The following is my part of an ebook that was going to be written, one for each state, and put together and published. The full ebook idea fell through so I thought I would take my part and post it here. This is a nice overview of opportunities and resources available to Homeschoolers in Oklahoma.
Homeschooling in Oklahoma
I am Rosanna Ward of www.nextgenhomeschool.com. Not only have I been homeschooling since 2005 but I was also homeschooled myself. I was home educated from 1984-1988, from eighth grade to graduation. From graduation I went straight into Oral Robert’s University at the age of 16. I have a degree from there in Recreation Administration. My husband, Jason, and I have been married 22 years and we have four awesome children: Hannah (21) and Virginia (19) were homeschooled from 6th/5th grade on and have both graduated. Joel (9) began from the beginning. Leif is a very active and curious four year old. Yes, there is a big gap between Ginny and Joel, I like to tell people we birthed a business (or two) in those years and that was quite an endeavor. We own and run Sapulpa Daylight Donuts – now in two locations. The kids grew up in the business. We bought our first shop in 1997 when the girls were three and one. Joel has been his dad’s sidekick from his birth. Literally. Many mornings Jason wore Joel in his backpack in the kitchen while I worked the counter out front. Homeschooling is perfect for us as it affords us a flexible schedule and more time as a family and the children get to learn, live and work in the real world. They have all grown up around people and in the service industry and have more common sense and business sense than most kids their age and many adults for that matter. I am currently homeschooling Joel and I also help my sister who is homeschooling her daughters (she has five but only four are school age).
Our Nextgenhomeschool.com blog is written by my sister in law Renee Gotcher, her sister Cristina, my sister Elizabeth, and myself. We were all homeschooled and we all homeschool currently. Renee is married to my brother who of course was also homeschooled. The blog is written from that perspective but we all homeschool differently so the posts are varied and full of practical tips and encouragement. Please visit us there and follow us both there and on Facebook.
Homeschooling in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Homeschool Laws
“Oklahoma is the only state with a constitutional provision guaranteeing the right to homeschool. The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees the home school exemption by stating that the “Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.” Okla.Const., art. XIII, s.4” www.hslda.org
This wording was added for the specific purpose of homeschooling. In the 1907 Oklahoma Constitutional Convention it was discussed by several of the delegates and the wording was added.
The compulsory attendance ages have been changed to “over the age of five years, and under the age of eighteen years.” Okla. Statutes tit. 70, s 10-105 (A)-(B). The required days of Instruction are generally 180 days (five of which can be teacher inservice days). Technically, there are no required subjects but some courts have suggested that home education should be equivalent or comparable to public school. Therefore it is strongly suggested that you teach math, language, language arts, science, and social studies.
The law does not require parents be certified teachers or use state-approved curricula. Neither do they have to register or seek approval from state of local officials. There is also no testing or home inspection requirements.
“Home schools are not regulated since the framers of the Oklahoma Constitution specifically intended “other means of education” to include home schooling and gave the state no authority to regulate that exemption from compulsory attendance.” www.hslda.org
In order for an Oklahoma student to get a driver’s license they will need to take an 8th grade reading test (these are offered daily at the Tulsa Community College NorthEast Campus and likely across the state at community college and votechs). Drivers Ed can be taken online or with a parent using qualified curriculum. http://www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/ptde.htm
Oklahoma State High School Graduation Requirements:
English: 4 units
Math: 3 units, Including Algebra 1
Social Studies: 3 units
Science: 3 unites including Biology 1
Foreign Language: 2 Units of same foreign or 2 Units Computer Tech.
Arts: 1 unit or speech
Electives: 7 units
to equal 23 unites
These are not the best guidelines for homeschoolers. It is more important to check the requirements of the college your student wants to attend. Midwest colleges usually ask for an ACT test score.
For more information please check out these websites:
www.ochec.com – HSLDA and OCHEC work very hard year round to ensure Oklahoma Home school freedoms. Please support their efforts.
Homeschooling in Oklahoma
Oh man! There is just no way I can list all of the field trip opportunities available in Oklahoma. Cindy Downes at www.oklahomahomeschool.com has a pretty comprehensive list and I would highly recommend her Oklahoma scrapbook and her Oklahoma History online course. I will give you as many as I can and some other websites to check out as well.
The Tulsa Zoo and Oklahoma City Zoo
www.tulsazoo.org and www.okczoo.com
and if you buy a family membership to one you can get a discount at the other plus many other zoos in the nation. We get a membership every other year or so and use it quite a bit.
Offers over 200 marine and aquatic animal exhibits, plus a fishing tackle museum. They offer homeschool education days. You have to pre register for these so check out their website.
Tulsa Air and Space Museum
This is a pretty cool museum located by the Tulsa Airport across from the zoo. They have a planetarium and they also offer classes and an Aerospace camp.
Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa
Gilcrease houses the world’s largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West.
Children 18 and under are always admitted free. The first Tuesday of each month all visitors get free admission.
Philbrook Museum in Tulsa
Listed in the top 50, one of only five museums in the United States with a unique combination of historical home, art collections and gardens. This is a beautiful home and garden with some great art!
Oklahoma History Center
This is located in Oklahoma City right across from the Capitol Building. Focuses on Oklahoma’s history of geology, transportation, commerce, culture, aviation, and heritage.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Located in Oklahoma City this museum features an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts.
Cherokee Heritage Center
Located in Tahlequah the center is home to the Ancient Village, Adams Corner Rural Village, the Trail of Tears exhibit, the Cherokee National Museum and the Cherokee Family Research Center.
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum
Worth the drive to Seminole. This is a hand’s on interactive museum!
A home built by William Fremont Harn in 1904. This is a great living history homestead located right in the heart of Oklahoma City. The have a one room schoolhouse, an old barn, and an old home with period furniture and tools – mostly interactive.
Woolaroc in Bartlesville and Fort Gibson both have a fall and spring encampment. These are great events where you can take your kids to experience living history.
Round Mountain and Dripping Springs both have Civil War reenactments. I think Dripping Springs is in the fall and Round Mountain is in the Spring.
The Castle of Muskogee hosts a Renaissance festival every weekend in May.
The Medieval Fair is an annual event in Norman, Oklahoma
The National Weather Center which is in Norman has tours available.
Then there are the numerous pumpkin patches, petting zoos, and factory tours – like the Blue Bell ice cream factory. Yum! Basically anything your children are interested in you can look around and you will find places to go to see and interact with great educational experiences.
For more field trip ideas check out these websites:
Homeschooling in Oklahoma
There are so many families in Oklahoma that are homeschooling that it would be impossible to list all of the social opportunities available. Also, as I live in the Tulsa area I don’t really know about the ones outside of my area.
If you are looking for Support Groups or Co-ops check out www.oklahomahomeschooling.org and/or sign up for Linda Duntley’s T.H.E. newsletter at www.tulsahomeeducators.com.
Also www.ochec.com has a list of Support Groups. New groups are started on a regular basis. Here are a few in my area:
www.chefok.org – Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Oklahoma. CHEF has support groups all over Oklahoma.
www.cheersupport.com – Christian Home Educators Encouragement Resource
www.victoryhomeeducators.org – Victory homeschool
There are also numerous co-ops available around Oklahoma. Here are two of the bigger ones in the Tulsa area: www.victoryhomeeducators.org (connected with classical conversations) and www.ctctulsa.org
Many of the smaller private schools also offer classes to homeschool students. Check out Augustine Christian Academy of Tulsa for instance. My daughter played volleyball for Eagle Point in Sapulpa.
In the Tulsa area there are so many things for homeschoolers’ to do that you could literally be out socializing every day.
Many roller skating and ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, and swimming pools have Homeschool Days (if yours doesn’t just ask for one). Also many community centers offer homeschool P.E. classes. Bounce U even has a homeschool day as does Incredible Pizza! There are drama classes, art classes, music classes, and dance classes offered specifically for homeschoolers. And homeschool park days abound! If you can’t find one in your area, start one. People will come. Some parents started a free homeschool P.E. class at the local community center and by the 3rd year they were at capacity and have had to separate into two and sometimes three classes.
Homeschooling in Oklahoma
Conventions and Book Fairs
My family went to the first homeschool convention in Oklahoma. It was a National Homeschool convention and was held in Tulsa at the Mabee Center in 1984. My mom says some of the big speakers of the time were there. HSLDA was a new entity and Mike Farris was there. Tim LaHaye, and many others. All I remember about it (it was our first year to homeschool) was having to sing with a bunch of strange kids on stage one evening.
I also attended Tulsa’s second homeschool convention in 2011. OCHEC (Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation) has been hosting a Conference in Oklahoma City for years but it has gotten so large that several years ago they started hosting a conference in Tulsa as well. Both conferences are usually at the beginning of May. My sister and I have gone every year and thoroughly enjoy ourselves. It is a great time of encouragement and refreshment. The vendor hall is very large and quite fun! http://nextgenhomeschool.com/2013/05/07/homeschool-conventions-part-1-ochec-tulsa/
Throughout the year Mardel’s Christian Bookstore and other venues host speakers that help and encourage homeschool parents. The Teaching Them Diligently Convention doesn’t have a convention near us – I have attended one in Omaha, NE and in Dallas, TX. They are well worth the drive. For me, even as a veteran homeschooler, they were life changing. Another national Homeschool Convention is the Great Homeschool Convention. They have conventions in four locations as well throughout the year. I haven’t been to one yet but I fully intend to attend one soon.
I also know that CHEF usually hosts book fairs near the end of the school year. Some of the private schools like Holland Hall also have a used book fair.
We are lucky in the Tulsa area to have a great used homeschool consignment book store called Bibliomania: www.bibliomaniatulsa.com . There is also a monthly free book pick up called Book Benevolence.
Oklahoma has some great Educational supply stores. I have relatives and friends in other states who would love to have the resources we have here. The largest homeschool supply store is Mardel’s Christian Bookstore: www.mardel.com . The owner of Mardel’s also owns Hobby Lobby which is a great place to buy science and craft supplies. As I mentioned earlier Bibliomania is a great store to shop for used homeschool supplies. In Sand Springs there is a store called Grace and Truth books which has great literature and other good Christian books: www.graceandtruthbooks.com . There are also some teacher supply stores – The Learning Shop and The Apple Tree. And don’t forget about Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Staples, Office Depot, JoAnnes, Michael’s, and etc… Most of these stores have educator discounts. Check out their websites or call them for their policies pertaining to this discount. Many of them require you bring in a letter stating who you are and that you are a homeschool educator.
There are several good online resources for school curriculum, books and supplies as well. And if you are on Facebook look for homeschool swap pages in your area.
For online shopping, also check out these vendors:
and many more.
Let me know if this is helpful and also if you see any mistakes or think something needs added. Thanks.