back to normal

The Christmas tree is down, and the ornaments packed away (when I told the Sniglet we had to take the tree down, he said “down to where?”), and all the presents have found some non-floor place to live. My house is clean, yay! And the demon spawn are going back to school tomorrow, double yay! Love them to bits, indeed I do, but cabin fever is not um, conducive to family harmony, okay? Ignatz can read, but the Sniglet took to passing the time by running back and forth behind my chair. And breeeeeeeathing. Argh. We all need to get back to real life.

Over the course of this vacation, I decided it’s time to teach the Sniglet to read. German first-grade teachers apparently hate it when their students can already read before they start school (does anybody out there know how to say “Right, because my main concern in raising my children is your convenience” in German? Because I’m pretty sure I’ll need that sentence later this year), but jeez louise, you know how much vacation these kids get? And he was bored out of his skull, and driving me crazy. In the States, he’d already be in kindergarten, and would already be able to read Hop On Pop at the very least. He’ll be nearly seven when he starts first grade, and that is a ridiculous age to be illiterate. The Sniglet taught himself to read when he was four, in case you’re wondering why this problem has only come up with my secondborn.

So I’m on the lookout for software to help him learn to read. We’ll buy books and pencils as well, but the software should make it fun for him, more of a game than a chore. If you know of anything, please do tell.

Other news: DrBob has to go to a conference in Dresden, and I’m trying to decide whether I should tag along. It was the seat of the Dukes of Saxony, and the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony, a center of industry in the 19th century, so there was a lot of pretty stuff for the Allies to bomb the shit out of, including the church to the left there. And then of course the GDR didn’t do a lot to reconstruct, preferring to focus on East Berlin, I suppose. Since reunification there’s been a lot of reconstruction, and I think it’d be pretty fascinating to see, especially in decent weather and with a knowledgeable guide. Aye, there’s the rub: DrBob will be all day at his conference, so I’ll be on my own. In March. Hm.

I’d really like to take the kids, but it’s during the week. Now, an American teacher? If I wanted to pull my boys out of school for three days to hit, say, the Alamo, he/she’d be all, “rock on! Here’s some books to read, here’s some stuff you should check out while you’re there, and you can tell the class all about it when you get back won’t that be GREAT!?” German teachers are more like, “WE, not you, will educate your children, you filthy pea-brained pond scum, and if he misses more than fifteen minutes of school this year we will flunk him.”

Yes. Down on the German school system, just a bit, except for one key detail: if we moved back to the States, our kids might go to a better school, or, they might go to one that hasn’t bought new books since the 50s. Germans are baffled by this: In America, public, i.e. government-funded schools get differently funded? So some districts can buy all the kids laptops, while others can’t even afford chairs? After five years here, I’m baffled by that too. Each state makes its own provisions for education, so Brunswick schools will be different from Bavarian schools, but within Bavaria, equal means equal.

But I digress. Dresden. To go or not to go? Hmmm… I mean, of course it’s an opportunity not to miss, but I feel a powerful urge to make it an even better opportunity, by dragging my kids along for some edumacashun.

Song du jour of the day: Should I Stay Or Should I Go. Of course.


5 responses to “back to normal

  • Elemmaciltur

    You should go to Dresden and move the planet if you need in order to get the kids to go with you. It’s a beautiful place.

  • Kel

    Ah- but you forget “No Child Left Behind”, which causes teachers to have to teach to a test, so they can no long enjoy spontaneous learning or the sharing of same.

    Its a real shame.

  • Melanie

    Um, and American schools have metal detectors. Yuck.

  • samirah

    i grew up in canarsie (brooklyn) we had books in 1997 that claimed jimmy carter was the current president. also there was only one working bathroom in my high school for a while. one bathroom for over 2000 kids. it was a good time.

    p.s. if your kids are the spawn of satan then you’re you know, satan.

  • samirah

    i forgot to mention something. don’t bring your kids. they wont have as good a time as you would want and thus you wont have as good a time as you would want.
    trust me, i was that age a few years ago.

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