School for a 12 years old - HPC Gymnasium an option?

18 posts in this topic

Hey everyone, We will move from Chicago to Heidelberg on December 16th, 2019. Our son will be 12 years old in December, and I am searching for a school for him, I already contacted some of the private ones. HPC - Schulen (Gymnasium) offered us to take him as they have availabilities. Not sure if this is a good choice, to be honest, International School Heidelberg would be a better choice, but we have to pay it ourselves, and it's expensive if the company doesn't pay it. Our son speaks German; he was born in Hamburg. We moved when he was 6 years old to Chicago. He makes some grammar mistakes while speaking German, but it's not too bad, I am more concerned about that he can't read and write in German. There is maybe another option at the Heidelberg College Gymnasium. Also, the Englisches Institut Heidelberg sounds excellent. I sent over an application and email already with them. Has anyone school kids at the HPC Gymnasium or heard anything about them? Thanks so much!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess a lot depends upon your future intentions as a family, but my money would be on the Englisches Institut, for the simple reason that a German Gymnasium is tough, really tough, and you have a child who cannot read and write in German and whose spoken German leaves a lot to be desired.

 

How good is your kid in school? If he is super-dooper good, then  he might well be able to make up for the past five school years or so within a year, but then again, maybe not, and would he be happy?

 

At least by sticking to an English-speaking environment, he would have the best chance of keeping up with the other kids, and of getting good grades.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@robinson100, I know the German Gymnasium is tough, I visited one myself in Hamburg, but I know the schools in the southern German states are much harder than in the northern ones. This is why we like to send him to a private school to avoid stressing him out so much, as long as he is happy we are happy too. I would say he is good at school, and he likes to go there every day with a kind of enthusiasm, but he is not super-dooper good to make up the past 5 years of the German school system. It would be easier if he would be younger. We started today to research online in Mannheim too, but they don't have so many private schools like Heidelberg. Also, the idea to move where the future school will be is not fun, which city is better to live in, Heidelberg or Mannheim? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should specifically ask the school what plans they have to help him to catch up, plug the gaps in his knowledge, and integrate to a new way of learning.

 

Talk to your son about it and then base your decision on that.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, we ask the schools always if they support with catch up, some of them do so, especially the private ones.

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even in a non-German school, the school may suggest placing your son a year lower than the grade he's currently in. This isn't a tragedy - it gives foreign kids a chance to concentrate on language skills rather than on subjects they may alread have encountered elsewhere and which they can then treat a little more cavalierly.  I've had one child who was the youngest in her class; three who were among the youngest; and one who was far and away the oldest: and he was the one who had the steadiest academic and emotional success in school.  And this was true whether the kids were in German schools or in American schools.

Children tend to enter school at a slightly older age in Germany, and if your son has to repeat a grade, there won't really be a significant difference in age between him and his classmates.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, robinson100 said:

I guess a lot depends upon your future intentions as a family, but my money would be on the Englisches Institut, for the simple reason that a German Gymnasium is tough, really tough, and you have a child who cannot read and write in German and whose spoken German leaves a lot to be desired.

 

How good is your kid in school? If he is super-dooper good, then  he might well be able to make up for the past five school years or so within a year, but then again, maybe not, and would he be happy?

 

At least by sticking to an English-speaking environment, he would have the best chance of keeping up with the other kids, and of getting good grades.

 

Be aware that the Englisches Institut is a German speaking environment, but with a lot more English than a normal German school. Of course, there are a lot of native English speaking children there which might help, but German is going to be main language, for the kids and the parents. Although some teachers speak English, don't assume it. It is also semi-private, so you are going to have to pay but it's not ridiculous. Nevertheless, if you are intending on staying in Germany for the forseable furture, your child would probably benefit being in the German education system. EI has the advantage of having a G9 option which is relatively difficult to find now. Most schools are G8 which means the children have a fewer years in school to attain the same education (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abitur_after_twelve_years).

I believe that Heidelberg International School ( https://www.hischool.de/frontpage/ ) is English speaking. It is a private school and I think quite expensive but I'm not sure. Probably better if you are intending on moving to another country in the future.

 

Either way, I would second katheliz's suggestion of putting your child in a lower grade to take some of the pressure off.

 

Regarding which city is better to live in ... Heidelberg is a smaller, prettier, potentially more international, studenty, touristy and expensive. Mannheim is larger with better nightlife. Whatever you decide, I'd stay in the city where your child goes to school otherwise you're going be travelling a lot, either to the school or picking them up from their mates houses.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, ErikaN said:

We will move from Chicago to Heidelberg on December 16th, 2019. Our son will be 12 years old in December, and I am searching for a school for him,

 

 

14 hours ago, ErikaN said:

He makes some grammar mistakes while speaking German, but it's not too bad, I am more concerned about that he can't read and write in German. There is maybe another option at the Heidelberg College Gymnasium. Also, the Englisches Institut Heidelberg sounds excellent.

 

 

@kato

 

As the educational expert for the area, do you think it is probable that a 12 year old who can neither read nor write German will be able to do well in a private Gymnasium?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, kiplette said:

Makes no difference - this is true in general for all.

 

Sure the general is very general but the specific family comments most likely predate the OP‘s own German Gymnasium experience. 

 

The general can also be qualified by suggesting the OP looks for posts on recent Gymnasium changes and the detrimental effects on young people.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Katheliz is only making one suggestion, and she is right. I know you have a thing about katheliz being venerable, and her experiences being dated, but sometimes that just isn't a problem, and this would be one of those times. The sniping is then irrelevant and annoying.

 

'Recent gymnasium changes' are referring to what? We haven't had any, other than the change from G9 to G8 and back to G9. Or is this a reference to 2015 and the arrival of many extra children from war-torn countries? Made no difference to our schools at all, I have no idea what Heidelberg is like. 

 

OP, hopefully kato will come on and give you some tips to add to what nsuffield has said.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

EI won't take him, plain and simple. They might have a look, but well, no. They have more than enough applications.

HC could be an option if OP plans to move again within a few years to a place where his next school doesn't know their reputation.

 

HPC/F+U... uhm, their general gymnasium has been around for 3 years. And i'm not quite sure they have an educational concept given that in those 3 years they seem to have added on new programmes every year (most recently, this school year: an "IB prep class" for non-German speaking kids aged 14-16). I'm also not quite sure the staff on the photos on their website is still there, but that's a common problem with F+U in general.

 

I think we have or used to have someone on the forum that had kids in HPC's Realschule?

 

 

OP might also be mistaken about private schools being "less stressful". 40% of all secondary-level schoolkids in Heidelberg go to private schools. Most of them are educationally - and by size too - fully on par with the state schools.

 

There are only four private schools around Heidelberg - with staatliche Anerkennung - that by their advertisements and reputation place themselves into a "kids that didn't/wouldn't make it at Gymnasium" portfolio for parents with money. OP named two of them with Heidelberg College and HPC; the other two are the Waldorf school (where the not reading German part might not be as much of a problem) and Kurpfalzinternat in Bammental (mandatory boarding, twice the price of HIS).

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Kommentarlos said:

 

The general can also be qualified by suggesting the OP looks for posts on recent Gymnasium changes and the detrimental effects on young people.

 

Here is a starting point for recent developments: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/bildung/bildung-saarbruecken-schueler-protestieren-gegen-mathe-aufgaben-beim-abitur-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-190505-99-87057

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not a recent development, parents have been complaining about "zu hoher Erwartungshorizont" for their precious kids for decades. What's new about it is the completely worthless and meaningless online petitions that are the hip thing right now.

 

Last one in Baden-Württemberg was for the 2018 English Abitur. 29,000 signatures. Response from the ministry as the sole decisive authority: "no".

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

2 hours ago, kato said:

There are only four private schools around Heidelberg - with staatliche Anerkennung - that by their advertisements and reputation place themselves into a "kids that didn't/wouldn't make it at Gymnasium" portfolio for parents with money. OP named two of them with Heidelberg College and HPC; the other two are the Waldorf school (where the not reading German part might not be as much of a problem) and Kurpfalzinternat in Bammental (mandatory boarding, twice the price of HIS).

 

Is there anywhere other than HIS where the poor kid has a chance of obtaining a decent high school education?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the very constructive replies! This group is awesome.

 

I think it's not possible anymore to let him redo a class and go back one year.

 

He will be 12 years next month and is in the 5th grade in the US when we moved to the States he already started one year later to visit the first grade, the school has put him a class something in-between Kindergarten and first grade, he learned Englisch in three months. Still, they never let him skip a class to go back to his regular age class.

 

I think considering the Realschule is a good idea, after the 10th Grade, he changes to the Gymnasium, it's popular in Germany. We are very open to all solutions; he should be happy that matters at the end. Someone referred to the international school in Seeheim www.schuldorf.de. They have SISS Primary and SISS Secondary; it is a public school without charges. I also contacted the IS-Neustadt, a bit expensive, but was recommended as a good school. Well, finally I want him also to learn German writing and reading, but we will get their somehow. It was much easier when he six years old, and we moved from Germany to the US; they learn easier and faster and elementary it's more fun and not so much pressure.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29.11.2019, 18:06:24, kato said:

 What's new about it is the completely worthless and meaningless online petitions that are the hip thing right now.

 

Last one in Baden-Württemberg was for the 2018 English Abitur. 29,000 signatures. Response from the ministry as the sole decisive authority: "no".

 

What is new is the rise in mental health issues in young people.

 

Although the you are right that the disinterest and derision from the Establishment on the topic remains pretty much consistent.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now