Just recently, we received our convocation requiring our presence at our yearly homeschool harassment, I mean inspection. Contrary to previous years, we will not be inspected in our schoolroom. Instead, using the excuse of the moment (we’re all sick and we’re all gonna die!), we are required to go to the administrative offices of the Education Nationale in Calais. This is my open letter in response to the continued harassment we have suffered as homeschoolers who require oxygen to live.
An Open Letter to the Education Nationale re: Homeschool Harassment
Dear Education Minister & Agents of the State,
We know that these inspections are political and have nothing to do with the well-being of our children or to find out what they really know. If it was about their education, you would make the effort to let them reveal that knowledge using the methods of Charlotte Mason (our chosen pedagogy) as stipulated in the law.
We informed the inspector of this method of education during our first inspection in 2016. I have pointed the way to the website where our entire curriculum can be viewed first-hand. I’ve even created a chart simplifying (as much is possible) the Charlotte Mason method.
No attempt has ever been made to meet my children at this level. In fact, they have never even looked at the work my children have completed.
Second, they would be questioned part of the time in English, their natural language. At least in the first years of their instruction. This is especially true for those under seven years old. You would never conduct an entire test in English to a French child in order to find out their knowledge base. Even if that child started learning English as their 2nd language from a young age.
These tests are nothing more than ways to trick my children into revealing what they don’t know as opposed to finding out what they really do know. It does not allow for each child’s strength to show. Instead it focuses on and reveals their weaknesses.
This is a detriment to the self-confidence necessary to encourage children to learn. Or to even want to learn. And this is an important part of the education process and (once again) an important part of the Charlotte Mason pedagogy which by law you are required to respect.
As my children grow older, they are better able to communicate in French. This is the goal, is it not? Since they are in my care until the age of majority, it should not matter that at 6, 8, even 12 years old, they are not at the same level in French as their peers.
Yet they are tested and judged (yes, judged) by these standards. They have the cards stacked against them before they even step through the door. Are they to be penalized because of the place of birth and native language of their mother? Their primary caregiver?
I say judged because that is exactly what it is. You cannot tell me otherwise when the results of your questions will end in either approval or disapproval. That is the very definition of to judge.
To top it all off, this year they are being interrogated (I do not use this word lightly as this is how it feels to a child) by a group of adults who are covering half their face. This dehumanizes them, gives them a scary, faceless quality. While at the same time it muffles and distorts the sound making it more difficult to understand.
And it obstructs all possibility to infer meaning through facial expression which is a necessary part of communication. Especially for non-native speakers.
Restriction of Liberties
The current administration is attempting to restrict my liberties once again in the name of the values of the Republic. I’m forced to question whether France retains any of the values they are trying to require of me and my children.
Where is the liberty when I am forced to put things on my body without question and even against my own better judgment?
Where is the liberty when I no longer have a choice in how I educate my children? But instead I must bow to authority without question and against my own better judgment.
Where is the equality when my children are forced to undergo over an hour of questions using a method they do not know, by people they do not know, in a language that is not native? While children of the same age in schools are only questioned about those things they have learned. By the teachers they know. In their native language.
Where is the brotherhood when you do everything to make us feel apart/ separated by masks that obstruct our humanity? And social distancing that doesn’t allow normal human interaction?
What we have instead is liberty EXCEPT when the government decides you don’t need it. Equality EXCEPT among certain groups of people. Brotherhood EXCEPT when it is deemed unsafe by that same small group of people in the government.
These are not the values of the French Republic I made a conscious decision to join when I moved to France in 2006 and took the Civics classes to receive my carte de séjour.
Tyrannical Values = Homeschool Harassment
These are instead the values of a dictatorship that has nothing to do with the protection of our rights. These are the values of a tyranny that uses the excuse that they are protecting our lives. An excuse that is impossible to execute when I could be hit by a car crossing the street in front of my house (something that really happened to me).
When personal responsibility is denied, liberty can no longer exist. And if liberty no longer exists, the values of the Republic have already been compromised.
So be honest, call it like it is. I am bringing my children to an inspection by a tyrannical government that does not have the best interests of my children in mind.
They have an agenda that does not wish for my children to live by the values of the Republic.
Their agenda merely wants to judge for itself the capabilities of my children to fall in line with the führer and do as they are told without question. Anything else is unacceptable and will be deemed as such.
They do not want free thinkers. Critical thinkers. Otherwise the educational system would not judge them according to cycles and require a retainment of only certain information. They would not require every child to learn the exact same thing at the exact same time across the nation and in every school.
Homeschooling or any alternative education would be celebrated not “controlled” using the exact same system and at the exact same ages. Children who are different would not be singled out as such and made to feel inadequate when they don’t live up to those self-proclaimed standards.
And if this is really about protecting our health and to follow health measures, we would not be going to an administrative building where hundreds of people are coming and going daily. Instead, they would work with us to find ways of keeping our children safe.
In fact, if it was really so dangerous, we would be given the opportunity to conduct the inspection over the internet where masks, social distancing, and sanitary measures would not be necessary.
You are making the education of my child political. I just want them to learn in a happy, safe environment so that they can become productive members of society.
You want to control their education: what they learn, how they learn, and who they learn with. I want them to control their own education. And I want them to learn how to do that in a respectful environment.
A concerned parent tired of government bullies