Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

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sharukh
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Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by sharukh » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:08 am

Hi,

Please help me make a choice. Thanks to Blessings&Guidance of Parents,Bogleheads, I can afford any of the below option.
I work in NYC, Wife is SAHM., 1 Kid 2 years old.

option 1: Move to a better neighborhood(Brooklyn) with good commute(40 minutes one way) and diversity, where schools are good(10 score from greatschools), increase of rent by $1200(Friends who moved to this place say the neighborhood is great, people are very good, good diversity) Wife is SAHM, not yet used to diversity and is afraid of not being able to make friends.(Addition of NYC city taxes along with increased rent)
We are from India, We still live in America in an Indian community, so no exposure to Diversity yet.

option 2: Stay put(Jersey city), send the kid to private catholic school, fees around $9000 per year.
Problem is: I have no good way of evaluating how good the private schools is.
Easy commute to NYC(40 min one way), already familiar with the current locality. Indian community and restaurants all around. lacks diversity. So we may never learn about Diversity.

option 3: Move to a better neighborhood (Edison) with bad commute and mostly Indian community(we are from India), where schools are good(10 score from greatschools), increase of rent by $1200(Friends who moved to this place say the neighborhood is great, people are very good, mostly Indian people, so easy to fit-in and get along)
Wife is SAHM, So it is easy for her to make more friends, who have similar interests. Commute for me will be bad, 1.5 hours one way. No Good public transport, Have to drive to every where in a car for almost everything. (Increase of commute costs + Car maintenance + insurance costs)

Option 4: Stay-put(Jersey city), send to public school in current place. 4 score from greatschools, Friends say school is not good, his kid learnt all foul language from peers, Friend claims the infrastructure, diversity, people are not good here, but I already live here and pretty happy, may be my standards of expectation are very low.
With the saved money, I could send kid to all private tutions after school, send to all round development like sports, music, world travel, computer classes etc
If we get lucky, then we may get into charter school, then we get best of both, but no guarantees, it is lottery.

The way I see it, I am going to spend almost the same amount of money in all options, I am lost on which option is the best to go.

Thanks very much. Sorry for long content, wanted to share all available information.
Last edited by sharukh on Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rob
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by rob » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:16 am

Seems to me the important variables here are school and commute..... School is important and for 12+ years. Is your job something you love and plan to be there a decade or two? Is that even a thing now? If not then optimize the school and suck up the commute until you can find a more convenient job.

I've lived in several countries and always avoided expat communities as it was never the point for me.....
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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Pajamas
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:40 am

sharukh wrote:Hi,

Please help me make a choice. Thanks to Blessings&Guidance of Parents,Bogleheads, I can afford any of the below option.
I work in NYC, Wife is SAHM., 1 Kid 2 years old.

option 1: Move to a better neighborhood(Brooklyn) with good commute(40 minutes one way) and diversity, where schools are good(10 score from greatschools), increase of rent by $1200(Friends who moved to this place say the neighborhood is great, people are very good, good diversity) Wife is SAHM, not yet used to diversity and is afraid of not being able to make friends.(Addition of NYC city taxes along with increased rent)
We are from India, We still live in America in an Indian community, so no exposure to Diversity yet.

option 2: Stay put(Jersey city), send the kid to private catholic school, fees around $9000 per year.
Problem is: I have no good way of evaluating how good the private schools is.
Easy commute to NYC, already familiar with the current locality. Indian community and restaurants all around. lacks diversity. So we may never learn about Diversity.

option 3: Move to a better neighborhood (Edison) with bad commute and mostly Indian community(we are from India), where schools are good(10 score from greatschools), increase of rent by $1200(Friends who moved to this place say the neighborhood is great, people are very good, mostly Indian people, so easy to fit-in and get along)
Wife is SAHM, So it is easy for her to make more friends, who have similar interests. Commute for me will be bad, 1.5 hours one way. No Good public transport, Have to drive to every where in a car for almost everything. (Increase of commute costs + Car maintenance + insurance costs)

Option 4: Stay-put(Jersey city), send to public school in current place. 4 score from greatschools, Friends say school is not good, his kid learnt all foul language from peers, Friend claims the infrastructure, diversity, people are not good here, but I already live here and pretty happy, may be my standards of expectation are very low.
With the saved money, I could send kid to all private tutions after school, send to all round development like sports, music, world travel, computer classes etc
If we get lucky, then we may get into charter school, then we get best of both, but no guarantees, it is lottery.

The way I see it, I am going to spend almost the same amount of money in all options, I am lost on which option is the best to go.

Thanks very much. Sorry for long content, wanted to share all available information.
Some thoughts:

If you are okay with your child going to a Catholic religious school, then you should investigate that option before making a decision. Go to the school, meet with the administration, find out about their philosophy, curriculum, class sizes, etc., go to a meeting of the PTA or PTO, look at online reviews, test scores, etc. You can't make the best decision based on incomplete information.

Where do your current Indian neighbors' children go to school? Are they happy with their schools and why?

Your child is going to learn foul words from peers at any school but the quality of education is important so that would seem to rule out the local public school.

The diversity issue is more difficult. That can partially be an issue of where you live but can also depend on how much effort you make to get out of your neighborhood bubble. This may be especially true for your wife who stays at home and in the neighborhood, as opposed to you, who goes to work every weekday. How does she feel about moving and where does she want to live? Does she want to work and did she work before you married?

Also, have you thought about moving to Queens? The population of that borough is between 6 and 7% Indian.

This may be of help for looking for areas where you will find other Indians, grocery stores, restaurants, organizations, etc.:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indians_i ... tan_region

pochax
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by pochax » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:47 am

i think you have more options than you think. if you have questions about schools or diversity potential of towns in NJ, there are better forums than bogleheads to ask these types of question. one i can think of is: http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-jersey/

they can give you more personalized info (albeit anecdotal from individuals with their own perspectives/opinions/experiences).

there are NJ towns that have decent indian communities that i am aware of such as Short Hills and Millburn. these towns are more expensive because of their excellent school system so i do not know if that prices you out but i think you should look to see where other Indian communities are. personally, i think you should have a balance of enough of an Indian community that you can connect with your cultural roots/language/heritage, but enough diversity that you can appreciate other cultures and viewpoints. but that balance is ultimately your own subjective/personal preference.

sharukh
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by sharukh » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:46 pm

Pajamas wrote: Some thoughts:

If you are okay with your child going to a Catholic religious school, then you should investigate that option before making a decision. Go to the school, meet with the administration, find out about their philosophy, curriculum, class sizes, etc., go to a meeting of the PTA or PTO, look at online reviews, test scores, etc. You can't make the best decision based on incomplete information.

Where do your current Indian neighbors' children go to school? Are they happy with their schools and why?
Most people move to Edison

Your child is going to learn foul words from peers at any school but the quality of education is important so that would seem to rule out the local public school.

The diversity issue is more difficult. That can partially be an issue of where you live but can also depend on how much effort you make to get out of your neighborhood bubble. This may be especially true for your wife who stays at home and in the neighborhood, as opposed to you, who goes to work every weekday. How does she feel about moving and where does she want to live? Does she want to work and did she work before you married?
She is a bit afraid of moving to Brooklyn, want to move to Indian community in Edison. Never worked before and no plans to.

Also, have you thought about moving to Queens? The population of that borough is between 6 and 7% Indian.
Sure, will check that.
This may be of help for looking for areas where you will find other Indians, grocery stores, restaurants, organizations, etc.:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indians_i ... tan_region
Thank you.

sharukh
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by sharukh » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:47 pm

rob wrote:Seems to me the important variables here are school and commute..... School is important and for 12+ years. Is your job something you love and plan to be there a decade or two? Is that even a thing now? If not then optimize the school and suck up the commute until you can find a more convenient job.

I've lived in several countries and always avoided expat communities as it was never the point for me.....
Thank you, I will prepare for long commutes. Can you pls share some insights on why you avoided expat communities ?

sharukh
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by sharukh » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:48 pm

pochax wrote:i think you have more options than you think. if you have questions about schools or diversity potential of towns in NJ, there are better forums than bogleheads to ask these types of question. one i can think of is: http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-jersey/

they can give you more personalized info (albeit anecdotal from individuals with their own perspectives/opinions/experiences).

there are NJ towns that have decent indian communities that i am aware of such as Short Hills and Millburn. these towns are more expensive because of their excellent school system so i do not know if that prices you out but i think you should look to see where other Indian communities are. personally, i think you should have a balance of enough of an Indian community that you can connect with your cultural roots/language/heritage, but enough diversity that you can appreciate other cultures and viewpoints. but that balance is ultimately your own subjective/personal preference.
Thank you, you are right on striking a balance, I was on extremes in terms of diversity.

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celia
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by celia » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:36 pm

It seems you are focusing on only cost, transportation, and diversity. But there are other considerations too: your family could have more than one child (ie, multiple tuitions in private schools), neighborhood crime/parks/cleanliness/activities, job locations (depending on what you plan to do in the future), good schools and after-school activities, weather??, public transportation/neighborhood parking, reasonable distance to an Indian neighborhood/restaurants/activities, to name a few. If you and your wife hadn't yet moved to the US, what housing location criteria would you each want to have for your family? What would you NOT want (eg, near a factory/noise/freeway)? This is what I would start with. Write down what your new place to live MUST have, would be NICE to have (but not required), and what it must NOT have. Then you can find possible places that meet most of YOUR and your WIFE's criteria.

Finances. I suggest you not rely on money from your parents since that may not be available to you should they die or return to India. They need to save most of it for their own expenses first, or you will end up having to support them in their own age. I also suggest not living off of your whole income since you could be out of work or end up working for less money. So live with a reasonable budget and save the excess for now.

As far as GreatSchools.com, that is the last place I would look at when comparing schools. Do you notice that most schools have only a few reviews/comments? Who puts comments on a website like that? Mostly people who think the school is very, very good or very, very bad. But those who think the school is bad are free to go to another school that they think is better. A better way to compare schools is to see if your state's department of education website has some comparison tools. (Some do, some don't.) Talking to parents and neighbors is good, but that is just a small data point. A better way is to visit the schools during their Open Houses or Back to School nights to see what kind of work the students do there and how many parents care enough to show up. (Call them up after school has been in session a few weeks to see the dates they have scheduled.) Also ask the teachers where they send THEIR children. Teachers have a bigger picture of how schools compare with each other than a friend or neighbor does. (Of course, I also have friends and neighbors and relatives who are teachers, as DH and I were.)

sharukh
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by sharukh » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:50 pm

Thanks celia, Thats a lot of insight and action items for me.
celia wrote:It seems you are focusing on only cost, transportation, and diversity. But there are other considerations too: your family could have more than one child (ie, multiple tuitions in private schools), neighborhood crime/parks/cleanliness/activities, job locations (depending on what you plan to do in the future), good schools and after-school activities, weather??, public transportation/neighborhood parking, reasonable distance to an Indian neighborhood/restaurants/activities, to name a few. If you and your wife hadn't yet moved to the US, what housing location criteria would you each want to have for your family? What would you NOT want (eg, near a factory/noise/freeway)? This is what I would start with. Write down what your new place to live MUST have, would be NICE to have (but not required), and what it must NOT have. Then you can find possible places that meet most of YOUR and your WIFE's criteria.

Finances. I suggest you not rely on money from your parents since that may not be available to you should they die or return to India. They need to save most of it for their own expenses first, or you will end up having to support them in their own age. I also suggest not living off of your whole income since you could be out of work or end up working for less money. So live with a reasonable budget and save the excess for now.

As far as GreatSchools.com, that is the last place I would look at when comparing schools. Do you notice that most schools have only a few reviews/comments? Who puts comments on a website like that? Mostly people who think the school is very, very good or very, very bad. But those who think the school is bad are free to go to another school that they think is better. A better way to compare schools is to see if your state's department of education website has some comparison tools. (Some do, some don't.) Talking to parents and neighbors is good, but that is just a small data point. A better way is to visit the schools during their Open Houses or Back to School nights to see what kind of work the students do there and how many parents care enough to show up. (Call them up after school has been in session a few weeks to see the dates they have scheduled.) Also ask the teachers where they send THEIR children. Teachers have a bigger picture of how schools compare with each other than a friend or neighbor does. (Of course, I also have friends and neighbors and relatives who are teachers, as DH and I were.)

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:02 pm

Do not send your kid to public school in JC. While certain parts of JC are "nice" and along the light rail, there is a large section of JC that is as rough as it was 30 years ago (Journal Square) and along Kennedy Blvd. (although they are trying to change it with large investments) your kid will be out of college before that time comes, if ever. Riding the bus along KB can be dangerous to your health.

Visit Brooklyn, really, the neighborhoods have improved greatly over the years - I"m not kidding.

Send your kid to parochial school? - but you are still exposed to the general neighborhood of JC. And, your child will need to attend parochial school all the way through to SPP or one of the other schools. Which doesn't really solve your problem - that is, to expose your child to greater world around them and it's resources. Granted, Brooklyn is not nirvana, what place is? But there are resources in NYC and the public library at Grand Army Plaza is rich with resources for a later time if you are still in Brooklyn.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Watty
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:13 pm

I would add an option 5 and 6 to consider:

5) Find a different job that is not in NYC where you can have a good commute, good schools, and a community that has a mix of an Indian community and some more diverse people.

6) I would likely find it impossible to adapt to living in India especially if I didn't want to embrace the culture and insisted in living in an American expatriate community. I don't mean this to be snarky but if your wife would have a hard time living in a diverse community in the US then it might be good to discuss if returning to India would be worth considering. If you wait until your kid is a older they would have a very hard adapting to moving to India if you decide to move back later on.
sharukh wrote: Option 4: Stay-put(Jersey city), send to public school in current place. 4 score from greatschools, Friends say school is not good, his kid learnt all foul language from peers, Friend claims the infrastructure, diversity, people are not good here, but I already live here and pretty happy, may be my standards of expectation are very low.
You really need to talk to more parents and visit the school that your kid would go to yourself to see what it is really like. Even at a good school a few kids will have bad experiences so your friends experience may not be typical. Try to arrange to go to a school while it is in session and sit in on a class. You would also want to do that with the schools in the other areas. If you are not Catholic or at least Christian then it would be good to talk to similar Indians that have sent their kids to the Catholic school to see how that worked out. You also have to be careful when picking a private school, not all of them are good.

Schools are really hard to rank like that because the demographics of the students can have a big impact on how they score. When I was doing a job relocation I had to find a house in a hurry and I was looking in a large school district with about 15 high schools. There were significant differences in the way the high schools scored but what I found out was that since they were in the same schools district they have basically identical school programs and funding. The only difference was that some of the high schools were in very affluent areas and some were in lower income, but not terrible, areas. There is apparently a very good correlation between a kids school performance and is what college degrees their parents have and in the more affluent area a much higher percentage of parents had college degrees. In the more affluent area the kids also had a lot more access to after school and summer educational programs instead of just being in basic daycare.

That said 4 is pretty low, but it still might be acceptable at least for grade school if you are actively helping your kid out with their education.

One thing to watch for when if you do move would be that school boundaries often change so if you do move now your kid may not go to the school that you are expecting.

ks289
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by ks289 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:15 pm

celia wrote:It seems you are focusing on only cost, transportation, and diversity. But there are other considerations too: your family could have more than one child (ie, multiple tuitions in private schools), neighborhood crime/parks/cleanliness/activities, job locations (depending on what you plan to do in the future), good schools and after-school activities, weather??, public transportation/neighborhood parking, reasonable distance to an Indian neighborhood/restaurants/activities, to name a few. If you and your wife hadn't yet moved to the US, what housing location criteria would you each want to have for your family? What would you NOT want (eg, near a factory/noise/freeway)? This is what I would start with. Write down what your new place to live MUST have, would be NICE to have (but not required), and what it must NOT have. Then you can find possible places that meet most of YOUR and your WIFE's criteria.

Finances. I suggest you not rely on money from your parents since that may not be available to you should they die or return to India. They need to save most of it for their own expenses first, or you will end up having to support them in their own age. I also suggest not living off of your whole income since you could be out of work or end up working for less money. So live with a reasonable budget and save the excess for now.

As far as GreatSchools.com, that is the last place I would look at when comparing schools. Do you notice that most schools have only a few reviews/comments? Who puts comments on a website like that? Mostly people who think the school is very, very good or very, very bad. But those who think the school is bad are free to go to another school that they think is better. A better way to compare schools is to see if your state's department of education website has some comparison tools. (Some do, some don't.) Talking to parents and neighbors is good, but that is just a small data point. A better way is to visit the schools during their Open Houses or Back to School nights to see what kind of work the students do there and how many parents care enough to show up. (Call them up after school has been in session a few weeks to see the dates they have scheduled.) Also ask the teachers where they send THEIR children. Teachers have a bigger picture of how schools compare with each other than a friend or neighbor does. (Of course, I also have friends and neighbors and relatives who are teachers, as DH and I were.)
The ratings scores are explained below.

https://www.greatschools.org/gk/wp-cont ... Report.pdf

The scores are mainly based on test scores.

The reviews are different. They do not seem to factor in to the rating score, so the number of reviews has no bearing on the school's score.

sapphire96
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by sapphire96 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:29 pm

sharukh wrote:Hi,

Please help me make a choice. Thanks to Blessings&Guidance of Parents,Bogleheads, I can afford any of the below option.
I work in NYC, Wife is SAHM., 1 Kid 2 years old.

option 1: Move to a better neighborhood(Brooklyn) with good commute(40 minutes one way) and diversity, where schools are good(10 score from greatschools), increase of rent by $1200(Friends who moved to this place say the neighborhood is great, people are very good, good diversity) Wife is SAHM, not yet used to diversity and is afraid of not being able to make friends.(Addition of NYC city taxes along with increased rent)
We are from India, We still live in America in an Indian community, so no exposure to Diversity yet.

option 2: Stay put(Jersey city), send the kid to private catholic school, fees around $9000 per year.
Problem is: I have no good way of evaluating how good the private schools is.
Easy commute to NYC(40 min one way), already familiar with the current locality. Indian community and restaurants all around. lacks diversity. So we may never learn about Diversity.

option 3: Move to a better neighborhood (Edison) with bad commute and mostly Indian community(we are from India), where schools are good(10 score from greatschools), increase of rent by $1200(Friends who moved to this place say the neighborhood is great, people are very good, mostly Indian people, so easy to fit-in and get along)
Wife is SAHM, So it is easy for her to make more friends, who have similar interests. Commute for me will be bad, 1.5 hours one way. No Good public transport, Have to drive to every where in a car for almost everything. (Increase of commute costs + Car maintenance + insurance costs)

Option 4: Stay-put(Jersey city), send to public school in current place. 4 score from greatschools, Friends say school is not good, his kid learnt all foul language from peers, Friend claims the infrastructure, diversity, people are not good here, but I already live here and pretty happy, may be my standards of expectation are very low.
With the saved money, I could send kid to all private tutions after school, send to all round development like sports, music, world travel, computer classes etc
If we get lucky, then we may get into charter school, then we get best of both, but no guarantees, it is lottery.

The way I see it, I am going to spend almost the same amount of money in all options, I am lost on which option is the best to go.

Thanks very much. Sorry for long content, wanted to share all available information.
First of all, welcome to the States. I hope you and your family find the opportunity to travel the nation to see what it has to offer.

If you decide the child is best suited for a private Catholic school, be prepared for the child to be taught/introduced to Catholicism. I am not saying Catholic school is bad -- I am not sure what your religious beliefs are, which is why I am mentioning this point.

Lastly, go with what your gut tells you. If the wife is happy, the family is happy. As others have mentioned, try to find a compromise. In my opinion, having the child and family grow in a diverse community is very beneficial -- it gives the individual a worldly perspective and it heightens interest to travel and see other cultures.

Best wishes and welcome to the forum if this is your first post. :happy

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Pajamas
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:36 pm

sharukh wrote: Most people move to Edison
If you already have friends in Edison, that might be worth looking at. It is important for your wife to feel comfortable.

I know someone who moved to a new subdivision in Oldbridge, NJ years ago and the whole subdivision is mostly Indian, so that has worked out well for them. Another Indian family I know moved to Long Island. Really, though, there are lots of Indian people anywhere you look in the NYC metro area.

Americans who move to other countries often move for very different reasons than people who move to the U.S. from other countries do, and that may explain why so many immigrants to the U.S. want to live near other people from their home countries while Americans might not. (Many Americans do the same thing, though, and move to places with other ex-pats.)

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celia
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by celia » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:31 am

I'd like to address the idea that your wife is more comfortable in an Indian community since she has not had as much exposure to others. If your child goes to a diverse mommy-and-me program, pre-school, elementary school, etc, with kids from other backgrounds, your child will start to make friends with them. Your wife should encourage it, but not because of their ethnicity, but because it is good to have lots of friends. As my kids were growing up, I found myself gravitating toward families who had kids in the same grade as ours. We would show up for the same events and our kids would go to each other's homes, and we'd carpool, so we got to know the other families. Your wife will rarely be introduced to a group and be expected to interact with all of them. But if she meets one or two other parents and trys to get to know them and their kids, she will feel more like she is fitting in. That's what having kids does to you. I would never have met so many different people in my community if we didn't have kids. I wouldn't have met coaches, swim teachers, scout leaders, parents with all kinds of jobs, people at science fairs or creative costume makers (for Halloween or school plays). In high school, one of my kids (and I) had to go to and report on an AA meeting as an assignment and work in a political campaign of their choice. Community service, walkathon fundraisers, sports, and going to friends' houses took us to other neighborhoods.

So I would start by seeing if your local parks and rec, neighborhood center, library, or church has a program for kids your child's age. Have your wife take the little one and stay there to watch and talk to other parents. Look for a program that meets several weeks so that the same parents will be there each week. And, of course, it will be most interesting for your child to try something new with other kids his/her age.

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rob
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by rob » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:43 am

sharukh wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:47 pm
Thank you, I will prepare for long commutes. Can you pls share some insights on why you avoided expat communities ?
If I wanted an homogenous experience I would have stayed home.... To me the aim of living in another country is to experience life as a "local" and experience something out of your own background.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

omega
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Re: Please help, Public school(Move) or Private school(Stay-put) ?

Post by omega » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:27 pm

You may also want to consider Bergen county (Fair Lawn, Ridgewood, Glen Rock etc). The commute to NYC is about 45 min to 1 hr by bus or train and the schools are very good in these areas.

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