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JaLiNi

Moving to Houston

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Hi Guys,

 

Been a long road of many decisions and finally we are moving (awaiting Visas). We are looking at the Katy District (Cinco Ranch) area. We have been told we are mad to just pack up and move to a place we have never been or seen but then hey what is life without a little adventure :-)

 

My biggest concern at this stage are my kids (5, 12, 15). Can anyone tell me how the school systems work and more important (what sort of school fees are we looking at) ? My research has revealed that there are 3 levels of schooling and a child passes or fails according to a credit rating system - can anyone shed some light on this ? Also I have been told that the kids will have to learn Spanish as a second language - is this a compulsary school subject ?

 

Then the all important question - electrical appliances is basically a toss up between (sell all and buy new) or (take with and get converters). Any comments regarding this ? Kitchen stuff we will sell but TV, VCR, DVD players (eish man!)

 

Chat Soon !!

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OOPS I see I am in the wrong category - Events instead of Discussions - guess you can see my head is in a spin

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Forget any electrical appliances with motors as the cycles differ. lamps can get new fittings but bring only special lamps, leave the ordinary stuff. Check all appliances at the back to see the voltage input for 110V. Solid wood furniture is expensive here.

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My biggest concern at this stage are my kids (5, 12, 15). Can anyone tell me how the school systems work and more important (what sort of school fees are we looking at) ? My research has revealed that there are 3 levels of schooling and a child passes or fails according to a credit rating system - can anyone shed some light on this ? Also I have been told that the kids will have to learn Spanish as a second language - is this a compulsary school subject ?

 

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:

 

http://www.uisd.net/inside/tx-requirements...equirements.pdf

 

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).

 

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/about.html

 

or they'll write the ACT :

 

http://www.act.org/aap/

 

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.

 

Cheers

izi :)

 

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 :)

Edited by izi

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Izi you are a SUPER-STAR !!!!!!!

 

I have been waiting for just such a response - everyone says "search the internet" yeah right it helps to know where to search and at the best of times me and "google" do not see eye to eye :-)

 

Your information has been so helpful - THANK YOU

 

I am chatting further in the (Communities - Houston,Texas) section so come on over - I found another South African moving over to Montana we seem to be in the same boat - awaiting our Visa's .....

 

Talking about community service - on our DSTV channel 65 there is a programme called "Houston SPCA" awesome job that they do and it helps when they drive around because then I can see what Houston looks like :-)

 

Chat soon ...

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izi, Honestly, you explained everything so well, I have been living here in Houston for 15 years now, and could not have done it better. My daughter graduated from University in Australia, although she completed High School here in Texas. She attended community college for 1 year, and then moved on to Uni. My son is in a private school, I would recommend a private school here in TX, it pays off, trust me. There is a huge difference from the public schools and the private schools. Choosing a private school will be the best disicion you can make for your child's education. If you do decide on a public school, make sure about the school district, it is very important. Some are very poor, and some better. Just a little information from my side.

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Hi We have just moved to Houston from JHB, been here a month. Can you advise if there are any SA'can get togethers in Houston.

Thanks,

Andrew

Edited by Heran

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Hi We have just moved to Houston from JHB, been here a month. Can you advise if there are any SA'can get togethers in Houston.

Thanks,

Andrew

 

Sorry I cannot help, we moved back to Switzerland, and the only get together of South Africans I know about is the Texas Potjie Festival. I know there are a lot of South Africans in the Houston area, also on this forum, and they will give you advice, just be patient. Somewhere I read about a new South African restaurant in Houston, cannot remember the name anymore. Wish you all the best in Houston.

 

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Hi We have just moved to Houston from JHB, been here a month. Can you advise if there are any SA'can get togethers in Houston.

Thanks,

Andrew

Not sure what part of Houston you live in however there is a new restaurant opened this week on Louette Road (HW Houston) called Peli Peli Check it out here with a strong South African flair. I have not been there but plan on going this weekend.

 

The Texas Potjiekos Festival takes place every Labor Day weekend Texas Potjie and is definately a must for all South Africans.

 

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Sorry I cannot help, we moved back to Switzerland, and the only get together of South Africans I know about is the Texas Potjie Festival. I know there are a lot of South Africans in the Houston area, also on this forum, and they will give you advice, just be patient. Somewhere I read about a new South African restaurant in Houston, cannot remember the name anymore. Wish you all the best in Houston.

Thanks for replying Edwina appreciate it.

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Not sure what part of Houston you live in however there is a new restaurant opened this week on Louette Road (HW Houston) called Peli Peli Check it out here with a strong South African flair. I have not been there but plan on going this weekend.

 

The Texas Potjiekos Festival takes place every Labor Day weekend Texas Potjie and is definately a must for all South Africans.

Hi Durbs, thanks for replying. We are staying in Jersey Village for now but are moving out to the Woodlands in the next 2 months or so. Had a look at the Peli Peli website, looks very interesting so we will deifinitely visit soon. Have you been to the Out of Africa restuarant in Sugarland? Andrew

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Andrew,

 

Crushed my hand in a bad accident last week, so can;t type much (I am SO right handed and it's my right hand -hand specialist says it will take six months until i know the full extent of injuries/recovery).

 

We are near the Woodlands. LOVE it. Email me at humminghearts[at]sbcglobal.net.

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Slaptjips

 

Sorry to hear about your accident keep typing it gets better takes your mind off the pain

 

Get well soon

Edited by Korky

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Andrew,

 

Crushed my hand in a bad accident last week, so can;t type much (I am SO right handed and it's my right hand -hand specialist says it will take six months until i know the full extent of injuries/recovery).

 

We are near the Woodlands. LOVE it. Email me at humminghearts[at]sbcglobal.net.

Hi Slaptjips, sorry to hear about your hand, sounds really eina! :( Hope it gets better soon. Thanks, will e-mail you shortly, appreciate it. Which part of the Woodlands / or near the Woodlands are you staying in? Will chat soon.

Andrew

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