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Curricular flexibility: a comparative case study of homeschooling curriculum adjusting in the USA and China

Qiu Wang (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, International Christian University, Mitaka, Japan)
Mark W. Langager (International Christian University, Mitaka, Japan)

International Journal of Comparative Education and Development

ISSN: 2396-7404

Article publication date: 7 February 2023

Issue publication date: 13 March 2023




Given the less mature homeschooling ecosystem in China, together with the similarity of purpose, the current study examined the lived experiences of curricular choice making in the USA and China and categories of respective families (homeschools), as a way of understanding curricular flexibility. In addressing these features, based on an updated model of curricular flexibility as it applies to homeschooling, the authors examined the aspects of who, what, when, where and how to see if this context offers new light. The authors then consider ways in which the model can be further updated for greater analytical clarity and accuracy. The purpose of this paper is to address these issues.


A descriptive case study was conducted in the Xi'an city of China and the Seattle metropolitan area of the USA. A survey and two rounds of semi-structured interview data were collected from ten homeschooling families in both contexts.


The study found families’ adjusted curricula for different motives, as they navigated differing societal contexts, and curricular flexibility in homeschooling contexts was theorized as standardization and structuring strategies and social dimensions, and family preference patterns were identified. Chinese homeschooling families had comparatively less variety of available resources and freedom to homeschools compared to American counterparts, and they operated with the awareness of a standard national curriculum and its social implications.


This study elaborates on a little-discussed topic – the overall curriculum of each homeschool and motives influencing changing curricular choices during the process of homeschooling. And it is the first paper to use the model to explicitly define curricular flexibility in the homeschooling context, thus extending the existing theoretical discussion of curricular flexibility.



Funding: This study was made possible by support and funding from the Japan ICU Foundation.


Wang, Q. and Langager, M.W. (2023), "Curricular flexibility: a comparative case study of homeschooling curriculum adjusting in the USA and China", International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 40-53.



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