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Schooling in Germany - everyone welcome

(62 Posts)
ZZZen Thu 30-Apr-09 10:03:17

Since the old thread was quite full, let's make a new start welcoming anyone who is new to the German school system, has something to say about it or questions to ask.

admylin Thu 30-Apr-09 10:06:32

Well done, all the old bad stuff behind us and positive thinking and all that for Ernest.

SchrodingersCat Thu 30-Apr-09 10:13:14

If anyone has children in year one, how long does it take them to do their homework? One of my charges is in year one and it seems to take her minimum 30 minutes per day. Is this excessive for 6??

admylin Thu 30-Apr-09 10:26:27

Year 1 should be between 15 and 30 minutes a day if I remember rightly. Ds used to sit over his for ages becaus ehe was a dreamer and didn't want to be doing homework every night. Dd did hers in about 15 minutes.

ErnestTheBavarian Thu 30-Apr-09 11:09:12

hello everyone.

still mulling over when the boys should start. Unfortunately our excellent Schulamt contact is only working on Fridays, and tomorrow is Feiertag, so have to wait a week (stamps foot impatiently)

Thanks for starting new thread. It's going to be wonderful

SchrodingersCat Thu 30-Apr-09 11:09:12

Ok so its fine. I know that the German system is more intense then the English system (anything is better then the English system I think) but sometimes it seems that she has so much homework to do.

ZZZen Thu 30-Apr-09 11:18:35

what does the homework consist of? IIRC dd didn't have much in year 1 in GErmany. It was a bit of maths (that she took FOREVER over), some reading in their Fibel (book they learn to read with). That was about it.

I had a girl from her class over one day about 5 months into the schoolyear and had them both get their homework over first before playing since she was staying quite late. The other girl whizzed through it in 5 minutes and dd struggled on for 20 minutes. It wasn't that it was so much, but my dd mooned about for ages before finishing it.

I had the impression she was very tired after the school day and then having to sit down again and concentrate, even for something small she just found hard. Year 2 was much easier for her in that regard.

admylin Thu 30-Apr-09 11:53:59

SchrodingersCat, tell us more about 'anything is better than the English system' please. I'm going back to UK to escape the German system that my dc were so unhappy with. My family in UK who have dc at school there think it's great and are always totally amazed and shocked at our adventures over here.

ErnestTheBavarian Thu 30-Apr-09 12:13:38

please don't start a bun fight saying how shit the systems are. you're presumably happy with your respective choices, I'm a delicate wee changeling who needs nurturing on the positives

canella Thu 30-Apr-09 12:18:23

i'll nurture the postives with you ernest - think some of our kids are about the same age! my dd was home before 12 with only 1 bit of homework to do - they're now having some giddly time being kids! rest of homework is manageable in about 30 mins each day! never seen dd look so happy in fact! (and she wasnt even slightly unhappy in the UK)

ZZZen Thu 30-Apr-09 13:03:30

ernest if you google Schulferien Bayern, you should be able to find them online

SchrodingersCat Thu 30-Apr-09 14:02:24

I am Australian so of course I think any other system is worse grin. I do not like the GCSE/A Level thing. Doing an IB is more beneficial I think in the long run. None of the resit until you pass nonsense. Prefer the German system over the English. German kids much more advanced.

My charge does have maths and german each day. It just seems a lot for a 6 year old. A lot of English year 1 students get 30 minutes PER WEEK so I guess that is why I was curious. Thanks for the input.

ZZZen Thu 30-Apr-09 14:07:44

SC, I think it depnds on the type of school. The Ganztagsschulen don't dish out much homework (or aren't supposed to) since the dc are at school from 8-4pm which is enough. The Halbtagsschulen which close at 12:00 tend to give them some every day but really it's just so the dp or maybe YOU get to do a bit of 1-1 and see they are coping (at least I think that's the point in it) and the schoolday itself just maybe isn't sufficient to get through everything? Then there is the verlässliche Halbtagsschule which is 8-1:30 and they get about what your dc are getting.

I think a bit of German and a page of maths a day might be about standard. I think when they've eaten, run around a bit, they are better able to deal with it than straight after school but most people just try and get it out of the way so they can do other thngs with the afternoon.

I think it's just learning the whole business of sitting down at home and doing schoolwork because it's a new thing. After year 1, they have pretty much come to accept it and have had a bito f practice. Should get through it faster next year I think

ZZZen Thu 30-Apr-09 14:08:48

I think I think I think what wonderful English I write at times

Nighbynight Fri 01-May-09 09:14:53

Schrodinger, the German schools arent really more advanced than the english.
In our experience, they are more advanced at foreign languages and German grammar, but lag behind in maths and science.
For example, dd in the second year of secondary school (6. Klasse) is just doing decimal fractions. We did them in primary school.
Also, the science is very far behind english schools.
dd spends hours sitting very frustrated as the rest of the class study basic english - she already speaks english and french!

Now, I've just learned a whole load of stuff that might be relevant to others, and I'm feeling quite positive at the moment!

Dd is in the HS 6. Klasse. Our HS is a Volksschule, you cant do anything there.
She has several choices at the end of this year...
With a Durchschnitt of 2,0 in De, Eng and Ma, she can go to the RS (more on this in a moment).
With a Durchschnitt of 2,33, she can go to the Wirtschaftschule. I am not keen on this, for example she would study bookkeeping instead of maths, which would make it harder to go to university. Anyway, you come out of the WS with a Mittlererabschluss which - crucially - has the SAME weight as the Realschule one, if you get good marks.
With a slightly lower Durchschnitt (not sure exactly what), she can move to another HS, that offers the "M-Zug". This means, she can do the Mittlererabschluss, and again, if she gets good marks, it will have the same weight as the RS one. Thus, there is a BACK WAY into university via the HS. The disadvantage is, that the chidlren study fewer subjects, for example they have to choose one science, Physics or chemistry or biology.

Our preferred route is still the RS.
- the Durchschnitt of 2,0 has to be gained on her end of year Zeugnis, so she still has time. This is good for dd, last year she did far better in the summer term.
- if she doesnt get 2,0 in these 3 subjects, then she will have to take an exam in EVERY subject that she got less than 2, EXCEPT those subjects that arent offered at the Hauptschule.
(Only the Germans could dream up a scheme that is fair, and so complicated!grin)
These exams would be taken in September.
So, if she doesn't get the average of 2, she'll be facing exams in possibly Deutch, Maths, English and Religion (any subject where she got less than 2 in her end of year Zeugnis).
Whether she gets to the RS by exams or by Zeugnis, she will be on Probezeit until Februry next year, and will be expected to reach RS standard in History, Geography and the sciences, which werent really taught a lot in the HS.

Is that all quite clear? grin

dd is now mega-focussed. She recently got a 2 in an Aufsatzprobe, and wrote a Matheprobe in decimals yesterday, for which we are hoping for a 1 or a 2. We revised a lot from the RS Mathe book.
Her teacher told me "Dd darf nicht in der HS bleiben, sie ist zu intelligent...."
I am hoping that poor ds, who is in the 4th class and struggling with a teacher who doesnt like him, will get the same teacher next year.

Nighbynight Fri 01-May-09 10:51:27

I forgot to add, that the information about getting to the RS came from the RS itself. Nobody in the HS seems to know this information - they were all telling me that no Uebertritt was possible after the 5th class.

Nighbynight Fri 01-May-09 13:53:25

Arghhhhhhhh................rant or burstangry

ds's (4th class) relationship with his teacher is now so bad, that he doesnt care about trying to please her any more. So we are having a typical weekend right now. In the morning I tried to settle all the children to homework.
dd has done some revision and gone out to play.
ds2 has done half his homework and gone out for a break.
ds1 tried to go out 3 times, hid under the table, shouted, attacked his siblings, lay on the floor, hid under dd1's bed....needless to say, he has still done absolutely NO homework. He has got about 4hours's worth at his pace.
Also, he has a list of Nachholen as long as his arm from his maths and deutsch arbeitshefte. So, I reminded him to bring them home this weekend, as we never have time to do it during the week.
He "forgot" BOTH Hefte in the school.
Cue yet more sarcastic comments from his teacher on Monday.

If I just leave him, he will suddenly start panicking about the homework at about 9pm on Sunday, and will be up until 1 am to finish it, refusing to go to bed, and yelling and flailing around if I try to make him.
If I lock the homework up at 8.30 on sunday and insist he goes to bed, the list of Nachholen just gets longer, and he is in more danger of sanctions from the school, like repeating the year, which will just continue the whole downward cycle. Unfortunately, his teacher is a pathetic person who is more interested in scoring points against the parents and children than getting the children successfullly through the 4.klasse.

There is also the fact that the rest of us would like to relax at the weekend! Even, go out, or get some housework done, or anything except spend the whole weekend miserably struggling over ds's bloody homework.

admylin Fri 01-May-09 18:35:26

sad NighbyNight, doesn't look as if you can win, if she sounds that bad maybe ds should just give up , what else can he do? He's right that it's pointless trying to please her. Just hope he has better luck in September.

Nighbynight Fri 01-May-09 20:02:34

I am hoping he will get dd1's current teacher in September. She will nurture him, but she wont put up with any crap like missing homework.

The current one is in her first teachign year, doesnt know when to come down heavily and when not to. Homework still not donesad

admylin Fri 01-May-09 21:52:14

The fresh newly trained teachers sometimes over do it with their enthusiasm don't they? Dd had a male teacher, who was actually quite nice but he was full of ideas and energy and time for every parent and every thing going on in school but after 2 years you could tell he was heading for the typical burn out syndrome.

Nighbynight Fri 01-May-09 22:02:44

imo, she is just in the wrong job, seems to have no idea about children. We are counting the weeks, only 10 left to go now!

ErnestTheBavarian Tue 05-May-09 13:33:16

so, can you old hands offer any tips for a total newcomer to the German system. What do I need to do/know/watch out for. What can I do to try to have a good relationship with the school/teachers etc. eg, is it educational suicide not to join the pta/kiss the heads bum/remember the teacher's cat's birthday?

Going to try to get a Hort place for the boys after school. Still in 2 minds about the school start.

admylin Tue 05-May-09 17:42:59

Ernest, I would say it is very important to join the pta/kiss the heads bum/remember the teacher's cat's birthday! Alot of the school work is expected to be repeated at home too so you'll have your hands full eventually when all 3 boys are coming home with work and lessons that you have to make sure they have understood and learned.

Remember you might have to wait a while to get them into Hort if you are a SAHM as single parents and families where both parents work get first choice of places.

Have you been to visit any schools yet? Is there a choice? You'll get a list too of text books, writing books etc and you'll have to get the exact sort of size, lines, squares, some like margins, some teachers hate them and some want certain pens and pencils but maybe you had that in Schweiz so you'll know what to expect. I used to buy the text books for primary , came to under 100 Euro but for Gymnasium the books alone cost over 350 Euro so I payed into the school fund and you get to borrow them for 1 year for 50 Euro.

ErnestTheBavarian Wed 06-May-09 07:50:03

I am really shocked at the price of the books! 350 euros?! Is that per child per year? Do all schools offer to hire them out? Crikey.

I went yesterday to a bookshop to get a couple of things for the boys to be working on in the meantime, but there was so much I didn't know where to begin.

admylin Wed 06-May-09 07:54:41

Yes that was for Gymnasium though. Also Bayern might provide the books as each state has different rules in Germany.

Have you visited a school yet?

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