According to federal estimates, Oklahoma has high homeschool participation, some of the highest in the country, but these students have little access to public school offerings.

History

Oklahoma is in the southern United States. Homeschooling was legalized in Oklahoma in 1907, the first state in the nation to do so. As such, it is unsurprising that Oklahoma appears to have high homeschool participation.

Regulation

In Oklahoma, parents can homeschool to meet the state compulsory education requirements for students ages 5 to 18. The state provides a webpage with guidance and suggestions to homeschool parents, but little is required. Parents are asked to notify their local public school principal of their intent to homeschool. The state does require instruction in basic subjects, but there are no approved or mandatory curricula.

No explicit statute governs access to public school offerings for anyone outside of the public school system. Homeschool students have no access to public school classes or activities. In fact, the Federal District Court ruled against a homeschooled student seeking to compel the school to allow part-time enrollment. Swanson v. Guthrie Independent School District No. 1-1, 942 F. Supp. 511 (W.D.Okl. 1996). The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision. 135 F.3d 694 (10th Cir. 1998).  We were unable to find information on homeschool access to special needs services.

State Data

Oklahoma does not report homeschool participation for the state. While the lack of official data is problematic when homeschooled students are reported to their local principal, U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 7.7% of Oklahoma families homeschooled in the spring of 2020. That percentage increased to 20% by the fall of 2020. These are very large participation percentages when considering that the national average from that time was 5.4% and 11.1%, respectively. In fact, these are the highest percentages of homeschooling in the nation, coming from the U.S. Census, second only to Alaska. More recent U.S. Census estimates, from the 2022 and 2023 school years, found that an average of 5.3% of K-12 students in Oklahoma were homeschooling.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

We cannot calculate a cross-sector comparison because we lack information on homeschool participation.

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, parents in Oklahoma have multiple school choice options. These include enrollment in traditional public, private, magnet, and charter schools. Oklahoma provides public funding for private school choice through multiple avenues, including Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tax credits. Homeschool students are eligible for up to $1,000 in public funding.

Commentary

Given the evidence of large homeschool participation, providing the information already collected from parents would increase transparency. It is also worth mentioning that the compulsory attendance ages in Oklahoma are both the earliest (5 years old) and the oldest (18 years old) in the country. Few states have a 13-year requirement. Oklahoma is also one of three states with the largest Native American population in the nation. New Mexico and South Dakota also have large native American populations and 13-year compulsory education requirements.

Last updated December 2023.