Desk tidyIf you’re worried about how your child is coping at school, perhaps home schooling is the answer. Stephanie Dagg, who has homeschooled her own daughter, explains how it works…

Homeschooling can be a very attractive option for non-Francophone families coming to France, especially if the children have no French at all and you are worried about throwing them in at the deep end at the local school.

Of course, that is not the only reason people opt for homeschooling. Dissatisfaction with educational standards at schools or worries about safety are also common reasons for people opting for this choice.

I was a registered homeschooler in Ireland when my family moved to France. Educating my daughter at home was incredibly rewarding for us both, although admittedly it took a lot of time and effort to organise and manage successfully.

Homeschooling is perfectly legal, but you must register annually with your local mairie and the school inspectorate of your region. You will also be subject to annual inspections if you are teaching children between the ages of six and 16.

Two consecutive unsatisfactory outcomes of these inspections can mean you will have to send your children to a mainstream school. These inspections can be avoided if you follow recognised French correspondence courses.

While you are free to teach your children in any way you like, they must attain a comparable level of education to their peers in mainstream education. The subjects that must be covered are:

• Written and spoken French
• French literature
• Maths
• At least one foreign language
• French, European and world history and geography
• Basic science and technology
• Art
• PE

Your child must demonstrate that they can:

• Ask questions
• Make deductions from their own observations and documents
• Be able to reason
• Generate ideas, be creative and produce finished work
• Use computers
• Use resources sensibly
• Evaluate risks

There are around 500 families homeschooling their children in France. That may seem a very small number, but they are very organized and vocal. One support group is Les Enfants d’Abord (French and English). Another useful contact group is Choisir Instruire Son Enfant (CISE) – this website is in French only.

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