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eISSN: 1643-3750

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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

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.925591


BACKGROUND: 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.

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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