won't be at a disadvantage starting in 2013, although they may be amongst the younger ones in the class.
Naomi.

redglade May 31st 2012 4:30 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
Welcome to Houston! If your girls are 4 this summer you can enroll them in a pre-K program. They will not be eligible for a state school pre-K, but plenty of church organizations and private schools run them. "School" proper begins with a Kindergarten class over here - children need to be 5 by Sept 1. Many parents choose to keep their children in private schools for that year too. A lot will depend on what you can afford and your own opinion of your local school.

Schools in Houston are organized by district and paid for by local taxes. Some school districts have an excellent reputation (e.g. Katy Independent School District, Friendswood ISD, Clear Creek ISD) and others less so. The school ratings are based on performance in state standardized testing and do not paint the full picture - you will want to visit your school and ask about stuff like how many kids in your child's class have English as a home language, how often do they have to rely on substitute teachers, etc. Each school has an attendance zone and your kids attend the school your home is "zoned" for - even though it may not be the closest geographically.

I've never heard of a problem with "getting in" to a private school over here. The successful ones grow to accommodate demand. Many are run by churches but generally the only requirement is that you can afford the fees.

Home Schooling is HUGE over here too - you may want to look into that.

Weeze May 31st 2012 4:38 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 

Originally Posted by redglade (Post 10093154)

I've never heard of a problem with "getting in" to a private school over here.

This was a big problem for many of my mom's club. Lots of the pre-schools and pre-Ks have long waiting lists just after they start accepting applications for that year. Some moms queued from 4am and still didnt get a place. We were lucky, the one we picked had a vacancy. It seems to be a particular problem at the big church run ones. Ours was one of the more expensive schools so I thnk that helped.

redglade May 31st 2012 4:46 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 

Originally Posted by Weeze (Post 10093170)
This was a big problem for many of my mom's club. Lots of the pre-schools and pre-Ks have long waiting lists just after they start accepting applications for that year. Some moms queued from 4am and still didnt get a place. We were lucky, the one we picked had a vacancy. It seems to be a particular problem at the big church run ones. Ours was one of the more expensive schools so I thnk that helped.

Must admit my younger was just past his 5th birthday when we got here so I didn't have do the pre-k thing, nevertheless I didn't think it was a problem. Which part of Houston are you in?

Bye the way - LOVE the Paddington Bear avatar!

Weeze May 31st 2012 4:50 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
Katy. Huge range of choice for preschools, but some are more popular than others. Plus, not all offer 2/3 part days. Some only want 5 days.

Paddington baking has been inspired by this thread;
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=760167

Yorkieabroad May 31st 2012 6:17 pm

Re: School entry age in Houston
 
I'll second that on the difficulty on getting in to some pre-K's, in south Katy at least - the popular church ones are crazy - people queueing from midnight the day before registration opens etc etc. We were lucky in that we came back to the US just after Christmas and waltzed straight into St Peters pre-K, and then once we were in, we had priority registration for the subsequent kids. Registration days were always full of hysterical moms who thought their kids were destined to a life of crime and debauchery because they'd either not got a place, or else had only got 3 days instead of the requested 4 etc etc.


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