By Julie Provost, National Guard Spouse

New backpacks, school supplies, and the sound of school buses in the morning. Back to school is an exciting time but what if you are new to the area? How can you get ready when everything is still so new?

Here are 5 things to think about when getting ready for back to school in a new city:

  1. What school will they go to?

When we first moved to our rental house in Tennessee, I went to the school down the street to register my son. Only, when I got there they told me we were not zoned for that school. Zoning in this city doesn’t always make the most logical sense. Make sure you know what schools your kids will be going to before you choose a new home. That will save you the shock and the surprise of not being able to send them to where you hoped you would be able to.

  1. How will they get to school?

Will your kids walk, ride a bike, take a bus or will you have to drive them? Look at your options and decide what is best for you and your kids. Find out how most of the kids get to school and go from there. How they get to school will be based on how far away you are from the school, what you feel comfortable with, and what is available to you in your area.

  1. Can you easily volunteer at the school?

If you want to volunteer at the school, find out what you need to do to do so. At my son’s school you have to take a volunteer training to do anything. This even includes field trips. Some schools are more open to volunteers than others. Find out what you can do and then talk with the teacher about what they need help with. Volunteering at your child’s school can help you get to know the school as well as the people in your community.

  1. Do other kids in the neighborhood go there?

Find out which kids in the neighborhood go to your child’s school. Getting to know them can be a good idea. If your kids will walk to school, they can walk together. Since you are new to the area, starting school and knowing a few other kids who go there can be a good way to bridge the gap.

In other cases, you and your kids will be able to meet people because school is starting. Be friendly at the bus stop, say hi to other parents if you see them in the carpool lane, and get out there and be known. That will make starting at the new school easier for everyone.

  1. What times does school start and when does it get out?

Make sure you find out when school starts and when school gets out. Look for any special beginning of the year schedules. Where we live, kindergartners only attend one day in the first week and then don’t start full time until later. If you have children in more than one school, make sure you know what time they have to be picked up. Putting the schedules up on the wall can be a good idea for everyone in the family. The schedule could be very different from the last school your kids attended. is a review platform for military  and veteran families. Leave a review of your prior duty station and read the reviews of where you are PCSing to. Home is where the military sends us and together we can make a difference!

Author: Julie Provost is a PCSgrades’ Blogger Affiliate and a freelance blogger with over 20,000 page views a month on her blog Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life. She enjoys life in Tennessee with her husband, a National Guard soldier and their three boys. Julie enjoys blogging, reading, photography and a good cup of coffee. You can follow her on Twitter @SoldiersWifeCL.