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Children in home schooling face more problems
By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-11 06:22

Compared to other children at her age, 9-year-old Li Jingci spends less time in classroom but learns more. Her 62-year-old father, Li Tiejun, teaches her Chinese, math, painting, music and even astrology and the art of war.

Wei Xiaoxi spent one and a half years studying at home under the tutelage of her parents, who believed that formal school education would not help their daughter's all-round development. However, they changed their minds two years ago and Wei returned to school in 2003. The photos were taken in 2001, when Wei had just started her home schooling. [newsphoto]

Li Jingci is not alone in today's China.

Although to date there has no accurate statistics of home schoolers in China, the increasing reports of the cases in the media suggest the number is growing.

Why and how at home?

Most parents who home school their children make the decision because they do not believe their children can learn what they really need in school.

"Most courses the school provides are useless for the future of my child," said Li Tiejun. "I would rather teach her something useful myself instead of wasting money on school."

What the father means by "something useful" becomes apparent upon entering his house.

The ceiling and walls are covered with star charts Li Tiejun painted. A classical Chinese musical score hangs on the wall beside the window. The family's most prized possessions are two violins and an electronic keyboard.

Li Tiejun only graduated from primary school, but now he is his daughter's only teacher. He believes he has learned enough to teach a 9-year-old girl, but he will hire tutors when he can no longer handle the courses.

Wei Yuan, a teacher at Guangzhou Baiyun Institute, is also a home schooling father.

He decided to home school his 9-year-old daughter Wei Xiaoxi in 2000 because he felt that school education has too many shortcomings.

"An important reason we did this is that we were disappointed with the teaching methods in primary and middle schools," Wei told a local paper.

"The teaching methods there are stultifying. Kids have to do sums again and again and they are not allowed to openly express themselves in compositions," Wei said.
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