Seated at a large table, Andrea, 11, dictates to her older sister Alicia, 14, who obediently follows. Nine-year-old Nathan is lying on the couch staring at his cell phone. He’s not playing, he’s improving his German. Ten years ago, Deborah Mosto-Lutolf took her children out of school to home-school them in the heights of Lausanne. The youngest, 3-year-old Talia, who flips through a children’s magazine, must follow the path of her brothers and sister. “At first we thought we’d get the kids back to school one day, but as the years go by and seeing them so accomplished, the idea always seems more incredible,” explains the mother-teacher.
A possibility that the canton of Vaux may impose on him as he plans to tighten the screw: although today he is one of the most authoritative on the matter, Vaux may in the future claim the title of teaching homeschooling parents, as is the case in Friborg and Valais. Vodoa’s current tolerance attracts families far and wide. “A certain form of tourism became necessary,” confirms Deborah Mosto-Lutolf. Of the approximately 1,400 children who are homeschooled in Switzerland, nearly 600 are small Vaudois.
Read Cesla Amarelle’s interview:
Boredom and worries
For our host family, homeschooling was not immediately obvious. While the eldest daughter looked forward to entering kindergarten, she quickly became disappointed. “She was bored in class, anxious and skipping classes,” says Deborah Mosto-Lutolf, who had just given birth to her second baby. The girl is diagnosed with high potential (HP). Faced with this dire situation, the parents first enrolled him in a private school before discovering homeschooling through friends. During the demonstrations of this alternative pedagogy, the mother and the children become engrossed in the game. Score ten years later: Alicia, the former school phobia, does theatrical improvisation, archery and joins the young people of the Conseil of Lausanne. Thinking about getting a federal baccalaureate, self-taught.
At the end of the 2nd kindergarten, Andrea wanted to go to home school like her sister. Once shy, the boy is now not afraid to speak up, his mother explains. He is a goalkeeper for the Mosquitoes of the Lausanne Hockey Club. Nathan, the youngest son, followed the path of his elders. Normal schooling seemed difficult for him due to severe dyspraxia (pathological clumsiness) and behavioral deficits.
According to their mother, who has worked for a long time in the field of multiple disabilities and created the group “Ecole à la maison Suisse romande” on Facebook, 60% of the families who follow home schooling have children with school phobia or cognitive impairment. The rest comes from conviction: more flexibility, freedom and a better quality of life. According to the training department, these families are far from all wounds, but they have very diverse profiles. They often live in the countryside to meet ideal comfort, but also due to economic necessity, such as when one of the parents is not working. Like our teacher mom who helps her husband grow his ski rental business from home but has no income.
This Vaudois, who grew up in Verchaise-le-Blanc, in the heights of Lausanne, admits that maintaining a frame is not always easy. The morning, “usually from 9am”, is usually devoted to “formal” teaching. Afternoons are time for outdoor activities or games in the large family garden.
But there is no teacher-student hierarchy here, parents are most of the time guided by the interests of their offspring. “Because of her hypersensitivity, Alicia for a long time did not want to know anything about the world wars, so we approached other eras,” illustrates Deborah Mosto-Lutolf. Do I give in to whims? “I dot the ‘i’ when necessary and enforce exercise,” she replies.
The mother-teacher believes that her children do better on their own than other young people and create their own routines. Like every day, Nathan practices writing before conjugating verbs under his mother’s watchful eye. As for the eldest, she is “very independent” and often revises on her own. Alicia reacted strongly to the less socializing image of homeschooling. “That’s what we hear all the time, but it’s not true. On the contrary, she has “real friends,” and some follow public education.
Is the school level equal to that of ‘normal’ children in school? Canton noted that it was “a little lower overall.” Deborah Mosto-Lutolf answers that some delays can be made up and that “cooking, budgeting, distinguishing good news from bad, planning a trip by studying the geography of the country are equally important skills and that children develop more at home than in the public school.
In the canton of Vaud, the only requirements are to follow the Romand curriculum and take the cantonal reference exams every two years. An inspector visits the families annually to assess the level of education. The latter help each other according to the possibilities of each parent and organize common courses.
An end to Vaughn’s slackness
Practicing families home schooling are worried about the state’s intentions, fearing that it will “judge a reality it ignores” based on “the few non-working cases”. “We are not against the government or the extremists, we do not live in the forest, assures Deborah Mosto-Lutolf. Homeschooling isn’t a threat to public education, it’s a lifeline for some kids.