Home Growing Up German In America Saturday means Deutsche Schule (German School)
Saturday means Deutsche Schule (German School)

Saturday means Deutsche Schule (German School)

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For most American kids in the 1970’s, Saturday mornings meant eating Sugary Cereals while watching cartoons in pajamas. Not for me…every Saturday morning from the time I entered Kindergarten until I went to High School, I ate my Haverflocken (Oatmeal) or gekochtes Ei (soft boiled egg), then headed off to German School (Deutsche Schule).

You see, my parents came here from Germany, and they knew that in order to preserve their culture, and combat sugary American influences, my sister and I needed proper instruction. Besides, how on earth could I send letters to my relatives if I couldn’t write! (German kids learn cursive first, and grammar comes very early in the education process).

My Love Hate Relationship with German School

At the time, I loved and hated it. While my friends watched television, played sports, and relaxed, I was reciting “Ich, du, er sie est, wir, ihr, sie…”

We declined sentences, learned grammar and sang songs. We studied the culture. Writing was important, and reading was Wichtig! (In fact, my mother made me read aloud to her in German for 15 minutes every evening). Learning the language so that we could speak to our Omas and Opas was imperative.  There was no option.

And, believe me, there was no fooling around. The teachers were primarily German women who either knew my parents, or had no hesitation at all about calling my mother to tell her how I was goofing off in class. German School cost money, we do not waste money. There was no fooling around!

It was three hours of “der, die, das, dem, der, dem, den” instead of Scooby Doo.

At times it felt like torture, after all, who wants to go to school on Saturday? And on top of that… we had Hausaufgaben (homework)! Everything had to be written neatly into our composition books.

It ended up being one of the best things that could have happened to me.

This was a time before college resume building, so the kids at the school were all children of immigrants like me. We had a secret language. It was the one place I wasn’t teased for wearing shoes instead of sneakers. It was a place where my leather Schultornister (school bag) didn’t make me look like a dork. We had Christmas pageants that brought tears to our parent’s eyes.

So, while my American friends were playing in pee wee basketball leagues, my German friends and I were singing, “Mein Vater war ein Wandersman…”.

I think I came out ahead.

What a wonderful gift it is to have a second language. Vielen Dank Mama und Papa.

German School Supplies

Composition books… Pencil Case…..

Staedtler - Noris 120 - Essential Pen and Pencil Set - With Highlighter, Eraser, Sharpener, and Pencil CaseStaedtler – Noris 120 – Essential Pen and Pencil Set – With Highlighter, Eraser, Sharpener, and Pencil CaseJMD ALL STAR Star-Packs, Composition Notebooks, Books, School Supplies Bundle with Assorted Colors, 9 3/4JMD ALL STAR Star-Packs, Composition Notebooks, Books, School Supplies Bundle with Assorted Colors, 9 3/4(German Design) Felli - Jimbo Pencil Holder / Pen Holder. Elephant shape, also suitable for makeup tools. Great gift for any desk at home or office. (green)(German Design) Felli – Jimbo Pencil Holder / Pen Holder. Elephant shape, also suitable for makeup tools. Great gift for any desk at home or office. (green)Quen Dull German Dinosaurs Cool Rucksack Backpack A Children's School BagQuen Dull German Dinosaurs Cool Rucksack Backpack A Children’s School BagWeiBonD 72 Holders Handy Multi-layer Zipper Pencil Case with Handle Strap in Oxford Fabric for Watercolor Pencil, Gel Pen, Small Marker (Purple)WeiBonD 72 Holders Handy Multi-layer Zipper Pencil Case with Handle Strap in Oxford Fabric for Watercolor Pencil, Gel Pen, Small Marker (Purple)Pelikan Stola I Ballpoint Pen, Black Barrel, Black Ink, 1 Each (929547)Pelikan Stola I Ballpoint Pen, Black Barrel, Black Ink, 1 Each (929547)

 

 

For a list of German Schools in America

I notice these lists are not all complete. Your best bet is to google “German School” and add your city/state.

 

German Language Schools – http://www.germanschools.org/Schools/List.htm

http://www.gissv.org/gissv-home-english

http://www.aatg.org/?page=DaSGermanschools#.Wn8iyqinHU4

http://cazoo.org/GALangSchool.htm

 

Looking for German Workbooks for Homestudy?

German for Children with Two Audio CDs, Third EditionDeutsch Aktuell: Level 1 (German Edition)Cool Kids Speak German: Enjoyable worksheets, word searches & colouring pages in German for children of all agesPractice Makes Perfect German Conversation (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

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Comment(4)

  1. As a Cuban girl in America who arrived in1961,this site echoes many of the experiences I went through… with a German twist.
    I currently have my younger son stationed near Nürnberg. He found out we actually have a few German ancestors from the Cologne area who wound up in Cuba. He has many wonderful German friends and a German girlfriend, so anything I learn is a bonus. I’ve visited Germany 3 times so far, and love it more every time I go!!

  2. As a Cuban girl in America who arrived in1961,this site echoes many of the experiences I went through… with a German twist.
    I currently have my younger son stationed near Nürnberg. He found out we actually have a few German ancestors from the Cologne area who wound up in Cuba. He has many wonderful German friends and a German girlfriend, so anything I learn is a bonus. I’ve visited Germany 3 times so far, and love it more every time I go!!

  3. German School for me in the post-war 1950’s was the basement of a German Lutheran Church on Detroit’s east side. It was hit or miss but I gained the confidence to answer in German when spoken to in German. I learned to read German and and greatly expanded my “Küchen Deutsch vocabulary. I felt confident enough to apply to spending my junior year of college in Germany–talk about jumping in with both feet! But the best part was that every Saturday morning we gathered around the piano and sang German songs. Folk songs, occasional Schlager. Carols at Christmas, &c. We had a series of Song Books that I wish I still had today.

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