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November 13, 2008

Homeschooling Movement on the Rise

In September of 2008, ten international homeschool leaders joined HSLDA’s annual National Homeschool Leadership Conference. The following is an update from Mrs. Chuo-chuin Fan, who founded and now helps run the Mujen Chinese Christian Home Educators’ Association. This organization is the largest multi-denominational homeschool support group in Taiwan, has more than 270 homeschooling families, and is operated mainly by volunteers. This update introduces Chuo-chuin, recounts the birth of her homeschool organization, and describes the present and future of Taiwanese home education.

Meet Chuo-chuin

Chuo-chuin Fan is a pioneer in the homeschooling movement in Taiwan. She has home educated her own children for years, and they are currently 23, 20, 15, and 13. The oldest just graduated from college, and the second is a student at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. Though she is still homeschooling her youngest two children, Chuo-chuin spends much of her time building home education resources for families in Chinese countries.

Thirty years ago, Chuo-chuin and her husband moved to the United States from Taiwan to attend graduate school. At about the same time, Chuo-chuin became a Christian.

As Chuo-chuin furthered her education in both academics and scripture, she and her husband were convinced that they should homeschool their own children. Using techniques learned at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, various resources, and the Bible as their first and utmost textbook, Chuo-chuin and her husband began teaching their children at very young ages.

Building a Foundation During the Early Years

The family lived in Richardson, Texas, during their early homeschooling years, where they spent a total of seven years. As the only Taiwanese family in the area and brand new at homeschooling, they relied on the generous support and encouragement from several local families.

Chuo-chuin will never forget one of those mothers’ selflessness in driving her daughter to spend time with Chuo-chuin’s daughter, Katherine. Katherine was the Fans’ firstborn and the only Chinese girl in their support group, and the friendship helped alleviate her loneliness. This gesture was a huge encouragement to the whole family and set an example for them to model to other families in later years.

Back to Taiwan

Thirteen years ago, Chuo-chuin’s father was diagnosed with a brain tumor, so the family quickly decided to move back to Taiwan to be with him. The Lord was gracious and granted him another seven years of life, and he eventually accepted Christ as his personal savior six months before he left this world to be with the Lord.

After Chuo-chuin and her family moved back to Taiwan, some Taiwanese parents became interested in the Fans’ educational methods. At the same time, the Lord miraculously opened the door and legalized homeschooling in Taiwan, even before Chuo-chuin and her husband had a chance to lobby for it. In September 1999, Chris Klicka of Home School Legal Defense Association was very helpful in providing model legislation and law summaries from the United States that were used as a basis for proposals for subsequent regulatory policy.

On September 6, 1998, the Fans invited a few friends over to share their story. The invitation quickly spread by word of mouth, and over 20 families came that day. This was the birth of the Chinese Christian Home Educators Association (in Taiwan).

Homeschooling in Taiwan Grows

For the past 10 years, the Fans’ organization has become the channel between the government and the homeschooling movement. They have organized various support groups and book fairs; published newsletters; designed teaching material for brain-injured children; held Bible camps, Chinese Literature camps, and Youth camps; and appealed cases on behalf of members and even non-members. The culmination of all the outreach efforts was their first youth team sent to help the Taiwanese aboriginal children with their schoolwork last summer. The team won the hearts of those children as well as those of their parents.

Taiwan is the size of New Jersey or Israel but has the population of Australia (approximately 22 million). Currently, the compulsory school attendance law only applies to students up to the 9th grade. There are about 1,200 elementary and middle school-aged children receiving education at home this year and half of those belong to the homeschool association.

In the past, China and Hong Kong have asked the Chinese Christian Home Educators Association to help with their homeschool movements. The Taiwanese homeschoolers ask for our prayers as they seek to assist these countries as their brothers and sisters in Christ. Their hope is that as the homeschool movement advances there, a spiritual revival will soon follow.

 Other Resources

More information about homeschooling in Taiwan >>

You can provide financial support to the homeschooling movement in countries like Taiwan by donating to the Home School Foundation’s International Homeschooling Fund.