First day of school in Germany

Homeschooling started on a Sunday in early August, definitely not in the States anymore. We weren’t ready but the kids were, so we started with a discussion about date and time formats, how they’re different here, and why.

But I got criticized for being too repetitive and went on too long in the day-end recap, eliciting feedback.

We opened the can of worms that is military time, and how date and time conventions are meant to reduce ambiguity, a hard word. The example that if we say ‘meet me at 8,’ why that might be confusing. The fact our neighbor the mechanic said the storms would start at seibzehn, (1700).

We tried listening to the German audio tapes but Charlotte, a kinesthetic learner, was bobbing her leg and insisting she already knows German and why do we have to keep repeating?

Took a walk with notebooks and cameras though it was very hot, to ask questions about what the girls saw and how scientists do the same, ask questions — pose theories. What makes the walnut tree a walnut tree? Charlotte had me pocket some nuts and carried a leaf with her through town; Lily photographed beetles.

Met one of the oldest Besigheimers, Jonny, who took his name from the American soldiers who imprisoned him at the end of the war and gave him cigarettes and chewing gum, treated him nice he says. Told him we were going for ice cream, so he gave Lily a five Euro bill and we all tried each other’s flavors, listened to a Simon and Garfunkel tribute band warming up for an open air concert, later.

Stopped to read some street signs in German and speculate what it could mean, beginning with the suffix for Strasse (street) and Gasse (way). Covered half the word and asked Charlotte what Kirch could mean, what it sounds like if you sound it out — and she got it on the first try, “church”: Church Street.

The girls did math worksheets and later, watched videos from the Khan Academy on their new $200 laptops we bought at Best Buy back in the US.

They want more substance from their homeschool curriculum, and school six days a week. So Dawn and I need to set aside more time for lesson planning, and already have newfound appreciation for those who teach as a profession. They have the desire to learn now, and we need to rise to the occasion.

Ended the day watching lightning strikes from the second floor classroom we’ve set up that used to be a TV room/library, but the girls were more interested in YouTube videos, figured they’d seen enough of the lightning, though we don’t get it back home.

Had a conference call with our friends who are renting our house to discuss an action plan for a rodent infestation that started in earnest upon our departure, and too bad we can’t solve it with a cat, they’re good for that.

Dawn and I agreed although we weren’t fully ready to start school it served as a kind of test to understand how we’ll go about this, teaching two kids with different learning styles and different grade levels, and no doubt we’ll all learn a lot and really appreciate our free time outside the classroom, will be tired at the end of the day.

Categories: travel

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13 replies

  1. Gosh, this is a project and a half. Everyone gets to go to school. Brilliant.


    • Yeah, feeling right daft we thought this would be kein problem, you know. But I’ve forgotten so much, it’s great to use my mind like this again, and see the world through their eyes. Just had our first day out sight-seeing, in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Bloody hot! Sticky hot! Survived the autobahn and celebrating with a cold Pilsener.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing experience for your kids! They seem ready to soak up everything.

    The local lingo/language is one of my favourite things about a new place, thanks for the language lessons! “Kirk” = “church” in Scotland, interestingly closer to the German word than the English one.


    • One of my favourite things too — looking forward to absorbing the English, Irish, Scottish versions too over the winter time. Seems endless, what you can learn about language and I love how it bleeds into different cultures. We were remarking today how we like certain French words the Germans use, and pronounce them the same, like ‘restaurant,’ ‘burro’ (for office), ‘garage.’ I could geek out over it to no end. Neat about that Kirk = church in Scotland, thank you for that Cali! Geek on with me as you please, please.


  3. This sabbatical/vacation/life abroad is starting to sound like a lot of work. But good that the kids are responding positively.


    • Yeah, all this goddamned blogging and the trickle out effect of the notifications and whatnot, good gracious? Seriously though, it is a lot of work and will be, suppose I was in some denial over that. Denial, that river that runs through Egypt.


  4. You are a better parent than I, Bill. Homeschooling is nothing something I would consider tackling unless it was an absolute necessity. (Mostly because I sometimes feel as if I spend a damaging amount of time with my children as is already…). If it makes your girls feel any better, you can tell them that after 7 years of living in Europe, I still get confused with 19:00 and 21:00. In my head for whatever reason, 19 should be 5, not 7 I’ve often made dinner reservations for 21 thinking it’s 7 (perhaps it’s because 7×3 is 21???) and my husband looks at me warily asking if I meant to be seated at 9. Still, it makes more sense if you think about it. Enjoy–the adventure is just beginning!


    • obviously that should be ‘not something’ and not ‘nothing something’, though that would make a nice little title for something..or not.


    • Yeah, I think we’re in for a lot of surprises with all this. Thanks for the kind words Dina. It’s going to be interesting, and I’m lucky for my wife’s patience and strong spirits, which is triple mine. I was standing outside a small shop in Rothenburg ob der Tober today and a couple older Americans asked me what the sign on the door meant, the military time, when it would open, and where they might be able to buy spirits in the town? I told them it’s Monday, they’re closed — and I’m just visiting.


  5. I think you have a lot of guts. Home schooling would send me into an abject panic attack. I have no clue what I’m doing and no business try to impart what little knowledge I have on my poor, unsuspecting sprog. It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds. I’m assuming there are curriculums you can get online? Or are you flying by the seat of your pants?


    • Guts, fool-hardiness, funny how close they are. Glad you see it that way. We are using some content from online, from books we bought, worksheets, and friends who have contributed recommendations and so forth. And then of course, flying by the seat of our pants, which was these past couple days. Feels like I’m back at work in corporate America, to tell the truth.


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