The system of education in the USA varies greatly from state to state. School education in so called state public schools is free. Parents are free to choose any public school for their children. Although there are a lot of private schools, mainly religious, and parents have to pay for them. A school year starts in September and ends in June. It is divided into three terms or four quarters.
American children start attending elementary schools at the age of 6. They continue their studies for eight years there (8 grades). Their basic subjects in the curriculum at this stage are English, Arithmetic, Natural Science, History, Geography, Foreign Language and some others. After that pupils may enter a Senior high school or if they go to a 5- or 6-year elementary school, they then attend a 3- or 4-year Junior high school, and then enter a Senior high school. Pupils graduate from high schools at the age of 18. The high schools (also known as secondary schools) are generally larger and accommodate teenagers from four or five elementary schools. During the school year the students study four or five selective subjects according to their professional interests. They must complete a certain number of courses to receive a high school diploma or a certificate of school graduation.