A lot of mothers are going back to work right after they have children. Mothers can take maternity leave for up to 3 months and still keep their job. Lots of mothers opt to take less maternity leave, but they are required to take at least 6 weeks off. Thus, a baby can be as young as 6 weeks old in order to go to a day care.
A day care is a place for children 6 weeks old to 5 years old. They are in the day care for about 9 hours a day while both parents work. There are other options for parents as well. One option is for one of the 2 parents to quit their job and be a stay-at-home mom or dad. Another option is to get a babysitter or a nanny to stay at home with the children. A nanny is much more expensive than putting your child in day care.
When children are 3 or 4 years old, they can also attend a half-day preschool. At preschools they can learn their alphabet and engage in activities which will prepare them for school. Many stay-at-home moms choose to put their children into preschool for 2 days a week, so that they can have a break.
Kindergarten in the United States starts when the child turns 5 years old. But, they have to be 5 years old before Sept. 1st or they have to wait for the next school year to go to school. There are 3 types of schools: Public schools, private schools and religious private schools. Public schools are free and are paid for through property taxes for houses. Private schools and religious private schools cost money to attend. The cost depends on where you live and the quality of the school, but where I live it is about $4000-$5000 per school year.
The school system consists of Elementary school (or primary), Middle school and then High school. High school students are usually 18 years old when they graduate.
There are also magnet schools for arts or sciences. These schools are special schools where you have to excel in arts or sciences in order to attend them.
Another option is to home school your children. This is where the kids stay at home with their mom or dad and their mom or dad teaches them what they would normally learn in school. This used to be very rare, but now more and more families are turning to this option.
After high school, you basically have 4 options: 1. join the work force 2. join the military 3. go to a community college (Jr. college) or 4. go to a University (also called a college).