Ok – I have been very very fortunate and the wife of one of my future co-workers is an elementary school teacher and is helping me understand more about hte system!
First off – I am worried about English – but as it turns out, she says that
all the schools in Santa Barbara have English Language Development (ELD) curriculum that is specifically designed to meet the needs of non-native speakers. When your children arrive, they will likely be tested for English language and comprehension so that they can be properly placed in ELD. There are many Spanish-speaking students, as well as children who speak languages other than English. I think your kids will have a great time!
Now that actually made me feel a lot better!!! She has also guided me to a web-site where I can see the level at which the children in a given grade SHOULD be at the end of that school year – so for Theodore for instance, I can see what he is supposed to have learned at the end of his elementary school first grade year in the US to see if that is where he is at in Norway as well.
This is California specific information, naturally, but the link is here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/index.asp
This is the Math link (pdf) for instance: http://www.scoe.net/castandards/agenda/2010/math_ccs_recommendations.pdf – in this document, on pgs 6-8 is what is expected of a California first grader at the end of 1st grade, and on pgs 17-19 is what is expected of a 4th grader at the end of his 4th grade. Looks kinda heavy – especially for Theodore… I am going to give it to their teachers now and ask them to look at it and give me feedback on whether or not they think the children are ready…