Hi there. You don't pay school fees if your child goes to a public (government school). Schooling is free. A portion of everyone's property tax is assigned to go to the local school district, and they also get federal funds per child per year.
You get elementary school - Kindergarten to 5th Grade.
Middle School (or Junior High sometimes called) - 6th Grade to 8th Grade
High School - 9th Grade to 12th Grade.
The credit system kicks in, in high school. Each subject they take is a credit they earn. A credit will be one year of study. A half credit will be half a year of study. Each state has its own criteria for how many credits are needed in order to complete high school and it seems TX is 22.
You can find TX state requirements here:
They'll need 4 credits in English - which only means they have to take English for 4 years.
3 credits in Math - over here they teach a full year of Algebra in 9th Grade, Algebra II or Geometry in 10th, etc.. Trig, Calculus separately, so would count as a credit each. Most kids take Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and either Pre-Calc or Calculus, but most do Calculus in their first year of college.
Two sciences - Physics/Chemistry/Biology.
2.5 credits in social studies - American History/World History/World Geography/US. Government (the half credit would be if they study it for one term as opposed to two terms (semesters - schools are divided into two semesters for credit purposes).
0.5 credit in Economics.
1 credit of an elective - another subject.
1.5 credits in Phys. Ed.
0.5 credit Health Education
0.5 credit in Speech.
1 credit for Technology
1 credit in Fine Arts.
3 credits in a language other than English (which means they have to study it for 3 years). Spanish is the prevalant second language to study here in the US, but many schools have other languages. Japanese has become very popular. You need a language to graduate and get into college.
Most good schools will offer AP classes - Advanced Placement - which are a bit tougher - like comparing Standard grade to Higher Grade - and/or the IB (International Baccalaureate) program, where they will write actual exams, like you'd be used to in Matric. Not all kids will get into those classes, though I find that most South African kids that I know, have.
Most colleges will want to see their SAT scores. They will write the SAT's in their junior year or senior year, of high school (9th = Freshman, 10th = Sophomore, 11th = Junior, 12th = Senior).
or they'll write the ACT :
It depends on what college they're applying for, as to which the college chooses to use.
University here is divided into two groups too.
You can go to what is termed a community college found in most cities. You study for 2 years and get an Associates Degree. You can then transfer to a university for the last two years in order to get your Bachelor's Degree. You would have studied the same subjects at community college as you would at university, the only difference is the cost. It is much cheaper to do it at Community College, the reason so many do it this way.
You can also be dual-enrolled at a community college and high school simultaneously, thereby getting some credits toward your degree. Many kids leave high school with their Associates Degrees already and just go and do two years of University to get their Bachelors.
It sounds complicated, but you'll get the hang of it when you get here.
If you have any more questions....glad to answer.
I forgot to add. TX requirements don't seem to list community service, but most states require volunteer work hours - my state is 80, before they graduate high school.
Kids here volunteer for anything and everything. It helps tremendously to get into a good college. Read to the blind, summer camps, animal shelter, habitat for humanity, the list goes on. Volunteering is big over here - including for adults. Something to keep in mind if you're planning on staying