Education: school

A K-12
In the U.S., K-12 means "kindergarten through twelfth grade (the last year of high school)" for public schools [free education]. In most states, school is compulsory [you have to go] from age 6 to 16, and most children follow this route in school:

Approximate age Kind of school
3 or 4 Some go to nursery school (not compulsory).
5 Most children start kindergarten (compulsory in some states, optional in others), which is the first year of elementary school (usually kindergarten and grades 1-6). At age 6, all children must attend first grade.
10, 11, or 12 Some children go to middle school, grades 5-8 or 6-8. Those who don't attend [go toj middle school go to junior high school, grades 7-9.
15 Students go to high school / secondary school (grades 9-12 or 10-12). Regular high schools offer academic and vocational programs. Vocational high schools offer training for a job, e.g., auto mechanic, beautician. Specialized high schools are for students with special interests, e.g., music, business.
18 They graduate [finish school successfully] and get a job or go to college for higher education. Those who leave school without graduating are called dropouts. [They drop out of school.]


  • Students go to school and go to college to study (not go to the school / the college). In the U.S., go to college can mean university, college, or community college.
  • There are also private schools and parochial [religious] schools. Neither is free, and some can be expensive.
  • Some states now have charter schools [public schools that parents can choose to send their children to] as an alternative to traditional public schools. Parents and teachers in charter schools have more freedom to choose the curriculum.
B A school schedule
Class schedules and courses can be very different from state to state, and even from school to school. However, certain core subjects [most important areas of study] are taught in most schools, e.g., reading/English, writing, math [an abbreviation of mathematics], science, and social studies [the study of society, including history, politics, and economics]. A schedule for one day in a typical high school might look like this:

8:00 Science
8:55 Math
9:50 English
10:45 Elective (music, art, etc.)
11:40 Lunch
12:30 History
1:25 PE [physical education] / Computers
2:20 Foreign language
: Some words in English that end in -s look plural, but in fact they are singular, e.g., mathematics, politics, physics: "Physics is my favorite subject."