Saturday, 4 January 2014

When Did Parenting Become so Grown Up?!

Being a parent is full of its fun times. Crawling races with the baby. Dancing like a mad-woman with the 4 year old. Decorating gingerbread houses at Christmas time and lots of lovely cuddles whenever you get the chance. There are moments, though, when being a parent can feel awfully grown up!!! I know I'm 31 and I'm a mum of two, so of course my life is grown up in many ways, but when it comes to thinking about schools and catchment areas etc etc, it just hits you hard in the face that you have many serious decisions ahead of you. Not just the day-to-day ones, but ones that will likely impact many coming years for, not only yourself, but your children too.

I am lucky that, here in Germany, children don't start school until 6, so I have been spared the question of schools for an extra couple of years. But with Milo turning 5 in March, it's time to get my thinking cap on. It doesn't seem to quite fit right though.

I am hoping to move apartment later this year and with that, it makes sense to consider which areas locally house the better schools. I am restricted to where I can live if I want to keep Milo in good distance from where his dad lives (which I do) and so, unlike my friends who have most of Berlin to consider, I am limited to one or two areas that would work well for our co-parenting.

I think I would find all this school-business overwhelming in my own language, but undergoing the research in another language, as well as in another culture (the system is different here to how it runs in the UK of course) is just a whole different kettle of fish. Where to start?! I am lucky that Milo's cousin started school last year, so I have now experienced a 'first day of school', something that is very family-orientated and special here (check out my post on it here). Milo's aunt also engaged in very thorough research when looking for a school for my nephew, the results of which she has passed on to me which is very handy.

It's a crazy state of affairs though, this school business isn't it?! I need to move closer to where the schools are to raise the chances of getting Milo, and later Alfie, in to one of them. But then, what happens if we're not offered places in any of our chosen schools and we have to pick one further away in the end?! How do you deal with that situation?! Also, the areas closer to these schools are in one of the most expensive parts of the city, which may well not make that area an option anyway! Ugh. I'll say it again, it's very grown up this parenting business!

Have you had to deal with the whole 'school' dilemma yet? If so, how did you find it? If not, do you dread it or do you feel you know what you are facing?

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  1. Looking forward to hearing your experiences! I'm dreading not being able to do this research in my own language. I've registered Amelie for schools here (she would start here in September), and it was so easy to research online, and then visit the schools. We're moving back to Berlin though in August, and are having to think about where the good schools are, so we have an idea of where we'll move to. We're lucky in that respect that we have the whole of Berlin to think about. Although there are really only two areas we'd like to move to!

    1. I dread it too! It seems intimidating enough, doing it in another language adds a whole other barrier. At least your partner can help on the language front though?

  2. I'm no expert, but I *think* the ctachment area thing might be a little more flexible in Germany than back home? At least some of the kids at the school I worked at seemed to come from quite far away to get to school, when there would have been one closer to home (and they had chosen to go to that school because their friends did, it wasn't that they didn't get in to the closer school). That was Gymnasium though... maybe it's more strict for Grundschule? Good luck with your search! Can't Milo's dad help with the research... it's his native language and his son, after all!

    1. I've heard the catchment area limitations aren't as restrictive here too, however, I know the odds are better if you are nearby. One of the schools is private, so that should be less problematic theoretically, but it still comes without guarantees. I guess we just have to wait and see.


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