Possible Move... Has Anyone Lived In Naples, Italy?

Decorating By TracyLH Updated 23 Mar 2009 , 5:31pm by TracyLH

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TracyLH Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 12:36pm
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I am trying to wrap my brain around a possible move to Naples, Italy for two years. CC is my only real network and I was just wondering if anyone has ever lived there or knows someone who has. I am wondering what you think/thought about living there. I understand that they people there are very warm and friendly, but with two children who would do 6th & 7th grade and 9th & 10th, my biggest concern is the schools. They have DOD schools, but I was told you really need to homeschool as they aren't very good. Any thoughts? Also, how is the air quality? I also heard that is an issue and that children can develop respiratory issues there due to the pollution. Any thoughts? I hate to be picking out two possible negatives about the possible opportunity to live there, but as a mother, these are concerns and I don't wish to go into this decision blind.

I know I am really shooting in the dark here to see if anyone has any information on living in Naples, but sometimes it ends up being a small world here on CC! Thanks for any help anyone can provide!

24 replies
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GayeG Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 2:37pm
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Sorry I cant help but I just saw your post and was like ... WOAH! Tracy!!! Italy????? O MY! - I LOVE spaghetti! icon_wink.gif
Just kiddin'! But what an opportunity! Is your Honey in the service or something? And what do the kidz think? Ok - Im nosey!! haha Just wanted to say I hope you find your answers and good luck with your decision!!

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traceyjade Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 3:02pm
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Wow that sounds like an amazing experience, but I do understand how hard it would be for your kids. If you do your research on the computer it would definately give you some insite. I do hear it is beautiful though. Good luck. TL

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lorijom Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 3:06pm
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I haven't lived in Italy but I lived in Greece and Saudi Arabia when i was a teenager so thought I could give you my thoughts on behalf of your kids. GO!!! Your kids may complain at first....I did. But once I got there I loved it and my advice for all parents is to give your kids as many experiences as possible, particularly cultural. Living abroad is as cultural as it gets!! I've discovered that most of my best experiences in life have been when I left my comfort zone and just went for it. So that's my two cents worth. By the way I have spent much time in Italy and will be there again this summer...I usually go to Milan and Lugano. This summer one of my stops will be Naples. HTH

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traceyjade Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 3:06pm
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Okay now I am really jealous...lol. Just some info icon_wink.gif

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sshoshie Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 3:21pm
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I lived in Germany for 3 years. I was able to do alot of traveling with 2 small kids and a deployed husband.....wouldn't change a thing! Living overseas is a GREAT experience. Your kids will be as excited as you are or aren't. All the kids that will be in their school have gone through the same things (moving alot etc) so they are all "in the same boat" They won't be the new kids. All DODS school have the same curiculum standards so I wouldn't worry too much. And if you find once you get there it's not what you want educationally for your kids then worry about home schooling. I have found that listening to "others" on what they think or have heard is never my experience. Don't be scared to try new things for you or your kids. It's a great opportunity and I hope you take full advantage! Good Luck!

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Cakeonista Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 3:31pm
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May I ask you why you pick Naples of all the cities in Italy?

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miss_sweetstory Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 4:02pm
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HI TracyLH,
My husband had an extended TDY with the Air Force in Naples (without us) and these are his thoughts:
* First, if you go there you need to know that it is a fairly dirty city and the crime rate is on the high side. He says if you can deal with that, you'll find wonderful people and a great experience.
* Base housing is pretty good, and housing off base it terrific (speaking of the average interior). Housing exteriors look pretty rough, but this is due to some weird tax laws that dramatically raise taxes in Naples on any building that is completed. (Thus, everything is "under construction"...don't judge any houses in Naples by how they look on the outside.)
* In general, Naples is an easy place for non-Italian speakers. In his experience, if you make even a little effort, the Neapolitans are very helpful (in his opinion, this becomes less true as you head farther north in Italy).
* Regarding DoDS, neither my husband nor I are big fans (we are currently in England and have opted to send our children to British schools). However, I do know several students who have gotten a very good education in DoDS...but they all had very involved parents and were reasonably dedicated students. Most overseas military communities have homeschooling groups...so if you wanted to go that route, you wouldn't be entirely on your own. Pompeii, Vesuvius, Herculaneum, Amalfi Coast, beaches of Salerno ... incredible educational opportunities!

Finally, I asked my husband if he would take a PSC (with dependents) to Naples knowing what he knows...he said, "Absolutely!"

If you want to ask questions, get more in depth views, etc., please feel free to PM me. I know how hard these choices are.


Oh, my husband thinks your cookies are out of this world... if you PSC to Naples, he wants to send me to you for lessons (now, this should concern you!)

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Cakeonista Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 4:08pm
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I can understand why you would want to move there since your husband is there, but please take into consideration the first 2 points your husband and and triple it. I dont know if you would be living in a seperate area there, like on a base, if so that does change things, but otherwise I'm not sure if its a great place to pick to live with young children. Good Luck to you and your family in whatever you choose.

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GayeG Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 4:44pm
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Sorry to change the subject - Just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Mariu - Hope your day is good!

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TracyLH Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 4:51pm
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Oh, it is such a relief to hear from you all! I am in such angst over this - primarily due to the schools. The experience would be undeniably incredible, but the scores I am finding on the DoD high school in Naples are below the national average, so I am still researching. Our younger child is in the GT program and I worry about setting both of them back academically, expecially as the older one will be in high school. I will keep asking around to see if someone has direct experience with the schools.

Gaye - Hi! My DH is a Navy captain, a submariner. I am not sure exactly what the job would be, but he is up for it once I decide about schools. Of course, his name will go in a hat for the job, so who knows if he would even get it. I am just trying to do all of my research.

Lori - I will be interested to see what you think of Naples when you go if you don't mind giving me your impression when the time comes. I don't know if you are planning a side trip to Pompeii, but if you have a chance, tt is just incredible!

Mariu - The Navy picked Naples, not us. If it wasn't 2 hours away, I would vote to live in Rome! We would be together in base housing. The kids are excited, one more apprehensive than the other, at the prospect as I have always told them I want them to see Pompeii and Rome. The educational system is my main concern.

Miss_Sweetstory - Thanks so much for your very helpful response! As for Naples itself you are right! Not as lovely a city as Rome, but you are right that the people are warm. I love Italy overall. My DH and I were fortunate enough to go to Italy last year and did a quick drive through Naples on our way to Pompeii. Not very pretty, rather dirty, and very compacted. We literally spent about 20 min. in Naples while everyone unloaded to grab a quick photo and I, of course, ran across the street to sample some Neapolitan desserts to go. I was immediately struck with how friendly the shopkeepers were and felt very comfortable. I have heard, and seen, the same idea that the Italians are warmer the further south you go and Naples is rather far down! You are right about the educational experience of all of the history that is there. I just wish the job was in Rome as that is my favorite city, but it would only be about 2 hours away. Thanks for asking your husband if he would take children. That helps a lot. We would be in base housing - 1800 sq. ft townhouse. Basically we would leave about everything in storage. I may well PM you with questions and sincerely appreciate your offer. Life experience is so important, but I have to weigh the kids falling behind acadademically. I am not sure the dymamics would work for home schooling with the older child in particular, so we are really looking at the schools themselves. It is hard when you have one who struggles a bit and one who is in the upper eschalon academically and needs challenges. Oh, if we do come to Naples, you will have to come visit! I may have to ask you to bring meringue powder! icon_lol.gif

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lorijom Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 5:20pm
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I went to an American school in Greece...I was a boarding student but there were also day students. Maybe there is a school along those lines. Look for schools with the word "international" in them. Tuition costs can be a factor but you actually never know until you look...the costs could be comparable to small private schools state-side. Also there could be tuition assistance. Just trying to throw out ideas you may not have thought of.

I absolutely will let you know my thoughts about Naples icon_smile.gif

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freddyfl Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 5:38pm
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what boat is your hubby on? mine is a submariner as well, but not a captain...LOL we are but lowly enlisted peoples haha =)

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eilidh Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 5:46pm
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Hi thought I would give you my limited experience of naples. Having been there as part of my honeymoon in 2002 I also was very aware of the very high crime rate and also how dirty the city was. Other than that though I have to say that I love Italy and as you know you have access from naples to some of the most beautiful places in Italy e.g. short train to Positano or boat to Capri and really even Milan and Rome and Florence are all accessible in a few hours by train. I know nothing about life in the forces but if you were living on base then maybe you would be a bit apart from the Napolean life and then could use hols and days off for excursions to some really amazing places?

Good luck with it,


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TracyLH Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 10:33pm
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Lorijom - Great idea! Especially with the older one as he will be in high school zone. Thanks!

Freddyfl - 'Lowly'? - Oh, far from it! Enlisted are the backbone of the submarine force! My husband could go on and on about the fine men he has served with, from his incredible COBs, his great chiefs and all through the ranks. I cannot sing the praises enough of our Ombudsmen and the dedication and invaluable service they gave to the families on the boats he has served on and the wonderful and talented enlisted wives I have met. My brother was enlisted as well. Rate/rank does not determine the man.

Enough of my little soapbox, and I know you were playing around, but as you can see, 'lowly' does not fit in our definition of enlisted. icon_lol.gif By any stretch of the imagination. We have the upmost respect for all who answer the call and make the sacrifices needed for serving in the submarine force.

Okay, waving of flags aside, my DH is now driving a desk at the Pentagon after being honored with a boat out of San Diego and decommissioning one in Norfolk before that. We don't even know how likely Naples would be. It is one of many possible options and we are just in the process of researching before submitted our thoughts and then, as you well know, it is all in their hands! icon_lol.gif

Eilidh - Oh, thankyou for your thoughts! I would so much love the chance to live in Italy and be able to visit the places you speak of. I did just find out that it is mandatory that we live on the base, although I would prefer to live out among the community to fully experience the culture. However, we would need to do as we are instructed. icon_lol.gif

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shannon100 Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 2:25am
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I lived in Naples, Italy, for 1 year, and my DH was there 4 years. (We met there!) I went overseas to do youth ministry on the base, and we got transferred right after we got married because of some crazy visa laws that finally got resolved, but we had to move to Germany before that happened. (He got out of the Navy when we got married.)

I wish I would have been able to live in Naples longer. I loved it. I think everyone should live overseas at least once! It opens your eyes to so many new things! The thing I loved most about Naples (especially after moving to a base in Germany) was the community among the people on base. I was welcomed so easily. My own opinion is that Naples is such an incredibly hard place to live that the people who live there immediately reach out to new people to make it easier, and it just starts a cycle of welcoming new people.

Another positive was the food!!! It was incredible!!! Real Italian food isn't the same as what we have here in our Italian restaurants. Some is similar, but real Italian food is sooooo good!

It wasn't all great. It was really hard to live there. Yes, Naples is dirty. When I lived there, they went on a trash strike and didn't pick up trash for weeks. In most towns, there's not house-to-house trash pick-up. You throw your trash in a trash bin on the side of the road. So when the trash isn't picked up and people continue to throw their trash there, the pile continued to grow and take over the street. Then someone would throw a match or cigarette on it, and then there would be burning piles of trash everywhere. The air quality isn't the best. It's also hard to get things done, because their favorite word is "domani" which means "tomorrow". It was very difficult to get things done (but if you're living on base, it might be a tiny bit easier in some things.) Traffic was HORRIFIC.

I think if it's just 2 years, it's so worth it! Your time will fly by. There's so much history there, and you can go so many places from there! There is a really cheap airline (Ryan Air) that flies out of Rome, and you can sometimes buy a ticket for less than 1 euro plus taxes and fly somewhere else in Europe!

There are many places to get involved. I did the youth ministry, and we always had trips with the students. There is also a very active women's Bible study group on base.

My thoughts are kinda scattered, but you are welcome to PM me if you have any other questions!!

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freddyfl Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 2:54am
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Tracy, I am glad that you and your husband feel that way about enlisted....not all officers do. I sure wish our current CO felt that way! Let's just say he's not a big fan of enlisted people. Let us know when you know what boat you get stationed to next....if you end up in Bangor be sure and let me know. We can have a cookie party. =)

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quilting2011 Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 3:19am
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Hi Tracy-

I grew up in DOD schools. My father was in the airforce. I lived in Aviano Air Force Base for 8 years and others in Germany, Ramstein, Frankfurt and Turkey, and Iceland.

It was a wonderful experience. We traveled all over Europe too. I had a wonderful educational experience in a DOD setting. I am deaf but had wonderful support during my elementary and middle and high schools years.

My cousin is stationed in Aviano AFB. when we visit Europe we stay with relatives.

I would go. The best way to live abroad and learn another culture. Oh the food is fantastic in italy.

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Pebbles13 Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 5:09am
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Hi Tracy!
Wow! I can't even imagine how fast your wheels are spinning right now. I understand your concerns regarding your kids in such an unknown setting. I grew up an Air Force brat and lived in England for 3 years, but just went to Kindergarten there. I went to a DoD school in Izmir Turkey when I was 8-10 years old and the school was not a great experience; however, living in Turkey was quite interesting. My mom didn't drive so it was up to my Dad to take us siteseeing once in a while. Looking back, I saw some incredible things but didn't fully appreciate them like I would now. I can't imagine how my poor mother took care of 5 little kids ...in a 3 bedroom apartment....with no television AT ALL for 2 years! We didn't live on base and I didn't feel extremely secure there. Americans were not well-loved in Turkey at that time. Italy, on the other hand, would be an exciting thought. My husband and I had an opportunity to visit Florence, Pisa, and Forte dei Marmi where we visited a marble quarry. It was an awesome experience and I would love to see Rome some day. The thought of living there sounds dreamy, but I can see why you are doing so much research on behalf of your precious children. I wish you luck with your decision. If you go, I promise to send you some meringue powder or whatever items you can't get at the Commissary icon_wink.gif

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TracyLH Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 12:58pm
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Well, in hearing experiences some of you have had, I am allowing myself to actually get a little excited. Of course, it is a slim chance of it all working out. I am sure we are not the only ones interested in going there and I still have some serious research to do about the school as I saw that their PSAT scores are below the national average. Might not be such a wise thing to put a 9 - 10th grader in there, but I will keep checking. Thanks to all of you who have so kindly offered your thoughts.

Shannon100 - I am so glad to hear that you found everyone to be so welcoming and that it is such a tight knit commumity. That will make a big difference, especially for our children. I did a search on-line and already found that there is a Scout troop there, so that is wonderful. You are SO right about the food! We were fortunate enough to visit Rome last year and I could have lived on the wood-fired pizza. It is SO unlike pizza anywhere else! Everything I had was just incredible and I would love to share that with our children. That and the art. Art history is a passion of mine, so you can only imagine how much I want to introduce them to that. Thankyou for all of your thoughts and support! Now fingers are crossed for the schools and if he even would get the job!

Freddyfl - Oh, we are so very sorry to hear of your situation. We feel everyone is to be valued and my DH loved his time in command and being able to positively affect the quality of the lives of the families on the boat. He said that if the wives are happy, the men are happy and it just makes for a better climate for everyone, especially with all of the sacrifices that are made for them to do what they need to do. I think the nicest thing we heard is that several enlisted men have come up to one of the men on the boat whose wife and I keep in close contact (I had kind of put an arm around her as she really needed a lot of support) and told him that they knew that his wife and the capt's wife kept in contact and they asked to spread the word if my DH found he was getting another boat and to tell them as they wanted to transfer to it. As that would change the type of boat, that would mean a move from San Diego for them in order to do so, but they were adamant that they would do that. Hearing that meant a great deal to my husband. Now I am not trying to make it sound like it was all some giant Disney movie, with birds singing and men breaking out in song spontaneously icon_lol.gif , but the fact that he valued his men was felt. We don't know what course his career take, but we may well get to cross paths after all! A cookie party would be great fun! icon_smile.gif

Bundtdiva - That you so much for sharing your very positive experience with growing up in DoD schools. You have really been all over the place and it sound as though it was an incredible experience! It helps to hear that all went so well for you. Thankyou so very much for your valued thoughts.

Pebbles - Oh, hats off to your mother!!! Oh, I hope you get to go! Rome is incredible! It is hands-down my favorite city - the history, the warmth of the people, the food and some of my favorite pieces of art are all there. I really do hope you get to go someday! Oh, I may have to ask you to send some MP! Of course, I have now probably completely jinxed all of this and we won't get to go! icon_lol.gif

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quilting2011 Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 3:00pm
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Yes, your child's education is important. Do check the test scores. If you decide to stay you can always visit Naples in the summer. If you decide to go you can PM me and I will give you my cousin's emall and phone number in Aviano.

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shannon100 Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 4:06pm
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I have to warn you that Aviano and Naples are completely different cities. It's like they are in different countries! Once you get south of Rome, Italy is completely different. So be careful comparing those 2 bases. (And Aviano is AF and Naples is Navy (and there's a NATO base there, so there are a few non-Navy), so the bases themselves are very different.) I visited Aviano once, and I couldn't believe how different the areas were.

In regards to school, are there any at-home study programs you could do with your kids in addition to the DODDs school? Or a PSAT program or something? Maybe you need to talk to some parents who are currently living in Naples to see what it is really like. I remember when I lived overseas, I would always see "commercials" on AFN (Armed Forces Network) about a website for PCSing families, where you could read specifically about the base. Maybe they have a forum or something. I don't remember what the site is, though.

The test scores may be low, but that doesn't mean that the education is across-the-board sub-par. I remember several of the students in my youth group that were taking college-level classes while still in high school. Several of our students in Naples were given appointments to military academies (and you know scores have to be high to go to one of those!) I think you definitely need to talk to a current parent. Check out the Stars and Stripes website. I just found a targeted website for military moms.

If you home-school, you can do field trips all over Europe! How fun would that be?! There are a lot of homeschool parents overseas, and your kids can still do sports with DODDs even if they are homeschooled.

Can you tell I'm very pro-moving?! haha

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TracyLH Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 4:47pm
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Thanks bundtdiva and Shannon - I will check the test scores. Luckily, I have never seen Aviano as it sounds so great.

Shannon - I think your idea to supplement is really good. We know that we would be going back to VA after it, so I can try to keep them in line with VA's academic standards. I will look into a PSAT program as I do not now what that is. I am trying to contact parents who are there and am -mailing the Scoutmaster theree to see if he can put me in touch with someone. Thanks for those web-sites. I just checked them out and posted on the one. There are people who homeschool there. I am just not sure about homeschooling a 9th/10th grader especially. We are likely to ram horns too much. icon_lol.gif When were you there so I can get a reference? Thanks!

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shannon100 Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 5:03pm
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I was in Naples in from Jan 2004 to March 2005. The students who went to military academies graduated in 2005 and 2006. So it's fairly recent. I lived in Germany until this past summer. We moved back July 2008. icon_sad.gif Wish I could have lived there longer! (If you ever get a chance for Germany, Belguim, or The Netherlands, take it!!!! They all 3 have NATO bases that have all the military branches working there.)

I don't know if there are any PSAT programs, but there might at least be a study book or something. It seems like there are study programs for everything these days! icon_smile.gif I'm sure you can find something good.

I hope people write you back!! (I also hope your husband gets it if he puts his name in the hat for the job!)

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TracyLH Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 5:31pm
post #25 of 25

Thanks, Shannon! That is pretty recent, so that is very good. I just got off the phone with the DoDEA Mathmatics Coordinator and he told me that all DODDS schools have the same curriculum. They are revamping math right now, but I will be able to pull up the standards and compare them to VA standards as we would be coming back here and then I can see if anything is off and what we would need to supplement. We have found great disparities between the states curriculum-wise as we have moved, but that is the lament of military families. We had one state about a full year behind another in math and we were in what was considered to be the top school district. Good grief! Thanks again for your help and support! It is very much appreciated! icon_smile.gif

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