A class of their own
Updated: 2013-09-29 07:14
By Zhang Yue (China Daily)
Zhang's home schooling plan focuses on games and such activities as nature observation.
Ye Aiwen recalls feeling delighted upon seeing the facilities at the Tianjin kindergarten in which she enrolled her then 3-year-old daughter in 2011. But the 36-year-old pulled the girl out to home-school her a year ago, after she discovered many of the facilities were "fake" and children weren't allowed to use most of them.
"It was one of Tianjin's best-equipped kindergartens, and it looked very nice," she recalls.
Ye's daughter Li Shangrong told her that, rather than play and have fun, the kids were mostly kept inside to listen to stories or learn songs.
"The teacher explained they're concerned about safety. So they don't let the kids use the swings, for instance, because they might fall off," Ye says. "I want my girl to enjoy a colorful childhood. She wasn't happy at school."
Ye believes home schooling might offer Li a better childhood.
"Now, I'm not sure how much I can trust schools," she says.
"I never imagined this when she was born. But her father and I are hesitant to enroll her."
Ye sticks to a disciplined regimen.
Li gets up at 7 am. She studies painting for an hour and then takes an hour of piano with Ye, who works as a music teacher.
Li also attends the weekend classes her mother gives at a private music school.
"She sits in the back row and listens," Ye says.
"I take her because it's her only chance during the week to make friends and play with others. One problem is she doesn't have many peers to interact with."
Ye is unsure about what to do next year, when her daughter should start primary school.
Another consideration is home schooling falls into a legal gray area, since the law requires nine years of compulsory education.
Still, many parents take the risk.
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