How to Homeschool in France

how to homeschool in France

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Important Update

To find out what new proposal is in the works for homeschool families in France, please see my post Homeschooling in France is in Danger?

There is a lot of information out there about how to homeschool in the United States. One of the best resources is the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) which has compiled all the legal information necessary to homeschool in each of the 50 states. There are also a large number of websites and blogs dedicated to homeschooling in the United States. But learning how to homeschool in France is much more difficult.

The American sites have information about different styles, methods, curriculum, and resources. You can find tools to help you on your journey that are both paid and free. This plethora of information can seem daunting at the beginning but it can be extremely helpful when just starting out. It gives every person the ability to make their own decision about how to educate their children.

Because the popularity of homeschooling is relatively new in France, the number of sites is much less. So learning how to homeschool in France takes more digging. Especially when you consider that the laws and regulations have been changing on a yearly basis.

French Homeschooling Associations

There are, of course, the usual homeschool associations. But they are often small, run by volunteers and not nearly as organized as the HSLDA. Some of the better known are Les Enfants D’Abord (LED’A) of which I am a member, Libres d’Apprendre et d’Instruire Autrement (LAIA), Choisir d’Instruire Son Enfant (CISE), Parents Instructeurs de France (PIF), Union Nationale pour l’Instruction et l’Epanouissement (UNIE), a group called Collect’IEF and a website Le Portail de l’Instruction En Famille. These websites direct you in the legal requirements of homeschooling with links to some resources like films and articles about homeschooling or testimonials from current homeschooling families.

I highly recommend joining an association of some sort while homeschooling in France. There have been frequent abuses by the inspectors who often have low opinions of homeschoolers. Especially if you are not following the state-sanctioned program.

The biggest difficulty comes in choosing what method to use or “how to” homeschool. I was lucky to be able to do searches in English and finally come across a style that resonates with our family, that of using the Charlotte Mason method. But the French are not as lucky in their information. Most families I know use a mixture of Montessori and the official program of the public school system though this is changing. As the number of families choosing to educate their own children grows, so does the number of different types of schooling.

homeschool in france


Legal Homeschooling Requirements

In order to homeschool, each family must declare their intent to homeschool with the branch of the education department in their region or departement. They must also send a letter to the mayor’s office in their place of residence. These letters must be sent every year, starting the calendar year of the child’s 3rd birthday until their 16th birthday. You can read more about this change in the law in an article I wrote for the HSLDA, Homeschooling Once Again Attacked in New French Law.

Once these letters of intent have been sent, the parent is then free to educate their child in the method of their choosing. This is also in a debate as the government would like to control the progress of each child.

Though the new law wanted to make it mandatory for children to pass each set of skills as proposed by the government at specific cycles or periods of education, happily, this did not happen. However, this does not mean that some inspectors might not base your child’s progress based on that of the current cycles (which I discuss in my post, Simple Guide to the French School System).

Government Visits

The mayor’s office sends a delegate every other year to verify 3 things:

  1. the reasons for homeschooling,
  2. the names and ages of the children,
  3. and any activities the children participate in outside of the home.

They must also verify visually the means of the family to homeschool, ie. a dedicated space for learning, books, pencils, paper, etc.

The inspection by the department of education (l’Education Nationale) takes place yearly and is to verify that there is instruction taking place. This inspection also has 3 parts:

  1.  an interview with the parents concerning their choice of method
  2.  a presentation of the completed work of each child
  3.  exercises in line with the method choices of the parents to verify progression

This is the official version of how these two visits are to play out. The reality is often quite different. I’ve written about my first two inspections in my posts What To Expect When You’re Inspected Part I and Part II.

If you are planning to homeschool in France, I have created some templates for the required letters of intent. You can receive your free copy on the Freebies page. There is also a document which includes a list of all the department addresses.

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16 thoughts on “How to Homeschool in France

  1. hi Bekah
    im not sure if you still active on this site.
    great to read your info, in English
    excuse me, I use a new keypad and understand, nothing……
    Bekah, I wanted to ask you, did you teach your family in English language
    i am from the UK and mu husband is French, we homeschool our 7 ,year old , Akash
    I would like to be free in both languages, however, I am yet to find the laws stating the use of language……
    if you have ANY info it would be most appreciated
    many thanks in advance, lynn

    1. Yes, it is possible to teach in both languages. I teach bilingually myself. And I also teach new concepts first in English (since my children are more comfortable in it) before teaching in French. So they are a bit behind their peers. Not much but enough that it would be a problem if we didn’t make sure the inspectors understood that English is the language my children were raised speaking first. It could potentially be a problem in the future if the government gets its way and requires children to be at a certain level in French. But for the moment it is fine. You can see a little bit more about how I approach it in my post, Bilingual Charlotte Mason Method. I hope this helps! Please feel free to email me with any other questions at

  2. Bekah x thank you so much for your comforting words x sure i will check out your site and keep you posted.
    Good night

  3. Hi there. While doing some research, I stumbled on your blog and homeschooling.
    We live in South Africa, I am French but left France about 23 yrs ago – my partner is South African and speaks zero french.
    We are relocating to France in January and are looking for all options for our daughters aged 3 et 5 (she will be 6 in Jan) and although free shooling in France is appealing, I am not too sure about their systems and whether they would be right for our english speaking girls.. I am more into Waldorf system (my son from a previous marriage did Waldorf and was just great for him). However they aren’t many waldorf schools, especially not in the area we are meant to be moving to.
    Another info is that my girls are not vaccinated (my 5 yrs old had vaccine damage and we have stopped then, so my 3 yrs old is 100% vaxx free) which is an issue in France since they have to be vaccined for school…

    Anyway, so basically, we are looking for options if you could guide us. I would love for them to be home schooled but I work full time and my partner doesnt feel he can handle it (plus he doesnt speak french either and will first have to get that sorted) – do you know if there are any homeschooling cottages in France ? I cant seem to find any info online.

    I would appreciate any guidance you could offer at this stage, we are desperate for some options.

    Many thanks for your blog and support,

    Kind regards

    1. Hi, I’m so glad you were able to find my blog for some help. The best option should you wish your children to remain unvaccinated is to homeschool. There are no homeschooling cottages in France which the law basically forbids. And since your children are English speakers, I assume you would like them to continue to receive education in their native language while learning French. Especially considering that at their age, a second language will either dominate and push out their first language or they will struggle to put the second to use.

      Now, that doesn’t mean that your husband would need to be fluent in French to teach them. There are options. First, you could look into schools that are hors contrat. You may be able to find some that are Waldorf friendly and since they are not technically sanctioned by the government, the girls may not need to be vaccinated to attend. But that would need to be something you ask that particular school. And the government is cracking down on these types of schools so I’m not sure how accessible they would be where you are moving.

      The second option would be to homeschool but sign the girls up for school work through the CNED. This would allow you to keep them home, but they would receive their lessons from a government-sanctioned establishment that would do all the grading and follow-up. Being younger than 6, I don’t imagine the work would be so difficult that your husband either couldn’t help a bit or you would have time to help them on evenings and weekends. If you don’t mind my asking, where are you looking to move? I could try to put out some feelers with my fellow homeschoolers to get you some more advice. You can email me at so we can discuss this more in private. I hope this advice gives you some peace. I know how hard it is to take this step in a country that is not very welcoming to the homeschool mindset. Blessings!

    2. Well done for believing in va((ine injury and stopping all va((. I stopped va((inating my box 10 years ago, at the age of 3 and 1. Much love

      1. Thanks. It’s not a popular decision. But I certainly hope it becomes one. Though with the current push during this latest health event, I’m not so sure. It’s nice to know others out there who have also taken this step. 🙂

  4. Hi Bekah, so glad I came across your website! We moved to France recently and my 6yo started Montessori bilingual school but she is finding the long hours extremely hard to cope with. I am seriously considering homeschooling and like Charlotte Mason teachings. My husband and I work but it doesn’t have to be full time..but I am still concerned about how much time we could teach her. You mentioned CNED in an earlier does this work? We are in Toulon, Var. Thank you for any info!

    1. Homeschooling does not need to take much time at all. In fact, my girls are only working for a maximum of 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. Most days we try to keep it to 3 hours because they are so young still. So it is entirely doable to homeschool and work part-time. CNED is a long-distance learning program run by the Education Nationale. All subjects fall under the official French program and are corrected by French teachers. Though you still have to inform the mayor’s office and the DASEN about your intent to homeschool using CNED, as far as I’m aware, no inspection will take place since all completed work is sent back to the department and is on file. I don’t know how much time is required to complete the schoolwork, but I’m sure it can be managed in less time than the long school days. I hope this helps. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. I can be reached at

      1. Bekka your blog is a wealth of information. I’m so glad I found it. We’re looking into a possible move back to France. We have 6 kids and just finished our 2nd year homeschooling with our 10, 9, and 6 year old. Our 5 year old will be added to the homeschool roster this fall. Our three oldest kids are all on a accelerated learning route with Math, ELA, etc. However they only started Lower beginning French this past year. So the questions I have are this:

        1. If I enroll my oldest 4 kids in CNED will that help them to become more progressive in French with Conversing and writing?

        2. If I enroll my older 4 Kids in CNED , will I still have inspectors popping up in my house intruding into my home? ( This is the LAST thing that I want.

        3. Do we have to vaccinate all of our kids even though we will be homeschooling full time?

        4. Is CNED free or is it a cost based program?

        1. I’m glad you were able to find my blog. I’ll try to help as much as possible. I’m not very familiar with CNED though I do know it is the official distance learning tool of the French government. If you enroll in the CNED with the consent of the DASEN, your children will not have yearly visits and the courses will be free. Generally, the consent is given only to families who can prove that they are unable to enroll their children in a public or private school. You may be able to play the educated-out-of-France card the first year to receive consent.
          However, should you not receive their consent, you can still enroll them in the CNED. The big difference is that not only will you have to pay for each child (ie. 780€ for CP only) but you will have the same yearly inspections (intrusions) that we face. And you will also have to follow the government-mandated program.
          I also don’t know how well it will prepare your children in French. I’ve found that the best way for my children to learn French is to just let them play with other kids and participate in outside activities like music or dance lessons.
          If your children do not go to a public school, there is currently no need to vaccinate. Though technically 11 different vaccines are now required for all children. (I suppose you could find a doctor who is willing to help with the paperwork but I wouldn’t count on it.) For the moment, that paperwork is only required for those children attending regular schools.
          Does this help? Please let me know if you have any other questions. I can also be reached at

  5. Hi so happy I come across your blog I’m in France now for Two years My children have been in a public school but this year I want to change them to homeschooling Online wanted to know if you maybe know if it is possible in France that I apply To a online schooling in uk

    1. You should be able to register them for an online school in the UK without any problems. However, it would still be considered homeschooling by French standards and you would be required to send the letters of intent and have the yearly inspections. You will also need to demonstrate progress in the French language and the ability to communicate in French. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact me at

  6. Dear Bekah, you are an angel!! Thanks a lot for all the information you shared. We are a family of 5 with 3 children 13,10,6. We have to leave Dubai as we lost our job due to the pandemic. We look for a safe, beautiful (if possible affordable) place in Europe to homeschool our children and start all over. We are Germans but don’t have reasons to return there. Would you recommend us moving to France? We have relatives close to Montpellier. Currently the are studying with Wolsey Hall Oxford British homeschooling program. Do you think we can continue that? Very sunny greetings from Dubai. Shirley

    1. Hi Shirley. I personally love France (even if the government leaves something to be desired). Homeschooling is still possible although the requirements seem strict. You should be able to register them with any online program. You would still be considered homeschooling and would need to send the letters of intent with the yearly inspections that come after. But as long as you can demonstrate progression on a yearly basis as well as the ability to communicate in French, you should not have any legal problems. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

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