Researching Schools and Childcare in Preparation of Your PCS Move
When my husband and I were young and childless (meaning, we had some savings and could sleep in on the weekends), we found our PCS moves adventurous, even enjoyable. After the first couple of moves, we had the routine down. We even started to look forward to living somewhere new—we called it the “three-year itch.”
Even after our son was born, he was a mere infant when we made our fourth move, and he was still a toddler for our fifth. No complicated issues there. I was staying home full-time, so childcare was covered. Even our sixth move—done the summer between our son’s pre-K and Kindergarten years, was simple.
THEN CAME SCHOOL
When our son was in first grade, I decided to go back to work part-time. We had to struggle with locating after-school childcare for the first time. And don’t even get me started about summer vacation! When we came up for our first PCS during elementary school, I quickly became a self-taught expert in researching school districts, state education standards and individual schools within districts. I also was able to establish a peer group of other moms at our new duty station before we moved, giving me a built-in resource for leads on childcare.
Now, it’s your turn to learn to do this yourself.
For researching schools, there are three main sources of information: the Internet, recommendations from people you know and trust, and information from military sources. As one who made her first few PCS moves in the days before the Internet (yes, really—stop laughing!), online research is truly a PCS’ing family’s best friend. Once you learn where your next duty station will be, you will have more information available to you than you will possibly be able to read. This abundance of information makes it even more important that you know which resources are truly reliable.
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