Three children attend school at the same time with the bauer family from ebenhausen. Moritz (10 years) and felix (13) take the short way to oerlenbach to middle school; niklas (15) takes the long one to humboldt high school in schweinfurt.
Normally. For the past three weeks, all three have been studying and working in the school office at home. While the coarse one did most of his work alone, the two younger ones needed support. And were able to rely on mother julia bauer. The reason that mom stayed at home at all was because her main employer – the kissalis thermal baths – was on short-time work. Bauer’s husband hans works normally.
At first, julia bauer reports, she had "serious doubts", whether school works at home just with your fifth and sixth grader. Today she says: "from an organizational point of view it was very good. Moritz’s teacher emailed us the assignments for the next day and also the solutions from the day before." felix’s teacher always sent the materials in the morning. In addition, bauer’s sons had already received many worksheets before they left school.
And so, on weekdays after breakfast – usually around 9 a.M. – the students sat down to work on their assignments. Wherever it was necessary, his mother helped out. "The first week and a half they were very motivated, especially since they finished their tasks faster than if they had been sitting in school for six hours," says julia bauer from school, julia bauer reports from experience. After that, the enthusiasm waned a bit.
What was missing, he says, were direct explanations from the teachers about the subject matter and the assignments. "It’s a different story when your mom has to read into it first." nevertheless bauer praises the teachers. They had always answered questions within an hour by email. "It must have been hard for them too."
Moritz, the youngest of the three brothers, found the school weeks at home "actually okay". The material and the tasks "didn’t cause him many problems" for him. He felt the time was more like a vacation. Nevertheless: "I miss school a bit, because it got boring at home. And I can’t see my friends from school properly."
His big brother niklas is doing a similar job. He also misses the friends in ebenhausen that he knows from the grammar school in schweinfurt. The vacations that have just started "don’t feel like vacations because there is not much to do because of the curfew". Niklas initially received his assignments by e-mail, because the official learning platform mebis didn’t work for the first few days. After that, it went smoothly. But even the 15-year-old sometimes lacked the kind of explanations that teachers offer in the classroom.
High school graduates prepare
For dana sitte from bad bruckenau, her school, the franz miltenberger high school, is just a few steps away. The twelve-year-old can even see the school center from her balcony. Nevertheless, she also received work assignments and links to programs by e-mail; the mebis program was left completely out. "The time did not feel like a vacation. We had a lot of assignments, and some of us got into new topics." if she didn’t understand something, she wrote a message to the teachers. They had answered quickly.
"Three to four hours a day made dana do schoolwork "when it was a lot". Otherwise, she found the time "a bit boring at times". She also missed the meetings with friends. And even if the "right" ones easter vacations have just begun, the high school student says: "i’m actually looking forward to school, because then you see your friends again. And everything is a bit more normal."
Noah hugo from fuchsstadt attends grade 11. Class of the hammelburg frobenius high school. The 18-year-old reports that the move to school came relatively suddenly. But the high school graduates were "told weeks in advance that we should pick up assignments on mebis." everyone received an account (user account).
But the whole thing did not work at first. In the first half-week, mebis was overloaded throughout bavaria; after that, it worked fine. And so noah also picked up what his teachers had posted there: worksheets, links, texts, podcasts and other things. He was also able to upload text and comments on the works of other students. Only one teacher sent assignments by email.
Noah describes the three weeks "more like a vacation". Because the assignments were not necessarily given for the next school day, the daily routine often shifted backwards. In the evenings, the 18-year-old often stayed up late, then started his schoolwork around 8 or 9 a.M. After getting up and having breakfast. "The first week I had to get used to it; but it wasn’t bad by any means, even the fact that you can divide up all the material", says the high school student. But he still liked homeschooling not as a permanent condition. The teachers were able to explain things better in class than when the students were at home.
A new experience for teachers, too
The past few weeks have not been normal for the teachers either. Verena grom, who teaches german and catholic religious education at the kissingen secondary school, found it "unexpected and exciting. It took a while to create the technical and organizational framework, especially for the students. Not everyone had computers, tablets, printers and other equipment at home.
The fortunately lively use of technology has sometimes overloaded the systems, says grom. Especially in the third week everything was well coordinated. "It can be said that those who do their homework at school have also worked reliably during these three weeks."
Verena grom describes the work environment in the home office as "much rougher, because I also had to get used to it first and feedback from the schools was sometimes a little delayed." the students should have had the feeling that the teacher was there for them. And so grom was also very late in the evening still available via app. "All in all, it was more of a shift after the time-consuming training phase. But i realized that the personal contact and the teaching ‘face to face’ are irreplaceable for me."
Heidrun wagner-hack from aura teaches german, geography and ethics at the johann-philipp-von-schonborn high school in munnerstadt. Although she hasn’t seen any of her students in the flesh lately, she surprises them with the statement: "we’ve had almost completely normal lessons in the past three weeks."
Like grom, wagner-hack used microsoft teams – a platform that enables meetings and chats over the internet, but can also be used to send and receive notes and attachments, for example worksheets. Rough companies use it, says wagner-hack. And during the corona crisis, she and her students from the munnerstadt high school also. "Each student has his or her own area to which only he or she and the teacher have access. Both have official email addresses."
"Virtual" the high school teacher met with her students in videoconferences, in chats, even on the whiteboard, a kind of blackboard that every student and she herself can access. With the participants of their Q12 ethics course, communication even took place via a system developed by the students themselves.
For all those involved, one thing is certain: they were able to come to terms with the school at home. But after the vacations it does not necessarily have to go on.