Shipman Homeschool 1991–2013
Karen and Richard Shipman have three children, and they began their homeschool voyage in 1991. Karen went to her first Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation (OCHEC) convention when her oldest daughter was three. Her first homeschool convention was in a small-medium sized church in West Oklahoma City with only a few vendors–maybe a dozen–set up in the fellowship hall. Karen has enjoyed watching how Oklahoma Homeschool has grown from those small beginnings to today, when the Cox Convention Center (formerly the Myriad) is packed with homeschoolers and prospective homeschoolers at the convention.
When Karen began to home educate, she only knew two families that had chosen this path. Her parents and family, who had not even heard of homeschooling, did not support the plan to home educate, but later when her children began to learn and succeed, they did come to believe she had done well. Karen did not have a negative experience or ideas about public or private schools, she just felt a conviction by God that this was the right choice for her family.
In 1994, Karen began looking for a math curriculum that would be hands on and use manipulatives. She saw an ad for exactly what she wanted and called the number on the flyer. When she ordered everything through fifth grade, the creator/owner of the math curriculum asked her to be a representative for her area to sell product and answer questions. Karen agreed and sold the math curriculum for 16 years. Each year she took her family to three homeschool conventions: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Wichita. Karen spent an average of four hours a day, five days a week, answering questions and taking orders over the phone. She enjoyed selling the curriculum and meeting homeschoolers.
In 1996, she could not find a good homeschool Oklahoma History and while teaching at a homeschool coop she developed her own. Karen called it OKLAHOMAP. She did a first printing of about 250 books and sold all of them. She made money, but her other business of selling math took so much time that she did not do another printing of OKLAHOMAP.
Karen’s favorite aspect of home education is the flexibility, and her least favorite would be the opinions given by those that disagree with the idea of home education. When family members, friends, fellow church members, and others are critical, it causes unwanted stress. However, Karen has completed her homeschool voyage, and it is apparent she was a success. Her children’s stories follow:
2006 Shipman Homeschool Graduate
Ann received her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in 2012. She was able to begin taking college courses as a high school junior. Her first semester at Oklahoma City Community College she took 11 college credit hours, and each semester following while in high school she took 12 credit hours. Being homeschooled allowed her the flexibility to take those extra hours and gave her a jump start on her degrees. It also exposed her to other world views. Ann relates that the training her parents gave her in her home education far exceeded any she would have received elsewhere. In homeschool, she was able to pursue her interests more in-depth than in a traditional school setting. However, there were moments of discomfort when she met others with knowledge of areas she had not been exposed to, like playing sports. Though she did not wish to play sports growing up, she thinks not being exposed to it may be one capability she lacks. Even so, Ann was exposed to much more than just studying the books. She participated in activities with support groups: parties, taking tours of places like the Oklahoman newspaper, historic era ballroom dancing, classes at the Oklahoma Science Museum, and more. Her favorite was probably the ballroom dancing, because it made the era of the time come alive. She made a dress for herself for one of the balls that she still has. Ann was also active in 4-H for several years, and she says, “It is was super beneficial. It was a great way to be involved with others to learn public speaking, and 4-H helped me learn to communicate with all ages.” Through 4-H, Ann worked with dogs, and at the time, she wanted to be a veterinarian. However, when she toured the vet school, she changed her mind. She wanted nothing to do with the messy part of medicine. Ann did have strong skills in math and science and continued to seek a field that would fit. Her parents suggested pharmacist, and after she investigated, she agreed. It was the right decision; she loves her career. Home education may not be the optimal choice for everyone, but Ann believes it was for her.
2009 Shipman Homeschool Graduate
Stephanie is a mechanical engineer. As of this writing, she and her husband were expecting their first child. Stephanie believes that home education gave her the opportunity to have a wide variety of experiences and a broader knowledge base. One of those experiences is that she began assisting customers in her mother’s math business when she was eight; she learned early about customer service. Interfacing with customers is not a main job description for her now, but it is a quality for which Stephanie’s supervisor has commended her. She not only believes that home education helped her succeed, but also her parents methods of parenting. She was not a sheltered homeschooler, but one that participated in multiple activities and was a frequent library visitor reading a variety of books. Like her mother, Stephanie says that flexibility was the best attribute for her homeschool experience.
2013 Shipman Homeschool Graduate
John is in college studying forensic science and criminal justice. For the past five years, he has worked in a butcher shop and earned money to be able to live near his university. When asked about his home education experience, John said, “Home education should be considered by everyone. Not everyone should choose it, necessarily, but it should be a consideration. Homeschool helped me to remain focused and work at my own pace.” Now that he is in college, John thinks he is more dedicated to his education than his peers, and he can relate better to his professors. In his work and in his education, he has a positive work ethic. His is well-prepared for his future and credits this to his parents and home education.
Variety of Curriculum Used:
- Shurley English
- Apologia Science
- National Writing Institute Spelling
- Bob Jones
Selection of Field Trips and Activities:
- Oklahoma City Zoo
- Oklahoma Science Museum (Omniplex Science Classes)
- Dr. Sharp Geology Field Trips
- Historic Era Ballroom Dancing
- Concurrent College Classes (all three children)