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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Excessive heat over the weekend caused road damage on Interstate 15 in Davis County, leading to mul...


Excessive heat causes Interstate 15 buckling, damages multiple vehicles in Davis County

Excessive heat over the weekend caused road damage in Davis County, leading to multiple vehicles being damaged.

26 minutes ago

President Joe Biden speaks following the news of the assassination attempt on former president Dona...

Emma Keddington

‘It’s time to cool it down,’ says Biden in the wake of campaign rally shooting

President Biden affirmed that America must never go down a road of violence in an address to the American people.

11 hours ago

A smokejumper parachuting to help contain the Speirs wildfire, which started Saturday night....

Emma Keddington

Speirs wildfire burning near Flaming Gorge, caused by lightning

A lightning strike ignited the Speirs wildfire Saturday night. The fire is currently 0% contained, but hasn't caused evacuations.

13 hours ago

An apartment fire on Redwood Road in West Valley City displaced around 30 people Sunday afternoon....

Emma Keddington

Apartment fire displaces around 30 people in West Valley

The fire happened on Redwood Road in West Valley City. The fire affected eight units and displaced 30 people.

14 hours ago

President Joe Biden addressed the country on Sunday, July 14 about heightened security measures fol...

Kennedy Camarena

President Joe Biden speaks after Butler, Pennsylvania campaign rally shooting

President Biden addressed the nation Sunday at the White House, speaking about the shooting that occurred at Donald Trump's campaign rally.

15 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Service a...


Local officer encountered gunman just before he shot toward Trump at rally, sources tell AP

One local police officer climbed to the roof and encountered the shooter, who pointed his rifle at the officer, AP sources say.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

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