FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HOMESCHOOLING?
Homeschooling offers one on one teaching that can be specifically tailored to each student’s strengths and interests. Most homeschooling parents will tell you that they are homeschooling for a full life experience and not for their child to take a test. However, the majority of homeschool students do very well academically and studies are showing that they are excelling past their public and private school counterparts. Homeschooling also allows a lot of flexibility to pursue extracurriculars like music, sports, art, drama, 4h, scouting and so much more.
Additionally many homeschool families will tell you that they are a closer family unit because of their time together. And hey, you can vacation when other schools are in session and miss the crowds.
HOW DO I TAKE MY KIDS OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOL?
If your child has been enrolled in a public school you must formally withdraw him/her. Follow the procedure for your particular school. You should ask for copies of your child's records and/or transcript. You will not receive the original, but will receive a copy. You should be a member of M2SHA or other legal homeschool option in accordance with South Carolina's homeschooling law BEFORE removing your child from school. M2SHA will email a letter stating that you are a member of our group to the school board on your behalf.
IS HOMESCHOOLING EXPENSIVE?
Well, that depends.
It certainly doesn’t have to be!
A public library card and internet access open up endless educational possibilities. Believe me, I know this from firsthand experience!
Additionally, many museums and other venues offer substantial discounts to homeschoolers. These opportunities provide tons of inspiration for affordable field trips.
Regardless of how much you spend, it is always a good idea to create a homeschool budget and stick to it as best you can.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR CHILD IS ON TRACK ACADEMICALLY?
You will be able to determine so much of your child’s progress, simply by being present with them.
Additionally, most curriculum comes with assessment instruction to track progress. Quizzes, tests, and projects are common methods used to assess comprehension and mastery.
Also, if you choose to outsource certain subjects, (for example, an online history class or a writing class taught at a local homeschool co-op) these teachers serve as your partners in evaluating your child’s progress.
WHAT IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND?
That’s OK! Homeschooling DOES NOT have to be a forever decision!
It is so important that you understand this. Because sometimes I think this fear keeps a family stuck. Instead of giving homeschooling a fair shot, a family dismisses it altogether, thinking it’s not feasible long-term.
I know families who have pulled their child from school mid-year to homeschool. They ended up falling in love with the lifestyle and continued through high school.
Alternatively, other families homeschooled solely through middle school or high school.
Still, others opted to homeschool during elementary school and then their children transitioned to traditional middle school.
WHAT CURRICULUM IS THE BEST TO USE?
This will depend on both you and your child.
Spend some time reviewing your options and see what resonates with you. There are different learning styles and many different ways to homeschool.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF HOMESCHOOLING? WHAT IS UNSCHOOLING?
Yes, there are a lot of homeschooling styles – more than I probably am personally aware of! Here are the main ones though:
Traditional: This is basically following the model of school at home. Textbooks and structured learning with a parent or teacher leading the instructional portion and following a set curriculum.
Classical: Dividing childhood up into three segments based on their natural abilities, this language-centered method involves a lot of rote fact learning in the early years when children love memorization, followed by application of logic in the middle years and rhetoric in more advanced grades.
Charlotte Mason: Following the teachings of Charlotte Mason, who believed that children should love to learn and as teachers we should facilitate that. This method uses living books – typically fiction books that bring people and events to life.
Unit Studies: Deep focusing on one topic at a time and connecting other subjects such as science, history, language, etc together based on that one subject.
Unschooling: Also referred to as child-led learning, unschooling allows a child’s interest, passions, and life experiences be the driving force behind their education, instead of a curriculum plan. This approach is completely counter to the traditional methods of schooling.
Eclectic: Combining the parts of any of the above methods, or using their own style, this method involves a mix and match approach to learning, personalizing everything to the child’s learning.
The cost of homeschool varies from free to thousands of dollars, depending on what you choose to use, how much work you are wanting to put into it, and what extras you want to get or be involved with.
Again, the answer to this question is completely dependent on how a family chooses to homeschool. Those who want to follow a more traditional school ideal tend to look for curriculum that comes in a packaged box set for the grade they are in. This usually includes a teacher’s guide, workbooks, texts and other materials you need. However, it is completely possible to make your own curriculum. Thanks to the wide resources of the Internet, you can find and piece together just about anything. Combined with library resources, a field trip or two, and things in your community – putting together your own plan isn’t too hard. It’s just a tradeoff of time to plan for convenience.
WHAT CURRICULUM DOES SOUTH CAROLINA REQUIRE?
State law does not require that a specific curriculum be followed, however it dictates that homeschools include the following:
Minimum Subjects Required in Grades 1-6:
Language Arts, Reading, Science, Mathematics, Social Studies
Beginning in 7th Grade the Following Must be Added:
Literature and Composition
WILL MY STUDENT BE ABLE TO GO TO COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY?
More and more university and colleges are opening their doors to accept homeschooled students more easily. Each school has its own set of requirements. Some ways that homeschoolers deal with the post-secondary plan are to:
Work backwards – planning the courses they take to specifically match those of the program they want to enter in post-secondary
Get a diploma – by taking officially accredited courses online or through correspondence classes for their high school years
Go to school – just for their 6 grade 12 credits
Find another way in – wait until they are accepted as mature students, go to an open university and then transfer credits into another program when ready, go part-time, etc.
Skip it – and do something else instead – apprenticing, entrepreneur, adventuring, trade school. University and College aren’t the only options.
WHAT IF MY CHILD WANTS TO LEARN SOMETHING I AM NOT ABLE TO TEACH?
I can say that options for subjects you don’t feel like you can teach are plentiful, depending on your area. From computer programs to coops and classes, there are many helps for the homeschool family. You might be able to find a friend, family member or a fellow homeschooling mom that is willing and able to teach topics you are not familiar with. I have found that I can learn alongside my kids in many areas…not chemistry but hey, you might be able to.
DO YOU REQUIRE TESTING?
No. Testing is not required by SC state law. If you are interested in testing your student, there are many options for homeschoolers.
AM I REQUIRED TO SEND IN PROGRESS REPORTS OR GRADES?
No. We leave record keeping up to the parents, as stated in the SC law. We offer printable record keeping forms to all our members.
WHAT RECORDS AM I REQUIRED TO KEEP?
As stated in the South Carolina Code of Laws SECTION 59-65-47, 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
(3) a semiannual progress report including attendance records and individualized documentation of the student's academic progress in each of the basic instructional areas.
These records are to be maintained by the parent.
DO YOU RANK SENIORS?
No, we do not rank students. Your student can still qualify for a scholarship without class ranking. M2SHA is here to help students and parents navigate the scholarship process.
WHAT ARE THE COURSE REQUIREMENTS TO GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL?
The SC law for homeschooling only specifies that you teach reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature. However, M2SHA recommends that you follow the required courses for a SC diploma found here. If your child plans to attend college, we recommend checking the requirements of the colleges of their choice to see what is required for admissions. M2SHA offers a High School Graduation Planning guide to all members. For more information on choosing high school courses, click here.
DO HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENTS IN GRADES 7–12 RECEIVE HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT FOR ANY COURSES THAT THEY PASS?
Home-schooled students in grades 7–12 receive credits from their home school program. These credits would show on the transcript that is maintained by the parent or the association. Those credits, however, are not automatically accepted by other public or private schools.
DO STUDENTS THAT ARE HOME SCHOOLED AND COMPLETE HIGH SCHOOL RECEIVE A “SOUTH CAROLINA HOMESCHOOLED DIPLOMA”?
There is no “official” home school diploma. Home school “diplomas” are issued by the parent or M2SHA.
IF HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENTS RETURN TO PUBLIC SCHOOL, WILL THEY AUTOMATICALLY START IN THE CLASSES OR AT GRADE LEVELS THE HOME SCHOOL TEACHER/PARENTS SAY THAT THEY HAVE COMPLETED?
If home-schooled students return to a South Carolina public school district, the district has the right to place the students in classes/grade levels which the district/school deems is instructionally appropriate for the students. In other words, because parents tell the district that the students have completed certain grade levels, does not mean the students will be placed into the next grade level. (District instructional placement of returning home-schooled students is usually based on some type of test results that the district determines.)
WHAT DO I DO IF DSS OR THE TRUANCY OFFICER COMES TO MY HOMESCHOOL?
In South Carolina you have the legal right to homeschool your children, including both natural and adopted. You do not need to be apologetic nor fearful. However, the possibility of encountering an episode with either DSS or a truant officer is a very real possibility, especially if you have withdrawn your children from the public schools. CHOICE strongly recommends that you join the HSLDA for exactly such an eventuality. As a member, you can immediately call their offices and receive assistance. Meanwhile, you should be as polite and non-confrontational with the officers as possible. Unless the officer presents a valid search warrant, you are under no obligations to let them enter your home, examine your records, question your children, nor ridicule your convictions.
Since most people are not truly familiar with homeschooling or the laws which govern it, you may find it wise to make both family members and neighbors aware that you are homeschooling; similarly, you may choose to avoid certain activities which increase the probability of receiving a DSS or truancy officer's visit.
WHAT ABOUT GRADES?
Grades are a useful way of tracking your progress through the educational material, verifying your child's comprehension of this material, and validating that your school complies with the legal mandates. Per SC State Law you must issue a report card twice a year, keep a portfolio of the work, keep attendance records and lesson plans. If you are homeschooling a high schooler, you will need to keep grades for his/her transcript.
WHAT ABOUT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?
M2SHA does its best to provide members with many opportunities for enrichment. Through CHOICE you may participate in Field Trips and special activities. You can also find more homeschool activities by joining The South Carolina Homeschooling Mom group on Facebook. There are also lots of other homeschool groups available that host activities throughout the year. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, home school students are eligible to participate in the public school sports and extracurricular activities. Click here for more information
Many opportunities abound in Anderson and the surrounding areas for you to expose your child to culture, the arts and nature, such as 4-H.