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Hello, My family and I have bought land in France and we are moving next summer.

My children are 10 and 8 years old.
Their first language is Welsh as they go to a welsh school.

However my husband and I don't speak welsh.

With my eldest child going to Comprehensive school September 2018, I would'nt want to just put her in a French school, if she was younger I would. But with Welsh being her first language, it would be difficult enough for her to make the transition over to English, let alone French.
Hence the decision to Home school.

I wonder if anyone else from the UK has done this?
If so maybe you could help with these questions:

When it comes to sitting exams, can they take them back in the UK?
If they sit their exams in France, will they be in French?

I've also read the following:

"Children being home schooled are expected to attain the same levels as those in mainstream education (including in French language, which can be difficult to achieve in an Anglophone household where a child does not necessarily have extensive day-to-day contact with native French speakers) and inspections are rigorous".

We will include French in their lessons, and we plan to make sure they are involved in after school activities and the community, where they will regularly interact with other French children to improve their French.

But I'm not confident they will be able to take exams in French? Which is why I wondered if travelling back to the UK for the exams would be ok?

Suggestions and your experiences welcome! :)

Thanks
 

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This is the Service Public page on home schooling: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F23429

As far as "sitting exams" - are you talking about A levels and O levels and such (i.e. the bac here in France)? Because unless you're contending that you'll only be living "temporarily" in France, I think they may insist that your children follow the French academic program.

There is a national organization for parent who are home schooling. They may be able to help with some of your questions: Les enfants d'abord – Instruction en famille | LED'A est une association de familles pratiquant l'instruction en famille en France
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum.
Yes, we did some home schooling at primary school level but with our French children mainly in French and we had no exams to worry about.
The official way to do it is via the CNED based next to the Futuroscope at Poitiers but they're out of date and astonishingly expensive.
However they take care of exams and correct all schoolwork in French only. Sounds like that's not what you're looking for anyway.

As far as I know, all exams in France are in French. As for passing exams in the UK it must be possible, just register in due time.
You'll certainly be familiar with "education otherwise" who have a forum and loads of info for UK home schoolers and surely some stuff for continental europe too:
https://educationotherwise.org/

Your rights and your duties: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F23429

Why do exams always arrive just when we most need the young ones to help in the garden?
 

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Welcome to our forum.

It's not clear to me if the original poster is moving long term to France or not. Ifthe move is permanent then it's really essential that the children enter the French education system. By all means have some form of "bridging" if the the long term future is in the UK.


Two comments on the wider context here. I'm not trying to be negative or aggresive.

1. I'm against homeschooling on the basis that it will not usually teach children how to mix with others, stand in a straight line. etc. It's difficult to teach team working in a HS environmrent?

2. I think it's grossly irresponsible to teach children an extremely minority language as their first language. I've lived in Catalonia and you find the same inane arguements in favour of Catalan as Welsh. These languages or not found very often in places where it counts.....business, politics , law, medicine and academia. Chinese would be much more useful in the 21 century? By all means spend 1 hour per week learning the local language...but not more. We want our children to grow up to be employable young adults?

DejW

Hello, My family and I have bought land in France and we are moving next summer.

My children are 10 and 8 years old.
Their first language is Welsh as they go to a welsh school.

However my husband and I don't speak welsh.

With my eldest child going to Comprehensive school September 2018, I would'nt want to just put her in a French school, if she was younger I would. But with Welsh being her first language, it would be difficult enough for her to make the transition over to English, let alone French.
Hence the decision to Home school.

I wonder if anyone else from the UK has done this?
If so maybe you could help with these questions:

When it comes to sitting exams, can they take them back in the UK?
If they sit their exams in France, will they be in French?

I've also read the following:

"Children being home schooled are expected to attain the same levels as those in mainstream education (including in French language, which can be difficult to achieve in an Anglophone household where a child does not necessarily have extensive day-to-day contact with native French speakers) and inspections are rigorous".

We will include French in their lessons, and we plan to make sure they are involved in after school activities and the community, where they will regularly interact with other French children to improve their French.

But I'm not confident they will be able to take exams in French? Which is why I wondered if travelling back to the UK for the exams would be ok?

Suggestions and your experiences welcome! :)

Thanks
 

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I think it's grossly irresponsible to teach children an extremely minority language as their first language. I've lived in Catalonia and you find the same inane arguements in favour of Catalan as Welsh. These languages or not found very often in places where it counts.....business, politics , law, medicine and academia. Chinese would be much more useful in the 21 century? By all means spend 1 hour per week learning the local language...but not more. We want our children to grow up to be employable young adults?

DejW
I know what you're saying DejW but I came here from Welsh Wales, and from what I saw, whilst Welsh is the first language it doesn't mean the kids have problems in communicating in English - they seem to turn out bilingual rather than Welsh first and English a poor second. I'm a bit surprised that the OP is so concerned about their ability to function in English especially if they speak English at home.
(A second point is that for any kind of public service job in Wales, being a Welsh speaker is a sine qua non, and in some places it is essential in practice to get any job at all, but that's going off topic here...)

But I totally agree with you that the decision on education now, has to be taken with the longer term in view. Obviously you can't have a kid's future all mapped out at the age of 10 but the likely options need to be kept open. Are they academically inclined or do they like getting covered in grease and glue and taking things to bits to see how they work, is there a particular subject they get top marks in, are they likely to want to follow in Dad or Mum's footsteps.

And I also agree with you on the mixing with other kids issue. Even though the OP plans to get them involved in after school activities, if a child doesn't share the day to day experience of their peers they won't be on the same wavelength and they risk feeling isolated, even without any language barrier.

Of course it all depends whether the move is to a city or a rural area, there was a thread on here a while back when someone explained that in some places there are homeschooling play groups organised where parents take their kids so that they do get used to interacting in a group environment, but I don't see that being an available option in rural Brittany for instance.

My family and I have bought land in France and we are moving next summer.
I hope there's a dwelling on it :D On first reading, a mental vision of tents and camp fires flashed uninvited into my mind...
 

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Good points, ET - one other thing leaps to mind here: it might do to familiarize ones self with how "after school" activities are organized here in France. Given the rather long school day, aren't most extracurricular things more likely to happen on Wednesdays? Plus, starting this year, some schools are opting for a 4 day school week vs. the 4 1/2 day school week - so either Wednesday afternoons or all day Wednesday, depending on the area.

I know where we are, it seems that all the activities for kids are organized through the school/town and I'm not sure how that would work for kids being home schooled. (Though I did see that you'd be subject to annual inspection by the rectorat and every two years by the mairie - so one would think you could take advantage of the local Wednesday activities, and may even be encouraged to do so.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Plus, starting this year, some schools are opting for a 4 day school week vs. the 4 1/2 day school week - so either Wednesday afternoons or all day Wednesday, depending on the area.
Yes I had my hair coiffed this morning and that was the big topic of conversation at the hairdressers :D A customer had brought her little boy in, he was being all shy and then he was asked whether he liked not having to go to school on Wednesday and his little face lit up with the biggest smile and he started giggling, so cute.

The CAF website also has good information about the obligations for home schooling
L’école, c’est aussi Ã* la maison | caf.fr
The inference from CAF's point of view seems to be that home schooling is perfectly fine just as long as you have all the official certificates to prove that the legal obligations are being met, but if don't, you're not entitled to any family benefits.
 

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You do not say where you are going to be living in France but if by any chance it is Brittany there are bilingual French/Breton schools and as Welsh is very similar to Breton they will pick it up easily However all the public exams are in French apart from the language ones obviously Google école Diwan
Again like others I will be devils advocate From what I have gleaned you will be living in the French countryside This is nothing like the Welsh or UK countryside You will be travelling some distance for basic amenities and social activities If you home school how are your children going to socialise if they do not have a working knowledge of French And the best way to learn it as a child is to intreract every day with French speakers If they do not form peer groups and friends they will become incredibly isolated Would you want to be a hormonal 14 year old living in the middle of nowhere with no friends and only your parents for company 24/7.Then of course there is the question of the childrens future In order to get further and higher education they will need French To have a professional training they will need French Even if they take UK exams will any of these be recognised in France or the EU after Brexit.And lastly how will you make a living?You will need as much money in France as in the UK to live plus there is the question of healthcare to consider and the generally higher level of deductions from pay in France But so saying France will offer a better quality of life if you can overcome these hurdles but it needs everyone in the family to be committed to the move Best of luck
 

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As an ex secondary school teacher who regularly had 11 different nationalities of pupils in her UK classes of 30 or so kids, I think I've picked up a fair bit of experience over the years regarding foreign children settlng into schools.

1, You know you will all be coming next year, could you not all have some lessons in the interim, and practise speaking French at home? That way by the time you come over you should all know the basics for daily life which woulld make settling into a school so much easier.

2, A number of my former pupils had only very basic levels of English when they arrived but they succeeded despite the additional difficulties of having to adjust to different alphabets and scripts. Provided your children are of average ability, or better, they will adjust. It really depends on their willingness to learn.

3. My non-European students were not held back in maths, sports , music or other foreign languages to name but a few subjects. Obviously yours will also expect to get decent marks in English lessons which they will be expected to attend along with the others.

4. Your children will need to be armed with dictionaries etc. buy some in the UK as they will not feel cool looking at books for 6 year olds, and regular hypermarket shelves don't seem to do anything for French as a foreign language.

5, Pay for the children to have their own ways of accessing the internet so that they can get instant translations and help when they arrive. I very much doubt they will be allowed to have them as reference tools in class but at home, with the right controls set, these should help enormously, especially when they get to the stage that they think they know the answer and just want to check.

As others have said attending school here will, in due course, have some very positive outcomes for the children.
 

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OP, I'll weigh in with a few observations.

You've already been told about the legal requirements around home schooling in France.

The good news is that children who are already bilingual have an advantage when learning a third language - there have been lots of studies on this dating back to the 1960s.

For your children to take public exams such as GCSE's in the UK, you will have to find an examination centre that will take them as "private candidates". You may be able to research them through the exam boards websites or through the Pearson website.

Two possible problems... 1) will the exam centres accept a candidate with a non-UK address who is not studying at an international school? 2) what if the course involves controlled assessments throughout its duration?

If you can find a suitable exam centre and suitable courses, you will then have to tutor your children in line with the corresponding syllabus.

The other major sticking point may be your status, and that of your children, after March 2019.
 

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I know where we are, it seems that all the activities for kids are organized through the school/town and I'm not sure how that would work for kids being home schooled. (Though I did see that you'd be subject to annual inspection by the rectorat and every two years by the mairie - so one would think you could take advantage of the local Wednesday activities, and may even be encouraged to do so.)
Here, in Brittany is an active homeschooling community. And yes, there are Breton-French school nearly everywhere. The one around Rennes is large and very active -
though we are not in Rennes, I met quite a few homeschooling families in Finistere -
as I am taking care of my little one and am out during the school days. Afterschool activities are usually Saturdays and Wednesdays, though Music classes can be on other weekdays. My children (7, 5 and 1) are polyglots, well at least the 2 older ones, the smallest does not talk yet. The older ones attend the French school. We considered homeschooling as well, but we wanted them to make friends, and most kids do go to school, and learn French, and the fastest way is full immersion. They were evaluated in English to pick the right level for them, and off they went. There were lots of tears and stressfull weeks (months?) initially, it was not easy for them to go full day to a school, where they did not speak the language. There was confusion, misunderstandings. But they both have made friends, and speak French fluently after a year (and there German has a French accent now!) They were welcomed by kind and knowledgable teachers who helped them adjust. As neither one of us parents speak French as a mother tongue, there French will most likely always be behind there peers, so it is important to keep up with their other languages. We are keeping up with the children's English, German and other languages ate home and encourage weekly letters, phonecalls and emails to friends and family back home. Movies and books, are also widely available.

I found, that although homeschooling is legal and communities exist, they are small compared to what I knew from the US. It is just not as common to homeschool your child in France as in the anglophone countries.

Regarding books - ereader are great! They come with dictionaries and you can get books in any which language! Both my sons read and love them! Also, the libraries around here carry foreign language books, even English (and lots of Breton) children's books. This is also a good place to get some French comics, which might ease the kids into the language as well.
 

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A family with children in a school I worked I withdrew their children for a year to homeschool them. Withdraw is a very apt word, the two bright characterful children withdrew into their shells and when they did return to school they were shadows of their former selves. Their mother was a qualified teacher and they continued attending evening activities and sports clubs with their former classmates but socially they were shot away. It was a real eye opener for me and to consider homeschooling when if you are starting a new life in a foreign country with a new language is, to me, like tying lead boots to your children's feet. Put them in your local school and give them every chance to make the most of their exciting new life in a France. Please.
 
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