There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschooling families.
Many families choose homeschooling for the academic, social, moral and religious
advantages it offers; for others, the children's health and safety are
determining factors. Most families cite a combination of these reasons--or all
"It isn't really about society breaking down...it's more about the enormous benefits and pleasures of being a strong family and having time together. It is a way of choosing to live. It is about freedom. It isn't about wanting to correct society, but more about a willingness to take responsibility. When we started homeschooling it wasn't about avoiding a negative, but choosing a positive."
- LeAynne Snell, HERO member
"We did it primarily to slow our lives down, have more time together, more freedom... to get off the merry-go-round of the nineties. We didn't want to be busy every evening, to eat fast food in the car, and to have most of our time at home spent sleeping. We were tired of confining travel to school breaks, of putting in a second shift of homework after the day was over, and of dealing with ridiculous requirements imposed by the schools.
We chose homeschooling as an effort to take back our lives, to have time for the things we want to do. Now, I don't want to make it sound like these were huge things, on the contrary, it was the little things that loomed largest when we were so pressed for time. Little things like wanting more time to bake, more time to garden, not having laundry on the weekend, not being too tired to do an evening activity that we wanted to do. We sat back, took stock of what was important to us, and put those things first in our life.
I doubt that any of us do this without some sacrifice. I had a fairly high paying job that I left when my husband was transferred that I could have easily replaced in the current job market. I would not return to my career now, for double the salary. The rewards of what we're doing now are far too great."
- Ann Vetter, HERO member
What are the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling?
People often start homeschool research by developing a list of pros and cons, or advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling. The lists that follow are not comprehensive; depending on you, your family, and your circumstances, you may experience some or all of the following.
Parents know their children better than any other teacher could, and this
knowledge allows parents to provide a custom-tailored learning experience. Your
children's interests, abilities and learning styles can be accommodated.
Homeschooling gives a family more time-- to be together, to strengthen relationships, and to share values and ideas. Many families find that learning at home takes less time than learning at school. Bus rides, classroom management, and a pace geared to the average learner at school are examples of school activities that rob children of precious time. Regaining this lost time means time for children to learn more, to pursue individual hobbies and interests, and to travel. Simple but life enriching activities such as reading can be reclaimed.
Many children who are institutionally schooled find the oftentimes noisy, crowded environment stressful. Recurring stomachaches, headaches, and anxiety may all improve in a happy, peaceful home environment.
Beyond the traditional subjects taught in school, children can obtain life skills, such as managing money, cooking, and carpentry, by participating in real activities required at home.
Homeschooled children are better socialized; they are not confined to the artificial same-age-only relationships of the school setting, so they have more experience in getting along with people of all ages.
Finally, and the bottom line for many prospective homeschoolers: home offers a degree of safety that no school system can provide.
Homeschoolers can expect to experience some disadvantages too. Based on your
personality or circumstances, you may or may not consider the disadvantages to
be insurmountable or even significant.
The awesome responsibility for education rests squarely where most homeschoolers believe it should: on the family's shoulders. Many people may be unwilling or unable to assume the responsibility, and would prefer that it be left to others.
The increased "togetherness" is a bitter pill to swallow for some. Fortunately, many find that homeschooling is a positive, relationship-healing process. Over time, both the children and parents change, relax, and come to enjoy being together in a way that is not possible for those families who are able to only spend leftover snippets of time together.
Homeschooling takes more effort than sending children to school. In addition to basic subjects, energy is required to stay informed about and engaged in activities and opportunities, legislation, and homeschooling methods and ideas.
Although homeschoolers are a growing population, we are a minority. Lack of understanding about learning and homeschooling may cause others to doubt your ability to provide an excellent education for your children, and you may doubt yourself.
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In Oklahoma, our right to homeschool is written into the State Constitution.
We are not governed by the State Department of Education and therefore there is
no one we must "register with", no department we must report to, and no where to
sign the kids up to start homeschooling.
Homeschoolers often worry that they must be completely prepared before they begin homeschooling. However, this is not the case; nor is it recommended by many homeschool authors.
Once the decision has been made to homeschool, families need not feel rushed to settle every homeschooling decision at once. Many homeschoolers find that preparations for homeschooling can be made gradually and thoughtfully as the family spends time learning about homeschooling choices.
Reading, talking with other homeschoolers, and attending homeschooling seminars and classes are excellent ways to find out about options and choices in homeschooling.
The topic of beginning homeschooling is covered in much more depth on
our Getting Started
If your child has been in school, you'll want to notify the school that your child will not be coming back. By doing this in writing, you'll ward off inquiries about truancy. HERO of Oklahoma has written a sample letter for withdrawing your child from school (and editable word document) that quotes specific laws that affect homeschooling rights. A non-editable pdf version viewable with acrobat reader is available here.
If your child has never been enrolled in your school district, no notification, registration, or reporting to anyone is necessary.
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It is good for beginning homeschoolers to know that most of us
felt unsure of ourselves when we began homeschooling.
books, using other resources (like catalogs, tapes, Internet pages and
brochures) and talking with homeschool families are the best ways to gain
Many homeschoolers believe that the most difficult thing about homeschooling is deciding to take on the weighty responsibility for their children’s education. All life decisions have “pros” and “cons” and homeschooling is no exception. These “pros” and “cons” aren’t always what you first think, however. Finding out all you can will help you decide if it will work for your family.
If you decide to take on the primary responsibility for your children’s education, realize that it doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. Most homeschool families begin by taking it a day, month, semester, or year at a time. Some families try a period of “trial homeschooling”—beginning in the summer, after school, or before their child enters school. Other families decide to “take the plunge” all at once.
Many homeschooling books recommend that you write out a list of your objectives—your reasons for wanting to homeschool—before you begin homeschooling. Then, whenever doubts creep into your mind (and they will), you can look back at your original objectives and see if they are still worthwhile reasons to continue. If things aren’t working as well as you hoped, it might be time to revise your goals and/or to change your homeschooling plans.
There are many different educational philosophies practiced by homeschoolers. General categories include: unschooling, unit studies, school-at-home and eclectic. Even within those categories, there are many different approaches. There are, in fact, as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. When you read about an approach it is good to realize that it is only one option, and one person's or one group's opinion. Try a variety of materials and read about different approaches to find one that works for you.
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Homeschoolers who have withdrawn a child from school often find a time of "deschooling"
to be beneficial. The term "deschooling" or "refreshment" has come to mean the
process of reawakening the child's natural curiosity and interest in learning,
by reducing or entirely removing enforced, coercive, and compulsory learning and
Visiting museums, traveling, playing games, reading aloud, and visiting the library are a few of the many fun and interesting deschooling activities your child might enjoy.
This approach can help children "decompress" from any stresses of their previous learning experiences and begin to think about learning in a different way. The time recommended varies, but one recommendation is one month of deschooling for every year the children have been in school. Parents know their own children best, however, and different families will make different choices about this adjustment time.
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If your child is currently enrolled in the public school system, you may withdraw them at any time. To officially withdraw your child, inform the principal of the school, in writing. It is in your best interests to keep the letter brief, as shown in the sample letter. No "homeschooling form" or registration of any kind is required by law. It isn't necessary to notify the school if your children have never been enrolled in your school district.
Once your child has been officially withdrawn from the school system, public
education system officials (including the Board of Education, the
superintendent, the principal, and teachers) have no jurisdiction
over your homeschooled child. School officials have no right,
without a court order, to enter your home, or to review your lesson
plans, assignments, or curriculum materials. Homeschoolers are not
required to provide any such materials at any time.
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You can spend as much or as little on
curriculum, materials and supplies as
you choose. Pre-packaged curriculum tends to be expensive, though
many new homeschoolers say it's worth the cost to be able to follow pre-set
guidelines. Some families prefer to pick and choose their materials from
various suppliers, while others choose to go the
route and trade for or buy materials other homeschoolers have outgrown.
Most homeschooling families use the free resources available from public
libraries, many times eliminating the need to purchase some (or all) materials
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The Department of Education has acknowledged that for students who are enrolled in public-school "homebound" programs (for long-term illness that prevents regular public school attendance), three hours of one-on-one instruction per week is considered to be "equivalent" for their purposes.
While HERO doesn't recommend spending only three hours a week learning, many homeschoolers find that learning subjects at home takes much less time than learning in an institutional school setting, since parents are able to provide individualized attention with few distractions. Younger homeschooled children typically spend very little time in formalized studies; older children spend more time.
School children's actual "on-task" time is considerably less than the six hours spent in the school building. A great deal of school time is spent in waiting, behavior management, administrative tasks, and in moving in an orderly fashion from one location to the next. Learners who master subjects quickly waste additional valuable learning time being restrained to the average pace of the class. Despite their best efforts, institutional schools lack the resources to tailor lessons to each child's specific needs.
Children learn very efficiently with the custom-tailored approach that
homeschooling offers. Learning at home is not restricted to a certain time
period; it happens throughout the day and evening and is often unplanned. It
takes an observant parent to recognize and notice this natural type of learning
that happens through the course of the day and year.
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The legal right to homeschool was written into the State Constitution; granting an exception to compulsory education if "other means of education" were provided. Our state's founders were forward-thinking people who recognized the right of the people to direct the education of their children. Oklahoma's laws pertaining to homeschooling are detailed on our Oklahoma Laws page. Homeschoolers are encouraged to read them and know their rights and responsibilities, but they may be briefly stated as this:
Legal requirements for homeschooling in Oklahoma consist of providing an education for children ages 5 to 18 that is in good faith and equivalent to that provided by the state for at least 175 days per year.
Known among homeschoolers as "the S word," socialization concerns many
homeschoolers and their extended families. Because this issue can be a
source of worry for new homeschooling families, the topic is covered in greater
depth on the Oklahoma
Homeschooling Socialization page.
In short, children learn to get along with others through relationships with people of
all ages. Many homeschoolers develop these relationships through
volunteering, participating in
support groups or co-ops,
or exploring shared interests with others, such as sports groups, dance and art
classes or even chess clubs and scouts.
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Oklahoma law does not specify exactly what homeschoolers must study in each grade.
However, Oklahoma public schools have state-mandated curriculum guidelines for public school students in Kindergarten through 12th grade which some homeschoolers use as a guide. Called “Priority Academic Student Skills” (P.A.S.S.), they are available online or in print from the State Department of Education for $5.00. These guidelines are very specific and written in “teacher-ese,” but some homeschoolers find the general outline of information helpful.
World Book International’s Typical Course of Study is another source for educational guidelines. They are also available in print form. You may request a free copy by writing: World Book, 4788 Hwy 3775, Ft. Worth, TX 76116, or by calling: 1-800-967-5325.
Another web page with curriculum guidelines and resource suggestions is Oak Meadow’s “Introduction to the Curriculum”.
Some homeschoolers use E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Series: What My First (etc.) Grader Needs to Know. (Titles from Kindergarten to sixth grade.) Hirsch is also the author of Cultural Literacy and other books. Most homeschoolers use these only as a guide for ideas to cover in more depth.
Other homeschoolers use a pre-made, “school-in-a-box” curriculum to determine learning topics. Along those same lines, correspondence schools provide all the materials a child needs for any particular grade. Pre-made curriculums and correspondence schools can be among the more costly options, but some parents feel the convenience is worth the expense.
One advantage of homeschooling is that a parent may look to each child to determine a course of study. Often, children’s interests may result in them being more “advanced” than other children their age in certain topics. Other subjects may take more effort. Fortunately, homeschoolers have a great deal of flexibility in how, when and what their children learn.
Perhaps we should ask "How can my children learn subjects I don't know well?" Fortunately, homeschooling does not restrict our children to a subset of parental knowledge, nor does homeschooling mean that we are confined to our homes; consider tutors, study groups with homeschool friends, limited attendance private schools, community colleges, vo-tech schools, neighbors, family, videos, distance learning offered by universities, and the public library. If you were institutionally schooled, you may find that you learn the subject more easily and thoroughly at home, right along with your child.
There is no one "best curriculum" that is perfect for everyone. Each resource on the market has its advocates--you can usually find someone somewhere who thinks any given item is "the best." Asking other homeschoolers why they like or dislike a given resource may help you discover whether it would work for your one-of-a-kind family.
In addition to talking with other homeschoolers, you may find it helpful to read some of the books describing homeschooling materials, as well as checking out some of the curriculum resources listed on the HERO website.
Choosing among the many good resources available can be challenging. To get the most value from materials, families must judge resources for themselves, and base choices on family values, needs, educational philosophies and their children's learning styles.
Resources for learning are everywhere. In addition to retail educational supply stores, you will find materials in homeschool catalogs, internet sites, public libraries, garage sales and even in your own kitchen cupboard, garage, and bookshelves. HERO maintains a list curriculum resources recommended by other Oklahoma homeschoolers.
The public library is used almost universally by homeschoolers. In addition to books, many libraries have videos, cassette tapes, magazines, computer software, and maps. Some libraries offer special programs such as travel presentations, book discussions and exhibits. Known as "the homeschooler's best friend," your local librarian can be a terrific resource and may be willing to assist you in your search for homeschooling resources. Check with your local librarian for holdings and programs in your area.
If you prefer shopping at home, there are a wealth of homeschooling catalogs available. Ordering catalogs through a homeschool magazine that you enjoy will get you on catalog mailing lists with the same "flavor" as your favorite magazine.
Another way to find resources at home is through the internet. The largest resource list online, although not the only one, may be the Homeschool Resource Guide, which is a huge listing of homeschool materials, catalogs, and resources.
If you prefer to save money and the environment by reusing and recycling materials, you're in good company; many homeschoolers share or resell used materials. You can find many websites devoted to homeschool resale on the internet. Also, several homeschool groups in Oklahoma have used book fairs—usually in the spring. Network through a local homeschool group or join the HERO email list to stay abreast of book fairs in your area.
Another source of used materials is the school district textbook depository in your area, which may be open to the public. Depositories in the bigger cities offer new textbooks that Oklahoma school districts are using. Call ahead.
Finally, remember that not every resource is a book--there are many community resources available, including: art, science and history museums, zoos, botanical gardens, tutors, classes, co-ops, churches, 4-H and county extension agents, local park and recreation departments, Boy and Girl Scouts, Campfire, nature centers, camps, volunteer organizations, senior citizen centers, private businesses, and community colleges. Your local homeschool group can offer additional information about treasures in your area.
Organizing for homeschooling does not require any special skills that are not already part of organizing your life, family and household. For organizational help and ideas, many general household organization books are available. Organization "experts" specializing in homeschooling do exist, and may be willing to tell you exactly how homeschoolers should organize time and space. You won't find that information here. Why? Because you and your family are the authorities on what works best for your family.
If you don't feel particularly authoritative about your family's needs, or organization isn't an area you've considered, observation is a good, low cost way to begin. Observe which type of atmosphere provides you and your family the best environment for learning. Some people learn best with quiet music in the background, others need complete silence, and still others would not be bothered by a living room of hyenas! How much orderliness, structure, scheduling, and flexibility is appropriate? It's your home, your family, and it's up to you!
Oklahoma law does not require testing, leaving homeschool families the freedom to make choices about evaluating their children.
Many families find that working one-on-one with their children makes testing unnecessary; parents can readily observe how children are progressing. Others believe that the experience of testing will help their children with standardized tests necessary later for college admissions; still others want "proof" that their children are learning.
If you decide to test, boxed curriculums and most textbooks usually include subject-specific tests; they may also be easily designed by a parent and given orally or in writing.
Test questions and test-taking practice opportunities are also available online. The Mental Edge is a comprehensive set of online review questions that cover all subjects for grades 3 through 12.
Standardized achievement tests were designed to follow large groups of students through their education—not necessarily to determine individual progress. Since Oklahoma homeschoolers aren't required to follow a standardized curriculum, it may or may not be indicative of learning taking place in your home. There are subjects not tested in standardized tests, for example, that you may consider important in your children's education.
If you choose to use standardized achievement tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, you may order them through a variety of testing and curriculum companies. In addition, most of the correspondence-type schools offer standardized testing for their enrollees and others.
The following listing of testing companies is provided for those homeschoolers interested in standardized testing, and represent just a few of the many available sources:
Hewitt Homeschooling Resources
P.O. Box 9, Washougal, WA 98671-0009
(360) 835-8708 (for credit card orders)
1350 Progress Drive
Front Royal, VA 22630
In addition, numerous Oklahoma colleges, universities, private schools, and homeschool groups offer various standardized tests throughout the year. For more information about testing resources in your area, contact your local homeschool support group.
There is no reporting system in Oklahoma for homeschoolers, nor are records or forms of any kind required by Oklahoma law. Some families choose to use them, but attendance forms, grades, report cards, progress reports, curriculum forms, and school incorporation forms are NOT required for legal and successful homeschooling in Oklahoma.
If you choose to keep records, there are a variety of ways to keep them, ranging from charts with daily lesson plans, time spent on each subject, and grades, to writing daily, weekly, or monthly diary or journal entries. Some families enjoy keeping a portfolio containing representative samples of their child’s work. Another way to track progress is through standardized tests. None of these options are required, they are just examples of some of the many ways records can be kept. Families can determine for themselves what works best for them, and can be very creative in keeping track of accomplishments.
For college-bound students, it is probable that some documentation of educational pursuits will be necessary for college admission. Books you may find helpful are And What About College?: How Homeschooling Leads to Admissions to the Best Colleges & Universities by Cafi Cohen and Homeschoolers College Admissions Handbook: Preparing 12 to 18-year-olds for Success in the College of Their Choice by Cafi Cohen.
Some Oklahoma families keep some kind of record of the type of education being provided and each child's progress for at least 180 days of the year, to prove that the minimum requirements of the law are being met. It is extremely unlikely that the typical homeschooling family would face a legal challenge. If one arose, the burden of proof would rest with the state, which means that the state would have to prove that the law was not being met. The homeschooling family would not have to prove compliance, although records might bring the case to a swifter conclusion. If truancy investigations, custody conflicts or other legal proceedings are a concern for your family, record-keeping may be a good idea.
It is neither necessary nor advisable to offer curriculum information, lesson plans, or other records to school districts or state officials in Oklahoma. Seek an attorney's advice before giving records to anyone. As in similar legal situations, a search warrant is necessary for law enforcement agencies to enter your home or obtain your homeschooling records.
There is no legal requirement for public schools to offer classes "al a carte," nor is there an incentive for them to do so, since homeschooled students cannot be counted for funding purposes. However, some schools will allow homeschooled students to participate in selected academic or extracurricular classes; whether your child will be embraced or rejected will be based solely on the whims of school administrators.
Even if school administrators in your area are receptive to homeschool part-timers, your child may still not be eligible to play or perform in competitions. Most public schools, and some private schools, voluntarily join a private rule-making organization called OSSAA (Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association), which prohibits homeschooler participation in OSSAA-sanctioned events and competitions.
OSSAA rules apply to seventh through twelfth grade students in member schools. When schools opt (and pay) to join OSSAA, they accept the rules and governance of OSSAA, and in so doing, gain the right to compete against other OSSAA member schools, and to compete (subject to rules) in district, region and state contests, play-offs and championships for sports, vocal music, band, orchestra, speech, drama and cheerleading.
Under OSSAA rules, homeschoolers are prohibited from competitive events because they do not attend member schools 90 percent of the time. Homeschools are ineligible to become OSSAA member schools under the OSSAA Constitution (Article III - Membership).
Many homeschooling families choose to participate in sports through programs
offered by their city parks division or local sports clubs as well as their
local YMCA or other organizations.
The Oklahoma Homeschooling Co-ops & Classes page lists many interesting opportunities for homeschoolers. Local support groups and HERO's statewide discussion group are excellent sources of information. Stay alert to notices of local happenings in your newspaper, read library bulletin boards, gather brochures from park department, extension offices, community centers and centers of higher education.
If you are not in or near a metropolitan area, and opportunities seem sparse, you may want to join together with other homeschoolers in the area to create some events!
US Homeschool Band Association (865) 216-1507 or email@example.com US Homeschool Band Association is a national, non-profit organization to stimulate, organize, and coordinate the efforts of many talented musicians who are trying to establish a homeschool band program in their area. We also serve to support and encourage their efforts by providing advice and counsel on ways to implement an instrumental music program their area. We want to serve the national homeschool movement by implementing a national association complete with band festivals, honor band programs, solo and ensemble, etc.
Subject to Oklahoma laws concerning homeschooling, you will decide when your child has graduated. Since homeschoolers must be provided an education "equivalent to that afforded by the state," parents may find it helpful to look at Oklahoma Requirements for High School Graduation for public school students. Here is a helpful Oklahoma Graduation Checklist. There are no tests to undergo, no forms to complete, and no homeschool agencies to report to, thanks to our Oklahoma constitution and the many vigilant homeschoolers across the state who keep a close watch on legislation that might erode our liberty.
When you decide your child is ready to graduate or move to a new phase of life, if you would like to mark the occasion, you have several options. Some homeschool support groups offer graduation ceremonies for seniors, and you're always free to hold your own special family ceremony or party, or join with others in your area to create a group graduation ceremony. Some dispense with graduation ceremonies altogether.
There are several ways that people can seamlessly move into the next phase of their lives. Some ideas for those approaching nest-leaving time are: taking college classes part-time, or while still completing high school work; working part-time or full-time; volunteering; or serving as an apprentice.
Diplomas can be divided into two categories: those offered by accredited schools, and those offered by unaccredited schools. Sometimes the phrases "accredited diploma" and "unaccredited diploma" are used as shortcuts, but the accreditation actually refers to the school issuing the diploma. Schools offering accredited diplomas have paid an accrediting organization to review and rate school practices and curriculum. Homemade diplomas, and some private school diplomas, are unaccredited. How to make your own homeschool diploma.
Some institutions, such as the US military, have traditionally regarded unaccredited diplomas as second-rate. (Read more about the military's acceptance of homeschooled students.) Other institutions, including some of the Ivy League colleges, do not require a diploma of any type.
Determining if an accredited diploma will be important to your child takes both communication and research. First, determine which opportunities your child might like to pursue after homeschooling. Next, make contact with prospective colleges, universities, apprenticeship programs or other places of interest, and ask if an accredited diploma is required. See Won't a diploma be required for college?
If a diploma from an accredited school isn't needed, you can create a homemade diploma for your child.
If your child wishes to attend Harvard, Yale or Stanford, no diploma is necessary. In fact, most colleges do not require a diploma. Others require a diploma or transcript from an accredited institution. Still others require ACT or SAT testing and a transcript. If your child is college-bound, it is a good idea to check for requirements at the particular institutions your child is interested in. Once you know the requirements, you can take steps to meet the requirements, attempt to negotiate the requirements, or seek colleges whose requirements are attainable by your child.
The GED, the General Educational Development program, (not general equivalency diploma, as is commonly believed) is available to adults; 16- and 17-year olds who want to take a GED test should contact the State Department of Education. In Oklahoma, the State Department of Education oversees fifty statewide GED Testing Centers. Adults who pass the GED test are awarded a Certificate of High School Equivalency. The GED Certificate may be helpful in gaining admission to postsecondary education, and job training or placement, although the value it offers homeschoolers varies, based on future plans of the individual.
Many homeschoolers do take the GED to fulfill college entrance requirements, but increasingly, homeschoolers are steering clear of the GED because of the "drop-out" stigma attached. There have been reports of homeschoolers with GED certificates being held to a higher standard than homeschoolers with diplomas from accredited or non-accredited institutions. Obtaining a GED isn't always in everyone's best interest; check with places of interest, such as candidate colleges, workplaces, or the military to be sure that having a GED will help, rather than hurt your child.
The issue of whether or not to obtain a GED is one that must be carefully
studied, especially if a military career is planned.
Military recruits are categorized into tiers, with the Tier II pool of candidates traditionally containing GED recipients, correspondence school graduates and homeschoolers. Few Tier II candidates are recruited, and even fewer receive the special considerations offered to Tier I candidates. Tier I recruits, who have a diploma from an accredited high school, have been the most sought after group. Tier I recruits are considered to be less likely to drop out of the service, and are eligible for specialized training, enlistment bonuses and educational incentives.
In 1998 there was a five-year pilot program commissioned by the US government that granted homeschoolers higher status than GED recipients. It has been claimed that the results of that pilot program were skewed by enlistees that were actually high school dropouts and not genuine homeschoolers. A new directive effective in early 2007 states that homeschoolers who score a 50 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) will automatically be placed in Tier 1. The change in policy is the result of a decision by the Department of Defense to conduct a new pilot program to review the attrition rates of homeschoolers. This pilot program is scheduled to last four years, during which time DoD will analyze the data and determine if a new long-term policy is warranted.
Here are a few resources to help when you are ready to put together a homeschool transcript. Here is a PDF checklist of credits required to graduate public high school. Here is a sample high school transcript with instructions, courtesy of Linda Peary. An alternate editable sample high school transcript as a Word doc is available here.
Local, state, regional and national resources are available. Please see HERO's Special Needs page for more information.
Check out HERO's extensive listing of homeschool support groups in the state. Many are HERO affiliates (denoted by a ), which indicates the group does not discriminate against or exclude people for any reason.
Support is also available through email discussion groups. HERO's discussion group, the largest and most active homeschool discussion group in the state, offers daily support and contact with other homeschoolers.
If for any reason, your child is planning to re-enter the public school system, there may be requirements to be met. As mentioned earlier, once a student enters or re-enters the public school system, the student is expected to follow the requirements set by the State Board of Education. The following is a quote from "An Issue Paper Prepared by the Oklahoma State Department of Education" (5/94):
"Since home schools are not accredited by the State Board of Education, a student will be placed according to their level of mastery of the Priority Academic Student Skills if he or she re-enters the public school system. All examinations will be administered by the receiving school and copies of the exam(s) given and the results will be kept on file for one year. Upon reentry into a public school the parent/guardian should provide documentation of the curriculum used in instruction, and the performance of the student in mastering this curriculum.
For the purpose of awarding credit(s) to be placed on the official high school transcript, students will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the curriculum area(s) being considered for graduation credit. Proficiency will be demonstrated by assessment or evaluation appropriated to the curriculum area, for example: portfolio, criterion-referenced test, thesis, project, product or performance. Proficiency in all laboratory science courses will require that students are able to perform relevant laboratory techniques."
However, enrolling in the public school system doesn't mean that parents and student have no rights. The following is a quote from No. 73-129 Opinions of the Attorney General:
. . . regarding the granting of credit in the public school for instruction received from a private tutor, the case of School Board District No. 18, Garvin County, et al. v. Thompson, et al., Okla. 103 P. 578, stated in pertinent part:
"The school authorities of the state have the power to classify and grade the scholars in their respective districts and cause them to be taught in such departments as they may deem expedient. They may also prescribe the courses of study and textbooks for the use of the schools, and such reasonable rules and regulations as they may think needful." (Emphasis added.)
The Thompson case held that the public school's power to determine courses of study was subject to the superior right of the parent to make a reasonable selection from the prescribed curriculum.
The point is that schools are legally expected to be reasonable in their requirements. If you, as the parent, feel that the school is not being reasonable, speak up. Homeschoolers often find that cooperation with school officials varies from district to district, school to school, and even among staff in these divisions. If necessary, ask around until you find someone that is willing to be cooperative.
Yes--they can and do!
Working while homeschooling adds a degree of difficulty, but motivated parents can make it work. Special work arrangements and work flexibility can help tremendously. Some ideas include working at home, working part-time, taking your child to work with you, and depending on your child's age, working while your child sleeps. Some families have special arrangements with extended family to help manage homeschooling and working.
"I do believe that homeschooling is viable in just about any situation as long as the family is flexible and does not expect their "homeschool" to be just like anyone else's homeschool." - Joyce Spurgin, working, homeschooling, HERO member
Neither homeschooling nor institutional
schooling is right for my family--what can we do?
Sometimes homeschooling is considered when a child wants to "drop out" or has had educational, emotional, or discipline problems in school. Some families, however, can't homeschool or aren’t interested in homeschooling, but believe that home education is their only remaining option.
If you are reluctant to homeschool, but are dissatisfied with the traditional approach to education, an alternative school may provide the solution for your family. Alternative schools serve children "at risk [for]not receiving a diploma." The Oklahoma State Department of Education is actively working to provide additional alternative education programs. These programs are housed both in independent school buildings and within regular schools. “Reluctant” homeschoolers may contact the Alternative Schools Department at (405) 522-0276 to investigate their educational options.
The law requires the state to provide an education to all children; if you believe a school system is not complying with the law, you may find an attorney’s guidance helpful.
A 1998 law (47 O.S. 6-107.3) set new standards for children between the ages of 16 and 18 who apply for an Oklahoma driver's license. Homeschoolers are affected by this law. The law states (in summary) that children between the ages of 16 and 18 who wish to apply for a driver's license must provide proof of school enrollment and pass a criterion-referenced reading test at the eighth-grade level.
Homeschoolers must provide proof of enrollment for their child in the form of a written, signed statement attesting that the child is receiving instruction by other means pursuant to Section 4 of Article XIII of the Oklahoma Constitution. This document will be provided by the Driver's License Testing Station.
Homeschoolers may make arrangements to take the reading test at various locations including community colleges, private schools, and vo-techs. Some of the tests that are "approved" by the state include: ACT, SAT, BASIS, CTBS, GMRT, ITBS, MAT7, Nelson-Denny, SRA Achievement Series and Survey of Basic Skills, Comprehensive Testing Program III, ITED, Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (CRT), STAR, TAP, TABE, and TAAS.
Currently the DMV requires a letter from the local public school
Homeschoolers are not eligible to attend driver's ed through the public schools, however there are other options available to them. Oklahoma laws allows parents to teach their teens driver's education through several Oklahoma State approved Parent-taught Driver's Education programs. Here's a link to the Parent Taught Driver Education Packet. Some insurance companies offer a discount for students who have completed an approved driver's education class.
Parent-Taught Driver's Education Courses:
Driver's Education Courses in Oklahoma
Some handy links: