With the pandemic and so many uncertainties with schools reopening, I have seen an increase in parents requesting information about homeschooling their child(ren). Some parents are faced with this decision, having never thought about this ever being an option for their family. With that, comes anxiety and stress, and I think we all have enough of that in our lives these days. So, my hopes for this blog, is to ease some of your stress about homeschooling by giving you my personal/professional experiences and opinions on the subject, as a home-school mom and educational counselor.
First off, breathe, and know that there is no other person on this planet that knows your child and their needs more than you! You are the perfect person for the job!
Homeschooling comes natural to parents and most of you don't even realize it. You teach your child valuable lessons every day - Without books, lesson plans or a degree. Some of the most memorable lessons that your child will learn won't come from a classroom but from the voice of the person that they love and respect the most, you. So, take a breath and know that you are qualified and capable of more than you know.
Homeschooling in South Carolina is pretty simple to do. First, you need to choose what option works best for you and your family. South Carolina offers three legal options for homeschooling in the state.
Option One is to Homeschool through the school district
Families choosing to homeschool through option one agree to have their local school district approve their choice of curriculum as well as their methods of evaluation. Other requirements relating to this option include:
Eligible first graders must take a test to determine their readiness for first grade instruction
Yearly standardized testing is required of all students, and failure to meet minimum standards can result in additional instructional requirements
Homeschool record keeping must include a portfolio of subjects and activities covered throughout the year, samples of academic work, and a record of evaluations of the student’s progress
Option 2: Homeschooling through the SCAIHS
The second legal option for home instruction is conducted under the auspices of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. SCAIHS is a faith-based organization that oversees accountability of and keeps records for all homeschoolers who enroll with it. Membership costs for this option can range from $350-$450 per child, plus additional application and other fees.
SCAIHS requires annual testing for children in grades 3-11 and also expects parents to keep attendance records and progress reports for each student. In return, membership in the organization provides families with permanent records for each student, including transcripts for high schoolers and a diploma upon graduation. Services for students with special needs are available as well.
Option 3: Homeschooling through a SC Accountability Association
The third option for legally homeschooling in South Carolina is by far the most popular. Although it still requires families to follow the four main homeschool regulations (as stated below*) and to keep adequate records, the curriculum choice and style of instruction are completely up to the parents. There are no testing requirements with this option, either. GotOptions does offer Accountability through our G3O Home Educators Association and can assist you in getting started if this is something you are interested in.
Parents or guardians must handle the majority of the guidance for the curriculum instruction
Parents or guardians must have a minimum of a GED as educational credentials
Core curriculum should include math, science, history and reading (in 1st-6th grade) or literature (for grades 7-12) and writing (grades 1-6) or composition (grades 7-12)
Homeschool instruction should occur at least 180 days of the year
Another Option would be an online charter school such as K12, SC Connections Academy, etc. This is an online, publicly funded and accredited, school with licensed teachers, lesson plans and virtual student interaction. This gives you a little more freedom, with minimal involvement. The student can do school work at home or if parents need to work or run errands, at a Blended Learning Center such as GotOptions. If you are interested in finding out more, email me at email@example.com
After choosing what option best suites your family, you will then need to contact your child's school. If you are choosing 3rd Option, your Accountability Association will provide you with a Compliance Letter that you can take to the school (some Associations will mail it directly to the school if requested) and make them aware that you are planning on homeschooling and withdrawing them from public school It is very simple, they will only have you fill out a couple of documents and sign and date and you are good to go. Just make sure that you do this BEFORE you start homeschooling!
After withdrawing your child from public school and signing up with your accountability association, you then need to decide on a curriculum. This is where a lot of parent's panic. Remember, breathe .......
The options are endless when it comes to curriculum!! Just Goggle it! There's so many to choose from....it's unreal!! And it can be overwhelming, but try not to over-complicate it. Here's what you need to know.....You do not have to choose one curriculum and you do not have teach your child every subject at once! Focus on your core subjects - Math, History, Language Arts and Science! We offer blended learning classes here at GotOptions and welcome ALL homeschool families through our doors. If you are part of our G3O Accountability Association, most of the classes are free of charge. We also offer monthly Homeschool Socials that are open to ALL Homeschoolers! Make sure you Log In to the website www.GotOptionsLLC.com and create a profile and subscribe to emails so that you stay up to date with all of our events.
Lastly, know that you are NOT ALONE! If you are still concerned and overwhelmed you are always welcome to stop by or call me at GotOptions and have a FREE consultation. I have a plethora of resources and would be happy to help anyone that needed help getting started!