What homeschooling families in France have feared is indeed happening. It’s not a pretty picture. France is blazing ahead to limit homeschooling.
This plan makes it difficult, if not impossible, for many French families to educate their children at home. It certainly makes it difficult for families to homeschool them as they wish. Or at least it will.
In October 2020, I wrote about the proposed ban to End Homeschooling in France. If you haven’t read that post, please take the time to read it. It gives some decent background about homeschooling in France. As well, it gives the scoop on the proposed homeschool restrictions. Additionally, in that post I share my own views about why a ban or restrictions on homeschooling is a shot in the heart to homeschooling families.
Not to mention, a ban or homeschool restrictions are a threat to the future of France’s children, future career opportunities, and to growing a thriving, competitive economy in an ever-increasing creative and innovative world.
France Tightens Home Schooling Restrictions
France’s anti-separatism bill was proposed last year by French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration “to fight against those who want to undermine secularism.” The goal of the bill: to crack down on Islamic extremism.
Despite little, if any, link between homeschooling in France (and its 63,000 registered homeschoolers in France) and extremism, the proposed bill specifically included homeschooling as a provision aimed at fighting against separatism.
In July, the official draft of the Law was approved in French Parliament. And just this week, homeschooling families in France received crushing news: “French constitutional watchdogs have cleared the path for the new law aimed at countering Islamist extremism,” and homeschooling was not censured.
In a nutshell, the law wasn’t viewed as constitutionally problematic. As in, pas de problème.
Advance Authorization to Homeschool in France
Now, French families will be required to obtain authorization in advance to homeschool.
Until now, families only needed to send a letter of homeschool declaration to the local Marie (the equivalent to the Mayor’s Office or Town Hall) and Regional Educational Authority noting their intent to homeschool.
Requiring and needing to obtain advance homeschool authorization or approval is a marked departure from homeschool declaration.
We’re talking here, Can I please homeschool my child? vs. I will homeschool my child.
For perspective, this is like asking or begging for a cookie vs. saying I’m going to have a cookie. Let’s not kid ourselves here, every parent knows that’s a BIG difference.
Barring discrimination (noted by the constitutional committee) in the granting of authorization, the tightening up of homeschooling laws was effectively given the green light.
Restriction on the Right to Homeschool
A major blow for French families is advance authorization to homeschool. Under this rule, families will have to show their situation meets certain acceptable conditions to homeschool. For example, children engaged in high level sport training or nomadic families might qualify for homeschool authorization. Based on social media chatter, it’s anticipated that receiving authorization will be restrictive and closely regulated.
Keep in mind, homeschooling in France is already subject to strict controls.
France requires homeschoolers to undergo rigorous and often excruciating homeschool inspections (controls) annually, including a home visit by the Marie’s office (initially at time of homeschool declaration, and in subsequent years) and an annual home inspection and student meeting by the governing regional academic authority.
Accordingly, the new homeschool crackdown is a serious tightening of an already restrictive homeschool process.
My Homeschooling Story – l’école à la maison
As I previously explained in my previous post, The End of Homeschooling in France, I’m a long time advocate of homeschooling and mother to four homeschoolers.
Recently, I had the honor of coming to France to launch a business under the President’s awesome Welcome to France Business initiative, a mega effort to make France the World’s Entrepreneurial Leader — and #1 Start Up Nation. Along with me, came my four life-long homeschooled children.
Homeschooling is One of the Best and Most Meaningful Decisions I have Ever Made
Once upon a time, I never thought I would ever consider homeschooling my children, but circumstances led my family to homeschooling. Over the years, it has become well apparent that homeschooling is one of the best and most meaningful decisions I have ever made–for my children and for me.
My children have grown up worldschooling and roadschooling. They are extremely cool, talented, and accomplished humans. They think outside of the box and problem solve like bosses. Oh, they already well-understand that the world’s future requires creative, independent, and open-minded thinking. They are motivated, driven, entrepreneurial-minded, and innovative thinkers.
My children have experienced the world as their classroom. France is a very significant part of their homeschool experience.
It is because of our worldschooling that I fell in love with France. This blog was actually started once upon a time in a tiny AirBNB apartment while on vacation in Paris as a digital journal to document my children’s educational adventures.
I Choose France Because of the Right to Homeschool
It was because France allowed homeschooling that I chose France as the country where I wanted to launch my start-up.
My children’s education is my priority. My children’s education comes before other personal goals. I grew up rocking out to Free to Be You and Me, after all.
So, yes, I believe in freedom of education. This includes the ability to choose which learning model works best for each child. Additionally, it also includes ensuring they have freedom to learn at their own pace and rhythm, and not according to someone else’s (or an institution’s) one size fit’s all model.
I know I share this same priority with many French families.
With families who choose L’Instruction En Famille for their children. Parents who want to continue home schooling their children, not just this school year, but for many years to come. Moms and Dads who dream about homeschooling their children or someday children. And parents who don’t want to just wait for a new administration to come along and make everything okay again.
End of Homeschooling
Curtailing the freedom to homeschool in France is not just a French problem.
It is not just a homeschooler problem.
Throwing homeschooling under the bus and blindly lumping it into legislation against extremism is everyone’s problem.
It sets a dangerous precedent for homeschooling and homeschoolers everywhere. Additionally, it threatens fundamental rights, including the right to educate our children as we wish. This concern extends beyond France. You can read more about my take on this in the End of Homeschooling in France.
Right Here, Right Now
For the children who are dreamers, doers, creative, independent-learners, and out of the box thinkers…
And for the children bullied by students or teachers in schools…
For the children who don’t fit into the the system’s expectations…
For the gifted children schools don’t recognize or can’t understand…
And for the families who want to spend more time with their children before handing them over to someone else to effectively raise…
For anyone who cares about fundamental rights…
Or simply about forward progress…
Let’s hope that the world is wide awake and paying attention.
Homeschooling in France Resources
To learn more about homeschooling rights in France and what you can do, check out:
- Home Educators in France Facebook Group
- Unschooling in France Facebook Group
- IEF (Groupe International Francophone pour l’école à la maison) Facebook Group
- L’Instruction En Famille (IEF) Groups, noted here in this Petition
- Reddit (discussion on Homeschooling Ban in France)
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