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What are American Schools Like?

24. November 2009 by Marie 0 Comments

We are all products of our education system. North American men are the product of schooling that doesn't just focus on learning language, mathematics, science, the arts and history.


Knowing this may help you understand the mindset of the men on our Web site, as well as how your children would be educated in the States or Canada.

American education system

North American children begin school in kindergarten, at age 5 or 6. Some go to pre-school, in which they play but also gain readiness for school. Primary school goes from first grade (called grade 1 in Canada) until fifth, sixth or seventh grade.


Then most children go to what is variously called Junior High School or Middle School for two or three years.The Middle School curriculum is tailored to the difficult time of adolescence, in which students are leaving childhood and entering the teenage years.


High School (also known as secondary school) generally lasts four years. The levels are called Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior.


There are regional differences, but education is usually mandatory until a students' 16th birthday.


University studies

Most students graduate from high school at age 17 or 18. Some students then enter the workforce. Others go onto universities or colleges (these words are usually interchangeable, but universities are larger and have a broader curriculum). Other choices include technical or business college or other types of training.

Universities offer four-year bachelor's degree programs, two-year Master's degree programs, and two- to three-year Doctoral (Ph.D) programs.


The cost of education

There are public schools that the government funds, and private or religious schools that parents pay for. A small but growing number of children are schooled at home. Education is free through high school. Colleges and universities are not. Many parents can't afford college, so students might work after class, get loans or grants, or win scholarships to pay for it.


Education philosophy

The philosophy of most North american schools may be vastly different from those in your countries. Since the 1970s, there has been a push toward building a child's self-esteem, promoting racial harmony, and resolving conflicts peacefully. Discipline tends to be less strict. Students are allowed to argue a point with a teacher, and many teachers often ask students' opinions on the topics being studied.


This last point is part of North Americans' desire to compromise, challenge authority, seek group opinions and concensus, and give value to everyone's opinion. This may be very different from how you were raised, and it is good to discuss different cultural values with the American man in your life so you can know each other better.