Home schooling

Homeschooling: How Does It Work? – 16.02.2021 at 08:30

In France, 62,000 students are homeschooled every year.  Photo credit: Sushiman/Shutterstock / Sushiman

In France, 62,000 students are homeschooled every year. Photo credit: Sushiman/Shutterstock / Sushiman

With the law reinforcing Republican principles being debated in parliament, many parents fear it will now be harder to homeschool their children. Today, home schooling appeals to many French people who want to free their children from the sometimes rigid yoke of National Education, to turn to alternative pedagogical techniques.

Towards a strengthening of home schooling

Homeschoolers are worried. Article 21 of the bill confirming the republican principles, plans to subject an authorization to home instruction. This method of education has gained momentum in recent years. According to the Ministry of National Education, during the year 2020, 62,000 students are homeschooled, compared to 41,000 in 2019 and 30 to 35,000 in 2017. If the text is voted as it is, in order to school their children, parents will have to a limited authorization for one school year issued by the Ministry of National Education and no longer make a simple declaration to the municipality and to the Academic Directorate of Services of the Department of National Education (Dasen).

Homeschool: a system already fixed

Homeschooling is already very regulated. In addition to the declaration that must be made at the beginning of the school year, an inspector carries out at least one individual check of the child every year from the 3rd month after the declaration of instruction by the parents. This survey is mandatory and is renewed every two years until the child turns 16. “The family must be informed in writing about the purpose and methods of this check. However, the date and place of the inspection are not necessarily communicated to the family”, the texts specify. There the child performs exercises and if the results are bad, a second check is organized. In case of further failure, Dasen may ask parents to register their children in the school within 15 days of notification.

There are other sanctions. Thus, if the choice of home education is not declared to the state services, the family is punished with a fine of 1500 euros. People who refuse to enroll their child in school after failing the educational test twice, are sentenced to 6 months in prison and a 7,500 euro fine.

Homeschooling: an education that comes at a price

If the instruction does not necessarily have to respect the National Education program, it should nevertheless allow each young person to obtain the knowledge that corresponds to his level. To help them in their mission, parents have access to numerous online resources such as those published by CNED, Les Cours Legendre, Cours Sainte-Anne, École Ker Lann… Useful documents… but costly. Estimate between 900 and 2250 euros for all the necessary documents for a complete education depending on the level of the child at Cours Legendre. At CNED, fees range from 800 to 1050 euros per year. As for Cours Saint-Anne, prices range from more than 800 euros in primary school to nearly 2,000 euros in high school.

Montessori, Freinet, Steiner… The rise of alternative pedagogy

Homeschooling is an opportunity for many parents to practice alternative pedagogy. Different methods from the classical school. Among the most popular is the Montessori method, a technique based on the child’s free choice in the activities he wants to practice. The experience of things and the child’s autonomy are the two strong values ​​of this pedagogy. Freinet methods are also based on the autonomy and freedom of the child. Collaborative work is central and the relationship between teacher and student, unlike the Montessori method, is less hierarchical than possible, all decisions are made in the form of a class council. Finally, Steiner-Waldorf type pedagogies, more focused on artistic learning through drawing or dance. Knowing two foreign languages, from CP, is also important, as well as the learner’s autonomy and his sense of cooperation.

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