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Old 06-13-2010, 03:51 PM
 
5 posts, read 31,639 times
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Hi everyone,

So I recently got job offers in both Santa Fe and San Antonio (hoo-ray!) and I just posted on the SA boards asking about living in the hill country area of Texas and now I'm curious to hear about living in the Santa Fe area from people actually living there.

I don't particularly care for cities, but I'm thinking that Santa Fe proper is not really a 'big city', yeah? Does it offer a more small town feel that I'm looking for? See, I have been looking at actual "small" towns in Texas, but I was having a hard time coming up with equally viable options in the Santa Fe area...well viable options that meet my criteria I guess. And what I'm looking for is this: I'm not looking for a suburb, I don't particularly care for them. I'm not looking for a master-planned community either. I would like to have a decent school district, as I have a little one, but I would also to hear more information about homeschooling communities/restrictions in Santa Fe/New Mexico because I've been considering homeschool. And I would also need someplace that would suit a young child. It doesn't need to be Disneyland, but I need to be able to get to places relatively easily, walking, riding bikes, etc.

I know there are some tiny, artists communities in the SF area, but I'm not sure I'd like to take my 4-year-old there to live, you know? Is looking into SF proper my best option? Are there things to do there for a kid (and an always interested in new things adult)? Basically, is it a nice place? I can't get away to visit until August at the absolute earliest, so I'm looking to advise and opinions to help me make up my mind. Thanks!
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe NM
332 posts, read 994,576 times
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Congratulations on the job offers! As no doubt other posters will say, there's no substitute for coming and checking Santa Fe out for yourself. As to schools, I'd recommend you go to a site like Great Schools to get scores and other data. The district's school zones are also online, so you can map neighborhoods.
"Is it a nice place?", you ask... I moved here with my then 5 yr old son, and we're largely glad we did. He's been through public elementary schools here, and is now in a private middle school in town. I think he's had a great experience here, far broader than in many US towns.
In terms of things to do - we spent many hours at the Santa Fe Children's Museum, and I can recommend that. Whatever school you choose will of course instantly put you into a great network, which you should embrace.
As I'm sure other posters will also suggest, Eldorado might be a good place for you to consider - it's got a great school, it's a tight neighborhood, and it's very bike and walking friendly
Hope that helps!
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe, NM
293 posts, read 926,579 times
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Congrats on the job offers! San Antonio and Santa Fe are night and day different. San Antonio really IS a big city, with suburbs and all the pros and cons of a city. Santa Fe is NOT a city. Don't let anyone tell you different... there's only 60,000 people in the entire metro area. And outside that metro area is either high desert, mountains, or... well... more scrubby high desert.

We moved here with a two year old and have adjusted to small town life pretty well. As the previous poster suggested, the Santa Fe Children's Museum is fantastic. It rivals any big city. There are also good parks, and a vibrant "downtown" scene that fascinates my little kids. The summer provides farmers markets, endless opportunities to hike and bike, outdoor concerts on the Plaza, and a whole host of other things to do.

Homeschooling is very accepted here with virtually no state/city/county restrictions. All you need to do is notify the state once a year that you're homeschooling. No tests, no progress reports. As for the public schools... well... they're not up to my standards. I might send my girls for elementary school, but pretty much everyone here who can afford to sends their kids to private school for middle and high. The private schools here are pretty good, and there are a lot to choose from.

Good luck making your choice!
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe NM
332 posts, read 994,576 times
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I asked a friend who homeschools her kids in Santa Fe for some local information. Here are her comments:

New Mexico is a pretty good state for homeschoolers. Testing is not required nor are portfolios or inspections. You have to file an Intent to Homeschool with the Public Educ. Department each year by April 1st (or within 30 days of beginning to homeschool in the state). You also have to keep on hand your GED, high school diploma or degree, as well as your homeschool calendar (just to show you plan to teach 180 days), and your child's immunization records.
Here's a link to their site for all the 'official' info: New Mexico Home Schools



Last edited by santafescribe; 06-13-2010 at 11:22 PM.. Reason: strange formating
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Ruidoso, NM
1,643 posts, read 4,703,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynanthus View Post
San Antonio and Santa Fe are night and day different.
You didn't mention the differences in climate - which is also like night vs day.

San Antonio has much higher annual rainfall, constant high humidity, and summer heat that can be stifling - vs - Santa Fe's high elevation dryness, low humidity, and a few hot summer afternoons.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Bernalillo, NM
1,168 posts, read 2,262,523 times
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You also didn't mention where you're living so don't know what kind of climate you're in now. Maybe it's my northern bias having grown up in Alaska, but I think living in a place where your 4-year-old can play in the leaves in the fall, the snow in the winter, etc., is a big plus. Everyone learns more or less the same things in school, depending somewhat on the quality of the schools, etc. But IMO the big difference is in what kids learn outside of the classroom. Living in a 4-season community immerses kids in mother nature in a way no classroom can teach.

Don't want to knock Texas' history but it can't really compare with the depth and breadth of NM history, and there's a wealth of historical and cultural-related educational opportunities in SF and NM in general. Lots of things to visit and learn about with your child.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Where I live.
9,191 posts, read 20,918,650 times
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The histories of both NM and Texas are varied...and related in some ways, but Texas was an independent nation in its own right for almost 10 years after winning independence from Mexico. There is no other state in the union with that distinction..and yes, I AM very biased.

New Mexico's history is unique in that it came so late to statehood (1/16/1912) along with Arizona (2/14/1912). Those are the final two in the lower 48, with HI and AK coming much later, in 1959.

Having said that, if I were the original poster, I'd choose Santa Fe over San Antonio for climate alone.

If amenities/services are more important to them, San Antonio would win hands down.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:54 AM
 
5 posts, read 31,639 times
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Thanks for all the information so far, especially the homeschool advice. I've found that finding real, useful information on schooling options in any particular area is really hard. I can get stats and all that online, but I much prefer to talk to human beings who have experienced all that themselves.

I grew up in Coastal California, but I am currently living in Salt Lake City and lived for a few years in Denver, so I am no stranger to either snow or desert summer weather. Can I ask about the real estate situation in Santa Fe? Is living in the downtown area possible on a budget of 550,000 (ABSOLUTE MAX)? It seems like the downtown area offers a lot of amenities all in a somewhat nearby-ish corridor and my daughter and I like to be able to walk to as many places as possible. Also living too far out of town is not super attractive to me as I'm a single mother and prefer to be a little closer to 'civilization'! But from what I've read Santa Fe is kind of pricey, would I be able to find a place in my price range?
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe NM
332 posts, read 994,576 times
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Short answer is "yes, you can!" Parts of downtown can be very expensive - East Side, for example - but if you considered areas like the South Capital, Old Taos Highway, and Inner Northside you can find homes within your range - especially if you make a strong offer, with short-ish closing and a strong mortgage offer from a reputable source. If you're considering home schooling, you're therefore not constrained by school districts, further broadening your options.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Ruidoso, NM
1,643 posts, read 4,703,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy4017 View Post
The histories of both NM and Texas are varied...and related in some ways...
And there are no "absolutes" when it comes to comparing their histories. The El Paso area was developed in the same era that the Santa Fe area was - by the Spaniards. The old missions in the El Paso area pre-date the eastern seaboard settlements (and landing of the Pilgrims). During the Pueblo Revolt the tribes of the Santa Fe region moved and resettled in the El Paso area, where their descendants still live today.

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