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School Years Question

School Years Question

Old Jun 29th 2010, 10:29 am
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Default School Years Question

I am emigrating with my family to the USA later in July. We're just sorting out schooling but I'm unsure for my youngest two of school "grades".

My 8 year old (turned 8 in May) is in Y3 (would be going into Y4) - this would place her in "Grade 2" going into "Grade 3" in September. My concern is that she's top of her class here in the UK, she really is a bright kid - how will she find grade 3?

My son is 6 (turned 6 in Jan) and is in Y1 going up to Y2. This would put him in Kindergarten going into grade 1. I think he'd be ok with this, he's very bright with maths but reading is slightly below average for the UK.

Thoughts? My main concern here is my daughter not being challenged, equally I'm not sure (even if it's an option) of her going ahead a year is viable from the social standpoint...

Both of them have been in school for 2 years before Y1 (half day playschool, full time reception year)
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 11:37 am
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Default Re: School Years Question

Hi

Start here:

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/What_d...kids_in_school

FWIW they generally refer to the grades here as 'Second Grade' or 'Third Grade' instead of Grade 2 or Grade 3, but you'll find it varies from region to region.

I also **strongly** recommend reading through this entire thread about K/1st grade (i.e. your son's age) and some of the issues that might arise.

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=643985

It's important to note that many US kids have been in school since age 4 as well. Headstart, K-4 programs and other pre-school activities have them learning many of the same things that they are learning in reception in the UK. While legally school doesn't start until 5 for most Americans, there are certainly many who will have been in school as long as your kids.

Third Grade in the US is an extremely important point in a child's development. I know this might sound odd, but there is a great deal of emphasis on 3rd grade and how it is sort of a breakpoint where kids not only have some academic development but raise to another level of social development as well. Reading and math skills developed at this level are essential building blocks to the next few years and many educators really stress the importance of 3rd grade in a child's development.

Please get as much information as you can (i.e. grades, transcripts, curriculum guides) from your schools in the UK at this point and bring them with you when you come to the US. If you want to 'up' a grade (i.e. vs. their age group) you will need to sit down with the principal and guidance officers and show that the work they have done is satisfactory and that they are emotionally and socially ready for the higher grade (this is actually more important). Some schools are like 'yeah, whatever, go to the higher grade' and others are like 'we really don't think this a good idea'. It will come down to the school and people involved.

And get your vaccinations up to scratch. There are some they will need to get that are not part of the standard NHS requirements, so get them while they are free (or cheaper) over there.

final note: everything about schools in the US is incredibly geographically dependent, down to what side of the street you live on. What state/city are you going to be living in? It's a huge country and schools vary in rules, regulations and quality.

Last edited by penguinsix; Jun 29th 2010 at 11:40 am.
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Thanks penguinsix, that was a very conscise answer. We're going to Utah, Alpine School District. I had a look here http://www.immunize-utah.org/provide...quirements.htm and it seems my kids will need Hep A and Hep B vaccinations. They've had all the others.
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Originally Posted by Sproik View Post
I am emigrating with my family to the USA later in July. We're just sorting out schooling but I'm unsure for my youngest two of school "grades".

My 8 year old (turned 8 in May) is in Y3 (would be going into Y4) - this would place her in "Grade 2" going into "Grade 3" in September. My concern is that she's top of her class here in the UK, she really is a bright kid - how will she find grade 3?

My son is 6 (turned 6 in Jan) and is in Y1 going up to Y2. This would put him in Kindergarten going into grade 1. I think he'd be ok with this, he's very bright with maths but reading is slightly below average for the UK.

Thoughts? My main concern here is my daughter not being challenged, equally I'm not sure (even if it's an option) of her going ahead a year is viable from the social standpoint...

Both of them have been in school for 2 years before Y1 (half day playschool, full time reception year)
Hi Sproik,

I still remember my elementary school days well. I started reading chapter books when I was 6 and was always at the top of the class, ahead even. My school was so great about making sure myself and students like me were still challenged. I stayed in the year I was meant to and was still in class with everyone else, but there was a group of four or five of us who had a separate list of spelling words, different reading assignments, etc. When I was in 4th grade (9/10), I remember there were three levels of math within my class, and we all took a test at the beginning of the year to be placed. From then on, we would just do worksheets from our group, but everyone would do math at the same time (if that makes sense).

If you end up in a good school, they will work with your daughter to ensure she's being challenged. As for moving up a year, your daughter may be asked to take a test to show she's ready for the year up. It depends by school, but that's just something to be prepared for. And like penguinsix said, the school your children go to depends on where you're living. If you haven't chosen a house yet, I would suggest researching the schools within the different areas you're interested in and contacting them about your concerns.

Best of luck with your move,
~Nej
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 1:24 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Thanks Nejicano. We found a property last week so now know the schools. We'll be calling them today to start applications and discussions. I think from what I've read today they'd be better off in their own area. The local elementary has great reviews on greatschools.org so I think as long as we work with the teacher they'll be great. My 8 year old loves reading (read her first Harry Potter book at 6).

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 2:40 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Even if they are educationally doing really well in UK I'd keep them with their own age group. It may make for an easy year at school but they already have a lot on their plate with moving and making new friends. So socially they may be better off with kids their own age.
In our school they would be entering 1st grade and 3rd grade.
Here if they have a talent in one area (say reading) they will test and have them read books from their reading level, not just what everyone is reading.
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

At the school my son, and shortly daughter, go to they have a couple of "challenge" classes. They test the kids who show signs of being 'gifted' in first grade and they can then be moved into these more advanced classes from second grade. I saw some of their work when I was last in the school and it is pretty amazing what these kids can do!
But I agree that it is best to put children in classes with other kids their own ages. The school system is different here than in the UK and each state has their own requirements. I spoke to the school Principal before we came over and I decided to put my 6 year old son in first grade as he had done 2 years of school in the UK. He was not ready for first grade and at Christmas we moved him down to Kindergarten where he has flourished. In Indiana you have to be 6 by August 1 to go into first grade and my son was 6 at the end of August. We arrived in the US at the end of October. My daughter starts Kindergarten this fall when she will be 5 1/2. She did 6 weeks of Reception class in the UK before we moved here and she has not been in school since so I have no idea how she will get on.
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

One thing to watch out for when choosing is the school programmes for supporting gifted children. It is often the first area to be cut when times are hard, such as now! Some states have laws that require schools to support children considered gifted, but most do not.
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Old Jun 29th 2010, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
Even if they are educationally doing really well in UK I'd keep them with their own age group. It may make for an easy year at school but they already have a lot on their plate with moving and making new friends. So socially they may be better off with kids their own age.
In our school they would be entering 1st grade and 3rd grade.
Here if they have a talent in one area (say reading) they will test and have them read books from their reading level, not just what everyone is reading.

I agree - social adjustment and stage of social development are as important as finding the correct cognitive/education level. Some children adjust to being a year younger than their peer group, but I'd be careful about putting a child in that situation, especially after a major relocation.
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Old Jul 9th 2010, 3:06 am
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Default Re: School Years Question

I have been in the US for a year now and have been amazed by the schooling system, even though kids don't start school until later in age when they do they are expected to learn so much more here than in the UK. They also get a considerable amount of help if they need it.

I wouldn't recommend trying to up a grade as just getting to understand the way the US works will be work in itself. My two children are much older than yours and they spent the first few months "working things out" and catching up on the large amount that they didn't know as well as trying to keep up with the current curriculum. And me i spent that time coming to terms with how little they had learnt in their time in good UK state schools. The social studies i expected, but the English and Math came as a shock.

Obviously all schools are different UK and US but just thought to let you know my experience. It has so far been a fantastic but enlightening experience and when we return to the UK i expect them both to be well ahead of their peers in their knowledge and learning (with the exception of History of course)

Good luck in your move and school choice and if your child does once settled excel as in the UK you will always have the option to jump a grade later on.
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Old Jul 9th 2010, 9:02 am
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Default Re: School Years Question

Originally Posted by tessiej View Post
I have been in the US for a year now and have been amazed by the schooling system, even though kids don't start school until later in age when they do they are expected to learn so much more here than in the UK. They also get a considerable amount of help if they need it.

I wouldn't recommend trying to up a grade as just getting to understand the way the US works will be work in itself. My two children are much older than yours and they spent the first few months "working things out" and catching up on the large amount that they didn't know as well as trying to keep up with the current curriculum. And me i spent that time coming to terms with how little they had learnt in their time in good UK state schools. The social studies i expected, but the English and Math came as a shock.

Obviously all schools are different UK and US but just thought to let you know my experience. It has so far been a fantastic but enlightening experience and when we return to the UK i expect them both to be well ahead of their peers in their knowledge and learning (with the exception of History of course)

Good luck in your move and school choice and if your child does once settled excel as in the UK you will always have the option to jump a grade later on.
I totally agree with this. Everybody told me that the American schools were so far behind England and by moving I was effectively damaging my children for life! They were in years 4 and 5 at home and they went into third and fourth grade here. I was amazed at how far behind they were as the schools here seem to focus much more on the 3 R's, a bit like how school USED to be in England! They were given extra homework to bring them up to speed and they can now both do long division easily which isn't even taught until secondary school where we are from in Kent.

Obviously they are never going to learn in detail as much world history as they would but I will help them learn about that and coupled with all they learn on American history I think it's a great opportunity for them. My daughter can name every single state in America which for a 10 year old English girl, I think is remarkable!

I appreciate my experience isn't wholly representative of the USA but it's my opinion on the area we live in.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old Jul 9th 2010, 9:48 am
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Default Re: School Years Question

Hi there

we have just returned back to the UK from a 5 day visit trip to the USA. We are relocating there in two weeks time and went over to sort out a house and school for our two kids.

I cant speak for state schools but we had my two children age 10 and 12 tested (SAT) and both of them came out below average for the USA system. My eldest is in year 7 here in the UK and she is very outgoing and they also took into consideration the difference in imperial system vs metric etc and gave her the benefit of the doubt but she fell in 30% under the average student in an independent school (and she is considered bright here in the UK) she will continue on into 8th grade and see how it goes. My other daughter is in year 5 and she was 50% under the average 5th grader so she is going to repeat year 5 again as she will just not cope. The thing about the schooling here in the UK is the class sizes are so big both girls have 36 children in there classes and the independent school in the US has a max of 21 so hopefully this attention will help pull up there marks.

Not sure how this helps but thought i would let you know our journey. BTW we are moving to Louisville Kentucky.

If you have any other questions i can help with let me know - good luck
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Old Jul 9th 2010, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Originally Posted by Sproik View Post
I am emigrating with my family to the USA later in July. We're just sorting out schooling but I'm unsure for my youngest two of school "grades".

My 8 year old (turned 8 in May) is in Y3 (would be going into Y4) - this would place her in "Grade 2" going into "Grade 3" in September. My concern is that she's top of her class here in the UK, she really is a bright kid - how will she find grade 3?

My son is 6 (turned 6 in Jan) and is in Y1 going up to Y2. This would put him in Kindergarten going into grade 1. I think he'd be ok with this, he's very bright with maths but reading is slightly below average for the UK.

Thoughts? My main concern here is my daughter not being challenged, equally I'm not sure (even if it's an option) of her going ahead a year is viable from the social standpoint...

Both of them have been in school for 2 years before Y1 (half day playschool, full time reception year)
Your daughter may get tested for the academically gifted programs that most (if not all) school districts have. I'm sure if you and/or her teacher see that the work is not challenging enough, either one of you can request her to be tested.

Best of luck!
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Old Jul 9th 2010, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Originally Posted by koetsier View Post
Hi there

we have just returned back to the UK from a 5 day visit trip to the USA. We are relocating there in two weeks time and went over to sort out a house and school for our two kids.

I cant speak for state schools but we had my two children age 10 and 12 tested (SAT) and both of them came out below average for the USA system. My eldest is in year 7 here in the UK and she is very outgoing and they also took into consideration the difference in imperial system vs metric etc and gave her the benefit of the doubt but she fell in 30% under the average student in an independent school (and she is considered bright here in the UK) she will continue on into 8th grade and see how it goes. My other daughter is in year 5 and she was 50% under the average 5th grader so she is going to repeat year 5 again as she will just not cope. The thing about the schooling here in the UK is the class sizes are so big both girls have 36 children in there classes and the independent school in the US has a max of 21 so hopefully this attention will help pull up there marks.

Not sure how this helps but thought i would let you know our journey. BTW we are moving to Louisville Kentucky.

If you have any other questions i can help with let me know - good luck
Hey there. Couldn't help but see you're heading to Louisville. Just wanted to say welcome. I'm a Louisville native (married to a Brit). If you need any help, feel free to send me a PM. Btw, what school did you get your children into if you don't mind my asking?
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Old Jul 9th 2010, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: School Years Question

Hi there
so nice to hear that! We had a wonderful 5 day trip and found louisville to be an amazing place, the people are so friendly and go out of their way to make you feel welcome, the food is great and the weather is divine (although i know winter is harsh).

We just bought a house in Lake Forest and our children are going to CAL.

Would be lovely to meet up once we are settled there, nice to "know" someone!
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