School work load in Taiwan is destroying my family life

I guess I’m just looking for a shoulder to cry on here. Or possibly a “have you looked into”

My daughter is currently in the 3rd grade and the amount of homework she has to do on a nightly basis is astonishing! I’m a “Gen Xer” who went to American public schools for the majority of my childhood. That said, I don’t remember having to do even a fraction of what my daughter is having to do at such a young age in her private school. Watching my daughter who has diagnosed ADHD slave through hours of Chinese and math is breaking my heart. What is the work load like in the public schools here in Taipei compared to private? My wife claims that public schools here actually give more homework than the private schools. However, she is intent on keeping our daughter in private school, so I’m not shore if I’m getting the full story. Anybody here have experience with Taipei public schools?

Thanks in advance


It does pay off. When my stepkids transplanted back to America, they were years ahead in math and science. They are now Pharmacists and Engineers in North America.


You’ll only have to endure it for three more years. In public schools anyway, the homework load in elemantary school is crazy; in Junior High and High School it tapers off. Not that the workload for high-end students slackens, it’s just that the teachers don’t give a crap about anybody else.

Are one of you available to homeschool?

Yeah, I had a girl student who spent a year in high school in Canada, and she figured that the math they studied was about two years behind Taiwan. “All they think about is sex, not studying” (okay, that pretty well describes my high school days).


I know a number of Chinese-speaking American parents here where they look at the homework, decide if it’s meaningful or not, and when it’s almost inevitably not meaningful, write a note to the teacher and tell them they didn’t make their kid do the homework last night because it was pointless. Or give the teacher more work to do and demand they write the goals/purpose of each and every assignment, in order to hold the teacher accountable for what they waste the child’s time with.

If I had kids (as a teacher myself), I would do that. Characters do need to be memorized and copying is probably the only way to do that if you’re not using Skritter (the website for Chinese language learners), but a lot of the other homework is meaningless. Most teachers here just see which pages of the textbook they’re supposed to cover that week and assign that + the corresponding workbook pages + all supplemental worksheets from the textbook publisher for that lesson, since they paid for those too. There is rarely any thought put into why the work is supposed to be done, and any kids at cram school are just copying the answers straight from the answer book with no thought anyway.

I will bring up the same thing I bring up every time someone brings up how Asian kids are “better at math” than Americans: There is SOOOO much more to life than being able to do calculus when you’re 11 years old. In fact, you don’t ever need to be able to do calculus well because we have computers for that. A basic grasp of the how and why is sufficient.


That is how I feel sometimes. We are in public school and I would say it averages about an hour a day. The problem is that the teacher sometimes gives more and on other days gives less so our plans have been interrupted because my kid hasn’t finished her hwk. My wife even gives her extra practice sheets which we argue about. She doesn’t agree with how much work the kids get in Taiwan but she can’t help getting sucked into the game.


Which private school is it?

At TAS, third graders get 20 minutes of free reading every night, no more than 20 minutes of math (3 days a week), and Chinese (usually in the 10 minute range, also 3 days a week).

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High school in Canada is about socialisation. As someone who went to three global top 100 schools for undergrad, grad or Exec Ed (UBC, LSE and/or Berkeley), I am bloody happy I wasn’t streamed out early in high school to technical paths because my grades were in the 50s. As you mentioned, it was all about getting drunk and laid. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Uni too, but at least some effort put into learning.
In Asian and Southern European cultures, it is the opposite…high school as a pressure cooker and then relax in Uni…think it is unfair to men who often bloom academically at a later point.

It is just a shoulder to cry on, or you can afford a fee-paying school or homeschool. If not, there’s not much you can do.

Having failed to get my kid into a fee-paying school (at least one that I would consider sending her to) I’ve decided to just tell her not to worry about workload. Trouble is she’s very diligent which may take some managing.


This breaks my heart.

I went through public grade school in Taiwan, it was the worst time of my life. I really struggled and have ADHD as well. In my time, corporal punishment was allowed and I was hit in front of the class daily and humiliated in front of my peers often by the teacher. There is no doubt in my mind I would have flunked out and done nothing if I continued. I was lucky to have moved to the US by the end of 3rd grade. The workload was as you said, heavy. Hard for a young boy who wanted to run around.

I hope you get her to a school like TAS or home school. I did not have a good experience. I think the only other person here that went through school in Taiwan here is @Gain . But I bet he was the 班長 type. I was the bad apple and it was hell for me.

I’m glad I finished school in the US. I was able to finished with a 4.0 in undergrad and finished at the top of my class for my masters. I was the worst student in my class in Taiwan so that tells you the system was not meant for people like me or your daughter.


Were they happy as kids and are they happy now?

That was my experience. I thought the math was a joke when I moved to the US. Not only could the students not do what is basic for Taiwanese kids, the whole “show your work” nonsense was dumbing it down. I wasn’t even good at math and could do it in my head and my teachers hated that.


At my kid’s public elementary school (he’s in 4th grade now), there’s so little homework that he almost always finishes it at lunch break and between classes, and has nothing to do at home. I think it’s changed quite a bit for elementary schools in the last decade or so, but still gets pretty brutal in highschool from what I’ve heard.

(Edit: Sorry BD, I managed to reply to your quote from T2T, rather than their post itself)


I don’t. It’s a great school in many ways, but it has become dominated by CRT dogma, even at early grade levels. If you’re ok with learning about how white people invented slavery, why all cops hate black people, and why the West is evil in everything it does, then TAS does provide a good education and environment otherwise. For the OP, that may be a trade off he is willing to make…or maybe not.


I never was but I mostly got good grades.

I left primary school a long time ago so I’m not sure about what it’s like now, but from what I’ve heard it’s fine. Primary school homework and tests were all very easy. Middle school was mostly fine too (except that bitch homeroom teacher). High school was when I started putting more effort into school work. Private schools might be different though. I went to public schools.


Yeah, very happy kids.

I think happy-go-lucky or nihilistic kids that are outgoing and responsible excel in Taiwan’s system.

I’ve known kids from countless schools and have never seen too much homework given, so I’m always wary of those claims. I tend to believe it’s just a poor environment for the child’s disposition, so hopefully a move can be made as @Andrew0409 alluded to.

We just moved back to Canada a couple of months ago. My son is in grade 8 and he said he learned the math they are teaching here in grade 4/grade5. He’s pretty bored in math class so hopefully they’ll give him something more challenging once they get to know him better.

Both of our kids never have to do homework now, which they like, but they also kind of miss it.


Could keep the math going at home, would make it easier to get ahead in later grades and less stressful a you can start teaching him more advanced.math and take more time as he seems to have 2 years on everyone. I would try and make the best of his current advantage before it is gone :slight_smile:

To the OP i have found the teachers that arent good at their jobs tend to pile on homework and test a lot. The real learning is thrown at the cram schools or parents. Unfortunately its very common down here in the south :frowning: quite a lot of parents change their household registration to another place (or move the kid into a family members place) to get into a better school. This is where being a foreigner actually has an advantage over being local (assuming your family are all expats). Moving household registration can be hard, landlords may not accept etc. But foreigners just change their arc address and good to go, we dont have HR and can move around far easier in this sense.

Another hard thing is when you finally find a good school taiwan loves to play the principal shuffle and move them around every few years. Can make all the difference sometimes.