There’s a lot of changes going on at the pleasantly poor house. Most notably, we are getting a home of our own again. We’re renting for now, not buying. We’re not ready quite ready to buy again yet. We just got the key to our new place today, and are officially moving in this Sunday, but I’m taking a small load of boxes over after my little man’s swim lesson.
Our plan is to take over one or two loads between today and Sunday, and finish with the big stuff on Sunday. That’s the great thing about having a slow move, you’re not killing yourself to get everything moved in a day.
A lot went in to finding our new home. The most important factor, for us, was the school district. We have been very unhappy with his current school district. In kindergarten he has had no regular recess, testing every two weeks, oral reports, and a long list of curriculum that is inappropriate for a kindergarteners developmental stage. Some of it is due to the fact that more is expected of kids his age than when we were in school. But I’ve done my research, and I know that a lot of is due to Clayton County being Title 1, and having to prove that they are earning the money they are receiving from the federal government. The reasons are irrelevant, though. We simply cannot allow him to go to that school another year. We tried to get him into the private school where I work, but he’s not quite ready for that. So, I started to research metro Atlanta schools, to make sure we got him into the best school we could.
I started my school research on schooldigger.com, a website that ranks schools from best to worst, 1 to 1240. You can also read reviews of schools, check out demographics, student to teacher ratios, etc. I looked at every school in metro Atlanta that ranked 500 or better, that was within 30 miles of our work, and then checked rentals in the area to see if we could afford to live in those areas. I used Zillow to search for rental homes. Zillow was a wonderful tool. I thought it was just a property appraisal site, but it has become so much more. Now it provides property values, homes for sale, and homes for rent. I would search the zip code of the school I was researching, and could add filters, such as the property type I was looking for and the maximum monthly payment I was willing to make. (Trulia.com has similar tools, but I found that Zillow was more user friendly.) These searches allowed me to quickly determine which school districts we could afford to live in. That data allowed me to create a spreadsheet with school ratings and an average cost of living. Once I had narrowed down affordable school districts, I checked another school ratings site, greaterschools.org. This site also provides reviews, demographics, student to teacher ratios, and the like. The difference from great schools and school digger is that great schools ranks schools from 1 to 10. I found that using the two sites together gave me a more dimensional understanding of a schools pros and cons.
Once we had our list of schools, we began visiting them. We found one in Stockbridge that we liked right away, and while there were others that were also good, we had found our favorite. We began searching for rental homes in the two school districts that we liked the most, and visited a few until we found the one for us. We were lucky to find a great house, bordering a cul-de-sac, in the school district that we wanted. God is good! Now, if only he would move our stuff. Oh well, without struggle we cannot fully appreciate victory.
Speaking of victory. Yesterday my son graduated from Kindergarten with a ‘Most Improved’ honor. I am very proud of him, but not as proud as he is of himself. He told my dad, “I worked REALLY hard!” Here’s a picture of him receiving his certificate.