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Old 01-25-2010, 09:18 AM
 
10 posts, read 21,609 times
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Default homeschoolers moving to Germany

Hello. My husband is German and I am American. He came over in 1987 on a soccer scholarship for college. We married and have always lived in the states. He is a legal resident alien in the process of applying for US citizenship.

The last couple of years he has been asking me if I would be willing to move to Germany (or at least try it out for a year). He misses his aging parents, 3 sisters, etc... and wants our children to see his country, learn about the way he grew up, get to know his family so I really want to do this for him and for our family.

We have 4 children. Our oldest graduates in May this year. We have always homeschooled them and plan to do so until they all graduate high school (our youngest is in 3rd grade this year).

Evidently it is illegal in Germany and there are strong repercussions if you are 'caught'. Germans are actually trying to flee the country because of the heavy fines and in some cases the children have been removed from the home and the parents jailed. This is the one issue that has kept me from agreeing to the move... My husband agrees that it would be a huge sacrifce to lose our right to homeschool our children but is torn because he is homesick. I feel like I have finally come to a place where I think my husband's desire is more important than homeschooling (at least for a year).

So we are planning to leave after our daughter graduates. She does not plan to go with us, though, which deeply saddens her dad and I.

I'm probably just grasping at straws here, but does anyone who reads this forum know anything different than what I've described regarding homeschooling in Germany? Is there a remote chance that I might be able to homeschool my children since we are US citizens?

Thanks in advance for any information!

Last edited by homemommy; 01-25-2010 at 09:20 AM.. Reason: typo

 
Old 01-25-2010, 09:28 AM
 
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Are your children also German citizens (as in dual American-German citizens)? If so, probably they will be subject to German law while in German as any other German children.
You mention that your husband is a legal resident applying for US citizenship. Therefore I assume he is a German citizen meaning if he lives in Germany he will be treated like any normal German citizen living there.
 
Old 01-25-2010, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Europe
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This is not a response to your question. However, if the kids you will be taking speak German, why not let them have a year in a German school as part of the experience....such any good way to meet other kids.
 
Old 01-25-2010, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Houston
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Dosen't matter if they are German citizens or not. Anybody who lives in Germany must attend school. There is no way to homeschool them. NO way. I'm sorry. It can have servere consequences though. You can even lose custody.

Why would you want to homeschool them anyway? I went to a german High School myself. They are very, very challenging compared to U.S. High Schools. I personally think you would not be able to teach them what they teach there. The physics, math and chemistry classes were the killer. I'm taking a junior math class at my College and some stuff they are teaching in this class was covered in my High School. Unless you're a science teacher/math teacher, I highly doubt you could even teach them those things.
Same with physics and chemistry.
 
Old 01-25-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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Chava 61: My husband is a German citizen eligible for US citizenship and hopes to become a German-American dual citizen before moving this summer. He has filled out all the paper work required and is mailing it off this week. The kids are not German citizens. We are going to wait until after high school and then apply for American-German dual citizenship.

kevxu: Unfortunately, the kids do not speak German. My husband was raised bilingually. His dad (Canadian) only spoke English, and his mom (German) only spoke German... my husband spoke mostly English at home growing up like his dad and only spoke German in public. He regrets not teaching us German thus far... He told me the kids will pick it up very quickly if they are immersed in the school system in Germany, but that I will probably need to take some classes.

My older two boys (11 & 12) are thinking they might like to give school in Germany a try, although they are apprehensive since they don't speak the language. My youngest is 9 and is not too keen on the idea. I guess I'm hoping for a loophole in the German law regarding Americans homeschooling in Germany in case the kids end up hating it or if my youngest is too fearful to go.
 
Old 01-25-2010, 10:49 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
3,399 posts, read 4,724,958 times
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Go for it AFTER your hubby receives his papers.
I think, there is a limit on how long a green card holder can stay away from the USA, but not sure if so. So do some research there.

We took the 4 kids (2 - 10) to Bavaria in 1981, and never regretted it. Stayed there 8 years, and when the kids came back they attended the schools in the USA, and were actually slightly ahead of their peers. They were also fully tri-lingual.

If your hubby can find work there, I do not see why you may not want to stay longer than a year there. If you become like him, and start longing for your family, you can always make a summer trip home.
Since you will be living close to his parents and family, your situation would be almost *safe*.
He should be able to find work, quickly, with a *network* already in place.

I think the social situation there is better then in the USA right now. Your hubby should know all the social benefits you will be receiving there. Very good health care, Kindergeld, etc, and last but not least the cultural exposure your children will be getting, which only very few can ever hope for.
Oh, and do not forget that having a baby in Germany is way more cheap then having them in the USA.

When the kids become bi-lingual, which they will do so in a surprisingly fast time, they will even be able to learn more languages since they have learned how to flip-flop languages.
We always spoke English at home, but German and Dutch (I am from Dutch origin) outside the home.
When we came back, the kids took up Russian and can now speak that language rather well, besides the three, they learned in Germany.

So I can see only benefits, and really NO drawbacks in doing what you are planning.

One thing, to do before you make the big step.
Talk to a tax consultant who is familiar with international tax laws.
You need to know how to handle your tax status while there.
If done right, you will be OK, since Germany has some obscure tax agreements with the USA.

For more info, please DM me.

Last edited by irman; 01-25-2010 at 11:12 AM..
 
Old 01-25-2010, 11:04 AM
 
5,566 posts, read 7,603,922 times
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There is no loophole to avoid the German school system.
Why are you waiting for your kids to go to high school before applying for their German passports?
Did your husband get everything cleared in regards to his draft requirements prior to leaving Germany?
Get whatever tool you can get to work on language skills - Rosetta Stone, DVDs, ...
How will you handle housing/furniture/cost of living/insurance for a family of five plus one in the US?
 
Old 01-25-2010, 11:06 AM
 
5,566 posts, read 7,603,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
Go for it AFTER your hubby receives his papers.
I think, there is a limit on how long a green card holder can stay away from the USA, but not sure if so. So do some research there.
One year with return entry application being filed prior to departure; potentially two years in case of an unforeseen issue he has no influence on (medical ...).

Returning Resident Alien
 
Old 01-25-2010, 11:17 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
3,399 posts, read 4,724,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threestep View Post
Get whatever tool you can get to work on language skills - Rosetta Stone, DVDs, ...
I would try to learn the language beforehand, but I would not fret about it.

My wife and kids did NOT speak German, while I speak it fluently.
So it will be similar for your family.
The kids went to school three days after we got there, and had a *working knowledge* of German within a two week period I would say.
My wife got involved in Church and could get around on her own within a month.
 
Old 01-25-2010, 11:54 AM
 
10 posts, read 21,609 times
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XodoX: Thanks for the response. I realize that the schools are different in Germany. My husband has explained this to me. He earned a degree in physics and is the smartest person I know. He has invested countless hours helping me educate our children over the years (except in the area of the German language which, he realizes, has been a mistake). I am just trying to figure out if, since I am a US citizen, I have the option of homeschooling in Germany in case we decide that is the best thing for our family while staying there.

I don't want to turn this into a 'to homeschool or not to homeschool' debate, but I will try to explain to you why we have chosen this route for our family.

My husband and I have several reasons we started out homeschooling.. mainly due to the poor school system in the US, religious convictions, the fact that we want them to be able to fully focus on their academics and not have to deal with all drama in schools here. We feel that sticking them in a sterile institution for 13 years mingling only with kids their own age is contrary to what the real world is like for adults and hinders socialization.

Our kids are totally NOT perfect so please don't think I am trying to brag here.. they are kids who fight and argue with each other all the time, who drive me up the wall, etc... but some differences that we've noticed with our kids compared to other kids in the US are that they have strong moral character and compassion for other human beings (meaning they are not self absorbed and obsessed with the typical materialism. They communicate respectfully with all ages of people and make eye contact when speaking with adults (which is a rare thing these days--at least in the US).

With homeschooling, my husband I are able to create a learning plan tailored to their specific needs as unique individuals based on their needs, gifts, abilities, etc... and can move along at their pace to keep them challenged. We don't move ahead until they 'get it' and on the flip side they can move ahead regardless of age or grade level. They are at least a grade level ahead than they would be in school and score in the 99th percentile every year when taking the state benchmark tests. This would not be possible in public schools since everything is based on age. In my opinion there are so many smart kids in school who are bored and underchallenged and are given menial busy work so that all the students in the classroom are kept on the same learning track.

Since my kids aren't spending their days experiencing more 'crowd control' than 'actual learning' in the public school system, it only takes 3-4 hours to get their school work done. This gives them time to pursue hobbies and other interests (which does NOT include vegging out on video games and tv all day, however they do get an hour of each of these a day.

All of the kids take both piano lessons and tennis lessons. My oldest has built her own business over the last 3 years and now has 17 piano students whom she teaches in our home in the afternoons. She also teaches a K5 class at a local homeschooling co-op one day a week in addition to her own studies. My 12 year old is diligently preparing for a piano competition next month. My 11 year old has a passion for competitive tennis and was 6th in the state in his division last year. My youngest still enjoys creative, imaginative play with army men, legos, etc...

Lastly, since they aren't loaded down with homework every night, we are able to spend some quality family time together which includes sitting around the table sharing dinner (also a rarity in the states these days).

Please understand that I'm not trying to brag, nor do I believe homeschooling is for every family. It takes a certain kind of dynamic for it to be successful. If I hated being a stay at home mom (I gave up a career in accounting to be with my kids and homeschool) or if my husband were not a man willing to help me with the kids, the homeschooling, chores, etc... on top of working all day to provide for us, it probably wouldn't work because there is no way I could do it all on my on. He knows and is content with the fact that everything is not going to be tidy and dinner may not be on the table when he walks through the door each evening. We feel the positive results we have experienced by choosing to homeschool has been totally worth any financial or other sacrifices we've had to make and do not feel like our kids are missing much by not attending public schools here in the US.

Moving to Germany and not homeschooling is going to be a huge change for our family. We are excited for our new adventure, but also fearful!!
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