An Innovative Sociography of Home Education – SociogrIEF
By « IEF » (« instruction en famille ») we refer to the French families who legally declare that they home educate (or homeschool : in English too there are different ways to name the phenomenon) their children who are between 6 and 16, that is to say within the age of compulsory education.
Though IEF remains a very marginal phenomenon, dealing with about 0,3% of a generation, it is currently developing: it doubled in less than ten years. It is also raising interest, especially from the media, and even concern from the public authorities.
Our knowledge about this phenomenon is however extremely lacunar. If there are testimonies, press articles or scattered administrative data, no rigorous and systematic statistical description makes it possible to draw up an overall picture. While the accumulation of examples certainly convinces of the great diversity of the socio-demographic characteristics, motivations and pedagogical practices of the families, to date nothing makes it possible to estimate the statistical distribution of the families between socio-demographic categories, nor between pedagogical approaches.
In the context of such a lack of data, the scope of the (very rare) studies currently available on the IEF is uncertain. Our research project SociogrIEF brings together researchers who have experienced this lack while leading their own (pioneering in France) research on the IEF.
The team's central, but not unique, goal is to produce and to analyze a statistical database, in order to create a rigorous and innovative picture of these families who educate without school (work package 1). The project here relies primarily on the currently least deficient source : the files gathered by the administrations responsible for controlling home education about each home educated child.
The construction of this statistical database is linked with four qualitative research, mainly led through interviews and observation (work packages 2 to 5). The statistical data will be constructed according to categories that these qualitative researches will make it possible to establish, and conversely, the quantitative survey will make it possible to characterize the originalities of the field research monographs.
Who of these four qualitative researches focus on the State inspectors who control IEF : one research deals with their relationship to gender and social classes ; another deal with the techniques and knowledge they build and use to control IEF famililes. Both other qualitative researches focus on families : one is devoted to the study of their relationship to public education and to state authorities; the last one focus on teaching practices.
SociogrIEF therefore aims not only to produce an instrument (statistical data base) that will enforce and foster possible future research, but also to show how fruitful is this very unknown research field.
At the crossroads of educational sciences, sociology, political science, linguistics and philosophy, SociogrIEF offers an empirical ground and a theoretical frame that are original in the international field of work on homeschooling.
Monsieur Philippe Bongrand (ECOLE, MUTATIONS, APPRENTISSAGES - EA 4507)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
EMA ECOLE, MUTATIONS, APPRENTISSAGES - EA 4507
Help of the ANR 86,292 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2019 - 42 Months