If you have children in school here in Germany, at some point, either at the end of one school year or the beginning of the next, your child will hand you a meager piece of paper called a Materialliste, which is exactly what it sounds like, a list of supplies for the coming school year. Now, if you are used to these sorts of lists from your childhood somewhere other than Germany, the list might look innocuous. C’mon, a few notebooks, a pen or two, a binder, right? Wrong!
Usually there is a list of Hefte, or notebooks that are more like the blue books we used to write our exams in college. There are any number of types. If your child is in first grade, they have some with lines with larger spaces in between so they can learn writing. They all have numbers and are called things like DIN A4 Heft, mit Rand, kariert, für die erste Klasse. The first time got this list, I ambitiously went to the writing supply store thinking I, a smart woman with a couple of degrees under my belt who indeed speaks fluent German, could figure it out. I was wrong! READ MORE »