First of all, we're moving from Texas (where homeschoolers have it really good), to South Carolina (where homeschoolers don't have it quite as good). I'm not saying that it's going to be a hardship to homeschool there; just that there are some requirements that we have to meet. South Carolina, it seems, has made it a bit confusing (imagine that!) to get started homeschooling. Basically, there are three ways to homeschool in SC. The first has a list of requirements a mile long and, as far as I can tell, has the parent reporting to the school system and the child participating in state-mandated testing. The second option also has the child taking standardized tests and the family must be a member of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. The "third option", as it is commonly referred to, is to join another homeschool association of not less than 50 students whose requirements of members include:
- (a) a parent must hold at least a high school diploma or the equivalent general educational development (GED) certificate;
- (b) the instructional year is at least one hundred eighty days;
- (c) the curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the basic instructional areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature; and
- (d) educational records shall be maintained by the parent-teacher and include:
- (1) a plan book, diary, or other record indicating subjects taught and activities in which the student and parent-teacher engage;
- (2) a portfolio of samples of the student's academic work; and
- (3) a semiannual progress report including attendance records and individualized documentation of the student's academic progress in each of the basic instructional areas specified in item (c) above.
So, basically, with this option, the kids don't have to participate in standardized testing. Also, the local "third option" associations tend to be much cheaper (SCAIHS is $328-$448, depending on how many students you have in your family). Most local associations are $40-$75 per family, it seems. Fortunately for us, all the above requirements are not going to be a problem. I hate that we have to document 180 days, but I guarantee that if John does science with the kids on a Sunday afternoon, I will be documenting it as a day!
All that said, now I have to find a homeschool association and join it! So, writing this blog entry has prompted me to do some checking and that's a good thing. I don't want to be considered "truant" on our first day in SC!