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Dave & Dujanovic: Parents slamming the book on homeschooling

In this photo taken April 7, 2020, Zach Stamper holds the U.S. flag while his sister Juliette and parents Jennifer and Tim recite the Pledge of Allegiance in the driveway of their home, as next door neighbor, Ann Painter, left, participates in Kettering, Ohio. The Pledge has become a morning ritual in their neighborhood since schools closed due the COVID-19 threat. (AP Photo/Mitch Stacy)

SALT LAKE CITY — Frustrated parents are fed up with homeschooling their kids during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents who work outside the home are stressed their children may fall behind on their schooling.

In households where the parents earn less than $50,000 total annually, 72% are at least somewhat concerned about their child falling behind academically, compared with 56% of parents in high-income households, according to a late-March poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Homeschooling works for some

Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic tackled the subject of exasperated parents throwing in the towel and giving up on homeschooling. But for now, Dave at least, is not one of those parents.

“Dave, I know you went the homeschool route with one of your kids, and you seem to love it,” Debbie said.

“I love it, he loves it,” Dave said. “We’ve even had some of those awkward conversations that teachers have with the kids: ‘I think you could do better. I think you can raise your effort a little.'”

“What’s the biggest lesson you and your son have learned through homeschooling, Dave?” Debbie asked.

“My son is very hands-on. I can keep him engaged for hours if it’s a hands-on, building, engineering project,” Dave said. “Math skills are great if you can apply it to, say, building a shed door. That’s what we did this last weekend.

“There were no plans, just looking at the old one and then rebuilding it. We had a few mistakes but that’s just part of the process,” Dave said. “Why didn’t it work, and what can we do to make it work this time?” are some of the questions they addressed.

“When you make it practical, it becomes fascinating. And so often we just deal with numbers: How do I reduce fractions? But when you apply it to something you deal with every single day, then it becomes fascinating,” Dave said.

Didn’t work for one mom

Debbie introduced Jana of West Jordan who once homeschooled her son when he was in sixth grade.

“How did that go?” Debbie asked.

“It did not go well,” Jana said. “I am of the opinion that you get it done and I don’t care how you do. Just do it and get it done. And the kids don’t work that way anymore. And art, yeah, it was nonexistent.”

After the homeschooling debacle, she said her son’s grades went from D’s and F’s to A’s and B’s after entering Utah Military Academy in Lehi.

Dave said he has enjoyed his short stint, so far, at homeschooling, but he doubted that he would want to do it full time.

“I know real homeschoolers, the ones who do it right, it’s a full-time job,” Dave said. “I’m not going to pretend I’m this amazing homeschooler because this is a baby-pinky toe into the water.”

Something missing?

Dave pointed out that sometimes homeschooled children lack the social and emotional interaction with their schoolmates that brick-and-mortar students enjoy.

“Do your kids missed that?” Debbie asked.

“Oh, huge. It’s been very very difficult,” Dave said. “I think it’s given them a greater appreciation for waking up early in the morning and heading out and seeing their friends.”

State Superintendent Syd Dickson said the switch to remote learning has underestimated the social and emotional significance of brick-and-mortar schooling.

“That should be a basic fiber of our schools moving forward. That’s what we hear kids and parents talk about a lot,” she said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play