It pays off to live in a good school district, though housing price was high, and the taxes are substantial. However, we get to live in a nice neighborhood and our kids get to receive high quality education. When looking at the pros and cons, the benefits outweigh the costs. It makes no sense for us to trade off our living quality with high tuition cost of a private school.
There is a huge difference in the quality of education your kids will receive depending on which school district they attend. We live in a very good school district. Numerous parents with kids transferring to our school have stated the difference in quality they see and the huge progress their kids made. I was somewhat surprised to learn from my colleagues and friends that a great many of the public schools do not have the homework system. Even though our child rearing philosophy is quite different from those of the Taiwanese, we still believe in the homework system. I am not talking about the heavy homework system implemented in Taiwan. Homework is a tool to refresh what the kids learn in a day. I like what I see from our school. My son started writing homework when he was a kindergartener. It is a refresher of what’s taught for the day, such as pairing up the words. You can finish the homework in less than 5 minutes. They are not hard but it helps the kids retain the knowledge with repetitive exercises.
Since we have lived in the US for such a long time, our educational philosophy may be somewhat different from that of the Taiwanese. We don’t push our kids too much on their studies and we don’t sign up many extra curriculums for our kids either. The only two after school programs my son attends are Spanish and Lego. Our school ends at 3:20pm. The after school programs are offered once a week from 3:30 pm to 4:30pm with the exception of chess, which lasts for 2 hours. I have him attend Spanish class because I believe that bilingual or multilingual education helps brain development. My son likes to build Lego. Being a loving mom, I naturally sign him up for the class. We always ask our son first before signing up the class. If he is not interested, it makes no sense to throw money out the window. I remembered one time that I signed him up for skating lessons and had to eventually withdraw the lesson and got only half of the money refunded.
Anyway, talking about our school district, it offers abundant resource for the parents and the students. The resource provided by the school is exceptionally good. It is both entertaining and educational. I only have time to browse a couple of them. The one that my son likes to play the most is the game at planetturtle.com. However, we are unable to log on from home. I think that it has something to do with how our wireless system is set up. We have to go to our local library to log on to the site so he can play. He likes it a lot because he can play with kids from his school if they are logged on.
By the way, the sites are geared toward elementary school students. You can choose the appropriate games for your kids by selecting the appropriate grade level.
These are a couple of web sites that our school provides. I only list a few because I do not have time to look through all of them.