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About liebling

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  • Location Heidelberg
  • Nationality USA
  • Gender Female
  • Interests kids, research, sleep, food, current affairs and a bunch of other stuff I'm too tired to recall just now.

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  1. The key here is your children's teacher. S/He is the one you have to convince that your children will be able to hit the ground running in Gymnasium. For a teacher to give a Grundschulempfehlung for Gymnasium in Baden-Württemberg, the child has to have average marks in German and Maths of 2.5 or better in the report card issued in the middle of year 4. Right now your children wouldn't even earn Grundschulempfehlung for Realschule, which requires average marks of 3.0 or better in German and Maths, so it might be wise to have admission to Realschule as your/their initial (more immediately attainable) goal and put your kids into a school where they can swap into the Gymnasium stream later on (e.g. by year 7) if their performance warrants it. The Internationale Gesamtschule Heidelberg would be one such option.     You might consider asking the children's year 3 teacher whether it would pay to have them repeat year 3 in hopes of improving their marks and thus their likelihood of gaining entrance to Gymnasium.  AFAIK, year 3 can be repeated, but year 4 cannot.  It's relatively common for children to repeat a year of primary school in order to increase their chances of admission to Gymnasium (or Realschule, as the case may be).  It would be good to express your concerns and hopes to the teacher now and see what kind of feedback (beyond the marks) s/he can offer.  Which reminds me - what descriptive comments do your children get in their report cards? Those comments about personal characteristics and individual and social behavior are also part of the recommendation, and if your kids are really ambitious and hard-working, having comments to that effect might help, especially if your children seem to be borderline cases, mark-wise.
  2. Super advice offered here, with a wide variety of input options.  I agree with others about being strict; it requires a lot of discipline from parents and children to demand and stick to the minority language at home (or in general), but with that (self-)discipline it really does work well.     I speak English (only) to my kids and vice versa, though we all could just as easily speak German. My kids had phases in their kindergarten and early primary years where they slipped into German at home (with each other or with me) and/or insisted on responding to me in German. I refused to accept it, insisting (gently but relentlessly) that they speak/write/ingest media in English. I ignored all German-language entreaties and explained (in English) why I was doing so. The kids found this extremely frustrating at times (individual kids at different times), but they came to understand it was a hill I was willing to die on. Now that all are in Gymnasium, their English is terrific.  Classmates often remark with apparent envy how English seems to 'come naturally' to them, and I have to remind everyone involved that there's nothing natural about it - I have systematically and strictly been modelling and correcting and insisting upon their English, day in and day out, for the last 12+ years (though, to be fair, the insisting was only needed some of the time; the rest of the time they happily followed my linguistic lead). 
  3. I can only agree with the others; if maintaining your child's English is a priority, speaking English with your child might be the price you have to pay.  Occasional playmates, playgroups or even other activities will only go so far in any case. Have you tried groups on social media for English speakers in the region? There may be families with English-speaking kids (potential playmates) for your child right in your area (Malsch, Wiesloch, St. L-Rot), and you can probably find them via, Facebook, and so on. Although I understand distance to Heidelberg being a problem, you could make the investment on an occasional basis (once a quarter, perhaps) to go to the DAI's English-language storytime you might be able to do some good networking with other families there. The same is true with other English-language offerings in/around HD, as they tend to draw people from the larger region (esp. many Anglophone SAP families, who are likely to live near you). The more you talk to English-speaking parents, the more likely you are to meet folks in your area and who can share info and suggestions with you.  If you are a churchy type you could consider going to one of the English-speaking churches in the region (including Sunday schools for kids).  Assuming you don't work on Sundays, that might be a way to make Sundays English-speaking day for your and your daughter, including a trip into HD. You might consider putting an ad up on the bulletin board of the DAI library, asking for English-speaking playmates and/or babysitters in your area. Another option would be to contact the Uni HD Studentenwerk's Jobbörse for students; you could put up an ad there asking for an English-speaking sitter (whether native or not) and see what comes back.  Welcome back to Germany, and good luck!
  4. Tipping of hospital staff

    I'm wondering how common it is IN GERMANY for a patient to tip nurses and other direct caregivers after staying in hospital for anything from a night to a few weeks. Do any of you give them something for their "Kaffeekasse"? My German physician friends tell me this is perhaps not expected but very much welcomed by underpaid staff lower on the totem pole, so I always do it (a fiver for a night or two, up to 20 euros if I've been there a week or longer and they've been especially attentive). But does anybody else do this? I've never been in hospital in any of the other countries I've lived in, so I have no idea how it works elsewhere.   What do you think?   Ciao, Liebling