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 originally hoped.

  1. How will they get there?

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 arrive at the classroom and go from there. How they get to school will be based on how far away you are, what you feel comfortable with, and what is available to you in your area.


  1. Can you easily volunteer in the classroom?

At my son’s school you have to take 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 classroom 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, knowing a few other kids who attend the same school 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 in a new classroom easier for everyone.

  1. What times do classes start and end?

Make sure you find out when the morning bell rings 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!

Julie Provost is 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.