How Do I Begin Homeschooling My Child (in South Carolina)?
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Are you thinking about homeschooling or have already decided that homeschooling is right for you and your family? If so, you’re probably wondering what the process looks like for enrollment as well as the legal requirements. Here is a glimpse into the homeschooling enrollment process for residents of South Carolina.
If your child is between the ages of 5 and 17 years old and living in the state of South Carolina, they are required to be enrolled in some type of school.
Are you eligible for homeschooling your child in South Carolina?
Any parent or guardian planning on homeschooling their child or children in the state of South Carolina is required to have a GED or High School Diploma.
Has your child already been enrolled in a public or private school?
If your child has already enrolled in a public or private school, you will first need to enroll in one of the three homeschooling options available to South Carolina homeschooling families before withdrawing them from their previous school.
What do I have to do when homeschooling my kid in South Carolina?
One of the initial decisions you'll need to make is how you want to go about homeschooling them: homeschooling under the state's homeschool statute, through the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS), or through another homeschool association (also referred to as the “third option group”).
You will also need to meet the following requirements:
Ensure your child has at least 180 days of education per school year, with 4.5 hours of instruction per day.
Have a curriculum that includes reading, science, math, writing, and social studies. (Grades 7 through 12 will require literature and composition as well.)
Maintain proper recordkeeping of attendance, progress, and instruction.
Which option for homeschooling should I choose?
This really comes down to your own preferences. In South Carolina, there are three options available for homeschooling your child or children.
Option #1: Homeschooling Through Your Local School District
When choosing Option 1, you'll need to submit an application to your local school district regarding homeschooling your child. Once approved, ensuring you meet the requirements listed above, you'll need to ensure that you keep accurate records regarding lesson plans, attendance, and instruction. Your local school district may very well request copies of these materials and records, but a semiannual progress report is required to be submitted regardless. They will also need to approve your chosen curriculum before use.
Upon receiving any of the requested homeschooling information kept in your records, the local school district also reserves the right to revoke their approval unless any indicated problems or deficiencies are corrected within the span of 30 days. They may also revise their previous approval decisions based upon the results of the required annual testing that's to be completed by Option 1 homeschooling students.
Option #2: Homeschooling Through the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS)
The second homeschooling option in South Carolina allows you to enroll your child in a homeschooling program through the SCAIHS. Unlike Option 1, enrolling through the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools will cost parents annual fees ranging from $45 (for kindergarteners) up to $450 based on a child's grade level and the number of children you intend to enroll each year.
Your desired curriculum will need to be approved by the SCAIHS, and you'll also be required to provide proof of meeting all state requirements for homeschooling, such as the minimum instruction days and the state's mandated curriculum requirements.
However, with this option, you have the added benefit of the SCAIHS handling all of the filing concerns regarding submitting mandatory paperwork to your local school district.
Option #3: Homeschooling Through an "Option 3" Accountability Group/Association
In a similar vein as the cover schools mentioned in other states, the accountability associations or groups must consist of a minimum of 50 members to be considered valid when selecting Option 3 as your homeschooling choice. Each of these groups is responsible for filing reports to the local school districts informing them of the quantity and grade levels of the children participating in homeschooling through their particular association.
While homeschooling through the SCAIHS may be more costly, there are often still some fees associated with individual accountability associations or groups. The quality of the support and services provided by these groups may also vary widely since they are not state-managed and are simply regulated by the families involved.
With Option 3, you also have more freedom regarding your child's curriculum (as long as it still meets the subject requirements listed above).
For more information regarding high school diploma eligibility, course credits, extracurricular activities, and other concerns, please refer to the South Carolina Department of Education's FAQ page.
To find who to contact in your local school district, you can search the South Carolina DOE's school directory.
For those interested in Option 2, the SCAIHS's relevant contact information can be found here.
For a list of Option 3 Associations provided by the SCDOE, click here.
For further information regarding the specifics of homeschooling in South Carolina, you can find additional information on the HSLDA website. If you're looking for additional information on homeschooling in general or in other areas, check out our Homeschooling page for more.