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Having it all--anywhere to build with no/less restrictive codes AND good public schools?

 
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My husband and I have saved up about $100,00 and have good credit, so we finally feel ready to hunt some land and have a little hobby farm.

The thing is....we have two kids. And I don't want to raise them in a socially isolated environment where they will be bored and without social outlets and activities. We really value education and, while I'm not expecting to send my kids to the "TOP SCHOOL!" (that usually translates as rich and white anyways), I do want my kids to go to a good school with caring teachers and a good community.

My parents have a lovely home on Whidbey Island and we enjoy visiting and going to the many fairs, parades, and community events. Unfortunately, building codes seem to be very strict in this area (Island County). Womp-womp.

Are we just chasing an unattainable fantasy?
 
gardener
Posts: 3038
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
682
cat pig rocket stoves
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Hi Cat; Welcome to Permies!
I'm afraid the coastal areas are certainly out. I'm thinking all of Washington and Oregon are very restrictive ,well about everything and anything they can make a buck on...Traffic is insane west of the cascades.
That moves you inland.  Idaho or western Montana.   Sadly your children will not have a lot of social activity's or you will be transporting them many miles each day for them to have some.
If your children are boys they may (like I did) like having a national forest to wonder in, camp in , fish in , go hunting with the adults. Boating, skiing ,  snowmobiling. There are plenty of things in the forest to occupy a youngster (girls included).  Mom & Dad may feel differently about this. Everything is miles away.  Shopping, banking, social entertainment.  

The wonder of rural living is, your the boss. You see things daily that others only see in photos. You have clean air , clean water , neighbor's who will do anything to help out. I haven't locked the door on my house in 40 years... You can raise your own livestock, you can build, any building anyplace ,  anyway you like.  Heck I don't recommend it but you can have an outhouse if you want one.


Bottom line , you can't have it both ways.  Peaceful & beautiful inland or the crazy hectic,  rule bound area's to the west.  
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western Montana
 
Posts: 59
Location: The Great PNW
16
purity fungi foraging chicken medical herbs homestead
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Hello! Yes, there are options, even in western wa
check out this thread that i just saw, it may help!
https://permies.com/t/100135/Praise-Lewis-County
Lewis county is a good option, ive read that Onalaska areas have better schools than others.

Also you may have luck further into the mountains in some of those counties and of course eastern washington counties are much less restrictive.
I have plans to find land in those areas (hopefully!) in the near future and there are tons of online resources you can investigate pertaining to codes, good schools etc.

Hope that helps, there is hope!! Good luck
M
 
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If your not set on Washington, Alaska has some wonderful land with no zoning and great small communities.  We recently bought land a cabin for 75,000 no zoning laws.  Our kids go to a great school of less than a hundred kids which I love, and we're only 30 minutes from a larger town that has really great community events.
 
Posts: 185
Location: 7b desert southern Idaho
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My experience tells me a good school is not that important. Having a good teacher makes all the difference in the world. I’ve found them in rural Idaho and urban California. I don’t think the money a school district has makes that much difference. Lots of funding can get sucked up in administration and  never reach the student. Maybe more important than a good teacher is a good student. If they are raised with curiosity and a love of learning, they will find the teacher. On the other side a bad teacher...should not be teaching!
 
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I lived in a community in Snohomish County that had folks living in tool sheds, RV's, tents and some structures that are hard to describe.

I had a place there that we parked our fifth wheel trailer. We started out living there part time and later full time. We were there full time for over two years.

The unspoken rule was:

Code enforcement does not show up unless somebody complains.
Don't complain and don't piss your neighbors.
 
master steward
Posts: 11940
Location: Pacific Northwest
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hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
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According to my neighbors, even the county says they don't do checks.

Having said that, who knows when policies might change, or when neighbors might become boogers. One of my neighbors reported on another for "landfilling activities" of bringing in gravel for their drive way and living in a 12x12 structure that had power and water, while they were building their house. Who reports on someone for that?! Obviously, some people do. Sigh.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Posts: 11940
Location: Pacific Northwest
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There's also some great schools in Snohomish County. I've met only great teachers in Snohomish School district. Bothell School district is also supberb.  

Monroe School District also has a fantastic Parent Partnership Program. It's called Sky Valley Education Center (https://www.monroe.wednet.edu/svec) . It's public school, and so all the classes are free. They have a Forest School class, Montessori class, lots of cool electives like "Jedi Training" and Rock Climbing and gymnastics for PE and Lego Engineering and Robot Programming for science. They also have an excursion program, where every Wednesday the class goes and visits a different museum/science center/zoo. For Jr High grades, they have a Environmental Science School and a STEM Program. Here's a list of all their programs (https://www.monroe.wednet.edu/svec/about/programs) and here's a link to their individual classes (https://www.wingsnw.com/wings/sky/class_find.php).

It's all grade levels at one school, and classes are for large age ranges, so kids can move up and down based on their level. The kids there are awesome, and the parents I saw when I visited it, were all fun/nerdy/homesteading/intelligent people. They have a yearly Renaissance Faire and even have had a Harry Potter day! They're not a school for sports/athletics, though one can participate in other schools, I believe.

People travel from far away school districts to bring their kids there, as it's the best parent partnership in the area (other school districts have smaller Parent Partnerships, and Edmunds school district has a bigger one).

Kids can be enrolled either full time (kids is usually at school for 7 hours a week, and you  have to be on campus with them unless they are older or enrolled in the Montessori program), and you augment their education at home (no lesson planning--the teachers do that!), or you can be part time and just use them for classed like piano, choir, Hawaiian dance, ballet, orchestra, science, etc, and then you have to do the homeschooling requirements of a Student Learning Plan, which I've heard isn't even that hard.
 
pollinator
Posts: 785
Location: Southern Oregon
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I'm never sure what others are looking at when they say good public schools. I'm not a fan of standardized testing, so I don't find that very reliable. I like more money, over less, but as others have mentioned it can get sucked up in administrative stuff and not make it to the students. But I was raised in a city with public schools that were/are rated some of the top in the country, and the suicide rates were/are through the roof.

My kids schools were good, not too high pressure, but safe. My kids GPA's were higher because they went to a small school, so they got into good colleges.

More than anything, a good education depends on a good, responsive parent. I wasn't well liked at my kids school, because I wouldn't tow the line. My concern is my children, period. I made it known in my district, that the money from my kids attendance was fully at my discretion, and I made them dance. That was in California, I will likely be the same here in Oregon with my grandson. My daughter and I are fierce, fierce parents.

 
Posts: 103
Location: USDA zone 6a/5b
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Stacy Witscher wrote:

More than anything, a good education depends on a good, responsive parent. I wasn't well liked at my kids school, because I wouldn't tow the line. My concern is my children, period. I made it known in my district, that the money from my kids attendance was fully at my discretion, and I made them dance. That was in California, I will likely be the same here in Oregon with my grandson. My daughter and I are fierce, fierce parents.



As a current teacher with experience is various schools  with various types of parents...this is really important...make sure your kids are ready to learn when in school...

Cat_

Have you considered home schooling?   Now seeing the system from the inside out... I can tell you when/if I have kids they WILL NOT go to school...
 
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