14 SES 08 A, COVID-19 and Challenges (2)
In our presentation we examine what influences studying at home when parents may need to help with curriculum acquisition. According to the studies the family resources and the types of capital owned by family influence children's progress, and social inequalities are less equalized in the school system (e.g. Coleman 1974, Boudon 1998, DiMaggio 1982). The theory of cultural reproduction (Bourdieu 1978) explains educational inequalities arising from different social situations. That parents who encourage their children to reach a higher position than theirs, pay more attention to their preparation at home (e.g. Sheldon–Epstein 2005, Siraj-Blatchford 2010).
According to the researches the impact of family on children’s performance can be analyzed not only as a function of socioeconomic status. The structure and atmosphere of the family, the relationship between the family members, the communication in the family, the quality time spent with the child not only affect the performance and school career, but also the child's physical and mental development (e.g. Volling et al. 1998, Croll 2004). Disadvantages from a social background can be reduced, and regular communication between family and school plays an important role in this. One important segment of parental involvement in school life is home learning. This concept includes, on the one hand, the time spent learning together (checking homework, helping with it, checking equipment), on the other hand, the use of external pedagogical assistance, e.g. tutoring, development occupation (Markos 2020).
Part of parental behavior related to school work is discussing what happened at school. Parents are primarily interested in the student’s marks and homework, but they also ask about friends and classmates. It can be shown that the frequency of conversations that are not closely related to school performance and the frequency of communication at home have an extremely good effect on school performance (Imre 2015).
Although many studies point out that parents' time spent with their children has decreased (Gauthier et al. 2004), Hungarian results show that this time has not decreased. (Harcsa 2014). We have detailed data on mother-child spending, so we know that it is also influenced by a number of demographic factors. Some research shows that the mother's higher education is positively correlated with the quality and quantity of interactions (Bloemen–Stancanelli 2008, Engler 2011), others argued that differences in educational attainment had disappeared, and rather the impact of employment had intensified (Craig et al 2014).
At the time of the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic, in March 2020, the distance education introduced in Hungary provided a new framework for home studying. While this activity represented a pre-epidemic time frame (typically late afternoon and evening hours) and a common way (homework, memorization, practice), this activity took place in a relatively narrow circle (parental assistance, possibly a private teacher), by then, in digital education, home-based learning had become a whole day, in addition to the above, it also included the acquisition of new material and measurement and evaluation. At the same time, the range of those involved expanded: in addition to the parents, the older brothers and relatives also helped, but active classmate cooperation also developed. The higher parental burden occurred mainly in the case of those raising a lower child, and among them it also caused a problem for parents with lower digital competence (Proháczik 2020).
H1: Parents' educational attainment influences home learning with students: according to capital theories, we assume that learning together decreases as education is reduced.
H2: There is a correlation between spending time together and learning together: the more time a child spends with family members, the more common learning will be at home.
In our research we used two databases that provides an opportunity to make a careful comparison between learning at home and parent-child activities before and after schools lockdown. The first database is from the Value-creating Parenting research, the data collection was conducted in January 2020 among parents of 10-11 years old children (N=1156). The questionnaire was paper based, anonym and self-administered. Sampling was performed by multistage cluster sampling. The composition of the respondents represents the fourth grade (10-11 years old) Hungarian student population according to regions, type of settlement and social situation. The second database focused on the impact of the Covid-19 on families. The data collection took place in April 2020, in 3-5 weeks of the first closures in Hungary. The survey was conducted by telephone (CATI), and a total of 1,000 citizens over the age of 18 were interviewed. The sample was representative of gender, age, education, and settlement type. The research was not primarily aimed at mapping distance education, but included several questions that can help us understand the characteristics of home learning during an epidemic situation. As 25.8% of the participants in the research have children under the age of 18, we narrowed our sample to this group (N = 259). In our research the dependant variable was the amount of learning together at home. Our independent variables contain sociodemographic variables (sex, type of settlement, highest level of education, occupation, financial situation, number of children) and variables refer to time spent with child and family. To examine the amount of time spending with the child we created an index using the following variables: Talking about schoolwork, Reading, Talking about internet related experiences, Talking about the life, Talking about spiritual things, Organizing common recreational activities, Playing together. From the listed variables, we created an index where we coded the response category of „not at all” or „once or twice” to 0, while we coded the response category for „frequently” and „on a daily basis” response to 1. We also examined whether certain activities were more often performed jointly by the families during the quarantine, which were: eating, housework, playing, watching movies, baking and cooking, doing sports. From the activities they did together, we also created an index showing family time, where 0 meant “didn’t do that activity” while 1 meant “did that activity”. Research methods were descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation analyses, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and logistic regression.
In our first hypothesis, we hypothesized that parents’ educational attainment influences home learning with their child, namely, learning together decreases as parents' highest level of education is reduced. We found that during pre-closure (attendance) education, the maternal highest level of education showed a positive correlation with the frequency of co-learning at home, whereas after schools’ closure caused by corona virus, this correlation did not show a significant difference. From all of this, we can conclude that in this special situation, such as pandemic lockdown, every parent tries to do the most to help their child learn. In the first wave of school closures, home-based learning was largely determined by the quality of time the family spent together. The more programs parents organize with their children, the more time they spend with either seemingly simple activities (housework, meals) or conscious attention (storytelling, play), the more effective the focus on learning is. The strength of family relationships increases a parent’s time spent learning at home by one and a half times. Our results also showed that compared to the pre-epidemic period, they carry out joint activities on a daily basis more often (play, leisure program, reading), but at the same time they talk less about the child's school experiences, as the parent is more involved. It is important to emphasize that based on the questionnaire we see the frequency of joint learning, not its effectiveness. Thus, we have no information on the impact of the efforts on learning performance or on their exact quantitative and qualitative nature. Overall, therefore, the impact of material, cultural capital, which determines social status, seems to be overridden by the mobilization of social capital within the family.
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