Life Style

What drives families to home school

Ylang speaks with ease. No, she doesn’t plan on going to school before high school. Yes, she enjoys his way of life. “I work on several subjects every day, I learn at my own pace. “ At 12, she was one of 62,000 home-educated children. A number that continues to climb and concerns the executive.

→ DEBATE. Separatism: should home education be limited?

“Scottish, I wanted to give my children a bilingual education, but we could not have paid for the American high school”, says Ninon, Ylang’s mother, who supports: “Family instruction makes it possible to adapt to each type of intelligence: visual, auditory, logical-mathematical …” Where the teacher, alone in front of 25 students, inevitably has more difficulty in taking into account the needs of each one.

Home education, “a lifeline”

Systematically, families opting for home education thus invoke the development of the child. “We wanted to preserve the creativity of our 11 year old daughter”, explains David, convinced that spending the day at school would prevent him from progressing quickly in singing and cello. “She will one day be a musician or an artist”, anticipates this entrepreneur, who adapts his schedule to educate the young girl.

David is convinced that at school his daughter would be bored, or even experience the failure he himself experienced as a child. “A psychiatrist had concluded that the intelligence was above average. I was just not in the right frame ”, tells the one who, then, obtained a doctorate in theology. A high-potential profile that the school is starting to take better care of. For others, like Christelle, mother of an autistic teenager, home education is “A lifeline, a middle ground between the school, unsuitable, and a medico-educational institute, insufficiently stimulating”.

Thus, the arguments in favor of home schooling are numerous and often intertwined. “My husband is a doctor, I am a nurse, we do night and weekend shifts. We wanted to continue to see our children ”, says Adeline. Which also evokes the worries of motor skills and coordination of the hands in one of his sons. “He could read at 5 years old but is lagging behind in other areas. This allows him to move forward at his own pace. “

“Some are rich, others live with an RSA”

Adeline is part of the association “Children first”, bringing together families “From all walks of life” practicing home instruction. “Some are rich, others live with an RSA”, she emphasizes. Behind the diversity, there are frequent common points: “A fairly high level of studies, an ecological sensitivity or the idea that the child should not skip the steps on the road to autonomy”, she quotes. Many also present a “Distrust” towards the school: “They saw their unhappy child there. Or else the teachers gave them a devaluing image of their mode of education. “

→ TRIBUNE. Home schooling, when republican inclusion justifies parental separatism

Daughter and granddaughter of a schoolteacher, Adeline did not know these “Bruises”. On the other hand, she who attended her schooling in a working-class neighborhood “With a lot of diversity, a lot of sharing” understands that many parents are giving up sending their children to school in areas that are now empty of the middle classes. In 2015, in Montpellier, in the Petit Bard district, mothers demonstrated to demand social and educational diversity at college. Without success. “Since then, some families in the neighborhood have dropped their children out of school, for fear that the school will pull them down., tells a Muslim chaplain. All are Muslim. But their main motivation has nothing to do with religion. “

The religious factor

Religion is thus one factor among others, very secondary, for Lucie, mother of two children and convert to Islam: “Religion is part of our way of life. But we opted for family education because my eldest daughter is very reserved and I did not feel that she was ready to go to school. Arabic, we teach it as we also teach English, as a foreign language. As a Montessori educator and trainer, I also wanted to apply pedagogical principles that are close to my heart. “

Abdeleaali, too, has a keen interest in education. His four children have for some attended public school, a Muslim school, a Protestant college: “I think I found the right educational mix: family education, mosque, recreation center, scouting”, assures the one who also highlights the precocity of one of his sons, who, knowing how to read at the age of 4, was bored in class. “But the secular nature of public school also weighed”, he agrees. With an incident during a breakfast organized in kindergarten: “The teacher deprived my son of a snack because he had recited the equivalent of a blessing”, remembers the one who aims to create a private multi-faith school. “Certain conservative families, Muslim or not, and in which I do not recognize myself, opt for home education because they consider public school too liberal in terms of morals, the mix of boys and girls, discipline “, observes Abdeleaali.

Should we speak of “separatism”? “In the reports drafted by the town halls or the national education, it happens that the controllers express, often half-heartedly, a concern about the strict relationship of parents to religion or their position vis-à-vis the values republican ”, notes Philippe Bongrand, lecturer at Cergy Paris University. But it’s only about “A few cases out of hundreds”.

Parents fear the amalgam

The risk is that of amalgamation, Ninon chokes. “Before, we were passed off as cult members. Now for terrorists! “ Nathalie, five children educated at home and become for some engineers or doctor, also regrets that situations “Marginal” do not lead to limiting the freedom of education. “The social doctrine of the Church is based on subsidiarity. The people who are closest to the child are the best able to know what is good for him! “, she believes.

→ INVESTIGATION. End of home schooling: an attack on fundamental freedoms?

At the risk of seeing the child “Locked in a harmful dependence on his parents, hampered in his necessary confrontation with the outside world”, as the psychologist and family therapist Élisabeth Darchis points out? “There are many associations, groups of parents, which offer outings. We take the opportunity to meet in the park, have a picnic together. The opportunity to meet very different parents, assures Nathalie, from the veiled mother to anarchist punk! “


A growing phenomenon

Out of 12 million students62,000 were educated at home at the start of the school year, including more than 45,000 outside the “regulated Cned”, which, for example, allows sick students to follow the program at a distance free of charge.

This figure is up 73% compared to 2018-2019. But it includes the 17,000 children aged 3 to 5, now affected by the compulsory education. In the 2000s, with a less precise statistical tool, there were 5,000 children educated at home.

For researcher Philippe Bongrand, this success can be explained by greater media coverage and the creation of parent groups on the Internet. The lockdown also led families to test homeschooling, while the epidemic may have dissuaded sending their child back to class.


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