The struggle in finding the perfect home vs the perfect school system

We’ve been military for 23 years and now that my husband is retired, we’ve settled into a new career and new schools. Now that we’re comfortable with the area and we are staying in one place, it’s time for us to find our first home and I am overly nervous.

Finding that perfect home for us is a little different from most people. Why? Because we’ve traveled all over, experienced so many different areas, from educational systems to home styles, that we can’t seem to settle on one particular home. We like a variety of things with open land and all seasons, but we’re also limited to the area we have to live in due to the kids and my husband’s career.


When your kids are younger and you buy a home, I can understand sacrificing for the next 10-20 years. That’s what us parents do. The younger the children, the most dedicated the educational systems should be to set them on the right path. However, the hardest part for us right now is that all of my kids are in high school this year and in the next 4-5 years we won’t have to worry about the school system. So do we find a home my husband and I extremely love out in the middle of the country and let the kids shuffle through the system whether they like the school or not? It’s only 4 years right? Or do we stay in the area where we are limited to what we love as a couple, sacrificing our wants and needs, so that our kids can attend the best school where they finally have a lifetime of friends? Yet we have to stay in that home for 10-20 years while our kids are off living their life? Or, worst case scenerio, we completely skip buying a home all together!

Does The Best School Matter?

If you don’t know me already, I have three teens, two of which are on the high functioning Autism spectrum. For years they suffered through one bad school after the next with little to no support since military kids are in and out of schools every 2-4 years. I fought tooth and nail to get them the help they needed until their struggles were finally addressed and they were put on a 504 to IEP Plan. When you have special needs children, it is a desperate fight to keep them on par, but when you have special needs children who are military children and move around so much they are so far lost after each school, it is a blood battling war!

Since retiring and attending this new school, they have been introduced to the best Autism Support systems, academics, college prep, and overall clubs and activities. It is one of the best schools in the state! And the results show through my own children as all three of them are on the Honor Roll and my two Autistic children have flourished! So in my opinion, YES the best school does matter.

But now that we are house hunting, it has become a challenge to find the right home with the right school system. Now mind you, the schools aren’t absolutely horrible in the areas we are looking, but the BEST school is in a rather populated area with limited options, so for MY children I am just worried to change what is working for them.

The sacrifices we make as parents

As parents we sacrifice so much for our children, and we wish for nothing but the best for them in life, but when do we let go and do something that makes ourselves happy? Kids are resilient and they will always find their own way in life, but I feel so wrong inside putting myself (and my husband) first when it comes to our dream home versus the best school system for our kids.

log cabin home

I like Pennsylvania and it has one of the best school systems and fastest growing areas in the state, but it’s building up so fast that home builders are stuffing condos, villas, and townhomes in every corner just to get families in and money churning. Unfortunately if I’m buying a home, it isn’t going to be attached to someone else! I want my single-family, log-cabin home with some land. And we can totally afford it now, but that isn’t going to happen in this area.

So why is it the open country areas have such lower standard schools? I guess if the schools were one of the best, people would be crowding into the country area too and it’d turn into the city, right? Oh these decisions are making my head spin!

So what do I do? What would YOU do? Have you experienced this challenge before? Share your thoughts and suggestions!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. JDeeK says:

    I’m in a very similar position. We are a military family, about to make our final move and are looking to purchase a home at our next (final) location. Do we choose a location that will be best for my kids’ educational needs (one has an IEP and one has a 504), and live in a busier area with less land? Or do we get the type of house we would prefer in a less favorable school district since it will be our forever home? It’s a difficult decision. My husband thinks we should get a reasonably priced house with good schools and then move later to our “dream home” after they are grown. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kat M says:

      Its funny how much we look forward to these things (military retirement, buying our first home, etc) and when the time is upon us, it is more of a challenge than we expected it to be. Life has a funny way of making a “mountain out of a mole hill” for us lol I wish you luck as well!


  2. annevivid says:

    It is a dilemma. I wish you luck with whatever you decide. Can I add another idea into the mix? Homes in areas with good schools are often desirable to renters. What about first buying a nice enough modest home in the good school area and then renting it out- as an investment property- when your kids are finished with school?…Just what you probably wanted another option. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat M says:

      That is a really good idea! Definitely something to ponder! Thanks so much for the suggestion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. annevivid says:

    One of my many dreams is to be a real estate investor…. I read your about age and I very much admire your accomplishments. I appreciate so much when people turn personal struggles into something meaningful. I look forward to following your blog and checking out your podcast!

    Liked by 1 person

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