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  1. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by annedawso View Post
    I have been lucky with the schools my kids have attended. There has never been any bullying and they have had an excellent, caring, environment. In fact it worries me some times that they will not be street wise enough when they do come across bullies/thugs etc.
    That is totally cool that your boys are well cared-for! I didn't have an awful public school experience either - I had nothing but good teachers back then who were willing to go out of their way for me. Public schooling just wasn't right for First back when she was due to go to Kindergarten, and I had to seek her answers. It was then that I discovered this entire alternate universe.

    Would you explain the whole English school system for me?? Heaven help me, I keep hearing about "O Levels" and such, and don't know what this is!

    I hate all the money spent on elections here. Hate, hate, hate it with a passion. We all talk about national debt, and everybody is underfunded (for the good stuff that benefits all), but here is hundreds of millions of dollars available for friggin' awful, lying, political ads in every state. Election cycle, after election cycle, after election cycle. Ugh. I still need to see the Clint Eastwood thing, but it made the Wall Street Journal (that is one of the newspapers we get) since we don't have regular TV of any kind. I am an Independent - that means I am not registered as a member of any party, so I have no say in any party's decisions. But I can vote in general and local elections for anybody I please (as can everybody else here). Mr. Crabbcakes is a Republican, but he has been known to vote against party lines when he sees fit.

    re the circuit training - good luck, sincerely! I am starting YAYOG tomorrow - I only have 12 weeks until I leave for Germany, and the losing-inches thing of mine has stalled, so I think the next step (training) needs to happen now.

    I haven't said it lately, but I really appreciate you talking to me. I am learning, too!

  2. #132
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    My husband just said to me have none of your friends on here got any housework to do like you!!!!
    This the man who spends half the night playing online scrabble with his mum and the other half looking at UFO images on YouTube. Not to forget numerous texts to organise two footy matches per week.
    I have told him I am having educational conversations and increasing my cultural learnings.
    Cheeky sod.

  3. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bess58 View Post
    Wow, this debate is getting more and more philosophical! May I - with all due respect - point out why I disagree with you again, crabbcakes? And I think it's even a similar point that we disagreed on in that other thread ... Maybe this is what you meant when you said that Germany was a socialist country.
    Yes, you most certainly may disagree. I'm actually glad you are writing. (Just so you know, many Americans, whether the usage is correct or not, throw around the term "socialist" when they feel (whether actual or only perceived) their Constitutional Rights are in imminent danger of being curtailed.)

    You see, I have a feeling that the US-mentality is "every man for himself", and that the government is just a necessary evil that likes to peek into people's bedroom windows. In this context it is absolutely logical that every family wants to have the right to take the education of their children into their own hands.
    You are partially correct. Some very much do feel that way (government being an evil, that is) all the time. Some don't. And some are kind of situational - depends on the topic and degree, which would be me. The "every man for himself" really isn't the character of this country. There are more charitable organizations than you can shake a stick at, devoted to simply every aspect of life and experience in the universe. No matter where I have lived, North or South, rural or urban, neighbors and streets and towns help each other out all the time. And the aid that goes overseas is stunning (I am mostly talking about private groups here). I can see where, in all our talk about freedom, it would seem that we wouldn't care a whit about each other, but that isn't true. It is just the general feeling that most things are more efficiently solved via private initiatives, and that having the government do it has historically proven wasteful to an astounding degree, and so you will get an automatic groan from most of us here in the US when the government announces any new program or change.

    Many Europeans, on the other hand, feel that there is a form of mutual agreement between the citizens and the government:We pay our taxes, health (obligatory) and pension insurance and abide the law, and in turn the state / government has the damned obligation to see to it that every citizen has at least health care and the bare necessities, whether they have work or not. And the public school system is a part of this.
    I don't disagree with you yet. In societies as big and complex as our two, I can't see it functioning any other way. Americans have Social Security, Medicare (for the elderly), Medicaid (medical care for folks who can't afford it otherwise), public schooling, and welfare as well. I am entirely willing to pay taxes for the general benefit, and also willing to obey the law. I am unwilling to be forced into participating in a program I don't want, though (public schooling), when I choose to/and also am able to satisfy the need myself.

    Of course there is a lot of political debate about HOW the government provides for all this, if schools are good or public welfare sufficient, but this is the general understandig. And back to homeschooling, here we mostly hear about it when religious extremists - be it evangelical christians or islamic fundamentalists - refuse to send their children to public schools where they might learn "sinful ways" (again and again we had big discussions about whether muslim girls should be allowed to do school sports, especially swimming training, in mixed groups, i.e. with boys present, or whether female muslim teachers should be allowed to wear their headscarves to class - by the way, they are not, decision of the German supreme court). On the other hand there is a lot that is not okay in the public school system, and I am convinced that big changes are necessary, because it is a very rigid system where children from poor families, immigrants or young people that are just different from the rest - even very gifted children - tend to be overlooked or ostracised or get only inferior degrees.
    This is where the German government and I part ways.

    I read some of the lastest decisions in German re the legality of homeschooling, and I cannot disagree more with their reasoning or their final conclusion (obviously). (I will have to dig out the proper titles of what I read as it is not in my head and also not in front of me.) Even though I am not an evangelical, I still support the right of evangelicals to educate their children as they see fit. (I'll only comment on evangelicals, as that is the group I am more familiar with.) My personal line in the sand is where/when a child of an evangelical (or anybody else) is getting NO education at all, and that is not typically the issue in regard to evangelicals - the issue is that they see some of the world around them as "sinful" and want some separation and some say in curriculum matters, and that rubs some folks the wrong way. The children of evangelicals are being fed, clothed, loved, taught to read and write and do their math and pay their taxes, taken to the doctor, and everything else that constitutes being a good parent, and usually the overlap with being a good citizen is huge as they typically are also highly moral and law-abiding. I see very little to fear or object to (except that one doesn't agree with the religion).

    In my opinion, if a parent sends a child to a public school, then generally they should be expected to follow the courses as laid out there - but in Germany, unless you send a kid to a Waldorf school (the only large private system of which I am aware), which costs big money and also has definite beliefs of its own, all other possible options have been declared illegal, so yeah you are going to have problems with parents of strong belief who see no other place to go. I think that Germany is losing an opportunity and an ever-increasing talent base here - these are energetic parents who will raise children who would like to do good things in their home country, but they are forced to escape to France and Austria and Switzerland and sometimes Britain to follow their conscience.

    I also have a completely different experience with "segretated groups of same-age children". My experience has taught me that children need these "peer groups" for their development. My daughter has been in same-age groups from a very young age, and I feel that this has done her nothing but good. As I was also involved in the supervision of our after-school-playgroup - it is also true that when you want more than the basics provided by the government you have to do it yourself -, I often had the opportunity to see how well even smaller children are able to solve their problems without intervention by grownups. Amazing really!
    My daughters aren't forbidden from playing with others of their age group (as they like this, too, and it is also appropriate for their development) - it just constitutes a smaller portion of their week and isn't the major source of relationships with other children. I cannot speak here about German public school days, because my cousins are Waldorf-educated, but in my personal American experience, I am not impressed in general with what I see when I run into public school groups and culture. Parents here must always be on guard to recognize and counteract all kinds of peer pressure nonsense ideas and dynamics, and that negative pressure starts in Kindergarten here and never lets up. Taken singly, I like most kids a lot. But lump them together into a public school classroom and culture for a few years, and they change (individually and in the group). I decided to opt my daughters out of this dynamic. I have a sister-in-law close by who has three of her own (public schooled), and over the past years of their public school careers I have heard and seen some amazingly awful stuff. My sister-in-law laments often how they have changed for the worse and how they now hate to learn (they do hate it), and how she has to guard against this and that and the other.

    Another thing that is amazing is how, in this thread, we are able to voice different opinions and exchange our points of view without any heated debates. I think some of the "big threads" out there could learn from this. I'd rather hang out in the journals with likeminded people.
    I like talking to you, too. It serves nothing to get insulting, even if the two of us disagree.

    Glad the Kuerbis worked out. I'm sorry about your mom... my best friend's sister died of that recently, and it sucked. Good Luck with the jewelry sales!
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-31-2012 at 04:40 PM.

  4. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by annedawso View Post
    My husband just said to me have none of your friends on here got any housework to do like you!!!!
    This the man who spends half the night playing online scrabble with his mum and the other half looking at UFO images on YouTube. Not to forget numerous texts to organise two footy matches per week.
    I have told him I am having educational conversations and increasing my cultural learnings.
    Cheeky sod.
    Hah! Cheeky sod, indeed! Glad you stuck up for yourself!!

    Now tell me what bangers and mash are, so you can tell him you are educating an ignorant Yank.

  5. #135
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    Just a quick line to you two before I depart for my family day.

    Crabbcakes: No time to answer in detail. But I read about the Clint Eastwood thing in the paper this morning. Very strange ... They also wrote that Obama's staff published a foto of Obama sitting on a chair with a caption of "this seat is still taken" (a least that's how I re-translate it from the German article).

    Anne: Thanks for your kind words about my English. Yes, that one was just a typo. I type very fast, without looking, but my fingers are used to the German letter combinations, and sometimes they get it wrong.

    To your dear husband: I have indeed arranged my lifestyle in a way that I have to do very little housework. An important part of this lifestyle is to stay single and unmarried ...

    Have a nice weekend, my educational and cultural friends!

  6. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crabbcakes View Post
    Hah! Cheeky sod, indeed! Glad you stuck up for yourself!!

    Now tell me what bangers and mash are, so you can tell him you are educating an ignorant Yank.
    You may be a Yank, but I would say you are very well educated, interesting, full of life Yank. I take great pleasure in conversing with you and Bess. My husband and kids keep asking are you writing to your pen pals.

    Anyway bangers and mash are sausages and mashed potato. Called bangers as they can make loud bang in frying pan when cooking. Used to be one of our staple meals growing up - sausages, mash, peas with bread and butter.

  7. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crabbcakes View Post
    That is totally cool that your boys are well cared-for! I didn't have an awful public school experience either - I had nothing but good teachers back then who were willing to go out of their way for me. Public schooling just wasn't right for First back when she was due to go to Kindergarten, and I had to seek her answers. It was then that I discovered this entire alternate universe.

    Would you explain the whole English school system for me?? Heaven help me, I keep hearing about "O Levels" and such, and don't know what this is!

    I hate all the money spent on elections here. Hate, hate, hate it with a passion. We all talk about national debt, and everybody is underfunded (for the good stuff that benefits all), but here is hundreds of millions of dollars available for friggin' awful, lying, political ads in every state. Election cycle, after election cycle, after election cycle. Ugh. I still need to see the Clint Eastwood thing, but it made the Wall Street Journal (that is one of the newspapers we get) since we don't have regular TV of any kind. I am an Independent - that means I am not registered as a member of any party, so I have no say in any party's decisions. But I can vote in general and local elections for anybody I please (as can everybody else here). Mr. Crabbcakes is a Republican, but he has been known to vote against party lines when he sees fit.

    re the circuit training - good luck, sincerely! I am starting YAYOG tomorrow - I only have 12 weeks until I leave for Germany, and the losing-inches thing of mine has stalled, so I think the next step (training) needs to happen now.

    I haven't said it lately, but I really appreciate you talking to me. I am learning, too!
    Re the UK educational system, I will tell you my experience of it.
    When I was at school.bear in mind i am 46 you went to secondary school at 11 and it was called First Year . We took O levels at age 16 fifth year* and took A Levels in sixth form which lasted two years - Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth. (exams taken at age 18)
    remember when it happened but we have become Americanised, when you start Secondary school now it is called Year 6 (age11) I still call them by the old numbers which confuses the kids.
    The first year of school -age 4 is called Reception. Then they go into Year one. I assume that this is what happens in US.
    Anyway O levels have now been replaced by GCSE's which you take in Year 11 - Age 16.
    You still take A levels at age 18 which is Year 13, though instead of taking one main exam you have several exams spaced over the two years.
    One of my proudest ever moments was when we went to school certificate award evening last year as my 18 year old had recently passed his A levels. He is very quiet, though has a good network of friends. Anyway he got really good grades in maths and the sciences. He is clever but he got such good grades as he spent at least two hours* each evening revising to achieve the grades.
    Anyway at the end of the award ceremony there was a big silver cup on the table. When his name got called out as pupil who had achieved far better than expectations at the start of the A level process he was presented with the cup I couldn't believe it. Corny I know, but I was so proud.

    The circuit training was no way as difficult as I expected. Will go to the gym tomorrow to lift heavy weights and short sprints. Not looking forward to work on Monday, makes me realise how much time I spend in work just sitting on my backside.

    What is YAYOG?
    I didn't know you were going to Germany? Who is going, why are you going and how long for? excuse my nosiness.
    I have found tht my quickest method of losing inches for me is to eat very high fat, high protein and restrict the carbs to just veg such as lettuce and cabbage. It is the eating plan recommended by Gary Taubes.
    I need to adopt my own advise as although I have not ata any bread etc on holiday I had quite a bit of chocolate. Have decided today is the first day of getting back on straight and narrow.

    I hate all the election crap as well. I can remember years ago when we used to laugh at the hype of the US election process. Now our system although not quite as brash is following suit. It is like show biz, all sound bites with no meaning, what is frightening is that these are the people who run our countries. for example David Cameron said the NHS is safe in Conservative hands. Although it is still free at source they have privatised a lot of the services. The result has been some hospitals have gone bankrupt and people being told things like hip replacements are no longer treatable on the NHS.
    I read that US citizens pay a fortune for health care in comparison to most nations. I think the US private companies who have now moved into the sector would love us to all pay for personal health insurance as well.
    Hope your YAYOG went well, whatever it was?

  8. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bess58 View Post
    Just a quick line to you two before I depart for my family day.

    Crabbcakes: No time to answer in detail. But I read about the Clint Eastwood thing in the paper this morning. Very strange ... They also wrote that Obama's staff published a foto of Obama sitting on a chair with a caption of "this seat is still taken" (a least that's how I re-translate it from the German article).

    Anne: Thanks for your kind words about my English. Yes, that one was just a typo. I type very fast, without looking, but my fingers are used to the German letter combinations, and sometimes they get it wrong.

    To your dear husband: I have indeed arranged my lifestyle in a way that I have to do very little housework. An important part of this lifestyle is to stay single and unmarried ...

    Have a nice weekend, my educational and cultural friends!
    Hi Bess,
    Hope your trip goes/went well.
    I know what you mean about mimimal housework. I know some is necessary, but as long as I am not embarrassed to open the front door I am happy.
    Is that your intention to always stay single? I can certainly see the attractions to doing what you want rather than accommodating others. Though although I moan about my husband etc we are quite similar in a lot of respects. We are not great socialisers and quite happy to stay in of an evening. We only go out with friends together once every other month. I have a good network of female friends who I go for a meal with every few weeks. Also I go away with my friends one weekend a year, my husband goes golfing one weekend a year. We are both really into health and fitness so our holidays tend to involve activities.
    We do have arguments as like most men he like his own way, but not very often, plus he only tidies up when it suits him. I am writing this and he is playing scrabble while we both half watch a footy match.
    Weather is lovely here today so going to sit in the garden and read.

  9. #139
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    Hey anne!

    Here is the US school system in a nutshell:

    If you need or want to, you can seek "daycare" for your child, and that lasts anywhere from 6 weeks of age until age 5 (at the discretion of the parents), which is when the US public school system kicks in. These are regulated, licensed places where your kid is fed and wiped and watched and put down for naps, and where they can play until Mom picks them up again. You pay for these yourself. There is no adult educational requirement for these places, except for the raft of state government regulations about cleanliness, safety, building codes, background checks on staff, and stuff like that.

    (A "babysitter" is the same thing, but this usually refers to a close friend of the family or relative, who isn't a licensed daycare center, whom you give your child to for care. The payment is whatever you agree to, or nothing at all - that is left up to your private arrangements. Government regulations don't apply here, as this is not a business but a private matter.)

    As an alternative, you can choose to send your walking, talking, potty-trained 3 or 4-year old to a "preschool", which is a private institution and you choose your favorite one and pay (even though they, too have all the usual state laws to satisfy as to safety, building codes, cleanliness, etc). These are places where "early learning" and play are combined. The "teachers" have early-childhood-education degrees from colleges.

    The "official" school career starts at age 5, and that is called Kindergarten (we stole that word in its entirety from the Germans)

    Then you start counting "grades", as in First Grade (age 6), Second Grade (age 7), and so on. "Elementary school" is usually the time span Kindergarten through Fifth or Sixth Grade (school systems may choose for themselves) and they are housed in the same building.

    Grades (5)/6/7/8 are usually housed in another building somewhere in town, and this is called either "Middle School" or "Junior High", depending on what the local school board has decided to name it. I grew up using the term Junior High. The last "grade" referred to in number in everyday conversation is Eighth Grade (end of middle school / junior high), because the next year kids transfer over to the local High School and...

    High school levels are referred to by their names: Freshman (= grade 9), then Sophomore (grade 10), then Junior (grade 11) and finally Senior (grade 12). At the end of your senior year, you either have satisfied the requirements for a public school diploma (which means you get the document at a graduation ceremony), or you haven't (which means you don't have one and don't get to go to graduation). In the case of not having fulfilled the requirements for a public school diploma, you are on your own, because you may not stay longer than your senior year - you are kicked out of the nest to find what make-up classes or alternative schooling you may find and/or choose.

    There is an alternate, universally recognized equivalent here - it is called the GED (General Educational Development). It is seen as the booby prize, even though I have been reading that it is actually a more thorough and difficult test to pass than many regular senior-year individual class exams. Classes and the final tests for this are offered everywhere in the USA - even in jails and on military bases.

    If you desire, and you have found a college/university that will accept you, there is such a thing as early graduation. You don't get any kind of ceremony, but if you have already met the requirements of a public school diploma before your senior year, you may choose to leave high school, diploma in hand, and start attending college. This almost always happens after the junior year is completed (skipping senior year), since the method used to calculate high school class values doesn't really allow time for graduation earlier than this.

    After high school, if you are attending a four-year university/college program, your years are named the same as the high school years. As in, your first year of college is your freshman year, the second year is the sophomore year, etc.

    -------------

    As a side note, it is allowed here to "hold back" a child who has not mastered the learning contained in a grade level. This means that the child in question must do the grade level not mastered again - the entire school year. So a kid would do second grade, for example, twice - two years in a row. It is hoped that at the end of the second go-around the child will now understand stuff much better and can progress to the next level (third grade, using our example). And yes, that means that the kid is now forever separated from their original age-mates. Which is almost always a source of much anxiety here - some parents see keeping the failing kid with his/her "friends" as more important than the learning and push incredibly hard to have the kid move up anyway.

    It happens most often in elementary school. Sometimes this happens with the wholehearted support of the parents and is the correct choice for a kid, and sometimes it happens against the wishes of the parents - it depends on the individual situation. The mean-spirited colloquial phrase is "she flunked second grade", no further explanations attached or wanted. The politically correct phrase is "Susie was held back in second grade", and is usually followed by an immediate explanation (from the parents) of why Susie really needed this/how good it was for her/how we agreed to it/yada yada because it is generally seen as embarassing that your kid couldn't pass basic schooling.

  10. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by annedawso View Post
    One of my proudest ever moments was when we went to school certificate award evening last year as my 18 year old had recently passed his A levels. He is very quiet, though has a good network of friends. Anyway he got really good grades in maths and the sciences. He is clever but he got such good grades as he spent at least two hours* each evening revising to achieve the grades.
    Anyway at the end of the award ceremony there was a big silver cup on the table. When his name got called out as pupil who had achieved far better than expectations at the start of the A level process he was presented with the cup I couldn't believe it. Corny I know, but I was so proud.
    Not corny at all! Tell your son I said that he did an awesome job!

    I felt the same way when First entered a library teen/adult summer reading book review contest - and won the whole thing last year. Wooo-hooooo!! We were just doing it for the experience, not with a mind to win. But then they called us with that bit of news, and I had a smile big enough to almost crack my face!

    (Summer Reading: here in the US, every library has a "summer reading" program. That is where the children's section librarians cook up a theme and get materials and prizes ready for the kids. The themes change every year (so the kids don't get bored.) There is always a sheet you take home and track your reading with. You need to show this to the librarians to get your prizes. There are always little prizes for smaller accomplishments, like reading to a toddler for 60 minutes during the week, or young children reading 5 books, and so on. Typically, if you complete an entire sheet (which is like reading to a toddler for 60 minutes each week for 6 weeks, or reading 5 books per week for 6 weeks - that kind of thing), you get your name put into a bin for a chance to win an even bigger prize. And some of these are nice!

    I have seen programs, though, that give you a list of library materials to plow through (as in "Watch a DVD about a nature topic" and "read a book on a nature topic" and "write a review of a nature book"), and when you have reached a particular number of these (in whatever combination the library stipulates) you are entered into a drawing. One of the libraries we go to had one of these last year, and the prize was a DVD, a stuffed animal, and bags of microwave popcorn - all placed in a big, clean, movie-theater bucket used for popcorn - and the winner got all of it.

    As you grow up, and you are not eligible for the children's program (the kid's program is limited by age), you move to a teen program. The ones I have seen are essay/book review contests.

    Sometimes they have adult stuff, but normally adults group themselves into book discussion clubs.)
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 09-01-2012 at 07:20 AM.

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