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Homeschooling in South Carolina
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Whether you are a new homeschooler or a recently moved-here homeschooler, welcome to Homeschooling in South Carolina! I remember when I moved here from Florida. The homeschooling requirements there were minimal. The first thing I did was check the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website to see what the homeschooling laws were here, but I struggled to understand exactly what I was supposed to do. To be honest, I found the homeschooling laws similar to the English language: there always seemed to be an exception depending on which option you choose. I worked through many different scenarios with my kids, and unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. However, I'm going to try my best to break it down for you and make it as uncomplicated as I can.

The key to understanding the law is to understand the terminology. Here are some specifics.

Qualifications for the parent: For a parent to homeschool in South Carolina, the minimum degree requirement is a high school diploma or GED.

Requirements: You are required to do a minimum of 180 days of Homeschooling per year. This can include field trips and extra learning opportunity days. You are required to teach the following subjects: reading, writing, math, and social studies. Also, in grades 7-12, you will replace reading with both composition and literature.

To be in accordance with the law, you will also need to choose one of 3 options (or choices).

Option (choice) 1: Contact the board of trustees of your local public school district for information about how to apply to homeschool there. You must agree to the following:

  1. Teach your child the subjects above for 180 days with school for at least 4.5 hours, not counting lunch or recess.
  2. Keep records
  • A written record of the subjects taught and activities.
  • A portfolio showing samples of your child's work
  • A record of your child's academic progress assessments
  1. Submit a progress report twice a year, including an attendance record and an assessment of your child's progress in each of the required subjects.
  2. Annual testing

Make sure your child participates in the annual statewide testing program and the Basic Skills Assessment Program. A certified school district employee must administer the tests.

Note: If your child doesn’t perform well on the test, the school district will decide if your child should be put in public school, receive handicapped services, or have instruction support for Homeschooling at your expense.

Most homeschoolers choose Option 3 or Option 2.

Option (choice) 2 is homeschooling with the South Carolina Association of Independent Homes Schools (SCAIHS). You would need to join this group and follow its rules/policies. You can find out more about them HERE.

Option (choice) 3 is homeschooling with a homeschool association (also known as a 3rd option group). This is a non-profit group that has home education as its goal. Most homeschool associations try to limit the paperwork involved, which makes compliance easier. However, since the law regarding homeschool associations is very general, there are considerable variations concerning costs, benefits, and requirements among associations for standardized testing and recordkeeping. Each group is different, so you’ll have to do some research for a 3rd option group in your specific area. Find out what services they provide, such as field trips, a graduation ceremony, and class ranking. Other factors to consider are the philosophy and standards of the group. You will need to pay the fee for these groups annually.

You can enroll in one of the 30 homeschool associations which have at least 50 member families. See the list of these associations HERE. One of the 3rd option accountability groups associated with BJU Press is the Academy of Home Education. You can find out details about them HERE.

A few things to keep in mind when joining a group:

  1. Join early.
  2. Some groups give a discount if you join before August. The annual fees to join these groups usually depends on how much they do for you.
  3. Many groups limit the number of families they can take, so you may not get in the group you want if you wait.
  4. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can change groups after the school year is completed if you find that the one you chose isn't meeting your needs. The key is that you are a member of one of the groups each year.

The state law requires homeschool associations to maintain the same requirements as Option (choice) 1 with a few exceptions.

  1. You must have a high school diploma or GED.
  2. You must teach your child for at least 180 days per school year.
  3. Your curriculum must include reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and grades 7-12, composition, and literature.

In the state of South Carolina, annual testing is not required (unless the group you choose makes that a requirement to be in their group). Still, the educational records you keep must include a plan book or other record of subjects taught and activities, a portfolio of samples of your child’s academic work, and a semiannual progress report including attendance records and individualized documentation of your child’s academic progress in the required subjects. Your 3rd option accountability group will help you make sure you have fulfilled the state requirements to graduate.

Once you have chosen one of the above options and joined, you follow the South Carolina laws.

Just remember, as you begin your homeschooling journey, there are excellent resources available to help you.

  1. Choose a curriculum such as BJU Press Homeschool that appeals to all types of learners and provides stimulating instruction with academic rigor and biblical integration. It’s completely customizable. You can teach the lessons yourself using the teacher's editions, use the video lessons where a teacher teaches your child (courses available online or on DVD), or both. Much of the recordkeeping required in the SC homeschool law, such as grades, is included in our program, making reporting to your 3rd option accountability group extremely easy.
  2. There are 3rd option accountability groups that have a co-op within them. Not every group has a co-op, so you’d need to check. Some co-ops are not a 3rd option accountability group as well. Co-ops are not required in South Carolina, but a co-op can often be a great way to meet other homeschoolers in your area and get access to additional resources and support. Here is a list of some of the co-ops available.
  3. Homeschooling can seem overwhelming when you are trying to make sure you are following the law and finding the best option (choice) for your family. Ask the Lord to guide you through the choices that need to be made. While advice can be helpful, you know your family's needs best, so the final choice is up to you.

As I began and continued on my homeschooling journey, I sought people who could help, guide, and support me in the many unknowns. When the boxes of the BJU Press curriculum arrived, I wished for someone I could call for support in times when I was overwhelmed. HomeWorks by Precept Consultants can be that for you. As a HomeWorks by Precept Consultant, I enjoy coming alongside my customers to be the support that I always wanted. If I can help you, please let me know.

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Alice Bradley - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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