Children in home schooling face more problems
The 'S' Problem
In the United States, where home education is legal, home schoolers' parents have something else to worry about socialization.
Their concern is whether their children will be able to function well in the world without regular school experiences.
Referred to as "the S Question" in the field of home education, socialization is also a controversial issue among Chinese home education pioneers.
The parents of Wei Xiaoxi encountered this problem early in their home education experiment.
"Home education lacks communication and competition," Wei's mother said.
The parents played the role of teachers, partners and competitors at the same time.
They tried various ways to give their daughter contact with others. They took her to excursions, bookstores and friends' homes.
But is that enough? Professor Liu Yuquan from Sichuan College of Education would probably say no.
"The simple relationship in the family can hardly stimulate full development of a child's personality," he said. "In school, the interaction between teachers and students and among students, even what the kid sees on the way to school, is part of socialization."
Wei Xiaoxi spent a year and a half learning at home and returned to school in October 2001. She is studying at a senior middle school in Guangzhou.
And Ding Junhui is also thinking of returning to school.
He has applied to Fudan University in Shanghai but was refused. The snooker prodigy and his father will continue their efforts to pursue studies in a regular way.
Although many have returned to the regular schools, some experts advocate an open attitude to the new form of home education.
"It signals the educational advancement of China," Meng Siqing, a scholar in Tianjin Academy of Educational Sciences, wrote in his paper on home schooling.
"From a long-term perspective, it is necessary to establish relevant laws and give support to those involved By this, home-educated children's right to learn and the parents' right to choose how their children are educated can be protected," he said.