Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homeschooling and House Hunting

Because I mentioned this in my previous post it reminded me of something else that was rather interesting.

Back in March we took a long weekend and flew into our fellowship destination to do a little house hunting. We had a realtor along with us, and she was great. Unfortunately, she wasn't exactly an expert in the area we were looking at. The last time she had seen this part of the greater metropolitan area it was horse ranches. She even asked us if we had horses. So our trip was her reintroduction to the area.

Did I mention we are moving to one of the 5 largest cities in America! Did I mention we are coming form a city that even as part of a twin-city hardly makes any ranking list of importance?! It was huge. I can't fault her for not knowing about a neighborhood that is on the other side of town from where she lives. It might as well have been in another state.

Maybe we should have found a different realtor, but my husbands uncle is a realtor and referred us to her. He did a ton of leg work and even though she didn't know everything, she has been great finding out what we need, and offering to drive over and look at places for us since we can't make another trip out. We like her, we are keeping her.

Back to our story though. As we flew in we had our list with the properties we wanted to see, 8 in total. We looked at pictures online and ranked our list. Of course the one we liked the most in pictures was also the most expensive. It always is.

Because we got in the day before we were going to meet the realtor, we drove out to the property that we really liked to take a look. It was great. In a nice new development, or rather a master planned community. Elementary schools right down the street. No backyard neighbors. From the outside it all looked great.

And then we looked up. No backyard neighbors because the house backed up to huge power lines. Gigantic, massive, ominous power lines. If we were buying that would certainly be a no-no, but we are renting, we can be more flexible.

The next day we visited all the properties on our list, this one that we knew we would really like was last. It almost didn't happen because the owner forgot we were coming and left her LARGE dog free in the house. It looked like the kind of dog that wouldn't have a problem eating our baby (who was also with us). So we waited an hour, and then saw the house.

It was gorgeous. Just the right size, great kitchen, everything was perfect. It was the kind of house I could see us staying in for a few years  (if we didn't have to leave after a year). It was that great.

So we are excited and fill out our application, pay the application fee. Now we would have an entire day with nothing to do because we were so efficient. So that next morning we take off for the nearby beach without a care in the world, and feeling rather successful.

On our way back from the beach we call to ask about our application and how the meeting with the landlord went and the landlords realtor said: "Are you planning on private schools, or home schooling?" To which we responded that we weren't planning on either, and she replied, "In good conscience I need to mention that the house is in a different school district and the children listed on your application will be bused out of the neighborhood to a different school. You may want to look at it."

That raised some red flags. I couldn't think of what she could mean. I had looked at each of the homes we had on our list and their school rankings. I wasn't overly concerned. I didn't want to send my kids to the worst school, but for one year an average school would be alright for a 2nd grader and kindergartner.

I realize not every shares my casual attitude towards education. It's not casual in the sense that I don't care, as much as it is casual as in I know I am involved in my children's education and don't plan on just turning them over to the school system and casual in the sense that one year isn't going to ruin my kids... I won't let that happen.

So I knew this particular school was performing just a little under average. But it was a great house, and I really liked it. After she had made her comment though we started digging around some more to figure out what she was getting at. And we found it.

When we looked at the demographics for the school, my husband said no way, and I wasn't far behind him. I realize this may sound racist, but when it came down to it the race of my children was represented in less than 1% of the student body of 650. It would most likely mean that our children would be the only one of their race in their class.

I am all for giving children diverse learning opportunities, but less than 1% isn't diversity, regardless of what your ethnicity is.

We drove by the school to get an idea for how far away they would be bused and realized that we were going into a part of town we didn't know about.  This brand new community was just off the freeway, but as soon as you passed the master planned community (heading toward the school) you passed into a completely different area. It went farmland and then heavy industrial and then there was the school. An old, ugly, poorly maintained building.

At least it appeared to be that bad in the dark, and was in stark contrast to the brand new schools we saw that were just down the street from the house we had looked at and wanted.

Do I home school? Private school tuition is out of the question for two kids. I could do it right? It is a great house. It would only be a year.

In the end I couldn't commit to home schooling my two kids just because this house was one that we loved. I had considered home schooling in the past, but never because I HAD to, it was always sort of an "if we need to". I like having options. This scenario didn't give us any options.

No house.

The next day our flight was leaving in the late afternoon, and we no longer had a house to rent. The landlord's realtor knew of another house in the neighborhood that was in a different school district that was just coming up for rent in the next week. It wasn't ready just yet, but offered to let us see it. We meet the landlord at the house as he was getting it prepared. We liked him. He liked us. He said he would hold it for us. We said we'll take it, and left.

A week later we get the rental contract and it had a starting date of May 15th. Well that isn't what we talked about. We aren't going to be there until almost July. Was this house worth paying a months rent on when we wouldn't be living there? NO!

I was really disappointed, again. I thought we had an agreement. That's the problem with a verbal agreement that doesn't include a realtor.

We think he probably would have honored his agreement, but his realtor who prepared the contract was a real fighter (as in you hope she is on your side, because if not you are going down). In principal I couldn't see paying for something we weren't going to live in, and let that one go too. We would wait and see.

Here we are the middle of May and in 6 weeks we need to be living in another state. We have nothing yet. My realtor sends me a report every morning with the houses that are in for rent in the area we want. I look, re-look, study, and make notes. I have a few that I am keeping an eye on. We will see which one is available when we are ready to commit.

The one thing I have realized about renting is that you can find a property and move in a week later. It isn't like buying a house that takes forever. I am not stressing. We will have a place to live. We will find what we need. We will find the right price. We will find the best location. Those are my daily affirmations.


  1. Are you looking on Craigslist as well? That's how I found our rental for our Fellowship year this year and it's how I'm looking for our rental for our next cross country move at the end of July. Good luck!

  2. UMMM...what part of the country are you in? Are you by me?? Email me...


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