• You CAN Homeschool!

    Saturday July 05 2014

    What's Holding You Back?

    Many people are interested in homeschool for one reason or another, but often dismiss the idea due to lack of familiarity and information coupled with misconceptions of what homeschooling looks like. Don't let doubt intimidate you, because you CAN homeschool.

    What Makes a Parent Qualified?

    You are qualified to homeschool your children: you love to spend time with them, love to explore the world with them, love to see them learn new things and, most important, love them. BUT where do you start? Here are some resources to help you get started.

    What does Oklahoma Say About Homeschooling?

    The more you learn about homeschool the more informed you are to make a decision for your family. We are blessed to live in possibly the most supportive, regulatory-free state when it comes to homeschooling. Learn the laws regarding homeschool. OK laws are listed at OCHEC website for your convenience.

    Will My Children Get Lonely and Miss Out On Socialization?

    Children do not need to be socialized in a large group of same-age children to become well adjusted socially. Quite the opposite. Most parents want their children to learn their social graces from adults, not other children. Support groups offer opportunities for activities with other children and provide support to parents who feel overwhelmed and unsure at times. Here is a list of Support Groups in Oklahoma.

    Share Homeschooling With Others

    Are you wanting to help a friend get started on their homeschool journey, here’s more information to share.

  • Convention Q & A

    Saturday March 15 2008

    It's time for the Convention again, and I thought this would be a good time to do two things:

    1) Write another blog post, now that I've had 5 months to rest up from the last one. :-)

    2) Answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the annual Convention.

    And now, I'll reach into the hopper and pull out a question from last year's comment forms.

    Q: Why are the aisles in the Exhibit Hall so narrow?

    A: The Exhibit Hall layout takes many things into consideration. Primarily, we are bound by the Fire Marshall regulations, so the layout has to first be approved by the Fire Marshall. Next, in order to offer premium value to our exhibitors and optimum shopping space for our attendees, the booth spaces are made as deep as possible, while keeping the walkways open enough for people to pass comfortably. While wider aisles would be nice, it seems that our purposes are better served with the wide variety and maximum space for our outstanding exhibitors to display their wares.

    Q: It was too hot! Can we turn up the air?
    and, alternately:
    Q: It was so cold! Can we turn up the heat?

    A: Our Convention Director is in constant contact with the Cox Business Center's facilities management throughout the event, and every effort is made to keep the environment comfortable for everyone. When the outside temperatures are significantly warmer or cooler than expected, it affects our inside temperatures. While adjustments are made, keeping the entire area at a strict 70º is simply not possible. Personally, I make sure to wear short sleeves and bring a sweater, that way I can be comfortable no matter the temperature. If, for some reason, I end up being overly warm or uncomfortably cool, I choose to be grateful for being indoors, and having access to so many outstanding resources.

    Now, go to HERE and get your family registered for the Convention!
  • Convention Secrets REVEALED

    Monday March 17 2008

    Q: Can you open the exhibits earlier and/or stay open later?

    A: We want all of our attendees to have maximum shopping time. There are a few considerations, however. First, we have to accommodate our vendors who may need an hour or more to ready their booths for you. The earlier the hall opens, the earlier they have to be there. As it is, many arrive betweeen 7 and 7:30 am to be open for business by 9. Most of them were setting up for several hours on Thursday after driving who-knows-how-long to get to Oklahoma City, so 9am seems to be the earliest we can ask them to be ready.

    As to staying later, remember, the wonderful, informative folks staffing the booths have been there since the early morning, with maybe one or two breaks that day. When the hall closes at 6:30 pm on Friday, they spend another hour closing up shop, then eat and rest and come back at the same early hour on Saturday to do it all again. On Saturday evening, it takes up to 4 hours for some of the vendors to pack up and load out their booths, and then they're back out on the road again.

    All this to say that, while we appreciate our attendees wishing for more shopping time, we have to be aware of the needs of our vendors and create an event that they look forward to coming to year after year. They really do give you all the time they have for two very long days. If you think of it, why don't you just give 'em a big ol' hug when you see 'em this year?

    Q: Why aren't the vendors in the same place every year?

    A: At the close of the conference every year, all of the vendors have the opportunity to register for the next year. The booths are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and the vendors themselves choose, and sometimes opt to change, their locations. While we have many of the same outstanding vendors year after year, there are also those change from year to year, so the layout never looks the same twice.

    And now, here's my favorite question. It comes up many times every year, and it cracks me up every time:

    Q: Why do the bathrooms have to be so far away?

    A: Well, that would be because they were built that way. And, since your Convention Committee is made up of homeschooling parents, we simply don't have time to remodel the Cox Center. Sad but true. We could ask if they'd mind if we brought in a row of Port-a-Johns, I suppose.

    Today's great link is to the New York Times article about the National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships. Go read it! You'll be glad you did.
  • Did You Know?

    Monday October 15 2007

    Did you know that your support group can host a "Homeschool How-To" meeting in your area?

    If you're like me, when you mention to a new acquaintance that you teach your children at home you occasionally get a response of "Oh! I WISH I could homeschool! I just don't think I could do it." Well, you and I both know that, in many cases, he or she most certainly COULD do it. All that's lacking is accurate information and confidence. That's where your OCHEC Trustees come in! If you will secure a meeting place and invite people from your community who have questions about home education, one or two of us will bring a presentation explaining home education, Oklahoma laws, philosophies of education and record keeping. We end with a question and answer session. Does this sound like something that would be helpful where you live? Contact the OCHEC office (staff@ochec.com), tell us where you live and request a "Homeschool How-To" seminar. You will be contacted by a Trustee and the wheels will be in motion.

    At OCHEC, we firmly believe that home-based, Biblical child training is one of the ways that we will see revival in our country and in the world. We are committed not just to serving Oklahoma's current home educating families, but to encouraging all families in our state (particularly Christian families) to give prayerful consideration to discipling their children in their own homes. One of our goals is to do all that we can do to remove real and perceived barriers to homeschooling. Won't you help us?
  • How Was YOUR First Week of School?

    Dana R Alsbrook Tuesday September 11 2007

    I have a sweet friend who is beginning the journey of home education this year. Her sweet boy Johnny is 5 and very bright and inquisitive. When I emailed her and asked about their first full week of school, she responded,

    Well...it was mostly up with a little down. The little person isn't used to this much structure and I could feel him straining against the leash at times. I did my best not to tie him to a chair, but tried to incorporate activity into each lesson. But, he has a tendency to want to clown around and, to be very honest, he does this to challenge my authority.

    I'm really focusing mostly on reading and trying to bring the alphabet into everything we do. Craft projects were about the alphabet or about creation, the two things we've worked on.

    My only concern is something I'm sure every homeschooling parent has wondered...am I doing this right? Then all sorts of questions begin pouring in, such as, "What if he doesn't learn to read? What if I am not able to teach him? What if we do this for 3 years and he doesn't learn and I fail?"

    I think the hard thing is expectations. How do I know if my expectations are realistic? At what age should he be reading, etc. etc.?

    Know what I mean?

    Boy! Do I! Anyone who has home schooled for more than a week can identify with my friend. She found some encouragement in my response, so I've decided to post it here in case one of you could use a little lift. Here goes.

    "Home education is about growing the whole child: his mind, yes, but also and primarily (first, foremost, above all else) his heart, soul and character - these are his real most fundamental (foundational, elementary) educational needs." - Marilyn Howshall

    You have a framework you use to understand what you're trying to accomplish. The countdown to "school age" began in your mind at birth, if not at conception. I can guarantee if school has been on his radar at all, it is a relatively recent blip. Johnny has 5+ years in a loving, relaxed environment with a gentle, fun mom. It is possible (and necessary) to fuse those frameworks. It is foolish to try to do it in the course of a week, just because it happens to be September, 2007. This is as meaningless to him as if I were to begin to insist that you and I spend 1/4 of our time together in Judo.

    "Judo? Really? Hmm, I don't recall our relationship having been based in any way on the martial arts," you might say.

    Now, as analogies do, this one breaks down because I'm not your God-given authority, and therefore have no basis from which to insist that our friendship be anything other than what you and I BOTH agree to have it be. The idea that I might begin to have different, foreign expectations of our time together without any kind of preparatory work would surely test your affection for me, and cause you to question mine for you. See this whole thing through his bright, inquisitive eyes, and keep his heart engaged.

    It may be that his first lesson is learning to submit to your authority willingly and cheerfully, and realizing the consequences of not doing so. Ordering your day around understanding concepts like submission, obedience, authority, order and so on will be a very useful foundation to your home education journey. He can learn letters any time. If he learns submission first, you'll have an easier time with academics. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of his capricious inclinations. "Maybe I'll sit still and write today. Maybe I'll talk funny and make a booger sculpture. Should be fun either way, right?" Not necessarily.

    You asked if you were "doing it right." You're doing it right, because you're obediently following the leading of the Lord Who made Johnny and entrusted him to you. Be patient, be flexible and keep your boy's heart. Here's a little twist on a well-known Scripture:

    If I speak Latin and German, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of phonics and can fathom homophones and gerunds, and if I can factor quadratic equations, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all the right answers and surrender my mind to the standardized tests, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    What does the Lord require of Johnny? Let's ask Him. According to Micah 6:8, "To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with his God."

    Johnny will learn to read, and it may be because you teach him. It may be because at some point the light "comes on" and written language makes sense. It will most likely be a combination of these two. Humans were created to relate to each other and to God. He chose to reveal Himself to humankind through the written word. Johnny will learn to read because he was DESIGNED to read. Maybe this year. Maybe when he's 10. Doesn't matter. Let me say that again: IT DOESN'T MATTER. If you strain his trust in your love and affection over the 9 English pronunciations of the alphabet symbol "a", THAT will matter.

    "Will he learn?" you ask. However long you teach him at home, he WILL learn. He will learn that he is loved, accepted, accountable for his actions, able to fathom the mysteries of God's creation and to contribute to your family and to society in a meaningful way. Or, he will learn that school is hard, Mama is stressed, and when he falls short in some unexpected way, he loses value. Read to him. Count with him. Delight with him in the wonder of the world God has made. Be content with your planting and watering role, and rest in God's promise to provide the increase. I read once that "If you succumb to the temptation to worry, what you're really doing is borrowing tomorrow's troubles without access to tomorrow's grace."

    May the grace sufficient for today and the peace that goes beyond human understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
  • Let the Planning Begin!

    Wednesday October 17 2007

     The Capitol Day 2008 planning has begun! Have you been to Capitol Day? What did you like? What would you change?

    We're looking forward to an informative event where you will have the opportunity to meet and influence your state representatives. Mark your calendar now: Capitol Day '08 will be Tuesday, February 12. More information will be available here, on the OCHEC website and in the next issue of The OCHEC Informer.

    You can begin to prepare for this important day by finding out who your representatives are and praying for them by name. Here is a website with some helpful information about talking with legislators. Have your children write or draw something about YOUR unique school that you can leave with your representatives as a memento. If you begin these projects now (you know, rather than February 11 at 10pm -- not that I would know ANYTHING about that sort of thing. ahem.) you'll have time to revise, polish and perhaps make copies.

    Need help finding out who your legislators are? Click here.
  • More Convention Questions

    Sunday March 16 2008

    These questions come up every year.

    Q: Why do we have the convention downtown?

    A: The Convention Committee and the OCHEC Trustees look into alternate locations every year. Since 1994, the Myriad/Cox Center has been the only facility with enough floor space (we use 100,000 square feet!), adequate parking (underground and street-level lots) and loading access with four loading doors plus a truck dock for bringing in over 200 booths' worth of goods (we allow vendors to drive right into the exhibit hall to unload). We are able to reserve the facility more than a year in advance, which helps with planning exhibits, workshops and speakers, and overnight security is provided to protect the millions of dollars' worth of supplies, electronic equipment and cinnamon roll dough.

    We've looked at every structure of any significant size in the metro area, and haven't found any that can accommodate our annual convention. We will continue to investigate alternatives, but we will only change venues if it is an appreciable improvement over our current situation.

    Q: The parking is TERRIBLE! What can you do about it?

    A: Well, for starters, Convention attendees are provided with vouchers reducing the parking fees from $6 to $1 which are good in several nearby lots. Parking is available under the Cox Center, and in these other nearby locations.

    Additionally, planning ahead can save a few headaches. Carpool in with someone from your area, if possible. The earlier you arrive in the morning, the closer you'll be able to park. And remember that, however far away you are, it's probably closer than walking from your house!

    Q: Why can't we have the convention at a church?

    A: Strangely, we haven't found any churches that want to rent their facilities to 2,500 attendees and over 200 vendors for three straight days, ending at 8 or 9pm on a Saturday night. Also, we've met with some resistance to the idea of driving trucks and trailers into the fellowship hall.

    More helpful links for you: go here and here if you want to get to know our main speakers a little better.
  • Oklahoma Homeschool Leaders' Retreat

    Dana R Alsbrook Monday June 18 2007

    July 20-21, 2007
    Friday, 3:30-9:30pm & Saturday, 8:30am-3:30pm
    Crossings Community Church
    14600 N. Portland Ave., Oklahoma City

    Join others from across Oklahoma for a weekend of encouragement and equipping. You and
    your leadership team will profoundly benefit from the exchange of ideas and the encouragement at this retreat.

    Keynote Speaker: Greg Gunn
    Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a dynamic speaker during our Friday evening banquet. Greg Gunn of Family Vision will be an inspiration to all of us. Greg and Rhonda Gunn have seven children who have all been home educated. The Gunns are members of LifeChurch/Edmond Campus where Greg has served as an elder for several years, and teaches a class titled, “Developing Your Family Vision/Mission.” Greg’s ministry, Family Vision, Inc., purposes to teach families to createand implement the unique family vision, mission, and values that promote a multi-generational godly heritage. Greg is currently writing a book titled Your Family Vision/Mission. His message is a timely one and very relevant to homeschool leaders, for strong families are a key to strong leadership.

    Schedule
    Friday Afternoon
    3:30 Registration
    4:00 General Session & Town Hall
    6:00 Dinner & Keynote; Entertainment

    Saturday
    8:30am Town Hall & Sessions
    Noon Lunch
    1:00pm Afternoon Sessions
    3:30 Closing


    Topics
    • How to Grow a Support Group
    • What Do I Do with All These Moms?
    • Field Trip Ideas
    • Balancing Leadership with Life
    • How to Develop a Handbook & Bylaws
    • Guest Speaker Recommendations for Groups
    • Ministering to Families of Children with Special Needs
    • and more!

    Click here
    for a printable brochure and registration form.
  • The '07-'08 School Year Has Begun!

    Dana R Alsbrook Thursday August 30 2007

    We are off and running on the new school year, and we're excited to have this new way of communicating with Oklahoma's home educating families. You will find OCHEC news here, as well as other items of interest so add this site to your feed reader, Bloglines, or what have you.

    Your OCHEC Trustees are excited about the opportunities and challenges of this new school year, and about seeing God at work in the homeschool community. Please leave us comments here so that we can know how to serve, pray for and encourage you.

    We're already in the throes of planning Capitol Day, Convention and next summers Leaders' Retreat. You will find updated information here and we will do our best to promptly answer any questions you may have. Just leave us a comment and you will get a response.

    It's going to be a great year of teaching, learning, growing and serving, and we're grateful to have your family along for the journey.
  • Welcome to the OCHEC Blog!

    Sunday June 17 2007

    Greetings, Home Educators!

    The OCHEC Trustees would like to welcome you to our blog. Our goal is to create a forum where you will not only find up-to-date information about homeschooling in Oklahoma, but you will also be able to communicate with us and each other about topics that concern us all. Please add our blog to your feed reader and check back often as we begin this new venture in service to our goal of equipping and encouraging home educating families in Oklahoma.

    We will be adding resource buttons, links and calendar features so that you are always only a mouse-click away from the news and information that matter to your homeschool. We look forward to your feedback and hope that this blog will be a source of information and encouragement to your family.
  • What Works For You?

    Dana R Alsbrook Wednesday October 10 2007

    As I was thinking about ways that OCHEC could be of practical assistance and encouragement to Oklahoma home educators, I began to wonder what sorts of resources have been most useful to you. So, let's talk about it. What have you tried? What was a Godsend and what was a train wreck? What do you wish was available?

    When our family began the journey of home education (way back in the 20th Century!), we lived in Lawton where there was a very active support group and a wonderful co-op. My first year, I had a first grader and a toddler and Fridays were the highlight of our week, as I got to sit in the nursery and visit with another sweet mom, then go assist in the high school science lab and then sit in the "teachers' lounge" with the other moms who had free time at the same time I did. I learned so much and had my resolve to home school set by the mentoring I received in that group.

    We moved to Oklahoma City in 1999, when I was pregnant with our third child. It was springtime and the support groups were winding down. I found a contact number for OCHEC, so I called and left a couple of messages. By the time someone returned my call, the local support groups had shut down for the summer, so my plan of getting "plugged in" enough to have some friends for the girls and someone to drink iced tea with from time to time never came to be. In the fall, I joined a support group and began to get involved in a few activities which brought some much-needed companionship for me and for the girls.

    So, that's our story. What's yours?