A Guide to Choosing a Central Florida School

If you’re enrolling your child (or children) in a Central Florida school for the first time, you may be wondering where to start in choosing one. Central Florida has a wealth of options when it comes to schooling, and the best option for you depends greatly on your child’s personality, household budget, religious affiliation and learning style. The first step to making an informed school choice is to understand the options available to you, so read on to learn more about what each type of school entails and what type of student each type of school is best suited for.

Public Schools

Central Florida has over a hundred public schools in the area, so choosing one can become overwhelming. As a general rule, the ratings and quality of your local public school can vary greatly based on what county you live in. While the schools in Seminole County have better rankings overall, there are also top rated schools in Orange County. The key with public schools is to conduct research and get a full idea of what a school is like before committing to it. Talk to parents, connect with local groups on Facebook, conduct online searches for reviews, take tours, and even speak to former students if you are able to.

Private Schools

Education through a private school in Central Florida can be the right choice, particularly if your child is gifted or exceptional. However, the associated price tag can be hefty. Data shows that the average cost for elementary school tuition is close to $6,000 annually and high school is a little more, around $8000. Many of the private schools in Orlando and the surrounding areas are affiliated with a church, and the curriculum often includes a religious component.

Charter Schools

Charter schools operate with public school funding and within the general guidelines set for public schools but have a little more leeway as to how they can operate. Each charter school is operated by an organization that may have established schools in other parts of the state already. You can look at the way the existing schools operate to get a better idea of what to expect. These schools don’t charge tuition, so they can have a long waiting list for elementary grades.

Magnet Schools

Magnet schools expand the traditional curriculum to focus on one area or group of topics in particular, such as:

  • STEM
  • Performing arts
  • Fine arts
  • Vocational skills

These schools may have long waiting lists, so it’s important to decide which you want to apply at and get paperwork in long before the school year starts.

Before you can start the process of finding the right school, you have to find the right Central Florida home that accommodates the members of your family. The Core Group can help you find the perfect home for your family. Click here to get in touch and get started.



The Best Central Florida Splash Pads

If you’re looking for a way to stay cool, but you don’t want to commit to a full day’s admission to a water park, splash pads are a great place to go. Depending on the splash pad you choose and the size of your family, you can get a full days enjoyment for free or just a few dollars. The Orlando area has quite a few splash pads that incorporate fun features to keep kids and parents amused. Some are city owned and maintained, while others are in popular locations like outdoor malls and hotels. We’ve compiled some of the best splash pads around…

City of Oviedo Splash Pad

The City of Oviedo splash pad incorporates several waterslides and a few cannons so younger kids can blast each other with water. Families with older children may find this location ideal because of the Oviedo gym and aquatic facility, where the splash pad is located, also houses an Olympic-size swimming pool, basketball courts, and a climbing wall. You can spend an entire day there and find something for kids of all ages. However since it is a newer and expensive facility, the $8 charge for admission may be a little steep for some families.

Dr. P. Phillips Splash Pad

This splash pad is just a small part of the larger community park, so it is larger than some of the other local splash pads in the area. The area immediately around the splash pad incorporates a shade covering on either side, so you can stay out for longer even on the hottest summer days. Admission to this splash pad is only a dollar, so it is a great value, but it also becomes crowded very easily on hot days and holidays.

Capehart Park

Capehart Park is a perfect destination for parents with younger children who have lots of energy to burn. In addition to the splash pad, this park has a toddler playground and lots of recreation programs for school aged kids, so in the summer there are always lots of families around. The splash pad is free, and there is a fitness path for parents who want to try and get a workout in while the kids play. The park doesn’t offer a lot of shade, so you may want to visit it on days that are overcast or not too hot.

Orange County Splash Pads

Bithlo Park Splash Playground: 18501 Washington Ave.
http://bit.ly/2pWoKtY; 407-254-1905 for hours and cost.

Magical Water Fountain at Disney Springs: 1375 E. Buena Vista Dr.
407-939-5277, open daily and free!

Ocoee Family Aquatic Facility: 1820 A.D. Mims Road
407-905-3180, http://bit.ly/2qRAp28, check schedule, $1.50 for adults 18+ and $1 for children and 65+

Orlando – Barnett Park: 4801 W. Colonial Drive
407-836-6248; http://bit.ly/2pL4dgB, open daily 8A-8P and free!

Orlando – Capehart Park: 715 Capehart Drive
407-254-9160; http://bit.ly/2rfgNEO, open daily 9A-6P, free!

Orlando – Downey Park: 10107 Flowers Ave.
407-254-9180; http://bit.ly/2qwFZUz, check schedule, weekend cost is $1 per person per session.

Orlando – Dr. P. Phillips Community Park: 8249 Buenavista Woods Blvd.
407-254-9038; http://bit.ly/2rqSJLD, check schedule, $1/person/session.

Winter Garden – Downtown Interactive Fountain and Splashpad: 104 S. Lakeview Ave.
407-656-4155, http://bit.ly/2qss0Br, open daily 9A-9P, free.

Winter Park – Shady Park: 421 New England Ave.
407-599-3334, http://bit.ly/2qsm8rE, open daily; free.

Seminole County Splash Pads

Lake Mary – Splash Pad at Trailblazer Park: 550 Rantoul Lane
407-585-1494, http://bit.ly/2pLbdKB, open 10A-6P daily; $2/person.

Oviedo – Splash Zone at Aquatic Facility: 148 Oviedo Blvd.
407-971-5565, http://bit.ly/2qwt0Ch, summer hours: weekdays 12P-4P, Sat 2P-5P, Sun 12P-6P.

Sanford – Fort Mellon Park Splash Pad: 600 E. First St.
407-688-5103; http://bit.ly/2pUkeNe, M/W/F 11A-8P, Tu/Th/Sa 10A-6P, and Sun 12P-6P, $2/person.

Winter Springs Trotwood Park Splash Playground: 701 Northern Way and 1224 Trotwood Blvd.
http://bit.ly/2rrfrEo, Wed-Sun 10A-4P, $3 per person, free for local residents.

Winter Springs – Torcaso Park Splash Playground, 104 N. Moss Road
407-327-6599; http://bit.ly/2rrfrEo, Wed-Sun 10A-4P, $3 per person, free for local residents.

Splash pads are a great way place to have a playdate, host a birthday party or just spend some quality time with the kids. To find out more ways to spend a hot summer day.

Oh, and don’t forget sunscreen! Sunburns can cause permanent skin damage that increases your risk of skin cancer. A research report published in 2008 (so, we should know this after 9 years!) noted that each severe sunburn throughout life increases the risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen prevents sunburns and the associated long-term side effects.

If you’re looking to find a new home in the Central Florida area, the Core Group can help. Click here to get in touch with our experts.

Top Home Features That Add Value For Resale

As a first time homeowner, you may wonder which home improvements are solid investments to make. Generally speaking, if you know that your goal is to sell the home in a few years and make a profit on it, it’s best to stick to improvements that any buyer can appreciate instead of catering to your own taste. For example, many people like the clean, modern look of stainless steel appliances, so installing them is a fairly safe bet. A hobby room that caters to a specific interest, such as a music studio or workout room, can make your home a harder sale. But an open use space, like a rec room or family room, can be attractive to multiple buyers. Here are some ideas for home renovations and improvement that are likely to increase the value of your home for resale.


The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house for prospective buyers. It is where they imagine themselves hosting guests and spending holidays for years to come, so they will be focused on every detail. The good news for you as a homeowner is that every dollar you put into your kitchen is likely to pay off and they don’t have to be big investments. Updating the appliances, countertops, and cabinets are smaller projects that do not require major renovation work but can change the entire look and feel of the space.

Heating and Cooling

Some of the best changes you can make are more functional than cosmetic. Many young buyers are looking for a home that is energy efficient. As an added bonus, any upgrades you make to the home’s efficiency will decrease your utility bills and lower your carbon footprint as long as you live there. Some of the changes you can make to increase the efficiency of a home include:

  • Replacing old windows and doors
  • Installing a new water heater
  • Updating older HVAC systems

Open Your Floor Plan

Open floor plans are popular with buyers of all ages, thanks to the flexibility they give the homeowner to customize the living space however they want. If your home has many interior walls and doors that block the sight lines in the living area, you may want to remove some to create a more open, flexible feel.

Increase The Curb Appeal

The way your home looks from the outside is important to potential buyers, so it’s worth the money to keep your home well maintained on the exterior. Maintain the siding or paint to avoid the need for an expensive repair when you are ready to list and make small upgrades to the exterior to help buyers see how they can enjoy your outdoor space. Features like a garden, fountain or fire pit are attractive to potential buyers and only require minimal expense on your part.

If you’re looking to purchase a starter home in the Central Florida area, the Core Group can help. Click here to get started by getting in touch with us!