Home Schooling

Homeschooling: How Does It Work? – 16/02/2021 at 8:30 a.m


62,000 students are educated in France every year. Photo credit: Sushiman/Shutterstock / Sushiman

With a law strengthening republican principles being debated in parliament, many parents fear it will now become more difficult to teach their children at home. Today’s home education 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 strengthening home education

Homeschoolers have concerns. Article 21 of the draft law, which confirms republican principles, plans to subject home instruction to authorization. This method of education has gained momentum in recent years. According to the Ministry of National Education, 62,000 students will be homeschooled in 2020, compared to 41,000 in 2019 and 30 to 35,000 in 2017. If the text is voted on as it is, parents will have to get a permit limited to one school year issued by the Ministry of National Education and no longer make a simple declaration at the Town Hall and the Academic Directorate of the Departmental Services of National Education (Dasen).

School at home: already a regulated system

Homeschooling is already highly regulated. In addition to the announcement at the beginning of the school year, the inspector carries out at least one individual inspection of the child every year from the 3rd month after the notification from 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 inspection. However, the date and place of the inspection may not necessarily be announced to the family,” the texts specify. The child performs the exercises there, and if the results are bad, a second check is organized. In case of further failure, Dasen may ask parents to enroll their children in the school within 15 days of notification.

There are other sanctions. Therefore, if the choice of home education is not reported to the state services, the family faces a fine of 1,500 euros. People who refuse to enroll their child in school after he fails the educational test twice face a 6-month prison sentence and a fine of 7,500 euros.

School at home: an education that has a price

However, if teaching does not necessarily have to respect the national education program, it must enable each young person to acquire knowledge corresponding 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 expensive. Expect between 900 and 2,250 euros for all the documents needed for a complete education, depending on the level of the child at the Cours Legendre. In CNED, rates range from 800 to 1,050 euros per year. As for Cours Saint-Anne, prices range from more than 800 euros in elementary school to almost 2,000 euros in high school.

Montessori, Freinet, Steiner… The rise of alternative pedagogies

For many parents, home education is an opportunity to put alternative pedagogy into practice. Various 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 two strong values ​​of this pedagogy. Freinet’s methods are also based on the autonomy and freedom of the child. In the center, there is cooperative work and the relationship between the teacher and the student, unlike the Montessori method, is the least hierarchical, 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. The knowledge of two foreign languages ​​from CP, the student’s independence and his sense of cooperation are also important.

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