May 24, 2022

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Parents for whom school ‘is not that big a deal’. Parental support in home schooling during lockdown in France

Abstract

The period of confinement in the spring of 2020 is of great interest in highlighting the parental work of educational support. While parental support is usually more diffuse, and is secondary in relation to what is done at school, occurring at different moments of daily life, home schooling during lockdown revealed new ways of helping and framing schoolwork. This article looks at parenting practices in higher socio-economic status (SES) families in France. Based on a massive questionnaire (N = 31,764) and a series of additional interviews (N = 15) conducted during lockdown, the aim is to investigate what makes parental assistance specific in high SES environments. Our findings show that such families have less difficulty carrying out schooling at home. What makes them consider this experience as ‘not a big deal’, as they say, is that they have organisational and pedagogical (i.e. objective) resources that enable them to respond to its challenges. In addition, however, we show that home schooling is experienced in these families as less contrived. In effect, they use schoolwork techniques that help to obscure (from others, but also from themselves) the effort that schoolwork requires.

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