German Schools

(664 Posts)
finknottle Fri 15-Feb-08 10:09:03

Get it off your chest wink

There are, as anywhere, good and bad aspects to the school system.

So if you want advice, help or an embittered rant - feel free.

On a postive note - anyone see the thread on Primary about security? I've just taken dd to kg and on the way back wanted to drop off a school library book ds2 has had since before Christmas and forgot again.
All I did is walk in, went to his classroom and left it on his PE kit so he'll see it at break.

No one worries unduly about security here. The caretaker has an office (all glass) outside the main building but he's rarely in it.

Is it only village schools? Looks so odd to me to have a school "locked down".

finknottle Fri 15-Feb-08 10:22:42

Talk satchels to me.

Ds1 & ds2 had Lego ones. Less vile than Scout.
Dd has set her heart on a Fantasy Scout one. With unicorns, swans and some mutant trees.

I kid you not

Tell me to put up with it wink
And tell me which bank I can rob to pay for it.

I got the boys for far less, PE kit included. Why are they so ugly and so expensive?

berolina Fri 15-Feb-08 10:25:23

Oh, I hate Ranzen. Breaks my heart to see these little 6-year-olds positively overshadowed by the things. ds1 is small for his age and likely to stay so, so I dread to think. And they are hideous. I'm a dreadful aestetic snob and am going to ind it very hard to equip dses with these.

berolina Fri 15-Feb-08 10:25:54


frogs Fri 15-Feb-08 10:32:17

In my day Ranzen for Schulanfänger were made of leather and had straps at the back, but No Handle On Top. This was so you couldn't carry it in your hand, which was considered schlecht für den Rücken.

berolina Fri 15-Feb-08 10:34:38

oh, for tasteful leather Ranzen <sigh>

I wonder if, when the time comes, I can get away with claiming my children have bags the English (and presumably/hopefully cool by virtue thereof) way? hmm

finknottle Fri 15-Feb-08 10:36:54

Me too, that's why I scoured Germany for the Lego ones - they weren't that common then. They're much easier on the eye.
Unfortunately the Lego girls' ones are hideous. I knew dd would want pink (goes so well with the Scout orange...) but the Fantasy Motiv is beyond even my horrified imagination.

They are also only supposed to carry 10% of their body weight. Dd is 19 kg and some of those satchels are 1300g hmm The Mega range is just over 1000g but add a drink and the snack box and they're almost at capacity before they put a single book in.

Ds2 is 8 and his satchel on some days would give me back ache.

Dds1's new secondary has lockers - revolutionary wink

finknottle Fri 15-Feb-08 10:42:19

No, you won't berolina. Trust me wink

The leather ones are so nice.

Actually, the Ranzen are so heavy now that at least a dozen children here have

debinaustria Fri 15-Feb-08 15:44:24

I worry about how my small 6 year old will cope at Volkschule with his bag in September

On a positive note though - my ds came home with his half year report today and scored all 1's, with the exception of German and he doesn't get marks for that for 2 years as it's his 2nd language. So I'm a proud Mummy. Do you have the same in German schools?

admylin Fri 15-Feb-08 19:45:28

Ds had the lego ranzen too. It was one of the lightest I found on the market - however lots of dc had those big box like ones that are so sturdy they could sit on them. Dd went for one like that and it was really heavy and bright pink which is a colour she hated half way through year 1.

The best part is you spend near on 100 euro for the bag and in year 4 or 5 you have to buy a new one as the 1st year one isn't cool enough and doesn't usually fit any more. How many handbags do you own that cost over 100 euro? Crazy isn't it! The next generation of bags are abit cheaper, 49 euro for ds's (jansport) and dd's was a bargain in UK.

Well done debinaustria's ds! All 1's, wow and it is great motivation at that age to try and keep it up. Dd is always crushed and want's to give up if she get's a bad remark in her book or dread of dread a 3.

admylin Fri 15-Feb-08 20:16:51

SSSandy, how did your dd come on with reading infront of class (saw it on primary but didn't join so we didn't turn it into yet another rant thread! On this one we're allowed though)

SSSandy2 Fri 15-Feb-08 21:11:08

I find it so ssssstoooopid but what do I know? Well I had a quick word with the teacher, I said she was worrying about it last night, couldn't get to sleep, could you maybe reassure her a bit or advise me how to tackle this - and left it with her. I decided not to practice for it or anything, I really think if she doesn't want to do this at age 7, she shouldn't have to do it.

What do you think though? I didn't like her getting all worried and stressed with it, just don't see the point. The teacher said, she thought it would be something different. She's was supposed to do it on Monday, dunno if it's been dropped now or what. No idea.

emkana Fri 15-Feb-08 21:19:06

Oooh will read this thread with interest!

In my days you had to have a Scout Ranzen to belong, but there were no designs like they have today, there was red or blue. I had red, I think. grin

as I said on my other thread I want to move back to Germany in a few years. I'm not worried for my dd's, I think they will be able to get a place at a good Gymnasium. The worry is ds, it is as yet uncertain whether he might have some learning difficulties. What will that mean for him in Germany? Will they just say off to Hauptschule and that will be it?

SSSandy2 Fri 15-Feb-08 21:29:45

I don't know emkana. I see there is a Gesamtschule in Bonn, I think I would prefer that because you would be getting more of a mix of backgrounds there and I am not entirely sure which dc go to Sonderschulen here and how they are catered for generally. It will depend on the learning difficulties ds might have and how protective you want his learning environment to be. Have you considered a private school of some type for ds? I don't know much about the whole Schullandschaft there so not sure what choices you'd have

finknottle Mon 18-Feb-08 08:40:41

emkana - I'll get back to you another time about this as ds1 was diagnosed in Y4 with mild learning difficulties and it was an eye-opener. Forewarned etc., you'll at least be able to scout around first.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:04:43

admylin, come over for a rant.

Went down south on Sunday to check out this new Phorms school. According to the website the name was selected to reflect a combination of form (forming the individual) and metamorPHose. Well so now we know, but I still find it daft.

There is NOTHING there.... Don't see them opening this August frankly. It's the old Monroe Am army barracks area and nothing at all has been built there yet. Wasteland of buildings with broken windows and big parking lots.

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:10:36

I know, all these independant schools opening up always seem to have a fully functioning website with anmeldung forms before they even have a building!

The private school near us is in it's 4th year now but still in an old falling down school building - and they charge about 7000 a term now. I don't think I'd like to be part of the experiment to be honest, I know schools have to start somewhere but they really are chaotic the first couple of years.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:15:04

What bothers me too is that they don't have proper grounds, do they? I know it may not be THE main thing but I do think a bit of a grass, some kind of a play area is something I would like to see in a primary school.

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:18:47

Yes, definately not enough grass around school, infact in the whole of Mitte! Worse for me though is teh fact that you can just walk in to the school building at any time of the day. Security = zero. Our school does have a system where the door is locked and teh secretary can let you in if you ring but they never use it. On the rare occasion that it is locked it's at pick up time so we can't get in and then we ring and ring but no one opes so we have to wait 'til a child comes out on way to gym or whatever and then we grab the door.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:22:40

Security. What a joke. Our school has a huge poster plastered over the main entrance saying such-and-such a security firm is responsible for the security at our school. THere is never any evidence of them about the school at all. I wander in and out at odd hours of the day and I think it's terrible that I can. No one has ever asked me what I want or where I am going

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:32:41

And if you mention it to anyone they just look at you as if you're crazy, believe me I've tried it in Tuebingen! They thought I was the mad Britsih mother! One day in year 1 ds had religion in the last lesson, but some of his class mates didn't take part in religion so they went home. Well ds in a day dream, followed his friends out, left the school aswell and wandered off - saw I wasn't there but still went home (wasn't far but I usually met him), one hour later I turn up at school from a trip into town only to find no one knows where my son is even the teacher wasn't worried, she was more mad that he hadn't turned up to class.When I nearly blew up with wory and anger they really just looked at me as if I was mad. He was only 6 years old. Found him sitting on our doorstep outside our flat, tears in his eyes, obviously realised something was wrong, no one home, no mum at school. He cried when he saw me and then told me off for coming late!

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:34:24

geez I would have gone hysterical admylin!

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:37:59

Imagine if tha thad happened in Berlin ?! When we moved here I told them really strictly that whatever happend - even if the stupid Erzieherin puts them out of the building they must wait at school for me and I will always come.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:38:50

I tell you what I was feeling FANTASTIC (not) on Friday. Had my usual long natter to the school librarian when I pick up books for the weekend and she was telling me abotu how the schools had failed her dc here basically (including our school, thanks...). Talk about lead in your stomach. I wish I knew the answer, I really do.

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:43:19

Great, do you think she thought she was being helpfull?

I need to write to that stupid Gymnasium to get my papers back. She kept them and then I cancelled going back and I want them to send my papers (grundschulgutachten mit Gymnasialempfehlung ding) and part of ds's report - will need help with corrections if you don't mind. I'd rather send a stamped addressed envelope than go back to that horrid place. Would that just be Frankierteumschlag?

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:52:19

yes, I'd just stick a stamped addressed envelope and a note: Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, bitte um Rücksendung der am ?.2.2008 eingereichten Unterlagen: 1) Gymnasialempfehlung 2)Schulzeugnis. Im voraus vielen Dank . If you want it in a hurry might be quicker to go and get it but understand your reluctance.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:53:10

SEND not stick obviously. Can't type anythign coherent today

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 11:55:04

or you could do the "ich wäre Ihnen sehr verbunden" thing if you prefer. Send me anything you like.

admylin Mon 18-Feb-08 11:56:52

No , absoloutly no hurry! Will send an envelope and hope they haven't binned it all. She shouldn't have kept th ereport, she took it (2 pages) to photocopy and only gave me one back which I only noticed at the Ubahn and couldn't go back for it as had to pick ds up.

SSSandy2 Mon 18-Feb-08 19:29:28

Think I'm having problems seperating school from the other thread but I'm working on it. Hope you get it back then but should think your primary school would be able to give you a copy if the gymnasium lost it.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 08:31:45

been reading the Spiegel article on the Schnellabi "Hausaufgaben bis zum Abendbrot, Vokabeln pauken am Wochenende" and I'm wondering if this is just the way school is these days or if it is really necessary.

This in combination with a Russian family I visited yesterday and just the amount of extra work their 9 year old is expected to do and does do on top of his primary school homework. I'm not sure whether you have to accept this is what school is all about or if it is fundamentally wrong and you need to consciously not go down that track. What do you all think?

I'm also wondering if they really need all this adult knowledge they seem to be acquiring at primary school age these days (outside of school) - they all know all about dinasours, cave men, how planes fly, how a vacuum cleaner operates, all about the weather, space travel etc etc. Dd is the same she'll tell you about Hebrew, about ancient China, about the Samurai and the Middle Ages. I didn't know all this stuff at the age of 7 and I don't know if they do need to know it.

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 09:02:19

Morning sandy,
yes I was thinking exactly the same thing. We didn't have to sit and study like that in primary school and we got through our schooling without extra hours and 5 different languages learned in our free time! I didn't even have much to do to get my O'levels and the A'levels weren't that much hard work - I did all the course work (just didn't hang around to sit the exams, how I regret but that's another tale to tell!)

When you see how hard the Abi is and all the learning and work they do it seems as if the Abi should be the super elite qualification to have and every uni in the world should be begging you to join them. Somehow doesn't work that way I think!

finknottle Tue 19-Feb-08 11:19:51

Difference between wanting to know and needing to know - makes me sound like Sir Humphrey grin
Ds2's been doing animals in science, hibernation, really quite encyclopaedic in detail about habitat, mating, food, length of ears etc. I mentioned it was quite interesting reading about one or other and he said all he could think of was what a lot there'll be to learn for the test. Because after each topic there's a test... And a Note. He's 8 years old and after loving the electricity topic but messing up his circuit board diagram (one question wrong and his mark went from a 1- to a 3 hmm ) all he thinks about it how "rubbish" he is at science sad And nothing I can say changes that because only 1s and 2s are the good marks hmm
<bangs head on desk>

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 11:40:47

Is it the same everywhere now though - that you're constantly being tested at the age of 3 and being given grades all the time? Can't remember this from my own school-days but that's so long ago, maybe I have just chosen to forget it!

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 11:41:56

They sound like good, interesting topics at least. Shame if the testing takes the pleasure out of the learning though. Don't know if it's really necessary at the age of 8

finknottle Tue 19-Feb-08 11:55:12

They are interesting but there's little fun in learning when every 3-week topic cycle is building up to the Test. And the Note. And your average Note goes on your Zeugnis and if you don't get solid 1s or 2s you .... know where this is going?
It's deflating him and I had hoped he'd be more resilient sad He's more and more in tears these days about school.
Am off to cook him some Chinese for lunch to cheer him up.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:01:53

oh the poor lad
He really shouldn't have to be in tears about it FGS. I am really hating the idea of year 3 and all these tests and grades. Wondering if this is similar to the stress that is causing admylin's dd's head-aches.

I am still feeling a bit shock and well, let's be honest, INADEQUATE after spending time with that Russian family last night. I just didn't know if I had to give myself a massive jolt and jump into all this swotting and cramming. Actually I still don't know. If it is the system in secondary, I suppose the primary testing is good (?) preparation for that and maybe you do need to constantly work with them to get them into the swotting/testing mode otherwise they'd fall apart in secondary.

I would rather live in a caravan and travel through Montenegro or something though. I really would.

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 12:14:41

I think all this stress about getting 1's or 2's is getting to my dd. I mean it's getting to me and I'm constantly worried even though I don't show it to dd, so what must be going on in her head. There are some mums in dd's class who get their dc hiped up before a test - and the dc are sitting shaking and in fear on the day of the results. I find that really extreme, another girl's mum told me she didn't dare mention anything to her dd about the upcoming test as it would trigger of a headache straight away. They are all only 8 years old.

I hope if we make it to the US that the schooling will be a bit more relaxed (see me still living in hope )

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 12:17:08

Finknottle, talk about killing their will to learn - you would think the teachers would know that. I know my niece in UK went through all sorts of topics and subjects without that sort of stress and those SAT things they all do didn't seem to bother either of my nieces, it was just a day of tests once a year but with no revision or worrying.

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:18:36

do you think it is different in other countries though admylin. I honestly don't know

SSSandy2 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:20:06

oops sorry crossed posts adymlin. So you think this is a specifically German thing then?

admylin Tue 19-Feb-08 12:28:50

No maybe not Germany as it sounds like some dc have a fair bit of stress going by MN in the UK too but that could just be the ones trying to get into 'certain schools'. My nieces are getting a very good education in a small town without the stress and the O'level results at the higher school are among the best in the country so the teachers are obviously doing something right. It's teh same school I went to and it's always been good.

I'm still shocked at the state of that Gymnasium I visited - it was disgusting. I thought our primary was a mess because they can't afford to have cleaners in very often. I only have my nieces primary and my old school to compare but it's all clean and nicely kept. The state of the Berlin primary really depressed ds when we first came here.

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 10:27:31

Think my poor ds2 is struggling at school atm because he lacks:
German - yesterday had a test back where he hadn't understood "Gelehrte" but would have understood "Lehrer" and didn't get another word I can't remember for religious building when he would have got "Gebaeude" or "Ort". He's too shy/embarrassed to put his hand up and ask. He didn't know they'd have a test as he was off sick and he hadn't even got the worksheets so all of it was new.

Think he sits in the lessons and he does (as the teacher tells them to) ask his neighbour but the children don't necessarily explain well or fully and then he sits there in a fog embarrassed to ask again. So he comes home with unfinished Schuluebeungen he has to finish before homework and when I say "It's X, isn't it?" in English, lightbulbs go on and the work is done.
Thought of this when someone mentioned the perfectionist thing on the other thread. If he doesn't get it right away, he blocks himself somehow and with his language barrier - he's sinking fast. The pace is so fast and the teacher told me she knows he needs a bit more help but she doesn't have time hmm

Actually, she started our meeting by saying, "What do you want to complain about?" shock Then backtracked quickly. I know she's inexperienced and getting it in the neck from lots of parents but that doesn't help me or ds2. She basically said, here is a bright pupil (eigentlich sollte er ein guter 2 sein, geht auch in Richtung 1" but he's sliding to 3s) who should be getting better results but needs a bit more attention which she won't/can't give him. I started by asking how I/we at home could help - wasn't accusatory or critical but am fed sad up sad
We can't spend 5 hours a day going over all his school work - maybe we should?

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 10:40:06

oh finky isn't it dreadful, this every-man-for-himself attitude! Poor lad. And I shudder at this tyranny of 1s nd 2s and bloody 3s. It's partly all this attitude of 'wir sind hier zum Stoff vermitteln' and never mind vermittling joy in learning or - shock horror - any of those pesky pastoral issues. What is he, Y3? Sorry, can't remember.

I think it would be unfortunate to make all his time at home about going over schoolwork. I wonder if you could suggest they get an English-speaking Assistent/in in to be there for him, but also do some English stuff for and with the whole class? Of course, that's quite ambitious.

But I think in the final analysis it is the teacher's responsibility to make sure all her pupils are accessing the curriculum, never mind how culturally entrenched it is to allow individuals to be left behind Might it be worth taking this up a level?

admylin Wed 20-Feb-08 10:44:19

I know how you feel. Ds is starting with the same problems. He also didn't understand gelehrte last year I remember and i'm sure there are other words and definately I see some of the corrections and think of course, it should be written like that but I didn't notice it was wrong because I'm not German.

Does your ds read alot? Mine does - he's just finished the 2 Eragon books (about a boy and a dragon) and he only came and asked a few words but I think he maybe just left a few things or guessed. This is a problem that is constantly worrying me, how can we help them - apart from getting a German tutor to help but as you say, when should we fit al this in - that would mean no more sport club, no chilling out afternoon, and headaches. Even ds is starting to complain of headaches and seems depressed or bordering on depressed. Does your dh help with homework or school stuff? He is German isn't he.

Anna8888 Wed 20-Feb-08 10:47:52

SSSandy2 and others - in response to your query about how things are in other countries...

I once read a piece written by an American woman about the school system in France that put words very succintly on the difference between the Anglo-Saxon and the French approach. To her, the purpose of French school was to instruct; the purpose of American or English school was to educate.

Hence the huge amount of factual information that young French children are supposed to learn by rote and regurgitate in tests, which by Anglo-Saxon standards is both immensely demanding on pupils and does little to develop their thinking skills.

Would you say that is true also of the German system?

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 10:47:58

The thing is in Britain you could get somewhere by seeing the head and uding phrases like 'accessing the curriculum' and 'no child left behind'. Here they're often too Beamt-ish still, I fear. And often seem to see it as their job to sort out who 'deserves' to access the curriculum and who doesn't. angry

Sorry, I've seen and heard a lot, personally and professionally, since I've been in Germany, and it's quite disheartening.

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 10:50:22

The dreaded Y3, yep. And you're right, it's the attitude that pervades the whole system.
No chance in hell of any extra tuition. He was in Auslaenderfoerderdeutsch last year but that's a funding thing. This year there's no special one - no surprise as v few foreigners. He's in the normal Foerderdeutsch (I need umlauts!) but hates it as "I have to miss sport to do it." Also there are 13 pupils so how much extra attention each gets is ?

No chance of taking it higher as the head still can't look me in the eye after we clashed over ds1's SEN last year angry
I want ds2 to get into the Gesamtschule as am v impressed with it but our new one was over-subscribed this 1st year and have been tipped the nod that it'll be worse next year.

Sounding off helps. Think I will just have to go over his work in even more detail with him. And he'll have to accept that if he wants to get into the school, he'll have to try a bit harder. Yesterday he said, "I want to be as happy as ds1 is at his new school."

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 10:54:57

Rote learning & regurgitation, Anna, it is.
Even some German teachers admit there is no longer any time post-PISA to devote to pupils who need even a small amount of extra time to comprehend.
The class moves at the pace of the quickest.
All that counts is how many get into Gymnasium/grammar school aged 10. It's all performance and no focus on potential.

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 10:56:15

Grrrrrrr for you. Poor Minifink, sounds so wistful with his 'want to be as happy as ds1' comment

Start trying to sort out the Gesamtachule now. Ruthlessly play the bilingual card. Offer your services for an English project grin grin

Anna8888 Wed 20-Feb-08 10:58:10

How many hours a week and weeks a year are primary children at school for in Germany?

admylin Wed 20-Feb-08 11:02:49

The school system is very much set out to instruct and not to educate. I've never seen so little respect and so much cheek given to teachers as I have in Germany. Why don't they demand respect? Because they think it isn't their job to educate children, it's the parents job. So they put up with it and at some point, say in year 5 or 6 when the dc are getting to be nearly as big as the teachers, they say we can't teach these lot and then they go off sick with stress as the reason.

Finknottle it's better to go over the whole days work with them if you can, and we can because we're lucky enough to be at home and have time. What makes me angry is the amount of dc who don't manage at school because mum and dad didn't have time due to work or lack of German etc. One mum dared to stand up at the lastparents evening (a German mum) and said she couldn't understand why the teacher wasn't teaching enough German and that she as a working mother had to spend her only day off with nach arbeiten und defizite zu verbessern (spelling I know) but she didn't get a response, the teacher didn't know what to say as if the mother had been speaking a different langauge. It doesn't help to complain here, we've all been to the headmisstress last year to complain about our teacher but she still left her as Klassenlehrerin this year.

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 11:05:28

I have started wink And at the Gesamtschule we looked at for ds1 (too far away) the man more or less told me that they'd take him because of the bilingualism, actually looked disappointed when he found out we lived outside the catchment area.
But who knows what this new one will think? They're all coming in from outside the existing school.
Tried to get dh more involved with ds1's school work but it was hopeless. He tried but he's so impatient, plus he's out of the house 12hrs a day so he's exhausted. It's too late after supper really.
Last test he was helping ds2 learn for, he missed out one whole topic hmm so I fired him.
Think ds2 needs more confidence so will try and focus on that as well as schoolwork. Tips?

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 11:06:49

8-12 Y1 & Y2 aged 6-8
8-1pm Y3& Y4 aged 8-10

berolina Wed 20-Feb-08 11:07:09

ooh - confidence-boosting - kiga pick-up approaches now so shall have a think and post again later.

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 11:15:31

Admylin - we were told that it's our job to:

check German & maths files every day, ensure all class work is finished, date, page refs, name etc.
check science, ethics/religion, music files every few days for same
correct homework as teachers know what ability pupils have and can test in, er, tests, but teachers need to know that reinforcement work is being done at home.
Extra learning for tests, on average 1 every 10 days.
Reading daily

I don't know how working mums manage. Pupils in the Ganztagsschule go home at 4. After y1 there is homework supervision, i.e. the teacher checks it's done but does not correct it so the parents have to.

I don't want ds2's life to revolve around school but it's a battle. Have been trying to not overdo it but obv will have to re-think and make our time more productive.
Thankfully ds1 and dd aren't home till 4 this year.

admylin Wed 20-Feb-08 11:15:43

I'd better go shopping too or the dc wil moan if I have to do it with them later!
Confidence boosting is a hard one, ds has ups and downs. At the moment he's down so I could do with some tips too. It could be lack of free time and plain good old running about in the fresh air and friends - we have no children in our building any more and others from school live too far away. I think your ds has plenty ofthat though - does he have English at school? Is that not good for him to see that he is atleast top of the class in English?

Better go, viel spass with the homework this afternoon. We'll be doing maths and English (dd can't spell at all, sigh) and I think I'm going to try and give them that omega3 stuff - it's meant to help!

finknottle Wed 20-Feb-08 11:22:03

Must get on too, & make lunch.
Ds2 does need time to himself and is v (too) easily affected by others. Have just changed his Laufpartner for school as he was always being nagged at by the boy or his mum hmm
He's happier now walking by himself and sometimes with a new friend in his class.
I think if he perks up in himself, it'll help all round.
Thanks for sympathetic Ohren wink

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 08:40:18

Oh boy finks this doesn't sound good, after all the worry with ds1. I have a lot of thoughts buzzing around in my head about the school system generally and all of our different circumstances as well but can't put them in coherent form yet.

How do working mums manage? They don't. It's a well-known fact that their dc are over-represented in Haupt- and Realschulen, underrepresented in Gymnasia. Media are always bemoaning the fact that for the most part the dc of well-educated SAHMs are the highest achievers in the German school system. If the mum isn't compensating for school deficits at home, you can forget it.

And I agree, IME raising concerns/making complaints to the school achieves nothing. Save your breath. If anything, I'd go straight to the Schulamt these days and I've only ever heard failure stories about that path too.

Finks, I'm a bit confused about ds2's sitution. You say he has problems with the language barrier but I'm wonderign why this is so as a half-German boy who grew up in a small German village, I should have thought his German would be equivalent to that of his classmates.

What came to my mind was getting an older boy to tutor him, like a kind of big brother. Would there be a nice lad from sailing club or families who is doing well at school himself that you could imagine roping in for that?

About the Gesamtschulen, I thought they had to give applying siblings preference. Isn't that so? I would cover my bets and apply to the Gesamtschule further away and fight to get him in there despite the zoning if the other one doesn't work out. As you said the head was keen. Could dh write to the Schulamt, playing the language card and see if an exception could be made?

What kind of test was he doing in German? Explain in other words what "Gelehrte" means or write a sentence using the word or what? Am trying to imagine the situation really so we can see if we can find a good solution for tackling future tests of that type.

Confidence: how about getting him to help/teach other dc in some role? He's only young himelf I know but if he can have some responsibility for guiding/instructing younger dc taht would give his confidence an enormous boost. I'm thinking cubs/sailing/English - can you see anything? Drama is always supposed to be good, if it is on offer and you can imagine him doing it in any way?

How about teaching him Latin? I bought the Minimus Latin series which finally arrived yesterday. Looks very good, comics, history, myths, grammar nicely presented. Learn all about grammar and translation which is a great tool for dealing with other languages and I see they have Roman days at the British museum in London and weekend sleep-overs and all sorts of great ideas for which dd is still too young (from 9 I think) but can make a real hobby of it and keep the will to learn alive and them all fired up about something. They say a minimum of half an hour a week would do.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 08:53:36

Ouch! SO many tipos! Sorry about that blush

finknottle Thu 21-Feb-08 09:34:26

Don't apologize! You're always bursting with ideas -it's great smile

German - that's our dilemma with esp ds2 and dd. Their English is so much better. Ds2 feels more comfortable with it and we've been working on that and the confidence thing for years really. Friends, sports etc and he has been coming out of his shell but not at school. In Y1 and Y2 his class had 6 teachers - one good one would have helped him enormously but it was chaotic and the quiet ones slip under the radar. Plus all they cared about was keeping up with the work.
Now they have one permanent teacher for maths and German & it's so loud in his class and the teacher though nice is so inexperienced which is now crucial with all the Y3 stuff. She's overwhelmed atm. He sits there and struggles and depending on the teacher, gets shouted at.
At break there are constant fights and he used to then get niggled at and picked on by his Laufpartner so I'm glad I've stopped that. We've worked at dealing with loudmouths, bullies etc but it was like a drip of negativity. Seemed like he had stress from 7.30 am to 1.30 pm every day non-stop. No wonder he switches off from the German.
Language wise he may be at an equivalent level with some children but not at his level iykwim. He gets thrown by the unexpected and won't ask, "Was heisst das?"

The Gesamtschule is new so no siblings. The other one is catchment first and even for that there's a lottery. We're not legally allowed to object.
And frankly the school here don't give a stuff if he's bilingual or not. Either he can or he can't. Ditto they don't give a stuff if a child has SN or SEN, no allowance can be made - apart from no Noten for Rechtschreibung if you have an Attest for dyslexia.

Like you say, the contact with older boys is great for him and he goes to sports & youth club now with ds1 (who's lovely with him - am v proud of that) but it's the school that's bugging us.
I don't care if he gets into a Gymnasium, that's not why I worry about his marks. I think he'd hate it and will thrive at a Gesamtschule. It really is the only option for him and this first year was so heavily over-subscribed that there will be a lottery next year. So we have a year to work at it.
And his best friends at school, with whom he has been sitting are the 2 other English-speaking boys. I asked the teacher to separate them in September and she said sorry, she knew I asked for it but it was "harmonischer" for him and the class hmm i.e. easier for her to have a quiet trio while she tries to cope with the other 12 boys.

berolina Thu 21-Feb-08 09:43:06

Oh fk it, I'm starting a school a decent one which focuses on love of learning, pastoral care, small classes <dreams> <looks around for funding hmm>

It's interesting that the Gesamtschulen are oversubscribed - parents are obviously unhappy with the status quo - maybe it signifies an eventual change in the system - but possibly too late for our children

An activity involving a lot of language - such as drama, as Sandy said - is an excellent idea. How about a Lerntandem English-German with a slightly older child? It should boost his confidence to be able to teach an older child something. Can he have some kind of role in the class's English lessons (or would he hate that?)

Does he like reading?

finknottle Thu 21-Feb-08 09:54:19

He loves reading - and despite having 50/50 Eng/Ger will always choose English.
On the home front we've got enough for him activity wise, he also needs loads of him-time - I just need him to pipe up in class when he doesn't understand something. A webcam? wink
The Gesamtschulen are also v popular with parents who don't want to admit their child didn't get into Gymnasium or Realschule wink
Most parents don't see the need for them or actively disapprove acc to some survey I read lately.
It is great for us that the Gesamtschule is starting - s'pose that's positive. But the least subscribed stream is the Gymnasium one that's why the Noten count. Much less chance of a place if he's in the 3-er Realschulempfehlung bit.
And I'd just like him to go to school, do his homework, go out and climb trees.

finknottle Thu 21-Feb-08 10:01:10

English lessons are a joke.
Ds1 had a phase of bringing in comics/books/worksheets till hi steacher said he could use the time to do German which was fine by me. All they did in English was 'what's in my satchel', seasons and learn nursery rhymes. Not a Fach, no tests, no Noten. But she'd call on him and was positive.
Ds2 (sigh) was told he may not bring in anything, he has to work with the others adn none of the 3 Eng-speaking boys are ever called on. He sits there and learns "what's in my satchel" and the seasons...

Ds1 otoh, is the head's (his Eng teacher) right hand man. It's a proper Fach (Y5), ds1 gets 1s, is learning to write properly (rotten speller!) and the head told me, "I get ds1 to read in class as he's better than me" - refreshingly honest! I mentioned ds1 was getting a bit bored and he immediately sorted extra work which is part of the course but more demanding.

finknottle Thu 21-Feb-08 10:48:12

Was just on the phone to someone here & she was talking about English at Gymnasium (same old, "Oh it's all right for your children, they've no worries" hmm ) and I mentioned the Lerntandem idea. She laughed and said, "Finknottle, no one here would want to do it because they wouldn't want you to find out how bad/good/ooh a 2-/ohh, a 3+/ their children are at English " hmm
Barking or what?

Am sure part of why he retreats is that he witnessed all the commotion last year when we had to do the Ed Pysch stuff with ds1 and he (ds1) was so miserable. Maybe ds2, despite my best intentions and efforts, is awaiting something awful. Apart from ds1's tears and misery, I was alternating raging about the system & being downhearted about it. No wonder the poor lad hates school.

Dh is chipping in much more which helps. I resisted the temptation to point out if he'd put more effort in earlier, the children might speak better German...

berolina Thu 21-Feb-08 11:08:39

Barking indeed. hmm Good grief. Is all this awaiting dses and me?

Lots of (Ger)man-to-(Ger)man time with dh sounds just the ticket. Could they go on some weekend workshop together or something?

dh is a psychologist, though not an ed one. Shall I have a chat to him, see what he suggests?

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 11:35:11

Is there any other school in a half-way reasonable radius of where you live where ds might be more likely to thrive? Possibly a school served by a school bus or near where dh works? This sounds entirely unsatisfactory; however ds1's Gesamtschule sounds ok so far which is something at least.

I think too with 4 English speaking boys in one class (which is surely an unusual situation), there must be the possibility of them leaving the classroom during the English lessons to do worksheets or work through a workbook (get something based on an English speaking curriculum sent over) in the library. Could you and/or the other mums in turn monitor them whilst that was happening? It sounds like such a joy-killer to me sitting through those classes. Just an utterly pointless waste of time.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 11:47:23

Or perhaps (if they have English 3 x week) have 1 x where they work through the English workbook (there are some great ones) and 2 x where you and the other English speaking mums arrange for someone (a nice mum or granny maybe) to go in and do extra German with them so it wouldn't impinge on their free time? If you all got the books and people sorted, all the school has to do is provide a room and for 4 boys it needn't be huge.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 11:58:47

"I'd just like him to go to school, do his homework, go out and climb trees."

Genau finks, motto for the whole thread! I'm always so depressed and upset about it, wondering why it can't be like that, all straightforward and stress-free. It just saps away all my energy and it is hard to hide your worry from the dc and not transfer it to them too. Since we come from a different school system, I think we use up a lot of energy resisting the German approach because to us it seems so wrong because it is so different and the dc seem so unhappy with it.

I do wonder what the German MNers think of the way their primary school days were. If they experienced this year 3 testing and the whole Haupt-Real-Gesamtschule/Gymnasium divide as a big stress factor or whether they took it all unquestioningly in their stride because it is just the way it was and whether for that reason they got through it all relatively unscathed?

I know I'm not being clear but I'm struggling to understand whether if it weren't for us and OUR problems with the system, our dc would accept it and manage it more easily? No, I don't think I have my thoughts clear in my head yet ... sorry rambling. Have to see the teachers this afternoon and the whole thing is jumbled in my mind today

admylin Thu 21-Feb-08 12:26:54

I agree SSSandy , the German dc cope because they don't know there is any alternative and their parents wentthrough it too so better just get on with it. That could be our problem, we know it could work better and we're used to functioning Ganztagsschulen but if they introduce them here it'll be a catastrophe.
Why don't they go and look at schools in other countries? They could get loads oftips and not have to go through the trial and error mess that alot of schools seem to be in especially since Pisa.

In our school they haven't got all day school but they thought they had found a great compromise and keep our dc without lunch 'til ten past two in the afternoon - even the 1st year class has to wait so long, it's crazy.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 12:38:58

I wish I knew the answer for each of us, I really do.

Now they are talking about wanting to re-introduce Saturday school too. I would hate my dd to have to go 6 x week. I would hate ME to have to get up that early 6 x week!

finknottle Thu 21-Feb-08 12:53:00

Jumbled indeed, me too, that's why it's so good to pour it all out on here.
We have no other option school-wise, and as I said, the Gesamtschule ethos is so different and I'll calm down a great deal when all dd gets through primary and starts there too - so approx 2011 grin
Grass is greener indeed too about the minority language. We ended up with the minority as the majority hmm
Dh does sailing with the ds's at the weekends, dd & I only go along in fine weather (!) and even then the boys run around with others and it's a lovely environment and a Good Thing all round. Only March to Oct so not lately.
You're right though, more Papa time is needed. Thanks, berolina, I think we need to give the recent new sports & youth club with ds1 a bit of time, and make sure ds2 gets lots more reassurance and support.
Told him we'll go quickly (!) though his school work test or no test to check he has understood, not just homework. And focus on loads of out of school activities that he enjoys - shall kick dh into playing more board games with the 3, without me as then the children stick to English apart from directing addressing dh - "Papa, du bist dran" which isn't very much really.
If that doesn't help, then I'll beg for you to ask your dh for advice.

Ds2's home and told me he did as primed, went to the teacher re the test, explained he was ill and that in future he'll ask for the classwork he missed. She was friendly enough, said OK, but the Note (5-) stands of course. Still, a step in the right direction, he stood at her desk and waited for her. And spoke.

As for German MNers, I don't know. Maybe we frighten them off...
<shriek, wail, gnash teeth>
Thanks for the cheering up smile

The English ideas are great, Sandy but the school told us that they will do nothing of the sort. Anything like that is for us to do at home. In the old days when ds1 started and the head would smile and acknowledge my existence, I offered to help with English, even now & again and was told, for projects, yes please, but no room for anything else.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 12:53:26

admylin, don't want to make you feel more glum than you already feel, so hope this doesn't have that effect.

I was reading about your secondary school back home and it sounds fantastic, the whole approach, the academic attainment, the beautiful scenery all around. I see they take boarders too and I have to say, I think your dc would be best off back there. Is there any way of you all going there until the new job situation is settled or even for the duration of dh's next contract? I think it would do all of you the world of good. I see even that the school is looking for someone to work temporarily in term time.

I can understand why you are so unhappy here coming from there. My dd like me really isn't a big city gal for all that she was born here. She would love to go to a little stone village school and I am sure that would suit her down to the ground.

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 13:00:44

It's a nightmare, finks. I had a feeling you had no alternative to this school otherwise you'd have moved ds1!

At least your home, your garden with the orchard envy
and the whole area sounds lovely envy
and it sounds like the dc have a nice life outside of school envy
. What a shame the school-life is such a worry though. It drags you down so much, doesn't it?

What does dh think of the whole school issue then, having been through it himself?

finknottle Thu 21-Feb-08 13:09:14

As for the area, you're right, and see the other thread, admylin was asking about it.
Then she'd have her pick of local schools wink

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 13:14:25

have a look tonight. Have to go and be getadelt for sneaking about trying to pick dd up early all the time and keeping her off school "sick" too often. However I'm up for them, I will praise them to the skies and take the wind out of their sails I think, then quiz them in detail about what exactly year 3 is all about in our school.

You all have me seriously worried

SSSandy2 Thu 21-Feb-08 16:49:07

Guess what? I got the WRONG week. What a dumbo. Still I got to take her home early so wasn't too bad in the end! Admylin is off to Ludwigshafen maybe then. Haven't a clue where that place is to my shame.

admylin Thu 21-Feb-08 19:47:40

Wow I like your strategy though! You sound like you do better than me at these Gespräche, I never know if I'm over doing it so I daren't say what comes into my head and end up just nodding and smiling alot.

What did you usually say as an excuse when your dd was off school so often? Last year we did that alot with ds because it just wasn't worth him going in to waste his time and we went through all the excuses.

SSSandy2 Fri 22-Feb-08 08:46:43

migraines, check-ups and doctor's "tests". Lay it on real thick

I feel an almighty rant coming over me today but not school-related for a change, not sure I want to contaminate the other thread though! Going over there to discuss Ludwigshafen instead now

admylin Fri 22-Feb-08 09:00:55

What has put you in a rant mood today SSSandy?

SSSandy2 Fri 22-Feb-08 09:04:08

should I really say though? Well things like WHY do bl* grown-ups think it is ok to just plow straight into my 7 year old dc all the time? FGS is there not enough space on the pavement, can they not manoeuvre their bodies at all and just what the f* is their problem? It's not like they don't see her, they are LOOKING at her and then walk straight into her, HARD, they knock her off balance even. The f*wits. It p* me off so much and it happens all the time and I am forever trying to pull her this way and that out of the way of bl* stupid idiot grown-ups who think they were sent into the world to bear down like a tank on anything smaller than them.

Get the picture, getting my mood yet?

berolina Fri 22-Feb-08 09:08:01

Sympathies. I (all of 5'1") was walking down Unter den Linden a few years ago and some oh-so-f*ing-important bloke just barged into me, hard. I was livid, but too shocked to shout anything after his retreating ignorant a*se. Must be even worse for a child.

admylin Fri 22-Feb-08 09:10:59

I take it you have to go to school in the rush hour? Poor you and dd. Can dh not drive her to school? Doe she go to work by car?

It bugs me when you want to get off a bus or tram here and the people getting on push past you. I really had to learn to put my elbows out and charge forward - not exactly good bevaviour to teach out dc but if they have to live in Germany they are going to have to (oh please let us get out of here soon)

My old secondary school is great isn't it, I bet that's why I can't settle here , everywhere has a lot to live up to when you've been brought up in a place like that. The military used it too so we had a lot of boarders from abroad and some non military from all over the world.

berolina Fri 22-Feb-08 09:11:05

Oh this one is good too. Day before yesterday, waiting with ds1 in pushchair and ds2 in sling to get on the bus at the middle doors. Lots of people use the fact that t's open (for me actually) to their advantage, several pushing past me. One woman sees I'm there, pushes past me, lifting her about 6yo dd over the pushchair, then when I tut involuntarily, turns round completely unaware that she has done anything out of the ordinary and asks if I need help with the pushchair. hmm I refused rather ungraciously.

finknottle Fri 22-Feb-08 09:11:38

Your poor dd sad
Your dh should apply for a job down here. There's the odd vile specimen - the woman at the tree nursery who appeared glued to the floor even after I asked her politely if I could get past with my huge tree-laden trolley. Unnecessarily vitriolic looks hmm
On the whole, people often step onto the road around us here, esp when I'm with a child. Get a sunny smile and a Danke from us - dc too.

finknottle Fri 22-Feb-08 09:19:58

MN fingers crossed for ds2. Yesterday he had his Aufsatz, eine Tierbeschreibung und ein Tierlexikontext. Practised lots with papa.
Today Sachunterricht test, Tiere im Winter: we have gone over the whole file and he's written notes all organised into bit-sized chunks with little mnemonics.
Tested with me, even light-heartedly on bikes yesterday.
He went off confidently and I told him, write something if you don't know.
Fell wird dicker!
Sucht eienen sicheren Unterschlupf!
Frisst Nuesse!
A couple of decent marks will lift him so much.

admylin Fri 22-Feb-08 09:26:20

Ooh I remember ds having that test last year on exactly the same subject. Maybe we aren't so behind as I was thinking.

My ds (year 4) has a test every day at the moment with a new German teacher. They write the test then the teacher hands them out to the dc and they mark it (not their own though) and the mark get's put in the Klassenbuch. Ds nearly cried the other day because he got a 3 and he said it was merked by the one boy in the class who is probably going down a year in September. Ds said he marked it wrong but the teacher still wrote it in the book.

finknottle Fri 22-Feb-08 09:34:52

admylin that's daft. Esp if the marks are being recorded. You have to say something!
As practice for science tests ds2's class were writing little mocks for each other. Ds2 & his friend were correcting their test here and I caught them giving X child (class bully) a worse mark because they don't like them. I tore them off a strip - these were just little class things, not Noten.
Mind you was more sad that they told me X calls them 'scheiss Auslaender' hmm and that ds2's friend was thicker than the others because his skin is darker angry

SSSandy2 Fri 22-Feb-08 09:38:55

OMG and they tell you school days are the best days of your life.

Yes admylin I agree if the grade influences the mark on his end of year report, I'm afraid you'll ahve to take it to the teacher pointing out that it was incorrectly marked and ask for her to adjust his grade. It isn't fair on ds otherwise.

Dd has this too, they do spelling tests and correct each other. She is always getting something marked wrong when it is actually right. She gets annoyed with it but since it doesn't count for anything, I don't bother with it. I think the teacher should mark it because the end result counts for your dc

admylin Fri 22-Feb-08 09:41:36

You know I really have to hold myself back every day and not go into school and say 'That's daft' to them all! So much of it is down right daft - I am so pleased it's Friday. I start counting the days on Monday mornings when I get up and on Fridays I know we can chill out and throw the school bags in a corner for a while.

berolina Fri 22-Feb-08 09:46:36

it shouldn't be this way, should it?

finknottle Fri 22-Feb-08 09:47:35

Blimey - can't believe you two keep your children off school so often as it's so bad.
You're not doing much for my sunny mood - even cleaning seems suddenly more appealing wink

SSSandy2 Fri 22-Feb-08 09:47:46

I know I just wish I could shout : BEAM ME UP SCOTTY! And it would work.

I miss that common courtesy and easy friendship I knew abroad too admylin. God I miss it so much it hurts at times. I don't know if smaller places here are kinder gentler places. THey might well be. Probably Ludwigshafen is nicer than Berlin but it would still not be as nice as your home town and the school situation might not improve much but I'd expect the schools would look nicer (?).

OK so still have to find out where this Ludwigshafen place is. Off to do it now!

Fridays are my all time favourite day of the week because I can pick dd up "early", ie. she is not totally exhausted and there is no school for two days. YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

finknottle Sun 24-Feb-08 08:58:01
berolina Sun 24-Feb-08 09:00:57

ooooooooh! will read that later. We're packing up today to spend a week or so in the Rheinland (Bonn and near Aachen, so not your neck of the woods).

How are you today?

berolina Sun 24-Feb-08 09:01:57

Have just opened the article. Oh, that is interesting that the Schulpflicht stems from Nazi times.

berolina Sun 24-Feb-08 09:02:54

<please note no undertones implying that about current schools! just interested>

emkana Sun 24-Feb-08 23:13:31

Hi there, just reading this thread to try and cure me from my homesickness for Germany. It's working as well! grin

In response to what you wrote further down, yes as a child I just accepted it that this is how things work, dreigliedriges Schulsystem etc etc, it's only now that I see it from a UK perspective that I question it. When I was in Germany last week I got into a debate about the Sinn and Unsinn of the dreigliedriges Schulsystem but I was given short thrift (is that the phrase?) appaerently es ist besser so, manche Kinder sind halt am besten fuer manuelle Berufe geeignet und sollen deshalb auch von vornherein fuer diesen Werdegang ausgebildet werden. hmm Und sie koennen ja schon spaeter auf's Gymnasium wechseln wenn sie sich nur genug anstrengen. Aber dies natuerlich von Eltern deren eigene Kinder auf's Gymnasium gehen...

berolina Sun 24-Feb-08 23:28:44

em - das war ja klar... those on the sunny side of the system see no need to change it hmm Yup, 'wenn sie sich nur genug anstrengen' hmm nice way of offloading responsibility for structural inequality and convincing themselves that the school system really does sort out the wheat from the chaff.

I find the whole question thoroughly depressing, I really do.

SSSandy2 Mon 25-Feb-08 09:14:58

I know a few families (foreigners, mostly American) who homeschool but their dc are not registered as living in Germany at all. It would be nerve-wracking if they knew you had school-age dc here though, can you imagine if they froze your bank-account, tried to take your dc away and put them in foster families saying they are now the "property of the state"? Good grief. I couldn't cope with that worry all the time.

I think this 3-gliedriges Schulsystem made sense when it was introduced and the idea was that the dc of different classes should be prepared for different professions and the concept of social mobility was not yet universally accepted. So the idea was the aristocracy sent their boys into the army, the upper middle class to Gymnasium and then on to professional training. The shopkeepers' dc went to Realschule and took over the dp's business, the rest went to Hauptschule and learnt to read and write and do manual labour. The bulk of work would have been manual labour anyway and it suited the ruling classes to keep the bulk of the population in their place.

Think nowadays the bulk of the population needs to get the highest possible educational standard before leaving school. I read in Poland something like 90 % sit Abitur equivalent exams, here I think it is still under 30% (is that right?). I think it is ok to do manual labour or work in a shop etc EVEN IF you have Abitur. It should be more of a general proof of education not just the gateway to a specific range of careers IMO.

Wish the aim was to HELP as many dc as possible to reach that standard. Those who are not geared toward tertiary education won't go down that path anyway.

SSSandy2 Mon 25-Feb-08 09:30:19

actually it is particularly unfortunate that they have kept that system in Germany I think because one of the things that struck me most when I first came here was how egalitarian people are cf. the UK and how unimportant the whole class issue is which determines so much of daily life in the UK. I've always found it particularly bad when it affects dc which in the UK it does with the private schools and elitist activities,beyond the reach of poorer families.

I find that great about Germany and even very comfortably off people who will buy the most expensive clothing for their dc have a kind of aversion to being considered snobbish and want their dc mixing with dc from other backgrounds. There isn't quite the same feverish panic about keeping them away from people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

You see it in so many things here, how the govt tries to give people on benefits the same health care, decent housing and so on so that they are not as obviously different to the working families and also the way poorer families have school trips paid for so no dc need miss out or that sportsclubs etc offer a reduced rate for low income families. Even in the most expensive residential areas here, there is subsidised housing for low income earners so areas are a lot more mixed and generally dc mix with dc from all backgrounds. I find that much better.

There's a lot that's done better in Germany when you think about it

admylin Mon 25-Feb-08 10:11:40

Lol at Emanka using this thread to cure her homesickness! We could always go and read the moaning rant threads about UK to get rid of our homesickness maybe!

I know a couple of people who sent their dc to Realschule even though they had Gymnasialempfehlung from the primary school. One of them said he would rather his sons had learned a good trade and more practical side of life so that they had that in their hand and then they could do Abi and study if they wanted to. Quite a few of my friends went to university after doing a normal Ausbildung and dh knows several of his students have a Beruf already. It doesn't sound like a bad way to go about it really when you see how hard it is for alot of degree/PhD owners to get a job in their field.

SSSandy2 Mon 25-Feb-08 10:26:38

Is she in Bonn atm?

Emkana have you had much luck finding nice books for dd?

Admylin, we were house hunting (almighty yawn) again on Sunday. One place was out in the wops with fields on two sides and nothing much at all except riding schools. Dd seemed to like it. Dh was wondering how she could be such a little country bumpkin having grown up here in the city and he says he's amazed she's always saying she wants to go to a little village school and live in the countryside.

I can't fathom his amazement, can you? Do people seriously think little kids WANT to live in a big town? Teenagers ok but primary school dc?

emkana Mon 25-Feb-08 12:46:11

No I'm back in the UK now smile

Didn't get much time to look for books, but did buy part two of Das Sams for her, because she saw it on stage while we were there.

SSSandy2 Tue 26-Feb-08 08:49:04

I didn't even know there was a stage production of SAMS emkana. How was it? Keep thinking we should go to the Pippi Langstrumpf one here but never seem to get round to it!

How was it seeing the family again? I always look forward to my visits but start getting extremely TENSE by about day 3! Have you ever thought about putting your smaller dc in a KG here in the mornings one summer? Someone else on MN did that when she was on holiday in Germany. I've forgotten who it was now. Would be great motivation for their German and would give you a bit of a break. I had no idea that was possible actually.

admylin Tue 26-Feb-08 12:34:29

All is quiet on the school front at the moment I see!

Did you have your meeting with school about dd being off too much SSSandy? We've got parents versammlung on Thursday but with dd's class, it will be OK as the teacher is very organised and no problems. Ds's teacher has been off for 3 weeks now with 'flu' all hoping she leaves for good. This is her 4th week off and they have a nice German teacher replacement - she has been doing tests every week, asking us to sign things too and even set a test date next week and the parents had to sign the homework book to show they know about the upcoming test. I like her method, no excuses any more about forgetting things, she can really tell which dc need extra help. Just thought I would mention something positive for once!

SSSandy2 Tue 26-Feb-08 16:40:28

the meeting was just a normal parent-teacher thing not specifically about absence but I got the date wrong, it's next week!

I'm feeling really bad atm admylin (school) but just don't know what to do really. I'll send you an email if you don't mind, I'd love to ask for your advice.

Nighbynight Tue 26-Feb-08 17:43:05

hi all! am smiling at this red rag thread, will catch up on it later.
Sorry you are feeling bad, SSandy.

emkana Tue 26-Feb-08 19:56:56

I didn't see the Sams, the dd's went with their grandmother, but they really really loved it. Saw Pippi last year (me as well) and it was great.

I love being in Germany, which makes it so hard for me to come back. My mum has a huge garden which the dd's love playing in. We see my friends a lot, hang out in my mum's house... There is no time for Kindergarten smile

sorry to hear you're having such a tricky time

SSSandy2 Tue 26-Feb-08 20:12:37

so can you really see yourself moving back then emkana in 6 years time or so? Glad you had a nice time here. Is it the people you miss most about Germany? How do you think your dh will fit in? I know quite a few couples here where the wife is German and the dh English.

Thanks both of you for your kind thoughts, I have some good advice from admylin and I will have to think about it a bit. I am thinking of arranging a talk with dh and the head if I can but not sure if it is really wise. She is leaving in summer and not sure whether it all makes much sense under those circumstances

Oh for some WISDOM! Hier damit! How are you doing these days NN?

finknottle Wed 27-Feb-08 08:49:50

What's up Sandy? You can spout and rage to your heart's content here. A purpose-built thread grin And I can't come on and rant if you're being all restrained wink

I'm nurturing an unhelpful but oh so festering grudge against dh that if he'd put more effort into speaking with the children when they were younger, they wouldn't have the problems they do with German.
He always said, oh, they'll pick it up in kiga, with friends, don't worry.
He now think ds2's troubles are entirely due to his needing an Erfolgserlebnis - but I pointed out he started Y3 with 1's and 2's and it's only as the work has got harder that his language skills have increasingly slowed him down and there is a huge jump from Y2 to Y3 pace-wise.
His content for his last essay was all 1's and 2's but the grammar, Satzbau, treffende Verben & Adjektive usw. were 4's. hmm Lightbulb? He can learn stuff by heart but he can't write at the level he should. Even his teacher said she thinks he just doesn't understand sometimes and he translates in his head.
Then it's a downward spiral of bad Note, confidence down, motivation down, concentration down... and the teacher tells me, she doesn't have time to deal with him individually.
<Here endeth the finknottle gripe of the morning>
<not really>

SSSandy2 Wed 27-Feb-08 09:37:44

I'm not in a rage about it today though finks, I'm all weird and tearful and sad. I am going to pop out and buy some Poirot DVDs I saw the other day and a monster bag of crisps and hide under a blanket on the sofa and pretend it all isn't happening I think.

I also wonder, you know, just what men are good for in the end? Could someone please remind me? I had such a scene with dh last night abotu this whole school problem thing and I feel so Think I'll just wallow in it for today and then talk about it when my emotions are back in the right places.


Finks if ds started with 1s and 2s, I should think he is well able to cope with the work, I really do. Is it a problem of how to tackle it possibly? I think you might have to look at doing German grammar practice and vocab building at home with him. Is it at all realistic time-wise? I would maybe just work through a book, it has to make a difference over time , don't you think? How about a bit every day in the Easter break and 10 minutes a day after school? Is he an avid reader in German?

finknottle Wed 27-Feb-08 10:44:38

Not an avid reader in German and you can't force it. He is now starting to read more, I hope he's accepting that he has to put more effort in, not just retreat into his comfort zone.
I have a couple of books and we discussed it yesterday. Lots of support & reassurance and extra Playstation/computer for trying harder. I don't let them play during the week so that's a big incentive wink

Sigh, I wish the local children jsut got places at the Gesamtschule. The lottery stinks. Ds2 will really thrive there but I don't want to overdo that in case he doesn't get in.
Your dd is Y2, isn't she? She seems v bright and into learning. That counts for such a lot, what exactly are you worried about?

Oh, dh's. Hmm.

admylin Wed 27-Feb-08 10:53:25

Hi finknottle, did you see that green house I told you about? The lidl one?

SSSandy, what flavour crisps did you get? Could do with some really strong salt and vinager at the moment!

I'm worried about something today - dd has school swimming and they walk there and back ( a good 15 minute walk) and it's a bit windy today. The hairdryer things at the pool don't always work, or often there are just too many long-haired girls wanting to use them and they let them walk back with wet hair. I suppose it could work towards hardening them up, but I get the headache, runny nose and fever to cope with if dd catches cold. Same every week, roll on the warmer weather.

finknottle Wed 27-Feb-08 11:03:43

Hi admylin, sorry, forgot to say, thanks, it looks good and I can secure it so it doesn't blow away and I can move it around if I want.
Have told dh to pick one up on the way home. It's only 1050 euros cheaper than the ones I showed him last week wink
No, I wasn't really serious, just wanted to wind him up! Works every time, the sap wink

finknottle Wed 27-Feb-08 11:05:12

Won't she wear a hat? Or is she like ds1, "Mum, hats aren't cooool" - "Neither is pneumonia."

admylin Wed 27-Feb-08 11:08:44

Yes, they all have to bring hats or coats with a hood (she has a hood) but if it's windy and they are marching along and the hood is always blown down and sowieso not cool as you say, the Erzieherin who goes with them doesn't seem to bother. Infact dd told me she buys a take out coffee at a bakery to drink on her way back and they all have to stand outside the bakery and wait hmm otherwise she is a nice woman...

finknottle Wed 27-Feb-08 11:14:59

Ours don't go swimming, even though the Freibad is next to the school.

admylin Wed 27-Feb-08 11:37:23

Really, I always thought it was pflicht in German primary school. I sent mine to private lessons before they started school swimming because I would have been past myself if I thought they couldn't swim and there really are too many dc to one teacher.It's the first time I've seen a swimming teacher who didn't even get wet, amazing. He used a stick with a loop on the end if a child went under hmm

It's the same when they have ausflug days and I cringe at the thought of 26 1st or 2nd years unterwegs with 2 adults.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 05:57:24

Hi girls. Can everyone please cross their fingers and den Daumen drücken for me! Dh actually said last night, maybe the British system would suit dd better and we should go over to England over Easter and look into it.

admylin, it may be a regional thing with the swimming. I think year 3 swimming is compulsory in Berlin but like you, I sent dd to learn privately I think from the age of 4 so she'd be confident on holiday.

I think it's great they do a bit more than just 1 x turnen a week admylin. Maybe that builds up resilience and combats the effects fo wet hair in the cold? Hopefully. I supppose she wouldn't be seen dead in a bathing cap?

Do you think it is difficult to get out of the Klassenfahrt? Can you just say no and that's it or is it an enormous hassle?

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 07:03:07

<shriek> Sandy - brilliant grin So pleased for you - he's listening grin

Tell me more later.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 08:25:13

Oh I really really hope so finks.

He just spoke briefly, came in at 10pm grabbed a bag and had to leave again. He's having to travel an awful lot with work atm and will be away now till Saturday. The really positive thing was he just brought it up himself without me having to say anything. I suppose I looked such a huddled mass of misery hiding behind my salt and vinegar crisps and watching Murder on the Nile. Perhaps the Anblick was too much for him?

He has to be in London next week and I would like to go too and take dd round the natural history museum , to Madame Tussauds et , go to MARKS and SPENCERS and eat fish and chips and well - ^you know^ escape for a wee bit. Not sure how the school would take it though, not very well I expect.

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 08:48:35

Yep, bound to have been the devastatingly deadly combination of salt & vinegar envy and Agatha Christie that swung it.

Lie to the school - want some ideas? Am master of shameless lies.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 08:55:42

Yes please!!!

I lie to the school so much already though, dh was saying the other day when he was ranting and raving - fit for this thread in fact - saying that it wasn't good for dd because she'll pick up on all the lies or have to go along with them and learn that you can get out of things by lying etc etc. Well he's right about that of course but I don't know how else to deal with things really.

Actually, I was thinking family wedding or even funeral, or would that be bad luck? (nervous superstitious emoticon!) And it wouldn't be good if the teacher called on dd to talk about the wedding when we got back, would it?

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 09:13:36

He has a point. I've had to teach the boys the concept of a white lie - something not telling the whole truth but not lying and done so as not to hurt someone's feelings etc. Still feels a bit shabby.
Then again, it's a life skill grin

There is of course the honest:
"We want to go but the school won't allow it so although I know I shouldn't, I'm going to tell a lie."
Your moral compass seems robust enough for her to realise that it's an exception, surely? Plus you could tell dd that it is only because visiting the UK is such a special thing for you lot being foreign and you understand the school has to have rules or everyone would do it - but this really is a one off.

Best lies have some connection to the truth.
A sick relative can be poorly but made to sound at death's door. Godparents are good. You can tell the school dd doesn't really understand how ill, but you can't wait till the Easter hols to visit. Tell dd before "We're going to visit X." Then when you do go, tell dd "Wasn't it nice we visited X, glad we did." All she will know that it was a special visit. She won't be an accessory before or after the fact.
<awaits heavenly thunderbolt>

Oh and it is a measure of how bad her schooling is that you do have to lie and dissemble. You sound a very honest person so it's good that your dh recognizes things are Extreme.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 09:24:55

you are really VERY good at this! Thanks! Like that very ill godparent one. Will go with that one. Actually feeling a bit excited at the prospect of a short trip - would give us such a lift.

How is your ds today?

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 09:54:32

Don't know whether to preen or be ashamed wink

He's got a maths test.

Tomorrow dictation.

Science test back today. Hope he gets a decent mark so he sees the extra revision was worth it. He's still sad about the 4 for the Aufsatz & doesn't believe me when I say the marking showed us that it was not the content, just the language side and now we know what to work on...
angry Just remembered they were supposed to hand in the Aufsatzverbesserung (in his case a rewrite) today and I want him to do with with dh tonight and I should have written a note. Ahhh, a Strich!
<bloody hate school, take me with you>

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 10:11:08

You would be most welcome!

You are really really scaring me with this year 3 stuff. I feel I just have to get out before then, i.e. before September. It's like having an axe hanging over you, isn't it? Geez no wonder your ds is feeling with it all. That's how I feel even thinking about him doing it.

Could admylin not open a reconvalescence home for mothers of school-age dc in the Lake District though finks? Her dh could examine our heads to see if there is any hope left or whether the damage is irreparable. She could cook us some yummy Indian food and we would just take it easy and get pampered or take drugs to help us forget. What do you reckon?

Admylin - your next 5 year plan?

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 10:23:53

Admylin said she recognised the stuff ds2 was doing so the curriculum is pretty much the same.

And this is ds2.It's not just the system, it's how your children cope with it. Ds1 had problems because of his SEN and because of how he is & approaches school. Ds2 also is shy and retreats into his shell if he doesn't get something perfect first time around. Apart from maths, he is forever asking why we have to learn this stuff...
Some pupils thrive on the system and anecdotally it is often the girls. Dd is much more interesting in learning aged 5 than the boys ever were. Your dd seems to enjoy the act of and fact of learning so she also may well thrive with the structure of Y3 and Y4. I think I would have too, ambitious, competitive little swot that I was. And got a lot more out of it.
Who coined the "sunny side of the system"? Berolina? Well, your dd may well be on the sunny side simply because of how she is.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 10:34:42

hmm well I dunno about that. I hear from some teachers that she is like a sponge,so eager to learn and soaks up any crumbs you throw at her, so in that way, yes, I would say that she is all fired up WANTING to learn but I don't think she wants to learn a pile of facts off by heart and sit a test a day.

I can see her eyes glazing over and a deep boredom and disinterest spreading over her. Do you know what I mean? For example, she loves her religion class because it's made interesting with stories and background info and they look in other books, act things out etc. So she loves finding out all about the Hebrews and the Egyptians and whatever and doing group project work, anything half-way interesting and creative (like most kids would). The teacher tells me she is so enthusiastic about it all but I think the main reason is the teacher herself is fantastic at her job.

BUT maths she hates because it's just take a worksheet, go through it , correct it, take another worksheet

I think year 3 sounds like the take a worksheet approach with the added stress of getting grades. She would have a huge problem with getting a bad grade. It would be like the end of the world every time and in the end she would just not care/bother anymore.

This is why I think she is totally unsuited to the Abitur set-up, swotting and testing and I would prefer to have her go the International Bac route which places more emphasis on creativity. I don't see her flourishing in the year 3 set-up you and admylin have described.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 10:35:13

boy that was long-winded.

Sorry. Shows how much I'm freaking out about it!

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 11:05:29

It can be like that but I've noticed even in the 2 yrs since ds1 was in Y3 there is a turn towards even more hands-on project type stuff.

Maths perhaps not so much but even the books are trying to make it more relative to life, e.g. measuring not just 10mm but finding things of different lengths the pupils can relate to. And bills in restaurants etc. That trips ds2 up. He happily does sums but hates the:
Frau Schmidt isst einen X @ 11,90
Ihr Mann nimmt X @ 7,80
Sie trinken 2 X @ 3,25
Sie zahlen mit 50 euro.

Then they have to do all the sums and ask the questions.

That's partly what I meant about getting more out of the lessons. Each theme has a build-up with different activities and at the end there's a check on how much they've learnt. My lot fall at the test stage <sigh> partly because they can't be bothered to file properly and lose bits or don't finish them... but it's not by any means only worksheets.

Doesn't sound too bad grin

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 11:19:32

I've given up worrying about their long-term academic goals.
I just want them to be not depressed and to enjoy learning again.
God that's bleak.

Time. If your dd soaks up info she won't need the extra time my 2 do so she'll be better off.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 11:23:49

Would you contemplate them doing final years in Ireland and getting an Irish school leaving certificate or something like that? So if they wanted to train for a particular job , it would still be open to them. (I know I may not live in the real world having had this discussion with dh already so feel free to confirm it!)

Ah let me just stop transferring all my panic onto you. Sorry

I was thinking today looking at active convos if we had an MN rant thread entitled "British schools" what that would look like?! Would we all then feel so much better?

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 11:25:06

I always hated those maths problems too. I just loathed the farmer x does this and farmer y does that stuff. I could handle the equations but not the application of it so I understand your ds completely!

admylin Thu 28-Feb-08 11:26:31

Hi, just got rid of dh, he worked at home om my computer this morning, now he's gone off to test someones brain slices from a open brain surgery session last night. They all pounce and beg for bits of the cut off bit of the brain whenever someone is in for surgery.

Sounds very good SSSandy if your dh is at last seeing how things really are and accepting it. I hope you manage to sort out a visit to the UK and go round a school or two, try to get dd in for a trial day etc. Wish me scoffing crisps and looking miserable on the sofa would make dh see the light. Need a different strategy with mine.

Ds is having laods of tests at the moment. I've learned another begriff: L.E.K means Lern erfolg kontrolle never knew that, well the new German teacher is doing tests on everything she teaches, so LEK nearly twice a week and next week a Klassenarbeit (that is the one that the mark goes in the book)
Funny thing is, his whole class is on cloud nine as it's the first time they've had a really good teacher for a few weeks and they all love it, even the boys who used to come out of school, scowl on face, throw bag down in the dirt, maon about stupid homework etc... now they come out bursting with 'today we leant such and such, today we had a LEK and I got a 1, and so on. What a difference the right teacher makes eh?!

CinderellaInCyberspace Thu 28-Feb-08 11:28:04

wanders into say hello

<<i was aliceinwonderland>>

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 11:33:10

Well, I have thought that maybe at 16 they could do a couple of A-levels and thus go onto some further education in England or Ireland. I have family in both. I taught uni level and adults in an earlier life and my brother teaches at a university & reckoned if we ensure they can write essays, express themselves in Eng etc then perfectly poss.
And their verbal skills are v good. Last night at sport ds1 was playing with a retired US professor who couldn't believe ds1 is half-German. Said (joking but reassuring nonetheless) that ds1's grammar was better than his. Think it was the "If I were" subjunctive use.
So once ds1 has settled in Y5, I will start on writing more structured stuff, just small regular things, in hols etc as well. Luckily ds1 was asking himself. He has actually improved his spelling as a result of posting on some computer game he plays on. It's something he's increasingly proud of.

finknottle Thu 28-Feb-08 11:35:05

Tag Cinders.

Admylin - yuk at the brain. Ick.
Right teacher, oh yes indeedy.

admylin Thu 28-Feb-08 11:40:35

I know, yuk and that's the mild side of what he usually does!

I was also thinking those online O'levels and A' levels would be a good thing for my 2 if they want to go back to my home town at some point. I know a few youngsters who work when they are 16 and still at home and manage to save a fortune and do the A'level stuff with an online course. In germany the worst thing is you HAVE TO do maths to Abi level, that would have ruled me out and by the look of it dd too.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 11:42:25

hi cinders, don't be so coy now, come back for a natter

Well that sounds SO positive admylin. Please as Elternreps give positive feedback to the head (maybe you can keep her) and let the teacher now how much the dc enjoy her work (maybe she'll want to stay). Wouldn't that be great?

I wonder if you can sit A levels externally somehow finks, should be possible surely, the HEers must manage it somehow. So I suppose we could all keep that possibility in mind if all else fails etc.

How could dc of yours not express themselves well though finks!

admylin Thu 28-Feb-08 11:49:18

It is nice to have something positive to tell - and such a great feeling when they all come out ofschool so full of it. That's how school should be, my school days were like that all the time. Still ready to move back home tomorrow if I could!

Dh was browsing through job websites this morning and he saw something academic in Karachi (Pakistan) and I said well if you go for that one we'll be waiting for you in England - he didn't seem too shocked at that suggestion! Just need to make Hannover sound like Karachi and then we could leave him to it!

CinderellaInCyberspace Thu 28-Feb-08 11:57:26

hi here for mo

we are also thinking of moving
in one years time

dd is not happy
ds still not in kindergarten

and I wish for some calm in our lives

dh mentioned working between here and dubai

i said
here no
but between either Ireland or England

Did think second time round it would of been easier
It is'nt

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 12:18:52

teenage girls are never easy though, cinders are they, wherever you live? Shame it hasn't worked out with the kg, so you have to cope with ds all day and then dd comes home from school sad and hormonal. Think you might be another candidate for admylin's Happy Hausfrau Home in the Hills.

Peace in our time would be great, wouldn't it? I was saying to dh he doesn't know how diff it is dealing with these blasted schools and how obnoxious they can be etc and he said his whole job is about dealing with obnoxious people in diff situations all day long and you have to learn to just shrug it off.

Well, you know I just thought "err? And what is the point though in living like that unless you have zero choice in the matter?" Or am I missing something here?

Thing is wherever we live, something is going to get us down and problems are always going to crop up when you have dc. Say dd was happy in school and ds in nursery but dh wasn't happy or the neighbours were awful or health issues developped? Really is hard for dms to get on with life when their dc are unhappy though, isn't it? It's kind of fundamental for us whereas men (mine) seem to be able to carry on regardless

admylin Thu 28-Feb-08 12:33:26

Talking about teenage girls... i've been thinking alot about a British friend here in Germany, they had a house, sent dc to German school etc but as soon as the dd was finished school (abi) she packed and said bye to her parents - she told me (the dd) that she wasn't staying in Germany any longer than she had to and she was off to live with her uncle and cousins in the UK in a civilized country shock Imagine, if we stick it out so long and manage to solve all our problems, try to settle here etc only to have our dc go back to UK at the earliest possibility.

MIL reckons her grandchildren will come and search for her in India when they are old enough because her evil ds doesn't bring them to see her often enough, so either wa sI suppose I lose them.

SSSandy2 Thu 28-Feb-08 12:46:06

I'm looking forward to hearing all about you telling dh that Hannover is the equivalent of Karachi.

Karachi bit dodgy atm maybe

If dd leaves, I will follow her. Trail her in fact. You could leave dh slicing up bits of brain and writing clever books about it and go off to India, find yourself in an ashram or something. That'd be good. I'd join you in fact.

emkana Thu 28-Feb-08 20:14:00

admylin, that's interesting, what were the girl's reasons? I kind of thought that life was better for teenagers/young adults in Germany.

It's incredible, all this testing in German schools. And then they say British children are overtested! At least the SATS etc only come up at the end of year, in Germany it's a constant struggle to get the right Note isn't it?

emkana Thu 28-Feb-08 20:18:02

Ssandy, just realized I never answered your questions further down! Yes if I could just move all my friends and family over here I don't think I would mind staying in the UK forever. But as it is I would seriously think moving to Germany again in a few years' time, but who knows what will happen, six years is a long time...

SSSandy2 Fri 29-Feb-08 08:41:15

Hi emkana! I was just wondering if it wasn't that whole teenage rejection of dp and their life? Since the dp were in Germany and she was half-British, she probably found it natural to go to the UK to get away from her family and be independent. It's going to kill us when our own dc do this to us, isn't it?

hmm At going to UK to be more civilised though. When you think of all the binge drinking and so on that teenagers endulge in there and how much more sensible they are all seem here.

finknottle Fri 29-Feb-08 09:21:46

Sandy - is Operation London Week Sick Godparent underway then?
When do you break up for Easter? Here it's Tuesday 11th.
<joyful dance>

SSSandy2 Fri 29-Feb-08 09:27:09

16th I think finks.

Hmm spanner in the works atm, have to take dd to the doctors this pm and see what the doctor has to say. The school is a pita atm. Will have to speak to dh on Sunday first about what to do

finknottle Fri 29-Feb-08 09:34:49

Doesn't sound good - fingers crossed.

SSSandy2 Fri 29-Feb-08 09:36:00

I'm sounding a bit cryptic here, I know, I'm writing you a mail finks.

finknottle Fri 29-Feb-08 09:49:02

Right ho.

Nighbynight Fri 29-Feb-08 21:45:22

omg admylin I read with horror your story about the teenager emigrating back to blighty. My children are always saying they want to go back. I think they are thinking about the school, but if we go back we'll be stuck in poverty in a tiny slip of ahouse somewhere down a crowded motorway from my workplace, whereas here we've got the alps as our back garden. Would be gutted if they all leave at 16 and it turns out I made the wrong decision.

Now after all the angst with dd1 (she is still in the hauptschule, but her marks are edging slowly up), I have heard one or two stories I dont like about the gymnasium in our town. Rumours that turkish children dont get places there (uncorroborated), and the fact that the girls have a man sport teacher. This worries me because I know that the muslim families wouldnt be happy about that, which rather suggests that either there arent any, or that their views are not taken account of.
Said teacher also teaches geographyhmm.

We have got elections on Sunday, and Munich is full of posters saying "kriminelle auslaendere RAUS" Which is one very small step from saying "foreigners out". They want Munich to be in the hands of bavarians, that'll be the 40% or so of munich residents who happen to have been born in By. Nutters. If we all left, Munich would be a DORF. Hopefully they wont get many votes.

finknottle Fri 29-Feb-08 21:50:26

NbyN - any word from the court?

taipo Fri 29-Feb-08 21:57:20

Hi, I've come to join you all. Don't know where to begin really. We moved here almost exactly a year ago and have had just about the most stressful year ever, trying to settle dd into her new school.
However, we are going through a bit of a lull at the moment and she actually now quite likes the constant tests (at least 1 a week). Think it'll be different when she goes into y4 in September though.

Nighbynight Fri 29-Feb-08 22:14:57

hi fink
no, we are still waiting. They have asked for a 2nd dr's testament. he is still in jail (life is VERY peaceful!) and I still havent got sorgerecht - must nag the lawyer a bit, I think. Its a sort of lull before the storm.

hello taipo!
whereabouts in germany are you?

Nighbynight Fri 29-Feb-08 22:16:52

btw, it is only fair to add that we have seen the good side of life in Germany recently. Yesterday I started to have implant treatment for a missing front tooth, that I'd never be able to afford in the UK. And it hardly hurt at all!!

taipo Fri 29-Feb-08 22:19:55

Hi NbyN. We're on the edge of the Black Forest near the French border. Agree about health care being good here.

Nighbynight Fri 29-Feb-08 22:47:15

ooh, we used to live on the french side! Deeply envy you being within commuting distance of french supermarkets!

SSSandy2 Sat 01-Mar-08 11:59:29

Hi there die Damen. NN So glad to hear he is where he should be atm. Would be good to have the Sorgerecht thing sorted. Is anyone pushing the thing through for you or is it just stranded on the Amtsweg atm?

Taipo, poor you entering dd into school for the dreaded year 3. That must have been a huge shock for her system and yours from what everyone has been sayign here about it. Did she speak German before she started school?

Know exactly what you mean NN about weighing it all up and not seeing any all-round good alternative. So glad to hear dd's grades are moving up. That is FANTASTIC news. Well done both of you.

Nighbynight Sat 01-Mar-08 12:17:24

It's stranded at the lawyer. I need to nag her a bit.

thank you for the good wishes! I have promised dd sushi for every 1 she gets in deutch, englisch or maths probe. We have had sushi for the last 2 weekends, but both times was englisch. Considering she got a 6 in englisch earlier in the year blushangry this is improvement!

SSSandy2 Sat 01-Mar-08 12:22:56

I am a total sushi addict too! Dd won't touch it though. I so want your dd to show that stupid bl* school what's what. I want to hear the smack of their jaws hitting the floor when they see her end of year grades. I get so infuriated when I hear how kids are held back and kept down when teachers are supposed to ENCOURAGE dc and INSPIRE them with love of learning.

Bet you the 6 in English was because she couldn't get the stupid accent right. Dd was always saying at her last school, why do I have to say pee-PIL when it's people? I don't want to say it like that.

finknottle Sat 01-Mar-08 12:59:06

Ds2 told me they were parroting back names of fruit last year. Including that well-known staple, the ay-pel (not ah-pel) hmm

taipo Sat 01-Mar-08 13:33:32

lol at ay-pel. Dh's English teacher at school swore that that round thing at the top end of your body was a 'heed'.

taipo Sat 01-Mar-08 13:44:00

Sssandy, dd started half way through y2 but still a massive shock to the system. She did speak German before starting school as Dh (who is German) has always spoken German to the dc at home. We completely underestimated though how difficult it would be going from using it at home to using it at school. She was totally overwhelmed and the teacher didn't really seem to understand this, just wanted to get her up to the required standard as quickly has possible. How on earth do children who don't speak any German manage?
Oh, and don't get me started on handwriting or homework.

Nighbynight Sat 01-Mar-08 19:18:39

taipo, in Munich they get kicked out of the schools, to spend a year in limbo, with a bunch of other foreign children leaning only german as a foreign language.
yes, just what you want for your 9 yr old dd, to be travelling long distances every day to be in a class full of 12 year old turkish or russian boys, learning to speak german with a foreign accent. angry. (turkish or russian because most of the poorer foreigners happen to come from those 2 countries, and anyone who has any money uses it to escape these hateful classes)

Alternatively, you can spend c 5000 euros to move out of Munich, where your child will get forcibly put down a year, and spend the rest of their school life a head taller than the rest of the class.

Alternatively you can join all the other foreigners trying to get your child into one of the very few private schools.

Nighbynight Sat 01-Mar-08 19:20:57

dd's teacher's grasp of english is also fairly poor. However, she often marks dd right when in fact she is wrong! She does not do this in any other subject, so I can only believe that she thinks dd must be correct because she is english!
She is a lovely person.

The 6 was for spelling and carelessness, eg nouns with capital letters.

SSSandy2 Mon 03-Mar-08 10:43:10

taipo, sorry to hear it isn't going too great. From your experience at schools overseas before moving dd here, what did you find better/what is it that is lacking or so difficult to adjust to here?

My own school days are so far in the past, I find it hard to realistically appraise the system here and wonder if it would be ok if I could somehow approach it differntly or whether we should give up on it and move dd out. It's a permanent worry in fact.

What is worrying me most this week is meeting the head (gulp). Wish me luck that it actually achieves some positive result. For soem reason I am having difficulty thinking positive about it.

admylin Mon 03-Mar-08 11:03:26

Morning, good luck tomorrow SSandy, I hope it goes the way you want it to!

My dd has a project at school the next 2 days, some students of anthropology are coming to do a project on Africa and the teacher said (on Friday) that the dc should all try to draw a picture and write a bit about what they already know about Africa. Dd made a book about the animals of Africa and wrote a little Steckbrief for each animal, stuck a picture in etc, researched on the internet and in animal books, it took her all weekend but at one point she said mum this is really fun, and I just thought look she still has that love of learning that will probably be forced out of her through boredom at school. All they need is a little project on an interesting subject now and then. All her class mates were quite happy this morning, knowing they were going to get something nice to learn and talk about all day. Imagine if they could do a history project one day, dd would jump for joy!

Ds on the other hand tried to talk his way out of going to school this morning. Woke up - mum I've got a headache, I told him to try having a drink and breakfast - then mum my nose is really blocked, sniff sniff (forcing it abit) and then on the way out his leg suddenly was really really hurting (ja, echt) where he has a bruise from playing football but I got him to school in the end. He'll have to try harder than that!

SSSandy2 Mon 03-Mar-08 13:00:44

sounds good having the anthropologists in! I thought from what finks said about year 3 further down that they did do all this project work through-out the year just that the fun went out of it when they had the tests at the end of each project. Is your dd not really doing any project work as such normally?

The meeting is Wednesday unfortuantely, poor time to brood

taipo Mon 03-Mar-08 16:40:47

Sssandy, I never imagined that there would be such a difference going from the UK school system to the German one.
It's not as if we were totally happy with things over there mind you. Dd's primary school wasn't great to say the least (poor sats results and high staff turnover) but she was happy there. In Y2 she had a lovely teacher as well as a TA and they did interesting project work, also lots of group work. They were encouraged to write freely and not worry about spelling or handwriting. Imagine! The downside of this was that her handwriting was appalling and her spelling not much better.
I think schools in the UK have moved on a lot from when we were at school, perhaps not always for the best but at least there is an attempt to move with the times. Schools here seem to me to be stuck in time warp.
We've had a right old roller coaster of an afternoon today. Dd came home from school in a fantastic mood because she'd got a 1 for her Lesetest, but then because she was on such a high she couldn't concentrate on her homework and we ended up again with tears and tantrums. She has now finished but I feel utterly drained sad.
Good luck with your meeting.

admylin Mon 03-Mar-08 18:36:09

Poor dd Taipo, it somehow sounds wrong doesn't it, there shouldn't be tears and tantrums over homework at that age. Learning should be fun - we have often had tears with dd too because she so wants to get it all right and I remember when they had to learn the times tables it ruined the weekend and then the boy from downstairs came up with his sister and she said he'd also been crying over his tables. Very sad and it won't be long - if we don't get out of here soon - till my dc start hating school.

taipo Mon 03-Mar-08 19:01:38

It's of some comfort to find out that dd is not unique in rebelling against the homework. I've spoken to others here who are at their wits end with it all. It put a huge strain on my relationship with dd last year and poor ds just had to fend for himself every afternoon. It is better now and I have learned to keep calm (well sometimes). I quite agree that learning should be fun at that age.

Nighbynight Mon 03-Mar-08 21:20:23

sigh. my children used to love school in france.
They hate it, and hate homework now, by and large. It's all such a grind, and they can only see the threats if they fail, no rewards except getting to the gymnasium whoopeedoo, yet more hard work.

your day sounds completely typical at our house too, taipo.

Now I have a question ladies. Is there any chance of getting ds1 back into his right class, do you think? He was put down a year last year, so is now in the 3rd class, but should be in the 4th.
He still minds about it, the work isnt a challenge (he has just been copying out of last year's hefts, up til now). Now that he speaks german, he is flying. His marks are realschule type, because he gets absolutely no nachhilfe at all, but with nachhilfe he would be getting 1s and 2s, I am fairly sure.

Having coped with dd1#s major crisis, and ds2's recent homework slough, I am just starting to think about getting NH for poor ds1, but would like to fix his problem as well.

taipo Mon 03-Mar-08 22:19:25

Have you spoken to the school about it NbyN?

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 09:58:20

What's his teacher like NN? Could you first speak to the teacher? They sound so unbending at that school, I think I would prefer the teacher to bring it up with the head or for you and the teacher to do so together. I should think it is possible.

There is a girl in our class whose dp want her moved up a year but the teacher felt she was socially not yet ready although she would have handled the work well enough. She is also one of the oldest in the class.

I know a dm from music school who kept her twins back a year so they started school a year late. However she saw after the first term that her dd had not made any friends and asked for her to be moved up a year to year 2 and the school agreed although she was a year behind, had not learnt the maths or Schreibschrift and was not ahead of her class in reading or anything really. Apparently it was no problem at all. The school can certainly do it mid-year, happens all the time.

finknottle Tue 04-Mar-08 10:12:15

Sandy, have e-mailed you.

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 10:30:35

that sounds depressing taipo. How long does it take to do her daily homework usually (if she isn't fighting it all the way)? We are in the calm before the storm atm - homework not until next year although how they are expected to do it on top of an 8 hour school day is beyond me.

Admylin did your sister's dc really just learn the times tables at school? I have had to teach dd them myself because although the school year finishes in June they have not yet even BEGUN to learn them at school and it is March already so when would they learn them? I began before Christmas I think, working through that 5 min heft and practising one table at a time. I make her skip count : 6,12,18 off by heart and then I get her to skip with a rope and chant them out as she goes. I write them on a piece of paper and stick it up on the wall where she eats breakfast (1 at a time) and I write them on cards and play a kind of bingo with them. Lot of hassle which is ok but annoying if elsewhere they just learn them at school.

We still have to tackle 8 and 9 (the worst) and they don't all sit, she learns one and seems to forget one so it is time-consuming. You have to really keep at it every day I think unfortunately.

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 10:38:41

OMG that mail is BRILLIANT finks, thank you so much. My printer has conked out so I will have to write it up and take it with me. If dh doesn't come along and play the big man-in-a-suit, I will not be responsible for my actions towards him! Wish YOU were coming with us in fact. (Was at the doctors first thing and she gave it to me the way I wanted, hopefully it is better, well we'll hve to see).

That is SUCH good advice. Also the second bit. Will have to see what she says, tbh I am bracing myself to expect the worst then if it is better than that, I will be a bit relieved!

finknottle Tue 04-Mar-08 10:41:39

So she did change it, then - well that's positive smile
Mail me with details pronto.
Think dh present might nail it at once. Chances?

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 10:52:41

really not sure how it will go. Think she will make up her mind very quickly and I doubt she'll let herself be swayed. If she is willing, she'll be able to accept it on the basis ofthe doctor's certificate. If she isn't willing, I don't think she is obliged to. She will haveto in some way take it more seriously I hope. I'll mail you the new text.

taipo Tue 04-Mar-08 10:58:29

Sssandy, She gets homework every day for German and maths. If she's in the right mood which is luckily most days now she has finished it within an hour. If not, and yesterday was one of those days, it can be anything up to 3 hours. What year is your dd in?
I love your idea, NbyN, of giving dd sushi for every 1 she gets. That could work here as dd also loves sushi, it's one of the few things she will really eat loads of, apart from sweets and pasta.

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 11:03:59

she's in year 2 but not at a regular German school - it's a state bilingual so the set-up is a bit different. Three hours of homework sounds grim. What does she think of her school?

taipo Tue 04-Mar-08 11:17:14

It shouldn't take 3 hours though! She is actually fairly settled now and has made 2 very good friends in her new class, but it has been a hard slog. She was in the first school for only 6 months, then we moved again and poor thing had to go to another school but that maybe wasn't such a bad thing because she could start afresh with at least some knowledge of the system. Hopefully we'll be staying put now. What's your dd's school like?

trockodile Tue 04-Mar-08 16:25:41

Hi -haven't posted on this thread yet, but some of you may remember i applied for kindergarten place for my DS last month. Do any of you know when we should hear if he is accepted? How long would it usually take? We are bottom of the list apparantly as he could go to Army pre-school. Maybe they offer everyone else first.
Anyway just thought I'd ask! Thanks.

admylin Tue 04-Mar-08 18:18:01

Not sure trockodile, if I remember rightly we got in a few weeks after applying to several Kindergardens but might be a different system. If they don't answer soon then the next free places will be in September I would think. Still they could let you know as soon as they have made the lists after the pre-schoolers have registered at their future schools maybe. Depends then on when the registration date for school is too.

admylin Tue 04-Mar-08 18:43:01

SSSandy, glad they changed that letter for you. Good luck tomorrow, let us know what happened.

Yesterday after school I was so shocked at how one of teh Erzieherinen spoke to some dc and then mad at mayself because I only thought of something to say when it wa stoo late, I always do that.
Some dc from ds's class and ds were playing cards around one of those stone ping-pong tables in the courtyard after the last lesson, and I was standing just next to them watching with dd. Suddenly an Erzieherin marched over and yelled 'go on be off home, you lot aren't Hort kids' - in a really nasty voice. She was supervising the smaller dc in the playground but ds and his mates weren't bothering anyone, they were playing very seriously infact. Talk about being thrown out of the place, and I was so shocked that she would dare say that when I was standing right there - you know that gobsmacked feeling that I just told them to play another time and we left. Rude, rude and unlogical and that's Berlin where Ganztagschulen are supposed to introduced every where.

Nighbynight Tue 04-Mar-08 19:05:19

Thank you for suggestions re ds1's possible Ueberspring.
Well, I spoke to his teacher quite by chance today, so broached teh subject with her.
She said "I can't say anything, it would be [the Rektor's] decision.
I tried to get her to say even if it was theoretically possible, but she would not budge from this stance, even when I left a long inviting pause in the conversation.

Now, this Rektor is a horrible man who I loathe. Last year, he refused to discuss any alternatives to putting ds down into the class below, but forcibly did it. He once put a child down just because the child had been away for a year, doing school in another country - "because he hasnt completed Yr x in Bavaria."
It is not just me who hates him, that opinion is pretty much shared in the town.

So I think that ds's teacher knows that ds has as much chance of going back up as he has of going to the moon. I may be wrong, but I suspect that they would sit back and watch him trying his heart out, and then not let him go up, however well he does.

It is all so chancy - I dont want to move, unless Im certain that ds will not get the same treatment in another school.

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 20:08:18

NN she is probably scared of the head too, he sounds awful. When you say you are scared to move, do you mean to another school there or to another town? Time permitting, I think you could make an appointment with a head of another local school to discuss the possibility of moving your ds but moving him into the right year. I feel sorry for him, I don't find it good for his psychological well-being at school. Long-term this kind of thing can affect his attitude to school and his willingness to learn so a good head should be willing to reappraise the situation. However yours is anything but unfortunately.

Would there be any harm in submitting a written request for a reappraisal, asking the head to consider moving ds up on the basis of his improved German, improved grades and maturity cf his classmates which prevents him building friendships with them, the age gap being so great?

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 20:12:23

admylin, I am afraid that I don't appreciate the whole concept of Erzieher at school. I even think they are under-qualified for Kindergarten. That doesn't stop some of them being lovely people of course; however I have been shocked quite often at the way they speak to school children, not just in the playground. What with all the masses of unemployed qualified teachers, I don't think we need Erzieher in the schools at all

Trocodile, it is so long ago now I'm afraid I can't remember. I thought they let people know around March/April if they had a place from September. Why not just drop by in the morning and ask? I don't think they would mind. Here it's normal to call and enquire

trockodile Tue 04-Mar-08 20:20:49


SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 20:37:20

do you need to register for the army pre-school if you don't get this kg place trock or does ds have a place there regardless?

Kindersurpise Tue 04-Mar-08 20:51:23

OMG, I knew I should not read this thread. Now I really am dreading DD going to school.

When they let you know about the place depends on the town, afair. We had to hand in our applications by middle of February. The Leiterin had a meeting with the ohter kindergartens in the village to discuss which child was being offered a place in which kita. Then they will start letting the parents know.

Depends how quick the Leiterin is, give her a ring and ask. They have had this new Kibiz law so are pretty busy at the moment, perhaps that is why she has not called yet.

trockodile Tue 04-Mar-08 20:57:04

I had better ring the army one i suppose, it should be ok. Will give it a couple of weeks with the German ones -I applied to 4 in the end!

Kindersurpise Tue 04-Mar-08 21:05:28

I can ask in our kita when they are letting the parents know. I think it is different this year because of the new law.

Nighbynight Tue 04-Mar-08 21:19:51

trockodile, in our town they had the meeting to divvy the children up between the kigas some time in April. Nobody got officially told before that, I think. I'd ring the friendliest one and ask them.

thank you SSandy - you are probably right about the teacher not wanting to get on the wrong side of the head. Just, I have the feeling that trying to get ds back in his right class would be getting on the head's wrong side, because it would be akin to criticising his decision to move ds down.

It is an awkward time for ds, because if he goes up, he would be in the 4th class now. And of course, he wouldnt make the gymnasium before the end of this year.
With nachhilfe, he will realistically be doing 1s and 2s by teh end of this year, but I dont think anyone is going to let him skip year 4.
They have got us over a barrel, and I cant see anything we can do about it.

SSSandy2 Tue 04-Mar-08 21:47:16

If his grades are good enough now, they might conceivably agree to move him up a year but there is not much of the school year left so how would they compute his end of year grade for year 4? I think that may be a practical hindrance, idiotic as it sounds.

I agree you cannot in any way criticise him/the school because he will just close down and dig his heels in and you will get nowhere with it.

I will think about it tomorrow and maybe we can all come up with what might be a realistic approach to the school. I suppose you do have to try and get him moved but I can understand your reluctance to approach this man again.

So you think if he gets moved up now and has a tutor, he is likely to achieve 1s and 2s for what is left of year 4 work? Has he kept up with the year 4 maths or just repeated year 3 work so far this year whilst improving his German?

Nighbynight Tue 04-Mar-08 22:06:00

He has just repeated yr 3 work. I have been so wrapped up with dd's hauptschule crisis, and latterly, with my other ds, who seems to think he doesnt have to do homework, that I've only just got round to thinking about ds1.

Prob is, he has to prove himself first, and it's a bit late in the year now. At the moment he is getting no help at all because I have had to direct the help to the other 2, so ds1's marks are just average except in english. But I know him, and I know he's OK now, and will quickly start to perform well given teh amount of help the other children are getting.
I think he can prove himself by the end of this year - but what then?
Even if I got the realschule to accept him into the 5th year by some miracle, the gymnasium might make him repeat the 5th year.

And if he goes to a montessori hauptschule (also a poss) then the gymnasium will also make him repeat the 5th year when he changes.
Every time you move you tend to throw a Repeat the Year around here.angry

Nighbynight Tue 04-Mar-08 22:08:42

computing the grades is not a problem, because they would just get him to take the exam.

Question is, could I coach him enough between now and may to do the 4th year exam? Its only 3 months, prob not.

finknottle Wed 05-Mar-08 06:55:46

Tbh, NbN, and imo (and assorted acronyms) you wouldn't have a hope of moving ds from 3 to 4 in March anywhere - far too late. Even 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 but esp 4 with secondary coming up. And this is Germany. So wird's nicht gemacht wink
He may be just repeating material but you could look at it as form of Nachhilfe in itself. He has the chance to really grasp the basics and the structure of Y3 & Y4 work which can only help him in the all-important hmm Y4. Thus stand a better chance of Gym, or at the least have a really good report which will stand him in good stead for Realschule. Not to mention the confidence, rewards (!) etc.

Maybe when you have a chance to look more closely at his work, you'll find areas to concentrate on more, maybe get other Uebungshefte etc - most Verlage have websites where you can find stuff in detail and order, or I find it cheaper to copy&paste the ISBN number and get them post-free on Amazon.

finknottle Wed 05-Mar-08 06:57:03

Good Luck today Sandy. I expect a blow-by-blow account wink

finknottle Wed 05-Mar-08 07:02:48

Kindersurprise - ime, Y1 & Y2 are worlds apart from Y3 & Y4.
Plus you'll have the benefit of asking on here if you need to.
Plus my dd is starting too so we can compare what Erstklaessler are up to or not wink

Kindersurpise Wed 05-Mar-08 08:02:14

I am not too worried about DD, she is keen to go to school and the school seems ok. They are hoping to start English in year 1 here so that will be interesting.

One of my neighbours was an English teacher, I think year 4 and 5. Her English is so bad that I do not understand her. I have heard that they are having problems finding enough Englsih teachers in NRW and are taking on anyone at the moment, even without a teaching degree (or any degree for that matter)

admylin Wed 05-Mar-08 09:39:03

OMG, it's past 10 am - SSSandy must be in the lions den right now - sending positive vibes and stand-up-to-the-old-battle-axe wishes!

taipo Wed 05-Mar-08 11:50:13

Ks, I think most of dd's problems stem from the huge shock from going from one system to another completely different one. Ds is starting Y1 in September and I am hoping it will be a lot easier for him because he'll be eased in more gently and will have had 1 1/2 years at KG here. Perhaps everything will become clearer for me too. I still don't really get what is required of school children here. At least I can ask on here now!

admylin Wed 05-Mar-08 12:05:27

Taipo I think you are right. I knew a british family and the dd who was taken out of her primary school in UK to join the German system had a really hard time but the brother managed quite well because he went straight into German kindi. If you don'
t know any different it is easier - still doesn't stop us parents from being constantly baffled by it all though!

I'm off out to buy plants for ds's classroom - a request has been sent out!

Nighbynight Wed 05-Mar-08 13:03:04

hi finknottle,
thats what I am afraid of. why cant they come out and say so, instead of stringing me along?
Eg, last year when they put him down, they said that he would be able to go back up again when he spoke german. I suspected at the time they were bullshitting just to make me agree to the going down (I didnt, but they forced it anyway).

sigh - I think we are going to have to move out of bayern. ds REALLY wants to be back in his right class, and I can see his point - why should he have the stigma of being the biggest in his class for the rest of his school career.
Words cannot express how much I resent and hate these little despots who run my childrens school.

finknottle Wed 05-Mar-08 15:15:17

Hate to depress you further, NbyN, but I suspect they had no intention of letting him back up. It would be v unusual and exceptional circs etc. and the head doesn't sound the sort to allow anything.
You really picked the short straw with Bayern, it seems. I've known several families move here with no German and they just go to the local primary.

admylin Wed 05-Mar-08 15:28:20

NbyN that sounds like the best idea, get out of Bayern fast. I know of other dc with no German who have joined dd's class this year and they get extra German lessons and I think do some private lessons too but they are in the year for their age. In ds's class a boy came with no German but he was a year older but had to learn from scratch.

Are you in an area where there aren't many foreigners? In our school maybe it's dealt with the way they do it because Germans are in the minority anayway.

taipo Wed 05-Mar-08 15:29:17

Doesn't sound good, NbyN. The only thing I know about schools in Bayern is that they have the reputation for being the toughest in Germany and have the smallest number of pupils getting into the gymnasium. Where else could you move to?

admylin Wed 05-Mar-08 15:30:01

anayway ? Ignore me I've got so much homework for dd to do this afternoon, we're going to be at it into the night so that she can go and do her Aikido tomorrow. I shouldn't really be on here now.

finknottle Wed 05-Mar-08 17:10:03

Admylin - bet you were checking on Sandy too wink
I've been in and out of the house 5 times today and each time I came in, trekked up 2 flights of stairs to my study to see if she's posted. My little legs are worn down to stumps.
No news = bad news?

finknottle Wed 05-Mar-08 17:11:39

Mmm, no email either.

Kindersurpise Wed 05-Mar-08 17:34:35

We may have to move to Geneva in the next year of so and I have looked into schools there. The normal state schools have a provision for incoming children with no French. They get put into a special class to learn the language quickly then go into the proper class as soon as possible. Sounds like a good plan, don't know why the German schools do not have provision for immigrant children.

admylin Wed 05-Mar-08 19:44:08

finknottle, I was checking, she's maybe going to keep us waiting - today is the only day her dh is home this week so might be busy.

Dd was sitting doing homework till 8pm tonight and some isn't done but I told her to tell the teacher if he asks that mum said I wasn't allowed to do it and if he isn't happy then I'll sort it out at hometime! Ds has complaints about the English teacher, she always says 'what that?' instead of what's that or even what is that but he doesn't want to tell her!

Nighbynight Wed 05-Mar-08 22:50:30

Kinder, they do have provision in bavaria, trouble is, it is unacceptably bad for your child, and always seems to include being put down a year. When we first came, I asked about extra German classes for the children, but they were not offered. The authorities give the impression that they just want to keep foreigners down, whether it's intentional or not.
funny you should say that, I was thinking about switzerland only today. dc already speak french, as were in school in france for 3 years. The ds's both say they would be happy to move on. Are the schools in Geneva more like French schools, and would the ones in Zurich be the same, I wonder?

taipo, I have been pondering the where to move question ever since splitting with my ex! Nowhere feels like home any more, but the mountains are growing on me.
Theres no point moving anywhere else in Germany now, as ds's school year would follow him, I think, even outside Bavaria.
I am going to give the private school option one more go, before jobhunting outside de.

finknottle Thu 06-Mar-08 09:52:11

Hope SSSandy hasn't fled the country.

Admylin - either Lidl down here didn't have the greenhouses or they were all gone when dh went. Have heard that people queue up for the special offers outside the shop and the best deals are gone by 8.30. It's like the Soviet Union.

Thanks for pointing it out, though smile

SSSandy2 Thu 06-Mar-08 09:58:22

sorry girls, bl* dh messed up. I think he totally messed it up and I was FURIOUS with him. angry He asked me beforehand what the plan of action was and I told him. Then when we were in there and everything was going according to plan, he suddenly started going off on this weird track and I kept kicking his leg trying to get him to shut up but he went on and on regardless and screwed up badly.

Then he was saying one thing which was absolutely NOT what I wanted and I was having to say something different since he was totally ignoring me trying to get him to shut up. The head was looking all irritiert because she didn't know what the hell was going on anymore and we were not presenting a united front. I could have strangled him.

Geez so much for the man-in-a-suit effect. I've come down with a horrible bug thing which I think we caught at the doctor's surgery last week whilst getting the A and being cooped up with horribly sick little toddlers and the windows firmly shut as usual, then the worry of it all did the rest.

I will mail the details later. Bottom line is it achieved nothing at all in the end I think. We are right back where we were in the beginning. Dd and I are off to the Kieferorthopäde in a minute and then I'll give you all the horrendous details, so you know better than to ever do the same!

NN I'm still thinking about this and what you could do. COuldn't imagine trying to sort out 3 dc's school problems at once. You do have a lot on your plate. I know moving overseas might not be on the cards right now but I was thinking yesterday whether you had ever considered Norway. Lots of German engineers are employed in Norway, the schools are supposed to be very good and welcoming. Lucky for you, you studied something so practical. I think too, the answer is probably going to be to get out unfortunately. Get back to you later.

admylin Thu 06-Mar-08 10:04:02

Oh no, SSSandy how could he have messed it up like that? I was sure it would be a good thing to take him, the respected man in suit thing usually helps.

Good luck at the kieferorthopäde, hope you chose one near to home because you're going to be spending alot of time in and out of there.

taipo Thu 06-Mar-08 10:06:19

Sssandy, sorry your meeting went so badly.

admylin Thu 06-Mar-08 10:07:43

Finknottle, shame about the greenhouse but as you say they seem to sell out of things fast - our Lidl opens at 7am and by the time we get round there after school drop off at 8:20 most stuff has gone. Went today with a friend as they had a Fahradhelm for 6.99 or something like that and she got the last one at 8:20am!

SSSandy2 Thu 06-Mar-08 10:24:55

I suppose you can't order online with Lidl like you can with plus?

Thanks for the sympathy everyone! COuld you please check your mails and give me some advice on how best to inflict severe pain on dh when he gets back from Brüssels? dd and I are off now.

finknottle Thu 06-Mar-08 11:32:45

All is not lost.
I have a cunning plan.
See mail.

Nighbynight Thu 06-Mar-08 15:21:09

oh ssandy, how annoying. Really sorry your meeting went so badly.
A single mother here took a friend with her, in order to have the man in a suit effect at a meeting with the school! Crazy isnt it.

I am ill too today, not sure if the illness is caused by worrying about the school or vice versa!! Norway is an interesting idea - someone I know moved to Sweden and found it full of crime and fairly unfriendly. Hadn't considered going further north.

Hope you feel better soon.

finknottle Thu 06-Mar-08 16:08:44

God what is it with us lot and the man in a suit, lol!
North is too cold, NbN, I'd go south. CH sounds like you'd be better set up language wise but Ernest would be able to advise you better.

SSSandy2 Thu 06-Mar-08 19:23:53

NN ok had a chance to think a bit about it now but feeling I have a nerve giving any advice when I haven't managed to sort out my own situation.

Get Nachhilfe for ds1 NN if you can organise it. If he is getting 1s and 2s consistently you will have a basis for asking for reappraisal of his situation. I would get a year 4 Matheheft too and have him work through that as preparation to moving back up to year 4. Having now seen first-hand the amount of intensive tutoring some of these 9 year olds get, I would say, if he can handle it and it won't take the joy out of his life, go ahead, if it means him being happier longer-term.

They will not move him back up because you would like them to (judging from your prevous experiences) or because ds is unhappy (obviously this doesn't bother them much) so the only thing that would work would be the grades I think. Would he be one of the oldest or youngest in year 4?

I use Mathe King from Schlaumeier and the 5 Minuten Übungsheft from Mildenberger Verlag:
(Das Übungsheft 4, Neuausgabe
Systematisches Training der Grundaufgaben / Erweiterte Auflage zum Schuljahr 2006/2007
72 Seiten, vierfarbig, Gh, 21 x 14,8 cm
Bestell-Nr. 4503-54 ISBN 978-3-619-45354-2) see this page:

See if they're any good for a tutor to work through with him or see if you can't find something appropriate in a bookstore. If you use the Easter break to do a fair bit a day, also German grammar and he achieves good grades, you might have a chance of skipping year 4 and moving straight to year 5 but I am afraid to say I think it will be very hard in Munich.

I would suggest taking him out and, if at all possible, putting him in year 4 of a private school for 1 year, tutoring him the whole time too - and then moving back to a state school for year 5. I sound pessimistic but I think possibly that is the only way you are likely to manage it.

SSSandy2 Thu 06-Mar-08 19:31:45

I must say I have gone off men in suits

NN the situation in Bavaria sounds quite different to what I know here so not sure what you can and cannot do there. We don't have these tests here you mentioned, but can he not swot like mad towards that test if passing it means he can skip year 4 and move straight into year 5? (If I understood it right).

Do you worry at all that he might struggle with the whole system in year 5 not having had year 4 to ease him in? Not that he wouldn't be able to learn the pensum but that he wouldn't cope with the rigidity of the system and the type of homework they are expecting of him etc.

Can you apply directly to other state schools there, making an appointment to see the head and using as your reason for applying that your ds is unchallenged at school, that you are looking for a more challenging school environment for him. That flatters the school that you are assuming their standards are higher than the one you have. Or is this not possible there, do you hu have to apply through a central body for the state schools? Here you can apply directly to the school of your choice but you have no guarantee of getting a place of course.

I wonder if he couldn't spend a couple of Probe weeks at a new school in year 4 and see how it goes.

admylin Fri 07-Mar-08 10:01:18

This morning I went into school to speak to one of the senior teachers who does maths with ds, he knows all about our problems with the German teacher who has now been off school for 4 weeks. The Ersatz German teacher has worked wonders, it's so nice to see the whole class come smiling out of school and some of the boys even want to come and tell me what they've been doing in lessons.
I went and told the teacher that I was so happy about the new teacher and that she had done such a great job etc. He then said that the old teacher was coming in today at 10:30 - she had to go to the office to see the headteacher and he hoped that the new German teacher would be able to take over. I wonder if this means the head is going to sack her? Or ask her to do less hours maybe?

He also said, if not then we Eltern have to get together and complain, even demand the new teacher. I might need your help with getting a letter together to ask for the other parents to get with me on this but hope that when I go in to collect the dc today we will know what is going on. None of ds's classmates want the old teacher back.

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 10:11:34

sounds like a positive development admylin. Does sound like the head plans to suggest she take early retirement or something. Obviously her repeated absence hasn't gone unnoticed in the Lehrerkollegium either. Bit surprised he said that to you actually. Good luck, fingers crossed you can keep this teacher. Will make such a difference to ds.

Of course I'll help with the letter. No problem. I think I'd have the letter and ask the dp to just sign it. Are they there for drop-off, pick-up generally?

admylin Fri 07-Mar-08 10:21:58

No, it's really hard to get in touch with some of the parents, infact some of them have never shown face at school - don't come to parents evenings anymore because of the old teacher. I'll have to send letters out with the dc and hope that the message is passed on and that I get an answer. I tried to make a phone list at the start ofthe school year and only got 7 out of 14 to even agree to pass their number on to me so I can't even ring them all up to explain. Hard work being Elternsprecher in a class like that. I hope things will get better.

I mailed you btw.

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 10:26:41

Did anyone see Panorama last night about the Hauptschulen? They showed a Hauptschule somewhere in the countryside NRW, nicely behaved kids, engagierte Lehrer and so on but it was a total dead end nevertheless. I was really sorry for those kids. They were saying "oh we know we are the Abschaum" and one was saying "when you tell people you go to the Hauptschule, they start speaking to you V E R Y S L O W L Y". They were only year 5. It was awful. One boy was saying "even if I get good grades , all 1s and 2s, dad says it doesn't mean anything because it's just Hauptschule". Wish they would close those schools once and for all, really do.

The head of the school was saying, they know it's a dead end and they have no hope of getting an Ausbildungsplatz and how should we motivate them?

Then they interspersed those interviews with the minister of education for NRW banging on about how Hauptschuler were not "Restschuler" but every school form was valuable in itself etc etc. Actually they made her look a total fool not to mention really callous.

The poor kids though. I don't understand how anyone thinks that is ok, even if their own kids aren't affected.

admylin Fri 07-Mar-08 10:36:24

I think dh was watching that when I was reading. He kept groaning and making comments´. Was it the one where the teachers offer a course on how to apply for benefits etc? That was so shocking. A friend of mine is coming up with her dd at Easter and we're going to do loads of school work with my 2 because her dd just got a hauptschulempfehlung for the 5th year. I can't believe it because I know the dd and she is so clever and creative and ahead of her age in lots of things. Obviously she didn't make the grades in her tests throughout the year but it seems such a shame. No one has taken into account her problems, she had that frühzeitigepubertät thing so had to take hormones to stop it and slow the process down, she has to go to a therapy becaus ethe hormones make her moods hard to control and understand, her dad doesn't bother to even wish her merry Christmas and her mum is at her wits end because of money problems, all factors that the school knew about too. Makes you wonder what sort of Schicksal most ofthose Hauptschüler have and what bad luck has contributed to them ending up there.

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 10:53:36

didn't see that bit about the course on how to apply for benefits. Suppose it is realistic though.

Feel sorry for your friend and her dd. It is a real stigma this Hauptschule thing, isn't it? What disturbed me most was the way those dc are perceived, even by other dc and how clearly they are aware of it. They really get the message from the age of 11 that they are totally worthless and how frustrating for good teachers who work at those schools and know even if the kids stay on, work hard and get a Realschulabschluss in the end, if it is on a paper from the Hauptschule, employers won't take it seriously.

taipo Fri 07-Mar-08 12:07:20

Didn't see it, but really feel for those kids. It just seems so out of tune with the times to have this 3 tier system. I've met a number of people here who went to a Hauptshule but it was some time ago when a Hauptschulabschluss still counted for somethimg and it was possible to do very well from it.
I used to argue about this with dh; he was always very in favour of the 3 tier system and argued that children went to the school that most suited them. He is beginning to see that it's not all it's cracked up to be though.

Nighbynight Fri 07-Mar-08 20:17:54

god, yes, I totally second that about the Hauptschule! dd's classmates are mostly foreigners or children from big families, who haven't had nachhilfe because their parents dont have time/education or cant afford it. Two in dd's class have violent fathers who have recently terrorised their families. Several don't speak German, or their parents dont speak German.

Many of the realschule and gymnasium children are not inherently more intelligent, but have had an incredible level of support and coaching from their parents.

And as you say, the hauptschule children know right from age 11 that they've been thrown on the rubbish heap. Ive heard in Munich, that it's hard to motivate the older ones, because they just sit there and tell the teachers, why should we work? Nobody wants our diplomas, we will just end up unemployed.

The Hauptschule is a hateful institution that should be abolished asap.

Nighbynight Fri 07-Mar-08 20:23:51

admylin, Im one of those parents who never shows up at the school, and have never spoken to the elternreps. In our case, its because Im so pissed off with the whole thing, that I dont really want to talk to anyone more than I have to, as well as not having time. I have heard some really irritating stuff from elternreps who are just apologists for the system or the school, and whose own children are cruising along to the gymnasium without a hitch.
So if you talk to some of the missing parents, you may find that they would support you!

Nighbynight Fri 07-Mar-08 20:27:22

Ssandy, thank you for the thoughts. ds should be doing yr 4 now, though. Ive left it too late, that is the truth.
I was too busy with dd's problems when I should have been thinking about ds1 as wellsad

He is VERY bright, but I am afraid that even if I got him a yr 4 place now, he wouldnt get the results in time. The exam is in May, which is only 2 months from now. I dont want to mount a huge campaign, and have ds working his heart out, and us laying out thousandy of euros in nachhilfe, just for ds to fail - again.sad

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 20:32:49

It's difficult alright. I had a look at the Mathe King year 3/4 book today to see what he is expected to learn in year 4 and my impression was that it was more or less repetition of year 3 (reinforcement) and the only truly new thing I saw was work with decimals - and that's fairly easy to grasp. So as far as maths is concerned, if he is on top of year 3, I would say go ahead. I don't know about the test for German, what that involves. You are in a quandary though.

Do you think that if you were able to let go of this concern, with time he might come to accept being in this class, presumably being one of the best in the class and that this might in itself be a good thing for him? Being top of the class is something after all and then you need no longer worry about the Empfehlung.

Nighbynight Fri 07-Mar-08 20:53:28

ohgod, I need to decide quickly, dont I.

I dont think he will come to terms with it. It was a big slap in the face, labelling him as a failure, unfairly. If he comes to terms with it, his view on life and his confidence in what he can achieve will be irrevocably affected - and I dont want that for him.
He has spent most of the last 12 months saying he is useless, a failure, that I should get a new son, that he shouldnt have been born, etc.

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 20:59:36

that makes me so angry, this is absolutely NOT what a school is supposed to achieve. I don't know how you manage to keep going, you must be unbelievably strong.

So if ds sits the test and fails or they refuse to move him up regardless of whether he passes (can they do that at all?), it will reinforce the sense of failure

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:05:28


Looking back at when dd was in hauptschule
she was bored and un motivated so the best thing we did was move back to England where she was in the English system for three years.
And then on returning she was allowed to go to HBLA on a buisness type course. but she is stumbling on her german and looks as if she will be held back.
Also have to decide on mondy out of three bad kindergartens which one to choice or to carry on keeping ds out
sorry for ranting

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:06:39


monday even

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 21:14:21

apologies for ranting aren't allowed on this thread though cinders! This is the let-it-all-out rant zone. Sorry to hear the kigas aren't any good. What's wrong with them?

NN do you think an assessment from a Kinderpyschologe re how he is suffering from being put down could make any difference? I know you don't have a fat lot of time to do all this kind of stuff so I'm sorry if what I say is unrealistic. I am wondering what I would do if dd was in that position.

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:19:54

started a threat earlier
re the kindergartens

the options are
1 that we withdrew him from
was uuuhhmm bad
ds upset continually and was told he was hitting
<think he was vey bored he was with the tinies

2 one with a bad reputation

3one that needs me to have dhs car
and when we looked at it a while ago the children were sooooooooo bored looking
I fear that ds will be disruptive he is very demanding!

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:20:46

my mind is soo muddled
its twice i have written that tonight

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 21:24:42

didn't see your threat-thread. I'll have a look for it. Well you know 1 is bad, 3 looked bad (when were you there though, could it have just been a lull in an otherwise interesting kiga day?), what have you heard about 2?

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:30:47

the bad one is well
bullying not enough supervision, and a generall bad set up
feel sad a friend uses it
we have the town split in a four zone for where you go to kindergarten
It is her one

The bored one,was weird not just a lull the children swamped us when the teacher got out an activity and there was no communication between staff
It was eerie

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:33:26

the reson why I have three bad choices is
one of them is private
One is our one for where we live
And my friend has said I can request her one as I really do not have a car

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 21:34:19

that's a great choice. No way would I go for the bullying one (2), if it's between 1-3 perhaps the devil you know? Why was ds so upset there though? Was it the way the carers interacted with the dc?

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:39:50

Im truly at a lost at what went on,he is a demanding little beastie lovely witty I think he was a round peg in a square hole.

Feel he deserves a happy time it is even harder as I have worked in nursery<ages ago>
they should be happy,

Have been told that if a child hits at a private nursery they can be told to leave

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 21:42:23

have you been in to that private one and had a chat to them at all? Would be good to know how they deal with hitting for instance, also to get a feel for the place.

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 21:43:19

the private one was where they all looked so bored?

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:43:58

DH says he sees no problem with ds
Am tired so will bore you no further,we are hoping to move next spring

UNless dh gets a massive pay rise would still like to go, has been a very hard time

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:45:48

hi tis confusing sorry

the private one was the one we tried

the bored one is the car one

and sod the bad one

oh yes they all sound .......

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:48:08

the more I read what I write the worst I feel

think I need sleep now
ta for listening

SSSandy2 Fri 07-Mar-08 21:48:47

off you go then and get some well-earned kip! I know you've had a hard time. Hope it works out with next spring.

CinderellaInCyberspace Fri 07-Mar-08 21:50:35

thank you very much


Nighbynight Fri 07-Mar-08 22:00:05

cinderella, in your situation Id probably keep ds at home and work on the move.
Are there any playgroups in your area? We have one that runs twice a week, for children without kiga places. It is run by a fantastic lady, who gives her time completely free.
you could send him to the bored one, and get very involved yourself, but prob not worth it if you are moving anyway?

Ssandy, I tried the psych route last year. School psych said no, she wouldnt look at how he was affected by being put down, but she would "help him come to terms with it"
I found this even more depressing. There really is only 1 route in the minds of the authorities around here. Knock a child down, and then send him to a psych to make him accept it.

CinderellaInCyberspace Sat 08-Mar-08 06:59:30

I woke up thinking it may truly be best to keep him out,seems sad
He is unique are't all humans,not here maybe we are not conformists
It is a good thing dh is on nights this weekend will keep the stress level down
I can not believe the circles I have gone round in all

till later

Nighbynight Sat 08-Mar-08 07:29:05

cinderella, are there other p*ed off parents in your town, and could you get an independent kiga group together in a church hall somewhere, even once a week?

CinderellaInCyberspace Sat 08-Mar-08 08:01:40

They moan but use them, because they are free!

Need to write it all down today
and look at it in black and white

dh is just soo blinkered
I will be back later have heaps to catch up on and dh and ds are out for a while

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 07:39:41

NN I was thinking not a psychologist employed by the school, if it's feasible. You need a referral from your paediatrician but it will all take some time. Obviously the school one is just toeing the school line. I don't know how you manage. I barely manage and my school issues are minor in comparison yet they stop me functioning normally.

cinders could you possibly handle him at home another year. It did sound like he was wearing you out and you could do with the break. I suppose you could try again now, give it 3 months maybe and if it doesn't work out, I do hope your dh will be willing to move.

Is he very settled there already?

berolina Mon 10-Mar-08 08:39:06

Morning everyone.

NN - I will be in touch. dh and I are having a think

Cinderella - sympathies. That's one thing about Berlin - certainly in some areas you can't move for good-or-at-least-reasonable kigas. Would be nice to say the same about schools hmm Sandy and Admylin - can't remember if we've discussed this, but what do you know about the Quentin Blake?

The longer I live here, the more anger and Unbehagen the 3-tier system causes me. On current impressions ds1 will probably be one of those who coasts along to the Gymnasium, but I still find the system repugnant and often distressing. Our nephew (Y4, very bright, ADHD) has been issued with the threatened Hauptschulempfehlung. Just because of the bloody Noten and the fact that no doubt the Real and Gymn aren't set up in any shape or form to cope with him. What really does my head in is that it is almost openly seen as acceptable to shut off opportunities to children who don't fit the easy-to-teach norm, whether they have SN or a minority ethnic background or socio-economic issues or or or. dh is starting a project with his Stiftung to wotk with Hauptschüler. They are just so crying out, it seems, for someone to say 'we value you, we take notice and are prepared to put our money (= Engagement) where our mouth is'.

There was a great article about this in 'Die Zeit' last year. Shall see if I can find it on their site to link.

berolina Mon 10-Mar-08 08:48:51

Can't find it, but this is interesting.

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 09:03:55

QB has nice playground facilities since it was built as a school for the Am army kids, it is more like we'd expect a primary school to look than the standard local ones. I have heard conflicting reports about the staff/quality of teaching, so since I have no first-hand experience of the school I'm not sure what to say about it. It will all depend on the teacher you get of course and the Elternsprecher. That's a major factor and not something you can influence in advance. I know one woman who is EXTEMELY unhappy with the school and is not intending to place her second dc there. Her major concerns were the length of the school-day and the low academic achievement/std of teaching as she sees it.

IME the real issue with schools here is what happens when a problem arises (IME at some stage it will arise). It seems to always be a total minefield because you are not given any say in the matter, so even if something happens which is detrimental to your dc and concerns you greatly, you will have to put up with it. If you can make your mind up ahead of time to accept that, perhaps you'll negotiate the schools without too much difficulty.

They will have open days every year for prospective parents, maybe call the secretary and go to one of those. How do you feel about the 8-4pm school day? If you will be working full-time, perhaps it would suit you.

berolina Mon 10-Mar-08 09:09:27

Thanks Sandy. Oh no, I won't be working FT if I can possibly avoid it, but probably PT. I do wish they wouldn't start so very early - 8-4 is long. That's one thing I liked about Phorms - 9am start.

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 09:16:33

I find the day much too long but I suppose it is because I am making comparisons with our system. Still even putting that aside, many dp are frustrated with it and tell me their dc are always tired. I just think it isn't right but I cannot overturn the system personally, however mad it seems. That is what you will find most frustrating about schools here (perhaps anywhere). They are in the right, always, even when they are culpably in the wrong.

here's a QB example: one dm told me her ds (half-German, she is black) was top of his class but his teacher refused to allow him to be monitor, although he was elected, saying that as he was "coloured", he wasn't bright enough. Now of course your ds won't hear this particular comment but something will come up at some stage. How will you deal with it? The dp brought it up with the head and the head didn't do anything, so they had to get a lawyer, involve the Schulrat or some body and in the end the teacher was not allowed to continue to teach the class.

You and I would expect a higher cultural sensitivity in a bilingual school with a large number of non-German pupils and would have expected the head to see things the same way, nicht wahr?

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 09:17:08

keep an eye on phorms, maybe it will be established and looking reasonable by the time your ds is ready

taipo Mon 10-Mar-08 09:46:36

Sssandy, that's horrific. At least they got rid of the teacher eventually but very shock that the head did nothing.

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 09:50:46

You can always rely on me for horror stories , can't you?! Well I very nearly placed dd in that school but I met this mum there at the summer fair and felt so sorry for her and her family, just thought, even if that teacher is now gone and that particular problem presumably wouldn't arise again, it didn't sound like the kind of caring environment I wanted for dd.

IME unfortunately the head doing nothing (of what the dp would like to see happen) seems the norm. Perhaps I haven't met many of the fantastic heads there are out there.

taipo Mon 10-Mar-08 10:17:27

Did the head stay at the school? IMO they would have good grounds for removing him too.

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 10:21:10

If I remember correctly, even said teacher is still there in a different capacity. However don't quote me on it, can't remember all the details now. Had no repercussions for the head AFAIK

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 10:22:27

are teachers Beamte? I think so, if so could have something to do with that job security the civil servants have here.

berolina Mon 10-Mar-08 10:28:50

Sandy shock can you imagine that happening in the UK? The teacher's feet wouldn't have touched the ground, neither would the head's. Goodness me, that is dreadful.

Yes, most teachers are Beamte, particularly the older/longer-serving ones (increasingly newer ones are starting as Angestellte) and I think (judging from these stories) that it shows.

berolina Mon 10-Mar-08 10:31:05

ds1 is angemeldet for phorms (not verbindlich as such so I can still look for other school places). They will contact us about a year before he would be due to start so he can take the entrance test hmm. Don't really agree with selective schooling, certainly not at primary level, but I'm really thinking 'needs must' atm.

SSSandy2 Mon 10-Mar-08 10:35:16

well I have my doubts about UK schools when I see some of the postings on here on the primary and HE topics. They may not be better, just have different problems IYSWIM. There is a different approach to primary education, yes, but there is also a kind of authoritarian attitude to the dp which makes it difficult to work with the schools to find some kind of compromise solution. You have to just do what they say and if not, what are you going to do? Take them out and get them put into state care for truancy?

If you have ever come up across unbending German bureaucracy in some Amt where whatever you say and do, they will not help you get something done without such-and-such a paper or whatever the problem is. Schools are like that too with the added anxiety factor that although your dc is suffering because of something or having a problem, no one seems interested, they are just going by the book

admylin Wed 12-Mar-08 11:35:21

All quiet on the school front everyone?

So who has dc booked to go on a Klassenfahrt this year? Dd is going in July for 5 days with her teacher and 1 assistant - so that is 26 dc and 2 adults shock but she wants to go with all her classmates so I'm letting her. I'll be past myself till she gets back though! They are going to stay in a castle (mini castle!) and horse ride and get some fresh air away from Berlin.

Ds is being offered a trip but half of the parends won't let their dc go because the teacher is useless and unreliable. They are meant to be going to some place where the circus people teach them circus acts etc but ds doesn't seem begeistert at all.

SSSandy2 Wed 12-Mar-08 11:37:39

Hi admylin! How are you doing? Well we haven't heard any more on the Klassenfahrt but I told dd that I wasn't sending her on it this year because if something upset her, who would comfort her or solve the problem? I hve no faith in the teachers dealing with that kind of thing but I do trust them not to lose any dc and to organise the whole thing well. I find 7 too young for my dd and she doesn't, as yet, want to go.

admylin Wed 12-Mar-08 11:42:56

Last year dd was 7 and it was too early but she really wants to this year and I know she'll cope but she also has a very competent teacher. With ds I would really worry that some of the dc would get lost and there's no way she woudl get them to go to bed so they'd be exhausted .

Where would you dd's class be going ?

SSSandy2 Wed 12-Mar-08 11:44:21

I don't think they have told us yet, somewhere around here in Brandenburg but it was just a short mention, we'll get a letter at some stage with all the details I expect.

admylin Wed 12-Mar-08 12:11:12

Another mum (one of the few German ones) is going in to school today to complain to the head about ds's teacher. Should get noticed too as I've seen the mum in question blow her top at the last parent meeting so I know she can get mad and show it - none of our zurückhaltung and politeness! When I complained recently I think I was too nice and even apologetic.

SSSandy2 Wed 12-Mar-08 12:41:28

Possibly it is the cumulative effect of several complaints from diff dp which works. I can imagine if one dp complains, they shrug their shoulders and think "oh that overly-protective or pita dp" but if the complaints keep coming in from diff quarters, they are more likely to take notice?

Do you still have that good supply teacher covering?

admylin Wed 12-Mar-08 15:33:35

Mumsnetters helped us get this list together and now we've translated it can you better-than-me-at-German-mumsnetters please correct our mistakes!

Ds's homework today: 20 Gründe warum man nicht ohne Aufsicht in die Turnhalle gehen darf:

1. Man könnte ein Fuß verletzen
2. Man könnte ein Arm verletzen
3. Man könnte ein Bein verletzen
4. Man könnte ein Kopf verletzen
5. Falls man sich verletzt, könnte die
Schule angeklagt werden
6. Man könnte ein andere Schüler verletzen
7. Niemand ist da um zu helfen bei verletzungen
8. Man könnte den Bock beschädigen
9. Man könnte den Kasten beschädigen
10. Man könnte den Boden beschädigen
11. Etwas könnte gestohlen werden
12. Es ist falsch gegen die Regeln zu verstoßen
13. Keine würde wissen wo du bist falls es Feuer gibt
14. Der Lehrer der nicht abgeschlosen hat könnte Ärger bekommen
15. Man könnte bestraft werden
16. Unschuldige Klassenkamaraden könnten bestraft werden
17. Die Versicherung haftet nicht für unbeaufsichtigte Kinder
18. Die Eltern müssen Kosten für Schaden tragen
19. Schüler müssen die Regeln einhalten
20. Es ist verboten

You can tell I was running out of ideas - hop eit isn't too sarcastic - can the German school teacher really take it?!

taipo Thu 13-Mar-08 07:58:32

I like your list Admylin! I hope the teacher actually takes the timme to read it.
My head is reeling this mornig and I'm in need of a rant. I went to an Elternabend last night at dd's school and I'm still not quite sure what to make of it all. Basically the teacher was really critical of the class, she said there were all sorts of problems with discipline, concentration and that old favourite 'Ordnung' and then said that it was like teaching in a Hauptschule at times hmm. She then realised that that perhaps wasn't a very diplomatic thing to say and started to backtrack a bit, saying that it wasn't really the dc of the parents there last night who were the problem, but obviously she couldn't name any names. So we were all sitting there thinking 'Does she mean my dc or not?'.
What annoyed and surprised me though was that the teacher didn't seem to know how to deal with her class and was putting the onus on the parents who were there last night to persuade their dc to behave in class. She was practically admitting that she was out of her depth. That seemed a bit much to me, I mean I accept that parents do have a responsibility to encourage their dc to behave at school but surely it's the teacher's job to deal with discipline on a day to day basis. Isn't that part of the job? Also, why have a go at all of us last night, shouldn't she be addressing these issues with parents on an individual basis. Or AIBU?
Rant over
<and breathe>

admylin Thu 13-Mar-08 09:37:52

Taipo, that sounds as if you've been to the exact same parents evenings that I've been to for ds over the past 2 years! It's a bad feeling though isn't it because you and your dc is sort of stuck with the same teacher and can't change a thing really.

Ds's teacher is really useless and blames it on the class but there are only 14 dc in the class at the moment and they aren't auffällig with other teachers (ie for maths or sport or English) just with the German teacher so it's obvious she is not able to manage them. We've all complained over the years and only now it seems we've been heard and the head teacher has given the class a great new teacher. You wouldn't believe the change in the dc when they come out of school all happy and full of what they've been learning.

taipo Thu 13-Mar-08 10:19:07

There does seem to be a pattern. This is the third parents' evening I've been to now, each with a different teacher and each one has complained about lack of discipline and appeared to blame the parents. The other parents did get quite defensive and I sensed quite an undercurrent of ill feeling towards this teacher, but as a relative novice to the system here I do find it difficult to judge the situation so I just sat there last night and didn't say anything. Also, dd is actually pretty settled atm and getting good marks (she's not so hot on being 'ordentlich' though) so I'm trying to think positively and not get too stressed about it. She does have this teacher for Y4 as well though.
To cap it all, when I came home dh was watching a talk show on the shortcomings of the education system.

CinderellaInCyberspace Thu 13-Mar-08 10:22:14


ds is on a very long list for kindergarten
not sure at all

Well a lot may happen in the next month or two

Hope Everyone is well and will read back later
trying not to be on the computer very much

taipo Thu 13-Mar-08 10:48:49

Hi Cinderella, I read your posts about you trying to find a place for ds. I hope it all works out for you.

SSSandy2 Thu 13-Mar-08 10:53:32

hi everyone!

Good luck with everything cinders. Mainly good luck with moving out.

Admylin is that list still aktuell or have you handed it in already? What stupid homework though, if you ask me. Maybe you could copy it into the bilingual topic

Taipo, I wondered if the teacher was covering her tracks because she was behind with the curriculum. The big thing for teachers here is getting through the curriculum it seems. I think they probably don't learn great classroom management skills here during their training and the classes are often too big, the work too unchallenging. So if a teacher is good at this, it's because of their manner/personality I think rather than skills they've been taught I know some people who studied auf Lehramt here and they all said the Pädagogik they had to do at university was useless. I dunno maybe it isn't all that "hand-on"?

One problem I think is the approach - one size fits all. They don't accommodate pupils who are more advanced as a rule,so they get their work done fast and sit there bored, which leads to disruption. Some are totally lost, some are bored and the classes are too big.

Have you asked your dd if she finds it diff to concentrate in class because of the noise sometimes, how the dc behave etc?

If the class is loud and disruptive, I don't see what the dp can do about it other than work at home to pass on the idea that it is important to listen to/respect the teacher. What more can you realistically do?

SSSandy2 Thu 13-Mar-08 10:54:36

I reckon she was having a go at you to fob off any possible attacks from the dp. Attack as the best form of defence

admylin Thu 13-Mar-08 11:41:33

Yes the list had to go back today but ds found a couple of things even that needed correction - so when he thinks about it he already speaks perfect German. I have given up trying to write perfect German - atleast you don't recognise I'm foreign when I speak it, not at first anyway.

SSSandy2 Thu 13-Mar-08 11:53:15

I loved the variations on I broke a... theme. Hilarious.

I went to the Kieferorthopäde again today to discuss the plan of action. He was very nice. Do you know he spent the last 7 years in the UK whilst I spent my martyrium here and his wife forced him to come back. He has a 7 year old dd too so guess what topic we spend half an hour complaining gassing on about?! You guessed it schools!

Don't like the sound of this brace and me having to somehow screw it tight twice a day but it seems I was at fault for letting her have a dummy too long and that has caused the upper jaw to be raised at the front and thus narrowed on one side. I could have kicked myself. Why doesn't anyone ever warn you about these things? After 6 months this one comes out and then we get braces to put in and out every day apparently.

Wondering what happens if we go overseas (hope hope hope) if they will be able to just continue the treatment he has started?

He says he much preferred living in the UK and working there too. Finds work very slow here in comparison but you have to keep the woman happy. Hört hört!

So is your ds' supply teacher here to stay then?

admylin Thu 13-Mar-08 12:11:09

Well the latest news is that the old teacher's pile of papers and Ablage in the class room has GONE. So does that maybe mean she has packed her stuff together and left? We hope so but could just have taken it to do some work at home? I doubt it though as she was never very organised so why would she start now.

Did your dentist tell you where he sends his dd to school? How long did your dd have a dummy? Ds had one for ages but he hasn't got any problems because of that - his teeth are genetic copies of his dad's!

SSSandy2 Thu 13-Mar-08 12:14:56

Yes he did, it's a village school on the outskirts of Berlin with French as first foreign language. It's not much good academically either but they had her put up a year so she is in year 3 atm and that seems about right from the Niveau. They are lovely people.

She could be gone but wouldn't they send you all a letter notifying you that you have a new teacher? Maybe after the Easter break. Good luck!

Yes, she had the dummy in a lot and it was hard work getting it off her in the end. I feel very guilty that it is my fault.

admylin Thu 13-Mar-08 12:17:56

Dh just applied to Newcastle in UK so my hopes are still high then it won't bother me what the old rotten teacher does! I want my dc to wear a uniform , was in my dream recently - I was taking a photo of them in their school uniforms to send to the relatives in the US!

admylin Thu 13-Mar-08 12:18:24

Are you not picking dd up at 2 today?

taipo Thu 13-Mar-08 20:00:03

Sssandy, you're spot on I think. Everything you said rings true, and the phrase 'attack is the best form of defence' came to my mind yesterday. I think at least a couple of parents there last night are teachers themselves and although they refrained from really having a go at the teacher you could tell they weren't happy with the situation. At the end of the meeting there were about 4 mums who all went off into a sort of huddle, no doubt to discuss what is going on. Oh, I don't know, perhaps I'm just making too much of it all, but of the 3 meetings I've been to this was the most unpleasant and it's not as if there was much to live up to.

SSSandy2 Fri 14-Mar-08 08:36:58

need to leave around 1.15ish admylin and get there on time.

Taipo what are your class reps like (Elternvertreter) and do you have a class list with the phone numbers? What ours do is organise a meet-up about 2-3 weeks ahead of an Elternabend. Everyone who goes (I have never made it) discuss the issues they have, what they want to bring up at the meeting. Then the Elternvertreter send us all an email with a list of points they are going to raise, changes they want made. I think that's quite good because everyone knows what to expect and is prepared to back them when they raise those points IYSWIM?

Otherwise what you get at these Elternabende is one person raising a point, no one backing them up and the teacher glossing over it; although in reality most dp are probably concerned about the very same issue, they don't want to be perceived as trouble-makers in case it backfires on their dc.

I have the suspician some dp had already spoken individually to your teacher about their concerns and that is why she was defensive expecting trouble. However unfortunately, you do seem to really need to fight all the changes through, don't you?

SSSandy2 Fri 14-Mar-08 09:09:32

btw admylin these people are near you. THey have interesting sounding musical workshops and things in English. Maybe your dd would like to do something there?

taipo Fri 14-Mar-08 09:57:05

I think I still have a lot to learn really. Unfortunately I missed the first Elternabend because dd moved into this particular class in October. It did seem a bit cliquey the other night, small group of dps who all seemed to know each other really well - presumably the Elternvertreter were amongst them, but I didn't find out who they wereblush. Everyone else just sat there looking a bit bemused. I asked dd about her class yesterday and she said that, yes there are some dc who play up a lot but she didn't seem to all that bothered by it. I do know one other dm (not one of the cliquey ones) from the class quite well so maybe I'll try to speak to her to see if she knows any more.
The whole set up of these parent evenings seems wrong somehow, almost like a invitation for confrontation. I feel quite sorry for the teachers really, they must dread them.

SSSandy2 Fri 14-Mar-08 10:20:15

I think they do dread them. THey always look nervous (our current ones) or they are experienced and hiding behind a huge stack of papers (last school). The experienced ones start by telling you how well all the dc are doing, that they can now do this, that and the other (this is to indicate to you that they - the teachers -are doing a good job and if your dc cannot do this they are behind , so you won't dare raise it). At the end they invite comments and then just let them hang there with no response (last school).

Btw please don't let me give you the impression I know my way around the system. God forbid. If I did I wouldn't spend my waking hours on here panicking about it!

Could be quite cliquey, maybe a lot of those dc went through kg together and they are all quite competitive when it comes up to decision time re secondary schools. No one will admit to you what their dc can or cannot do etc

berolina Fri 14-Mar-08 10:48:40

oh admylin, that list about not going into the Turnhalle is just so... German. The homework task is so German, and the list read to me like a brilliant satire on Germany grin Don't worry, I'm sure the teacher won't have got it!

taipo Fri 14-Mar-08 10:52:30

You always give such sound advice though!
I suspect that the competitive aspect will start coming out soon. Not looking forward to y4 at all.

admylin Fri 14-Mar-08 21:02:09

Taipo, I felt exactly like you when we first joined our school. At first I felt really sorry for the teacher too and then slowly got more and more fed up with the way she 'worked' - one thing that has now helped alot is that I became Elternvertreter for ds's class. I can't always go to the meetings but I do get the info emailed and then I feel as if I know what's going on at the school more than before anyway.

The first elternabend was awful - we joined in October so I missed the start but the parents were really rough on the teacher, didn't listen to her or let her finish talking and I thought they were really rude but there is usually a reason when parents react like that (now I know) - in dd's class the parents are all happy and teacher is great so the elternabende are informative and worth going to. In the end, ds's class had a turn out of 5 out of 15 parents at the meeting because they were so fed up with the teacher. I still think these abende are a bit of a waste of time and a one to one meeting with the teacher to discuss your own child is much better. Often the pushy parents start talking about their own child infront of everyone and who wants to know why little Max or Tim only got a grade 2 in sport even though he plays football 3 times a week and can already ski hmm.

taipo Fri 14-Mar-08 22:05:00

lol at little Max or Tim. Think there's probably a lot of those around here. I really admire you though for becoming an Elternvertreter. Perhaps that's something I should consider when ds starts y1 in September.

admylin Thu 03-Apr-08 10:00:19

Wow, all has been quiet on teh school front eh - for a few weeks atleast!

Thought I'd ask what you think of this school if you have time to take a look Roderbruch I like the idea of it going through from year 1 to year 13 , all different levels, all in one school and ds could still do his gymnasium level stuff - if dd didn't make it to gymnasium they would still be at the same school too.

taipo Thu 03-Apr-08 11:36:08

It looks good from the website. I also like the idea of going all the way through to y13. Actually I wish there were something like that round here but it all seems to be the old fashioned 3-tier system. I haven't really thought about the next stage yet though. Plenty of time, I keep telling myself.

Ideally you need to visit the schools you shortlist and speak to a few people who know about the schools in Hannover who will probably then give you all sorts of conflicting opinions. It's so hard isn't it?

hupa Thu 03-Apr-08 12:08:21

What a nightmare trying to find a new school in a new city.

I really like the idea of the school, it would definitely appeal to me. The one thing that put me off a bit was the Grossraum concept in years 1-4. I used to be a primary teacher in England and I think this kind of set up really only works successfully with really good teachers. I´m assuming it´s a bit like open plan teaching with the possibility for groups to go off into smaller rooms. If the teachers aren´t very good at classroom control it can make for a very noisy learning enviroment. I´m not sure how old your children are, so it might not even apply to them.´

I´ve only been to Hannover a couple of times, but I really enjoyed it. I think the area near the zoo is meant to be quite good for living, but I can´t remember where I heard/read that - sorry.

admylin Thu 03-Apr-08 12:13:33

Yes, that's why I liked this place because it sounds more like the system I know from home. I have to find out what the catchment area is for the grundschulbereich now so we can look for a place to live. It would be easier on me later if I knew my dc were in the same school and not at totally different sides of town, that's what attracts me to that school the most really.

I just think if they have the ability to do the Abitur then they would do it at any school so it doesn't have to be a gymnasium.

SSSandy2 Sat 05-Apr-08 10:48:29

really hard to say. I don't know what area it is in and if there is likely to be a lot of violence/social problems at the school. Could you try googling the school and see if you can find any press reports on it?

admylin Sat 05-Apr-08 11:11:27

SSandy, hi. I've done some more research and it seems that the IGS that I was looking at is not in a very nice area to live which defeats the object of me having them at the same school if we aren't living nearby (which wa smy plan). The other alternative is the Schillerschule for ds which is supposed to be the best Gymnasium and has a bilingual class on offer - but I'm not sure if dd will make it in year 5. I'd have to do some serious coaching and extra lessons with her or try to get her put down a year into the year she should really be in so she has time to catch up.

Had a massive row with dh on Friday - and this is just at the start of it, my nerves will really be im Eimer at the end of it.

taipo Sat 05-Apr-08 20:37:53

Oh, admylin, I'm sorry that you're feeling low. The next few months are going to be tough for all of you and I hope your dh appreciates what you are going through to help further his career.

Sounds like you've done quite a bit of research already as far as schools and areas to live are concerned. I think you'll have to visit all the areas near the schools you have in mind as soon as possible so that you can see for yourself whether you could imagine living there or not. Will you be buying or renting?

admylin Sat 05-Apr-08 23:15:41

Yes, we will have to go and drive around and look at the schools - problem is we'll have to take the dc out of school because I want to see the schools full of dc and get a feel for the places so it'll have to be in term time. Worst thing is having to find a grundschule and a gymnasium. Should we look to living near the best gymnasium for ds or the grundschule for dd? She will have to get through year 4 then change but I'm not sure if she'll make the grades for gymnasium.

taipo Sun 06-Apr-08 10:17:30

I think finding the most suitable gymnasium/secondary school is a priority as both your dc will be there much longer. Even if you find a really good primary so much is dependent on the individual teacher which you have no control over anyway. What are your dd's marks like at the moment? She may well drop a bit when she changes school (they ought to take this into consideration but probably won't) and it could be worth considering getting her to repeat a year but she may see this as a failure on her part.

We agonised over this last year when we moved dd from the first school she went to. When we first moved here she ought to have gone into Y1 according to her age, but we decided (and the school didn't question this or advise us in any way) that as she was in Y2 in the UK and doing well there, that she would be bored in Y1 so we put her into Y2 here. She then found it really difficult to settle and the teacher kept telling her that she didn't belong in that class and should go down a year. However, by the end of the year she was doing fine and the teacher admitted that she would cope in Y3, but we thought maybe it would be better if she did repeat Y2 when she started the new school so that's what we did. By the end of the first month at the new school the new teacher called me in to see her and said that dd wasn't settling very well and suggested that maybe she would be better off in Y3 which also had the advantage of being quite a bit smaller. I felt like banging my head on the desk in despair at that point, but agreed that if dd wanted to she could try the Y3 class out. Anyway, to cut a long story short she is still in Y3 and doing fine. I don't know if any of that is helpful as I'm still not sure what we could have done differently except for maybe putting her into Y1 to start with.

admylin Sun 06-Apr-08 13:37:03

Thanks taipo, that all seems like good advice. I will have to plan a few days in Hannover with the dc and look around a few Gymnasium then decide on that choice where to live. It is slowly starting to be clearer for me how to go about it.

That sounds as if you and your dd had a hard tim eof it at first. I also heard that the teachers in Germany don't want dc to stay in aclass if too young, they really want to stick to the starting age of 7 and I admit it must be hard in year 1 having kann-kinder and muss-kinder all in one group. Another rule introduced by the govt. without any constructive plan on how to go about it- the same as ganztagschulen.

Do you think this one sounds OK? it's got a bilingual class so that would be something maybe?

taipo Sun 06-Apr-08 14:41:58

On first impressions it looks a lot more traditional/conservative/boring? (and I'm going on really superficial things like the photos of the senior management team!) than the other one you mentioned. Probably has a good solid reputation.

Not sure what to make of the bilingual lessons as I don't know anyone who has any experience of how well it works. I was a bit surprised to read that the classes would be taken by the English teachers (if I've got that right) - I wouldn't have thought they would have enough knowledge of the subject they're supposed to be teaching.

The whole issue of when to start school is quite confusing imo. Certainly dd's last teacher was against it but then I actually had it suggested to me that dd move up a year and in her new school it seems quite common. Last year was a nightmare really and it really seemed that whichever year we chose for dd would be wrong and that is how it turned out! At least she is more settled now and has made good friends in the new class. Ds will start in September as a muss Kind and I'm hoping will find it a lot easier. Trouble is I think only a few children out of each class really have a smooth ride through Grundschule. Most parents I've spoken to have had issues with the school at some point. It's maybe not so different in the UK, there are certainly plently of disgruntled parents there (and I was one of them at times...) but at least you don't get the stress of the selection process in y4 hanging over you all the time.

SSSandy2 Sun 06-Apr-08 17:30:14

Prefer the sound of this one. Involves some costs but not excessive and they offer preparatory courses for Grundschulerkinder from year 4 preparing for entrance to Gymnasium. Is it any good?

Good grief taipo, what a horrible time you (and dd) have had of it. Hope it's all plain sailing from here.

SSSandy2 Sun 06-Apr-08 17:39:00

grundschulERkinder is good. Sorry you know what I meant.

Why did you have a huge row with dh admylin?

admylin Sun 06-Apr-08 17:52:42

SSSandy also saw that one - thanks for looking for me!

The row started over his way of talking to the dc about their school grades etc - he was brought up in a really crazy system where you only get into the university if you have all top grades because there are so many pupils in his homeland, some subjects at uni have 400 pupils competing for 1 place shock but it's not like that here and he doesn't get it - well it wouldn't have caused a row usually but I just started shouting at him (quite surprised myself...) but that's what stress does to you. Dd had a test that day and she was nervous enough as it was without him asking her why she wasn't the best in her year... stupid thing to say when she is making such progress and trying hard.

SSSandy2 Mon 07-Apr-08 08:28:07

I see. They are feeling pressurised enough the way the school system is organised. I can understand you being annoyed with him. It is stressful the whole business of moving too, isn't it? How are you feeling about it all now?

Is it all definite now then and no chance of him taking up a different offer elsewhere if it came up?

admylin Tue 08-Apr-08 10:28:32

Oh my wise advisor SSSandy grin please tell me what to say when I contact the schools I have short listed. I have to phone or just turn up? What do I say? Would it be OK to say I'm looking at several schools and want you to show me around and tell me what you have on offer? (This is for ds - the Gymnasium)

When you went round looking at all those schools how did you go about it? Did you ask to speak to the head first because I know how hard it can be to get past the secretaries sometimes!

SSSandy2 Tue 08-Apr-08 10:37:23

think when I was born they were running short of wisdom, I didn't get much!

IME of Berlin I think it is not the usual scenario here that you meet the head and get shown round the schools, unless you're looking at the Internationals. They do it as a matter of course. The state schools have an open day and beyond that you ask the secretary for forms etc but they don't feel the need to "sell" their schools to you really, do they? We had to have an interview with the head for the Catholic one because they're private and select their pupils according to their own personal impressions of your family. I didn't see the head at all before moving to the current school, just did the language test and that was it.

Not sure, I might call the secretaries for general info but I think I would write a letter to the head asking for an appointment for a particular week when you will be in Hannover for 3 days or something. I don't think I would necessarily mention that I was viewing various schools in the letter though.

Do you have a short-list of the gymnasia for ds?

SSSandy2 Tue 08-Apr-08 10:42:14

tbh with you admylin, I am not sure how I would go about it not being in the town at the time you're looking for schools makes it all very difficult. How does dh propose organising the whole business?

admylin Tue 08-Apr-08 10:46:11

Yes I've found one that has a special science class from year 5 which would suit ds (they usually start that sort of thing in year 7) and a bilingual (abit Europaschule style) class and I think 2 or 3 others in areas that I think would be nice to live in. The IGS Roderbruch that I liked is maybe not so good because it's meant to be in a bad area so I presume the Grundschul section will be abit like inner-city Berlin. I'd rather find a nice school for ds and hope dd makes it to Gymnasium later.

If I write a letter for teh secretaries will you have a look later? Might not manage it today as I've got to do some proof reading for dh's boss which has to be done by this afternoon. I shouldn't be on here now!

SSSandy2 Tue 08-Apr-08 10:54:44

yes of course.

Good luck with it all admylin. Maybe if you are in Hannover at some stage soon, you could just ask some of the locals for advice about where the nice areas are/schools etc. I could tell people about Berlin because I know it but it is very hard to find out something about a place you've never been to or lived in, isn't it? I've googled around a bit but haven't found any good informative sites on where to live there etc.

admylin Wed 09-Apr-08 11:56:24

Hi SSandy, just got around to thinking about schools again. I've arranged to go in to the head at the Grundschule to get the new copy of a Gymnasium Empfehlung (due to them scribbling over teh other one at that other school) - now I'm going to contact a few school sto see about Anmeldungen etc so can you help me with this email, I'm so useless at German I could kick myself.

Sehr geegret Damen und Herren,
in August 2008 ziehen wir nach Hannover. Unsere Sohn hat von seiner Grundschule eine Empfehlung für den Gymnasium.
Ich habe Ihren Internet Seite gelesen und finde dass Ihren Schulprofil meinen Sohn am besten passen würde.
Könnten Sie mir Informationen geben über mögliche Anmeldefristen und Dokumente die Sie benötigen. Da wir zur Zeit noch in Berlin leben muss ich im voraus alles arrangieren. (Maybe put: Ich bin nicht vor ort deshalb muss ich mich rechtzeitig informieren)
Danke, mfG,

admylin Wed 09-Apr-08 11:56:55

Sehr geehrte ...dass kann ich!

frogs Wed 09-Apr-08 12:39:56

How about this?

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
im August 2008 ziehen wir nach Hannover. Unser Sohn hat von seiner Grundschule eine Empfehlung für das Gymnasium.
Ich habe Ihre Internet Seite gelesen und Ihr Schulprofil spricht uns sehr an.
Könnten Sie mir bitte Informationen über Ihre Anmeldefristen und die nötigen Unterlagen schicken. Wir leben zur Zeit noch in Berlin, aber ich würde gerne im voraus alles arrangieren. (Maybe put: Ich bin nicht vor ort deshalb muss ich mich rechtzeitig informieren)
Ich danke Ihnen im Voraus,

admylin Wed 09-Apr-08 18:48:56

Thanks frogs smile, I can send off to all the schools I liked the look of and then start on the flat hunt!

SSSandy2 Thu 10-Apr-08 09:24:53

HI admylin
waves across to Frogs (who by the way, admylin, has always given me great advice on schools)

Just wanted to say admylin that I would not 100% rely on them using the email facility much. Our school just doesn't respond at all to them IME. You could send an email but if you hear nothing back, perhaps follow up with a fax.

Sorry, don't want to make you panic anymore than you already are but if these are all year 5 gymnasia, you may be a little late. The ones here have had their entrance exams, application deadlines are past already. If so, your best bet would be the one with the bilingual stream I should think where they might make an exception for an English speaker. Agree with the others, am also dubious about how well English teachers will teach history etc but there will always be some Haken. Nadiya's son goes to a Gymnasium of that type here and seems to be managing fine with those lessons taught in English. For that school, I would call the head direct if the direct number is given on the webpage.

admylin Thu 10-Apr-08 12:23:39

SSSandy hi. I've found out from the websites that the registration date is 1st of July in Hannover so that would maybe work out - always wondered why the Berlin dc had to register so early on. BUT - I might not be able to register at all if we haven't found a flat or a house. I was going to do: first decent school, then try to find house in the nearest possible place. Now I'll have to change thinking and try to get a flat before 1st of July or atleast signed for, for 1st of August IYSWIM! I think this might be a problem because a couple of the schools said that they chose pupils firstly from the nearby area, secondly by chosen profile and thirdly by having Geschwister at same school and then the dc from outside got a chance.

Quite alot of them do bilingual classes and one does AbiBac so you get 2 diplomas at the end - others are more scientific. Now depends really on where we find a flat.

I'll have to slightly change my Anfrage letter and try to explain this to them - and see what they say.

SSSandy2 Thu 10-Apr-08 19:28:47

oh that's good then (1st July). Surely they must make exceptions for families applying from outside Hannover though. If you are not yet there, how can you have an address etc? I should think your application would stand out a bit since you are foreign and applying from a different town and imagine that would all work in your favour.

How about calling one secretary and seeing what she has to say, perhaps it is all straight-forward and no problem?

Does sound like there are a fair number of schools that would be ok which is good news too.

thequietone Wed 16-Apr-08 09:20:51

hi I'm back (excuse any bad typing. I'm breastfeeding while doimng this). DS has now been at new KG since Easter. They want me to come in for a chat about his behaviour. He won't play with the other children and is "too lively". before now I knew he was perfectly normal, and just testing the boundaries, as 3 yo do. Now I'm horrified to find myself embarrassed by his antics. I'm so upset I can't bear this. Could they realistically kick him out for not, in their words "obeying the rules"? He's just 3, FFS...Anyone out there to talk to? I'm all alone as dh is away all week being important somewhere. I've got to sort this by myself.

SSSandy2 Wed 16-Apr-08 09:25:19

since Easter? Really haven't given it much time, have they? Why not ask for an appointment for next week when dh is back so you can go in together?

thequietone Wed 16-Apr-08 09:29:09

yeah I know. Easter. Unbelievable... He absolutely loves it there, but is being a bit demanding on them. I think he's a little daunted by the other kids speakign German, so he hangs out with one of the teachers for more attention. This is getting on their nerves!
Sadly, DH is nearly always away out of Germany (new job). A parent's meeting will be just me.

SSSandy2 Wed 16-Apr-08 09:38:52

They could of course. If they can easily fill the place which I think is the case from other things you've written. They could tell you for instance that he is perhaps too young for kg and would benefit from being at home an extra year. Maybe they aren't preparing to throw in the towel though, just want you to assist them a bit in some way?

I can well imagine you not looking forward to it but I suppose you will have to go along and hear what they have to say. In the end it will be a matter of listening to their comments, maybe jotting down a couple of points, hearing what they think the way forward is and perhaps asking them to give you some advice on how you can support them or what you can do to help ds fit in their better. The other thing I suppose would be to say "thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me about this and let me know how he is doing, I'm going to think it through and can I get back to you in a day or two?" Sort of fob them off a bit.

taipo Wed 16-Apr-08 09:41:27

Oh, poor you. It doesn't sound as though they are being very understanding.

Ds was going through a difficult phase before Easter which was odd because he had been quite settled and I had to speak to the KG about it. The Leiterin was actually quite supportive and saw it as much the KG's responsibility as mine to help sort things out. Since then he has calmed down again and I have followed up on the chat by informally asking how he's getting on every 2 weeks or so.

When you go in try not to be too confrontational but ask them what they are doing to help him settle in and emphasise that he is bound to be unsettled with it being a very new situation for him.

I understand fully when you say that you are embarrassed by it. I was too, also by what other parents might be thinking. It was all part of not yet feeling really at home here and irrationally thinking that people would be judging me and my dc. I have sinced talked to a couple of mothers who were really nice and had been through similar things with their dc.

hupa Wed 16-Apr-08 09:42:54

Rather than you feeling bad about ds´s behaviour can you turn the tables and ask them what they propose to do to help ds. He can´t be the first child they´ve come across who hasn´t settled in as quickly as they would have liked, so they should have some suggestions/strategies that should help.
When ds started kindergarten in September all the new children were teamed up with an older child who was responsible for showing them around, explaining rules etc. Ds loved having this special friend and the older children loved the responsibilty. Maybe they could try finding one child he could team up with for a while until he´s more confident with his German.

thequietone Wed 16-Apr-08 09:47:46

thanks all. I've got to go and collect him now (they're still reducing his hours to allow him to settle in). You know, I would absolutely LOVE it if I go there and there's no negative comment whatsoever from them. Just one time, that's all I'm asking for. I would feel a million times better and can pass this positive feeling to DS. He's such a cracking kid, who's picking up German so bloody quickly it's frightening, but they want to subdue him.
What I don't get is when I've seen him there, he's playing or eating properly with the other kids and being a sweetie. I know that's just a fragment of the 3 hours they have with him, but it's not adding up, to me.
Right, gotta dash. Fingers crossed, eh? I'm SO emotional at the moment too as I only gave birth 6 weeks ago and am struggling on zilch hours sleep as well!

trockodile Fri 25-Apr-08 07:47:55

Hello everyone -I can finally join in this thread now as DS is having his first 'taster' session at Kita! Hurray!(I think!)

As some of you may remember I agonized over whether to send him to German Kindergarten or Army pre-school and for a while I thought the decision was out of my hands as the Stadt ones refused him (appparantly there are loads of new rulings this year).

However my German friend from church has a neighbour who works in a lovely, more independent one -they still get state funding so don't really know the difference, think it is a co-operative one with more parental input.

We visited yesterday, he has 2 settling sessions (has gone today with DH) and starts properly beginning of May! Feel a bit shell shocked at the speed of it all but really hope we made the right choice.

His teacher is lovely-speaks excellent English (only trouble i can forsee is that she will have trouble speaking to him in German!) and the other parents seem nice too.So far the school have been so helpful and flexible.

Hope everyone is doing ok -will keep you posted and am sure I will have lots more questions later!

Wish me luck -he was so happy to go today, I am so nervous! (He is my Precious One and Only!)grin

taipo Fri 25-Apr-08 09:38:53

Good luck, trockodile! Hope he get's on OK today. It sounds like a lovely kg.

It's good that his teacher can speak English to help him settle in but I think she should speak German with him really or it may, in the long run, make it harder for him to fit in there. If he only hears German there he will soon pick up the language even if it is a shock for him at the start.

trockodile Sat 26-Apr-08 08:01:45

Well, he had a lovely time so a big relief. The teacher knows she has to talk to him in German-think she will find it easier when we are not there. All the children wanted to play with him and try out english words! I expect the novelty will wear off. He can't wait to go