Homeschool Families in China

Chinese flag
Chinese flag

Last year, Milton Gaither wrote a review of a study entitled “A Qualitative Study of Educational Needs of Homeschooling Families in China.” The study includes law case studies involving five home educating families in China. These families chose homeschooling for a variety of reasons including disillusionment with “the drill-and-kill pedagogy of Chinese schools” and frustration with “the lack of freedom and individual initiative in Chinese schools.”

While homeschooling is still officially illegal in China “home education is growing, especially among the urban middle classes.” The study goes on to mention a website – China Homeschooling Association – that helps to organize 200 or so spontaneous groups that have formed around the country. The study also mentions that “since 2010 the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Yunnan Province has hosted a National Homeschooling Conference.  In 2013 it was joined by the International Homeschooling Symposium in Beijing.”

The study cites an estimate that there might be as many as 18,000 children being educated at home in China and reasons that these numbers reflect a value-change “from the utilitarian instrumental rationality of examination-oriented education to the ultimate value rationality of the child’s free comprehensive development.”

From Gaither’s review of the study:

A large percentage of Chinese home educators tend to create more cooperative, even fully communal arrangements rather than the single-family homeschooling common in the United States (though this exists in China as well).

To read all of Gaither’s review and appraisal of the study, click here.

Pew Research: Mothers Support Each Other On Social Media

Computer_keyboard

According to recent research from the Pew Research Center, mothers are heavily engaged on social media and are especially likely to give and receive support on social media.

  • 81% of parents who use social media try to respond to good news others share in their networks, including 45% of social-media-using parents who “strongly agree” that they do so. Some 53% of mothers say they “strongly agree,” compared with 33% of fathers who say that.
  • 74% of parents who use social media get support from their friends there.2 Digging into the data, 35% of social-media-using parents “strongly agree” that they get support from friends on social media. Fully 45% of mothers who use social media “strongly agree” that they get support from friends on social media, compared with just 22% of fathers.
  • 71% of all parents on social media try to respond if they know the answer to a question posed by someone in their online network.
  • 58% of parents who use social media try to respond when a friend or acquaintance shares bad news online. Mothers are particularly likely to “strongly agree” that they try to do this – 31% say so, compared with 21% of fathers.

Here’s an image from Pew regarding how parents interact with social media to find information relevant to their parenting:

Pew Research
Pew Research

The report also shares that among the various social media platforms, parents are much more likely to use Facebook (while non-parents use Instagram.) In terms of community, here’s an interesting finding: “Parents are more likely to be Facebook friends with their parents than non-parents, 53% vs. 40%. They also are more likely to be friends with their neighbors on the network, 41% vs. 34% of non-parents.”

My takeaway from the research? While social media doesn’t appear to be a consistently reliable place to get parenting advice, it has strong potential for providing support to parents. In other words, parents that #trustparents (themselves and fellow parents) and who support each other can benefit from strong online bonds. Here’s the link to the full report.

(In my next post, I’ll look at what the report has to say about parents’ thoughts on their children on social media.)

Teens #TrustParents More than the Internet with Health Questions

teentrusthealthinfograph

Teens have many questions about their health. What makes a balanced diet? How do I get rid of acne? What are some tips for dealing with anxiety?

When it comes to answering those questions, new research from the Center on Media and Human Development School of Communication at Northwestern University shows that 96% of teens have gotten health information from their parents and 84% of teens have searched for health information on the internet. But does the Internet provide satisfactory answers to teen’s questions? Well, the study found that only 24% of teens are satisfied with online health information.

So who might be a more trustworthy source, according to teens?

The 24 percent who say they are ‘very’ satisfied with online health information falls far short of the percent who are very satisfied with information from their parents (57 percent), health providers (54 percent) or health classes at school (38 percent),” the study reported. Results were based on a survey of 1,156 adolescents aged 13 to 18.

In an article from the New York Times, Marguerita Lightfoot, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said,

“Everyone thinks teens don’t talk to their parents, but if they’re really worried about their symptoms, they’ll go to them,”

In what may be a surprise to some people, only 13% of teens have used the internet as a research tool for things they felt uncomfortable talking to their parents about.

One takeaway from this research is that even in the internet age parents remain influential. Teens now get information from the internet but they still rely on and #TrustParents.