Insight into homeschooling as Utah moves toward funding vouchers

Feb 9, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2023, 8:15 am
homeschooling continues...
Ahmad Waller, 11, left, Zion Waller, 10, and Drew Waller, 7, study during homeschooling in Raleigh, N.C. (Dalaine Bradley, AP)
(Dalaine Bradley, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — A freshly minted Utah law gives a $6,000 raise to every public schoolteacher, but it also provides parents $8,000 per student per year in state funds to attend a private school or use the money for homeschooling. 

As a homeschooled student, Anna Recsiek, a co-worker at KSL joined Dave and Dujanovic to share her experience as a home-schooled student.

Recsiek said she was allergic to chalk dust so her mother kept her home. The school sent homework along to her.

“I was able to churn through it really rapidly,” she said. “My mom was like, ‘Oh, please give her more, and the teachers [said], ‘That’s about all we do. . . . she’s doing a good job.”

Recsiek said homeschooling gave her siblings flexibility in the pace of their learning, with individual assistance from Mom.

“For some of my siblings, maybe a slower approach to helping them grow without some of the peer pressures that public schools have,” she said. “If we were struggling, maybe she’d spend some more time with one child or another.”

On a nice day, the classroom was outside

Her mother encouraged the kids to race each other to finish their homework and to read out loud because she would be in another room folding laundry and could not monitor them as closely.

“Other times we were at the kitchen table — all of us learning about the same subjects and sharing with each other what we learned,” Recsiek said.

She said she would learn about animals, then take a family field trip to a zoo or study art, then visit a museum.

“We would go to the park. When it was a nice day, we could sit at the picnic tables and . . . enjoy being outside in a different environment. My mother really thought that variety spurred that creative side and really made learning not ever boring,” Recsiek said. “I don’t ever remember being bored.”

Homeschooling doesn’t necessarily preclude social interaction

“Did you miss out on the school dances, playing in the band or the orchestra or playing on a sports team?” Dave asked.

Recsiek said homeschooling success depends on how much ownership and responsibility parents take on.

“I took archery, karate and ballet,” she said. “All of my siblings and myself were involved in some kind of sports and multiple social activities. . . I think it’s how much ownership and responsibility a parent takes to make sure that, if they feel it’s important, their child doesn’t miss out on those opportunities.”

“You went to college, and you didn’t feel behind?” Dave asked.

“No, in fact, my first couple of years, I felt like ‘Oh wow. Yeah, I know this. I got this.'” Recsiek said. “My mom really spent a lot of time teaching us how to write essays and take tests because she felt it was really important that we would be set up for success.

“So again, I just think it’s up to the parents. And nothing’s a failure because you can always reach out for help, and there’s so many resources available.”

Dave said he never would have guessed that Anna, a co-worker, was homeschooled. He says that because she runs counter to his stereotype of a homeschooled person lacking proper social skills.

Read more about the pros and cons of homeschooling.

Related reading:

The pandemic missing: The kids who didn’t go back to school


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Insight into homeschooling as Utah moves toward funding vouchers