Utah homeschooling is on the rise. What does that say about education in Utah?

Jun 27, 2019, 11:26 AM
Stock Photo

SALT LAKE CITY — Homeschooling is more popular in Utah today than it has ever been in the state.

According to statistics from the Utah State School Board, there were 652,348 students enrolled in public schools during the 2017 school year. In the 2015-2016 school year, the last year for which the state collected homeschool statistics, 16,085 students were homeschooled.

[socialpoll id=”2555993″]

That number means over about the last ten years, the number of students being homeschooled in Utah has doubled. Growth in public schools during the same time frame has been steady, but not as steep.

Homeschooling demographics

Students who are homeschooled tend to fall outside the statistical norm compared to other public school students. According to the Census Bureau, parents who homeschool their children are more likely to be married, white, have a four-year degree and at least three children.

Homeschooled students are also disproportionately male (58%). Nationwide, boys make up just less than half of the public school population.

In the state of Utah, the Davis and Alpine school districts have the most homeschooled students, with 4,761 and 2,697, respectively.


Data from Utah State Board of Education

Utah has the highest birthrate in the country, which can help explain why a chart showing the population growth of school attendance over time is steady. However, a similar chart showing growth among the homeschooling population demonstrates a much more exponential climb.


Data from Utah State Board of Education


Data from Utah State Board of Education

What does this say about education in Utah?

“The explosion in homeschooling has shocked me,” Amy Donaldson said on Wednesday’s Dave and Dujanovic show. “I have many really good friends who have chosen to homeschool their kids …  sometimes it’s because the kid has a social or a learning disability, or sometimes it’s because they want to base their teachings around their own personal family philosophy.”

Todd Fooks is looking forward to the not-too-distant-future day when his son, age 3-and-a-half, will be able to head off to his first day of Kindergarten, but Amy said he’d better hold on before he gets too excited.

Amy began her career at the Deseret News covering education in Utah and is still a fan of public education, but she told Todd after her daughter had gone to two years of public school, she and her husband decided to scrimp and save to send her to a private school.

“Here was my problem. My daughter would be done with her work early and the teachers would then ask her to help other students and that’s fine, I’m glad she could learn to be helpful to others,” she said. “I was afraid that she would learn that she didn’t have to work very hard to get an A or be successful, and I’d rather have her continue working throughout the class.”

Another problem the Donaldsons ran into was playing the lottery on what type of teacher their children would get.

Some years she said, “we’d get a teacher that we loved, that was amazing and everything was great, [and other years] there’d be a teacher that was counting the days till they retired.”

Those issues, among others she talked about, led them to decide to send her children to a private school that fit with her families philosophy.

“I think the start you give your kids matters,” she concluded.

Hear the rest of the conversation

You can hear the rest of the conversation that Todd and Amy had while filling in on Wednesday’s Dave and Dujanovic show, including their discussion about whether or not the Bible should be taught in school as sparked by the Presidents tweets on the subject, below.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said that he will vote against any potential congressional d...
Devan Cole, CNN

Rubio vows to oppose potential Hurricane Ian aid package if lawmakers ‘load it up with stuff that’s unrelated to the storm’

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he will vote against any potential congressional disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Ian if lawmakers "load it up with stuff that's unrelated to the storm."
20 hours ago
Utah Highway Patrol car pictured. A crash in Logan is being investigated by troopers...
Devin Oldroyd

Fatal car crash closes southbound I-15 in Washington County

Southbound I-15 closed at mile marker 34, following a fatal car crash Sunday. Closure time is estimated to be two to three hours.
20 hours ago
The National Weather Service issues a severe thunderstorm warning in parts of Grand County. Photo c...
Devin Oldroyd

NWS issues severe thunderstorm warning in Grand County

The National Weather Service sent out a severe thunderstorm warning in parts of Grand County. Half-dollar-sized hail is being reported.
20 hours ago
Temple Square...
Devin Oldroyd

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announces the construction of 18 new temples

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the construction of 18 new temples.
20 hours ago
The new monuments at This is the place heritage park....
Devin Oldroyd

Progress in 175 years: Discovering new stories of Utah’s pioneers

Mary Richards with the Church News returns to KSL NewsRadio to celebrate lesser-known stories of Utah Pioneers
20 hours ago
first freedoms first...
Boyd Matheson

First freedoms: The interconnectedness of First Amendment rights

If all Americans do not put the first freedoms first KSL NewsRadio host Boyd Matheson says we will not have a sustainable, lasting republic.  
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah homeschooling is on the rise. What does that say about education in Utah?