Relocation with chi...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Relocation with children

Page 1 / 2
 
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

Hello,

I have seen many posts of those who have made the plunge in retirement, young and single and without children. What I am trying to wrap my mind around is taking the plunge with children. We have been considering this for several years now, been down half a dozen times, done most of the research and have a pretty good idea of what to expect on most fronts. We know our children will be happy no matter where we live (home is where the heart is at) and believe that the culture and genuine local folks we have met along the way will be of great benefit to the kids.

Would really like to know the following.

1. True cost of private school 10 to 15k per kid per year?

2. Is public school an option for our kids? They currently attend public but in the Midwest and in a system known for being above average.

3. Home schooling?

4. How prevalent are "school groups" and what exactly does that mean?

This is hopefully just the first in a series of questions that will arise but I want to thank all on the front end for your help, time and consideration.

Cheers!

Quote
Topic starter Posted : August 7, 2008 6:47 pm
christineg
(@christineg)
Advanced Member

Private school is approximately the price you stated. Public school is not an option if you are used to above stateside standard level schools. There are quite a few people who homeschool here. Sorry, I don't know what "school groups" you are referring too.

My problem, and know others disagree with me....but I have a 4 yr old and it is very hard for us to find different things to do. There are crab races and the beach, and after that we tend to get a little bored. However, people who have older school kids, (middle school and high school) say there are many more things for that age group.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 7, 2008 8:10 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

I'll try to answer your questions:

1 - That price range is the "norm" - like everything else in this world you get what you pay for. The higher the tuition, the higher the probability of getting a better education.

2 - While public scools are always an option, if you want the best education for youd kids plan on private schooling. I'm not trying to disparage the local public schools but it's your child's education and future on the line. Think of it interms of comparing the education your child would receive at an "inner city" school back home vs. a school in an affluent suburb. It's your choice but your child will have to live with the consequences.

3 - Home schooling is an option. Use the search feature on this forum and you'll find lots of threads discussing all aspects of the subject. It does take a big commitment (time, effort, etc.) on your part as the parent and "teacher" so be sure you know what you are getting into and are qualified to do it succesfully. Again, YOUR child's education is at stake - don't leave it to amatures.

4 - Have no idea what you mean by "school groups".

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 7, 2008 8:13 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

If you've never homeschooled, I wouldn't start that on top of such a major life change as a move to STX. If you come, you need to plan on and budget for private school.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 7, 2008 11:41 pm
limetime2
(@limetime2)
Advanced Member

There are a lot of options for private schools, lot depends on the age of your children. If your children are junior high to high school, there are only a handful of schools that would likely be acceptable for them academically and socially. If your children are elementary school there are more options - Church affiliated schools like Free Will Baptist and St. Mary's, young schools like A to Z Academy, the biggies like Country Day & Good Hope... and there are smaller private schools as well like Manor or Montessori that are really nice and offer excellent education. I recommend visiting them all and meeting children/parents who attend there.

Public Schools - I'm in agreement with the other posters - don't even consider it a possibility. In nationalized tests public school students in the VI rank in the bottom percentile, despite the fact that educational "spending" is about $2000.00 per student per year higher than average. If you value your children's future and can afford to send your kids to any of the private institutions... do. If there is not other option financially, then I'd recommend staying put until your kids graduate and go on to college. If you have to move here and have to send your children to public schools then you will have to become a very active parent and involve yourself in your child's education daily!

Social - there is a lot to do for both younger and older kids. There are swim teams and soccer teams for all age groups, there are pony clubs and sailing clubs and boy scouts and dance classes. There are plenty of people to meet and do 'play dates' with. There are after-school activities at many of the schools. Summer is a bit slow here but there will be lots to do soon! Make your own kids social club!

I grew up on a nearby island, going to a small private school (20 in my graduating class), with a lot of diversity and minimal stateside like after school activities. I feel that the experience has made me a better world citizen than I would have been if I'd been raised and schooled in the US. (I know that sounds hokey, but its true in so many ways, and don't get me wrong I'm very proud to be an American...but, we Americans are a wee bit spoiled and materialistic)....growing up in an island community opens eyes. 🙂

Good Luck to you and to your children.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 1:23 pm
trw
 trw
(@trw)
Expert

cool limetime2 i can't remember ever reading about the fact you grew up somewhere down here

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 1:35 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

I agree with lifetime2. We are older parents with a son who just turned 5. I believe that there are plenty of opportunities for social life for children but it is not as easy as in the states where, in my opinion, children are bombarded with extracurricular activities. Living on St. Croix is more like it was in the states when I was a child. More family time and less organized activity. He is more self entertaining and loves being outdoors exploring. All children are different however and I think the younger they come to the island the easier it is for them.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 2:55 pm
cruzkandy
(@cruzkandy)
Advanced Member

(Big Sigh) !!!! *-)

*****By the way how old are you kids?

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 4:11 pm
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

Good morning,

We have two 13 year olds (boy and girl) and one 18 month old (boy). We understand that we will have to pay for the level of education that we feel our children should have but feel that the lifestyle and worldly education will far outweigh this added expenditure. Considering what we currently pay in property taxes in order to be in a good public school district it should not be too much of a stretch.

As far as waiting until college, this has crossed our mind more than once (with the exception of the baby) but we are ready to make our move when the right opportunity presents itself. This time MAY be gelling very soon.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2008 4:29 pm
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

To chime in ( the other half of we);) a good education is priceless, but the budget is what it is and private school for 2 kid will definately be more than we pay in property taxes so any advice is appreciated.

Also any advice or willingness to share experiences for moving down with kids and family life would be much appreciated.

And would anyone be willing to chime in on nice areas to live / buy and areas to consider avoiding and why in thier personal opinion.

Ty

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2008 4:56 pm
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

Sorry forgot to state, we are currently considering relocating to St Thom due to job opportunity, however St Croix and others islands are certainly options if this does not pan out.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2008 5:20 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

I wouldn't move here (I'm on STT) with teenagers who have been in public schools stateside if you can't afford private schools here. I homeschooled my kid K-12 and in my experience, it isn't something kids or parents do well when the reason for doing it is something other than a passion for the process.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 5:29 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Yes but your property taxes will be very minor here. And even better don't buy. If you take your time you can definitely find a cheap rental. Owing a home here IMO is much more expensive then stateside. Something is always falling apart, and if you’re not handy you will pay thru the nose for someone that is good and reliable.

This is not a worldly culture you absolutely will not be giving your children a world view but a West Indian view. And this is a very small pop compared to the world and not much of a world player. I never understand this excuse. Just say you want to come and don't care about the children’s education. Because what you will get here is going to be a couple of years behind what you're getting stateside with large gaps missing altogether. They can't even keep computers in the schools because they keep getting stolen. If your kids end up going to college after going to school here they are going to have to struggle to catch up. I really wonder what SAT scores look like from the public schools.

Don't bring kids here if you can't afford the schooling.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 5:38 pm
cruzkandy
(@cruzkandy)
Advanced Member

Oh my gosh! What happens to all the kids that do graduate from public schools that ends up in college. We have Lawyers that have graduated from public school here. We have nurses, doctors, physicians assistants, teacher, ect. ect. I myself am a product of the Virgin Islands Public School system, I went to Elementary, Jr. High and some high school. I transfered to the states, and poor me, I wasn't falling behind in "ANY" of my classes. On the other hand, I excelled in "MY" classes, and was one of the top students graduating from my Georgia High School. In many cases, I did so well in my classes, I ended up being an assistant to many of my teachers. Betty those are "your" feelings about the public school system, but I take high offense to them and I feel it is a slap in the face to myself, a product of the Virgin Islands Public School system, and to my father who is a teacher in the V.I. Public school system and to all the hard working teachers that teach and put so much into the public schools here. Do you even have any kids that went to public schools here?

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 7:11 pm
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

Betty

Do you really feel it is cheaper to rent? We are upper midwest and plenty of things break with all of the weather changes and harsh winter conditions but it is still financially a better bet to own. Can you open my eyes to some of the issues homeowners face there please

Does your post apply to STX or STT?

And does it apply to public schools only, or private as well?

From everything we've heard not just here but from others on different islands as well private school cost are something we are factoring into our expenses when looking at the cost involved in relocating - However wouldn't it be nice if all said "no need, here on STT public schools are wonderful" No such luck. One of my major concerns is will the education be as good even in a private school as they are recieving here in the states, or might it possibly be better? Also will it negatively affect thier options for colleges and scholarship opportunities?
As to the "worldly" thing I think someone else said that. I don't think of STT as being worldly. I do however think that moving out of the states may broaden our childrens (and our) views allowing them to see that there are other places in the world and other options for them and different ways of doing things other than what they have known all of thier lives. I also would like to give them the opportunity to see that sometimes a simpler life with less things can be a better life. Also our experiences with people in the caribbean have been very warm and positive for the most part and hope that that enviroment would be a good one in which to raise our children. We are hoping this is not just vacation shine and that the positives mentioned will in our minds continue to outweigh the hassles of island life.

Thanks for any info and your candor

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2008 7:16 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Yes even on STT. Yes it is cheaper to rent. Downside is you don't get any equity BUT even our market has slowed. To sell a house here usually took at least a year even before the market slowed, now it could easily take two or three. And if a bad hurricane comes it may take you another 5 years to get back to your orginal purchase price. But the biggest reason to rent first is most people go back in less than a year. It is paradise for a vacation but it is not easy for most to live here. Give it that long before you buy and that way you will know what area you want to live in as well.

You may not get a rental with a view or anything fancy, but you can definitely get a rental much cheaper then a mortgage. You should come in the off season and give yourself a month or two. It would help tremdously if you have done some pmv and know where you want to live. Rule of thumb here is live close to your work. Try to make friends with someone from stt to ask about locations once you are there looking at possible rentals. On the islands it is very rare to have a 'good' area. It's is street by street.

If you buy a cheap house here to fix up, it is going to cost you and then some. Also most new people to the islands forget about hurricane insurance. Can't get a morgage without one. You're looking at atleast 3% of your home price. If anyone tells you its less get it in writing. So we don't have big property taxes but the insurance bill evens it out.

Our air is humid that makes it alot harder on everything in and out of the house but on top of that we have salt with makes everything break down faster. We live with out windows and doors open most of the day so it all comes inside as well. Most have wooden roofs that means repainting every 5 years at least, cisterns have to be cleaned and repainted about as often, windows rot and break much quicker, anything made out of wood (like decks or frames) will rot quicker, the list just keeps going on and on. There is NO cheap labor like stateside. I'm not going to tell you what my gardner charges, but hes good and it took so long to find a good one that knew how to put in gardens and soaker hoses, etc..

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 7:46 pm
Marty on STT
(@Marty_on_STT)
Trusted Member

I can't believe no one mentioned this......."CheeseHeads" aren't allowed here! Instead of "Go Pacs" we shout "Go HOME Pacs!"
(sorry, even though I've been here ten years, being from Detroit, I still hafta give Packers fans as much sh*t as I can....how's it feel to lose Golden Boy? Nah-nah, nah-nah, naahh-naaaaaahhhh!!:@))

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 8:03 pm
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

Marty,

Favre graced us with many years of fantastic and enjoyable football. We did not lose our golden boy, just was time to move on...that's all. I will watch the Jets games and root for Brett, that's the way we roll up here. 🙂

BTW - No worries on the ribbing as Detroit has not been a threat (or even on the radar) for some time now. Perhaps as the packers are rebuilding Detroit will have a chance to shine! lol

You do realize that the engineers at Harley are all cheeseheads right?

OK....back to business. We are extremely handy and know a bit about most things household. Basic plumbing, electrical, siding, landscaping and all things appliances. I understand salt air and humidity as I grew up on the gulf coast of Florida.

Also, try on 128 inches of snow coupled with ice and temperatures that fluctuate between - 50 below 0 and 98 above. Believe it or not, we do have a fair amount of humidity here in the summer located on Lake Michigan.

I think people tend to forget that it truly does take a village to raise a child and we have met many a local who did not have the advantage of private schools that are not only doing very well, but know more about many things (such as American politics) than many I have met here at home with stateside "higher" education. We will definitely factor in private school at this time but do appreciate the advice from all.

Thanks and keep it coming please!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2008 8:41 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

On STT, Antilles School does as good a job as good stateside schools in preparing kids for college. A couple of other private (religious) schools here do as good a job as decent stateside schools. Public schools here have anecdotal success, and it is generally only with kids whose parents are professional educators or similarly involved in their kid's education, and these aren't kids exposed to VI public schools for the first time as teenagers.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 8:48 pm
trw
 trw
(@trw)
Expert

Also, try on 128 inches of snow coupled with ice and temperatures that fluctuate between - 50 below 0 and 98 above. Believe it or not, we do have a fair amount of humidity here in the summer located on Lake Michigan.
ah those temps are mild,i lived in north dakota on the canadian border for 15 years

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 8:49 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Sometimes the contributors on this forum can sound a bit "blunt". Their purpose is not to disuade people from relocating but merely they are trying to advise potential newcomers to take off the rose colored glasses before they make the move and focus on the fact that the realities of everyday life happen in paradise much the same as anywhere else in the world. The truth is once you settle in attributes like hoping your children will "get a wordly view of life", take a back seat to doing the same houshold chores, paying the same types of bills, trying to earn a decent living, commuting to work, putting up with unpleasant co-workers, etc. that you experienced before you arrived on-island. You are who you are and your own personality isn't going to change much simply because there are palm tres and sandy beaches nearby.

Getting back to the schools, no one is saying people who graduate from the local public schools can't become successful doctors, lawyers, nurses or business men later in life. I can and does happen but it depends on the student's drive and desires and their willingness to put studies ahead of everything else. On the island where we have our home it is generally felt by locals and transplants alike that private schooling offers a student as significantly better at success than the public schools. That's why some locals make great personal sacrifices in order to send their child to private school. We learned this first hand when a year or so after we moved to the island we found out our housekeeper was "going without" many everyday items and using her entire paycheck to pay the private school tuition for her son because she wanted to give him the opportunity for a better education. We were so touched that we immediately gave her a raise and offered to pay his tuition. He has repaid our generousity by being in the top 10% of his class for the past 5 years.

My advice is simple, you should check all aspects of the move in-person not by reading posts on an internet forum. As informative as these forums may be nothing beats personal experience. Use the same due diligence you would if you were planning a move to the next town or the next county or even the next state. Just because the VI's are far away and expensive to get to doesn't mean you should skip making a first hand visit to "check things out".

I like to tell people that living on an island in the Caribbean is not necessarilly better or worse that living "back home" it's just different, very different. You owe it to yourself to discover what those differences mean to you well before you make the move. If you do it will make your relocation a great deal easier and you may end up staying a lifetime rather than only a few moths or a year like most of those who come to the islands because they are running away from something.

Good luck reaching your decision.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 8:50 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

I have had no experience with the public schools on St. Croix but I have many West Indian friends who are products of the public school system who have gone on to college and then come back to the island to teach, work or raise their children here. I always read about the graduating classes and where they are attending college and it seems that most of them go on to some sort of secondary education. I also know several teachers in the public schools and without a doubt they are most dedicated to their profession. Maybe it's if a child wants to learn they learn. If they choose to be bad, they are. I will say that the young people I have met are most resilient and able to cope with situations that young people in the states would have no clue on how to handle. God forbid if they run out of water or the power goes off more than an hour. With that being said, would a 13 year old statesider coming to the island for the first time do well in public school. Probably not. When I was 14 my parents moved me from the east coast to the west coast. The culture shock and how horrible the kids treated me because I was different was very traumatizing. Some kids can handle it and some cannot. The middle school years are difficult no matter where you are.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 9:06 pm
EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
Advanced Member

I was 14 when my dad decided that we should move from Virginia to Lagos, Nigeria (he was State Dept). I was devastated to be leaving my friends. To make matters harder, there were no American schools in Lagos, so my folks decided to send me (and my 16 yo sister) to Spain (AF base) for school. I absolutely hated the deserts of Spain, and hated AFRICA for the first 3 months. After that I fell in love with Spain and Lagos. I know now, that at 14-16 my mind was definitely open to new ideas, and I definitely absorbed a lot of what has formed my views:
- Americans do NOT have the only way of life (the world does not revolve around America)
- Americans do not have the BEST way of life (in some ways we do, but not all)
- By living in dictatorship areas (Franco of Spain, and Nigeria) I finally started to "see" what government was about
- Each culture brings new ideas and concepts to the table, and with an open mind you can eventually learn the wisdom of new paradigms. By contrasting the cultures, I finally saw art, education, society, health, nature, etc, etc, etc...
- As Americans we DO take an awful lot for granted, only because most of us do not get an opportunity to see other ways of life

So, I agree, Cheeseheads, there is a lot to gain by giving your kids an opportunity to experience other areas of the world. Now, my wife would not have been willing to move our kids to USVI. She is a midwestern, Catholic, meat and potatoes, nurturer, so she would have worried about all things different (for herself, she is willing to look past the end of her nose... but not for the kids)... too much risk for her.

You'll know better than anyone else if your kids are equipped for the experience or not.

In fairness, I need to disclose that I do not live in USVI, but hope to when I retire in about 10 years. My wife and I have good jobs here in Virginia, but would not be able to financially survive in USVI if we had to leave our jobs. For that reason alone, I would not have even considered moving here with a family (of course, as I said, my wife would have vetoed it anyway).

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 10:16 pm
Cheeseheads
(@Cheeseheads)
Advanced Member

Again, good advice.

To clear up some of the possible assumptions, I would like to add the following.

I moved from Bismark ND to Clearwater Florida at the age of 13 and found it to be difficult but extremely rewarding from a personal growth perspective. I came from some of the best public education In the states to Florida which ranked somewhere in the lower 40s out of all states. Somehow I prevailed and although I know every child is different, I believe this experience will help. Having said that, private school will be a top budget priority.

Our children have been to the islands but only twice on vacation. My wife and I have been down multiple times for extended stays and have pretty good idea about the culture and lack of easily accessible goods (power, water....). We are not escaping anything, just looking to broaden our horizons and perhaps even find a new home.

I appreciate the blunt input as I have found some "other" travel advice sites to filter out the news that is not all shiny. Although we do have a good idea of how it is and what to expect, one never knows for sure until they actually experience it themselves.

So, no rose colored glasses (perhaps tinted though), not escaping or running away and not one who cares about having all things material two blocks away.

Just trying to give a better Idea of where we are coming from...that's all.

btw TRW - lived in Bismark for the first 13 years of my life so yeah....Wisconsin is downright tropical at times! 🙂

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2008 10:20 pm
cruzkandy
(@cruzkandy)
Advanced Member

Some locals do choose to send there children to private school. But I know first hand that many children of Lawyers, Doctors, Sentor and other people that make a good amount of money (that wouldn't have to sacrafice) send their children to public school. I even went to school with the daughter of an ex-Lt. Governor. Even some Arabs send there kids (especially their daughters) to public school.

Getting back to the schools, no one is saying people who graduate from the local public schools can't become successful doctors, lawyers, nurses or business men later in life. I can and does happen but it depends on the student's drive and desires and their willingness to put studies ahead of everything else. On the island where we have our home it is generally felt by locals and transplants alike that private schooling offers a student as significantly better at success than the public schools. That's why some locals make great personal sacrifices in order to send their child to private school. We learned this first hand when a year or so after we moved to the island we found out our housekeeper was "going without" many everyday items and using her entire paycheck to pay the private school tuition for her son because she wanted to give him the opportunity for a better education. We were so touched that we immediately gave her a raise and offered to pay his tuition. He has repaid our generousity by being in the top 10% of his class for the past 5 years.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 8, 2008 10:22 pm
Page 1 / 2
Close Menu