Zhang Qiaofeng corrects children's homework at his home. The Peking University graduate quit his job to educate his own child and other youngsters. Photo: CFP
Homeschooling in China is in an emerging stage, with about 18,000 children across the country receiving education at home, according to a report released by the 21st Century Education Research Institute Saturday, the Beijing Morning Post reported.
Out of the homeschool kids, 60.42 percent are aged between 4 and 10, and the majority are boys. Most of them have previously attended conventional schools, though 37.99 percent had only ever been homeschooled. First grade or kindergarten was the most common time for parents to pull kids from school.
The report showed five main reasons for homeschooling, with the majority of cases, 54.19 percent, coming because parents disagreed with educational ideas in the regular school system, 9.5 percent believing the system was too slow, 7.26 percent feeling that children lacked respect at school, 6.07 percent saying their kids were tired of school life, and 5.59 percent citing religious conviction.
"Homeschooling is individualized education to satisfy different demands," said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.
Xiong told the Global Times that most parents sent their children back to school for high school because they wanted them to take the national college entrance examinations, or gaokao. The current system forbids unregistered students from taking part in the exams, which are vital for college.
Zhang Qiaofeng, the father of an 8-year-old boy, told the Global Times that he withdrew his son from primary school after a month.
"There were two reasons for me to educate him myself: school education does not fit my son very much, but more importantly, I think I'm more suitable to teach my son. I'm sure that after two years homeschooling, my son will be excellent at a lot of topics," Zhang said. Zhang will send his son to study abroad for high school, given the restrictions on college entrance.
Most homeschooling parents, at 75.42 percent, have a college education or better, and 63.13 percent of parents are professionals or freelancers. Average household incomes were under 10,000 yuan ($1,634) a month.
"Homeschooling needs parents with a good education background, and a good economic situation is also critical, because at least one parent might be a full-time educator," Xiong said.
In nearly 46 percent of cases, mothers were the primary educators, with fathers only taking on the responsibility for a quarter of cases, and another quarter of families sharing the work between them. Less than 2 percent of families hired tutors.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Education
on August 16, in 2012, there were 36.8 million kids in kindergarten, and 96.9 million students in primary school in China.