The Effects of Online Homeschooling on Children, Parents, and Teachers of Grades 1–9 During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ying Zhao, Yong Guo, Yu Xiao, Ranke Zhu, Wei Sun, Weiyong Huang, Deyi Liang, Liuying Tang, Fan Zhang, Dongsheng Zhu, Jie-Ling Wu
Department of Children’s Health Care, Guangdong Women and Children Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (mainland)
Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e925591
Available online: 2020-07-15
Beginning in the 2020 spring semester, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all school-age children in China were homeschooled via live/recorded broadcasts, online group communication, and software-based homework submission. This study assessed the effects of and proper preparation for this educational approach.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The homeschooling behaviors and feelings of school-age children were assessed with 2010 online surveys obtained separately from students, parents, and teachers of grades 1-9 in 15 Chinese provinces. Answers were compared among low- (grades 1-3), middle- (grades 4-6), and high- (grades 7-9) grade groups. The chi-square test was used to identify significant differences between groups.
RESULTS: We found that 76% of the respondents thought the homeschooling style was acceptable. However, teachers were concerned that students’ interest, focus, and academic performance would decline. Sixty-nine percent of the parents reported their children had more than 3 hours of daily screen time, and 82% of students had less than 2 hours of daily outdoor activity. Ninety-five percent of the parents were concerned about their children’s eyesight. Additionally, 17.6% of the students were suspected to have emotional or behavioral problems according to the parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) results. The Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) results of parents and teachers showed higher levels of anxiety than usual.
CONCLUSIONS: Students should continue the going-to-school rhythm at home to cope with changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Integrated grade-specific approaches are needed. Because long screen time and insufficient outdoor activities can severely affect children’s eyesight, appropriate eye-protection measures should be implemented.
Keywords: Computer Communication Networks, COVID-19, Quarantine, Schools