Is homeschooling a rising trend in Vietnam?


Updated : 05/02/2017 16:13 GMT + 7

While homeschooling is still foreign to most Vietnamese parents, two brothers in Ho Chi Minh City have been undergoing the educational method for years with flying colors.

The brothers, Dang Thai Anh, 14, and Dang Nhat Anh, 19, have dropped out of formal classes after finding their school curricula too stressful and the traditional schooling environment unsuitable for their development.

They are now taught at home by their father Dang Quoc Anh, a former university professor who has given up his job to be a full-time dad.

“I objected the idea at first, as I believed kids their age should be taken to school,” said the brothers’ mother Le Thi Thanh, who is also a professor at the Institute of Posts and Telecommunications in Ho Chi Minh City. “But over time I became fed up myself with the strenuous experience the boys were getting at school.”

“The last straw was when the homeroom teacher of my older son made him and nearly 20 of his classmates spend their break time in front of the headmaster’s office revising a lesson they had failed to memorize,” Thanh recalled. “I couldn’t come to terms with such punishment, for it does more harm than good to students in general.”

According to Thanh, when her older son was still in school, he would spend every night doing homework until 10:00-11:00 pm and wake up at 6:00 am the next morning to go to school.

“The curriculum was ridiculously heavy, and his teachers assigned too much homework,” Thanh said.

The parents finally decided they had had enough after Nhat Anh’s first year in high school, and allowed the boy to pick up homeschooling from then on.

As for their younger son Thai Anh, trouble came as early as in his middle school years.

“In his class, those who attended after-hours classes held by their teacher were exempted from oral tests, while those who didn’t were given as many as ten pages of homework every day,” said their father Dang Quoc Anh. “If he failed to finish it, he would be punished in class by doing squats.”

“There were even times when the teacher would give him low marks on an English exam despite his answers being correct,” Anh said.

As he has a particular passion for science, Thai Anh would often mention black holes, antimatters, and astronomy in conversations with his classmates, for which he was always labeled a ‘freak,’ the father added.

Nghỉ học phổ thông, tự học ở nhà

 Dang Nhat Anh (L) and Dang Thai Anh study English on a laptop at home. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Both Thai Anh and Nhat Anh are now revising for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), an English language curriculum developed by the University of Cambridge International Examinations.

Apart from academic knowledge, the boys also excel in English, with the younger brother having earned IELTS band 8.5 at the age of 13 and the older brother scoring 8.0 on the same test in 2015.

They also take music classes where they learn to play musical instruments to develop necessary appreciation for the fine arts, their father said.

If he passes the IGCSE this month, Nhat Anh will be going abroad to continue his study, while Thai Anh has already been enrolled in an international school in Ho Chi Minh City, he said.

“Every educational method has its advantages and shortcomings that we have to accept,” Quoc Anh said. “Both Nhat Anh and Thai Anh have their flaws that we are trying our best to make up for.”

According to Dr. Nguyen Kim Dung, deputy director of the Institute for Education Research at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, homeschooling has yet to be formally recognized in Vietnam at the moment, though the trend has started to pick up speed among families with good educational backgrounds.

“In the hands of well-educated parents, homeschooling can be extremely beneficial as the curriculum is more personalized to the characteristics of their children,” Dung said. “In reality, however, a homeschooled child can experience social shock when they encounter people who may not be as understanding and ideal as their parents. Therefore, it is necessary that parents who wish to homeschool their children be ready to provide them with  social skills as well as academic knowledge.”

Thăm dò bạn đọc: Có nên cho con tự học ở nhà?

Dang Nhat Anh (L) and Dang Thai Anh. Photo: Tuoi Tre

This entry was posted in Giáo dục - Education and tagged , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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