3-hour homeschool days or 12-hour Chinese school days? Tutors International weighs up the differences

Leading provider of homeschool tuition, Tutors International, weighs up the differences between private tutoring for 3 hours at home and 12 hours at school.

The founder of global leading provider of full-time private tutors Tutors International has today published an article[1] outlining what he believes are the main differences of 3-hour homeschool days and 12-hour Chinese-style school days.

Adam Caller, who founded Tutors International in 1999, is an independent education consultant and former teacher, and has experience of both homeschooling with a private tutor and school-based education.

The article was prompted by the BBC documentary Are Our Kids Tough Enough?, in which a school in Hampshire is experimenting with an alien style of teaching, with Chinese teachers, uniform, longer school days, and classroom culture.[2]

In his article, Mr Caller reports the success that privately tutored pupils typically have with very short school days, “Often, our tutors cover more with their pupils in three hours than a school in the US or the UK will cover in a whole day, which leaves the rest of the day free for relaxation, hobbies, excursions or socializing. … We tutored one girl in Georgia, US, in the UK curriculum every day for just 2.5 hours, and no homework. She left high school with 9 A-grades at iGCSE, and 3 A- or A*s at A-Level. She went on to Harvard University.”

At the other end of the spectrum, China is renowned for its 12-hour school days, and for its consistent topping of the Pisa tables of global education.[3]

The were mixed opinions on the success of the Hampshire-Chinese school experiment, with the head teacher reporting that some pupils preferred the note-taking and lecture style of the Chinese classroom, while a report from a pupil, aged 15, stated, “The Chinese teachers think the pupils in their classes are like bulletproof sponges, sucking in information yet conveniently ignoring the fact they are tired and very bored.”

Mr Caller concludes, “British children would probably implode at first if they had to suddenly cope with 12-hour school days, but they’d get used to it, and teachers and pupils would no doubt find ways to make the best of it. There’s no way of knowing if a longer school day will propel the UK to the top of the Pisa charts, but I would hazard a guess that a better use of time, better teacher-pupil interaction, and streaming by ability within those 12 hours would improve our standards of education. “

More information about engaging a full-time private tutor can be found at www.tutors-international.com.


[1] https://adamcaller.com/2015/08/3-hour-homeschool-days-or-12-hour-chinese-school-days-which-is-best-for-our-children/, 3-hour homeschool days or 12-hour Chinese school days – Which is best for our children?, Adam Caller, 06 August 2015.

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33735517, Would Chinese-style education work on British kids? BBC News Magazine, 4 August 2015

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26249042, Pisa tests: Top 40 for maths and reading, BBC News Business, 25 March 2015

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