Wednesday, June 11, 2008

South Carolina Homeschool Law

This site has a listing of homeschooling laws for every state:

Here are the laws specifically for the state of South Carolina:

The state of South Carolina requires your child to attend Kindergarten, whether public, private or homeschool, if he turns 5 by September 1st of that school year. However, you can choose for your child not to attend Kindergarten (public, private or homeschool) by signing a waiver with the school district. This waiver will excuse your child from Kindergarten if he does not turn 6 by September 1st of that school year. (This waiver releases the school district from any liabilities in case your child has any "educational deficiencies" from not attending Kindergarten.) If you sign the waiver, you do not have to register with a homeschool option listed below for the child’s Kindergarten year. You can call the elementary school your child would have attended and find out if you need to sign the form there or at the district office.
If you are withdrawing your child from school, you need to join your accountability first, then take this membership to your child’s school and explain to them that you are withdrawing your child. If you have joined your accountability group then you are legal to start homeschooling.

The State of South Carolina requires you to join one of these three options for accountability so that South Carolina has proof that you are maintaining the state’s requirements for homeschooling:
1) The School District: Call your local district for information and an application. There is no cost to join through the school district, but keep in mind that the school district has the right to approve or deny your ability to homeschool. If you have been denied permission to begin or continue homeschooling by a district board of trustees, the decision may be appealed within 10 days to the State Board of Education. Any appeal from the decision of the State Board of Education must be taken within 30 days to the family court.

2) South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) The cost is several hundred dollars depending on the number of children you have enrolled. They offer counseling, help in curriculum selection, etc.

3) A "Third Option" Group: These groups require minimal information to keep in their files. Yearly fees depend on the group you choose. They can be as little as $35 for a lifetime membership or $50 per family per year. The group you choose will give you specific instructions on the types of information that they need to keep in their records. For a listing of Third Option groups in South Carolina visit

The legal requirements for joining a Third Option group are:

the parent must have either a high school diploma or a GED
your school year must have at least 180 days
your curriculum must include reading, writing, math, science, and social studies: grades 7-12 must also have composition and literature
educational records maintained by the parent must include 1) a plan book or other record of subjects taught and activities; 2) a portfolio of the child’s work; and 3) a semi-annual progress report.

You could consider joining the Home School Legal Defense Association, HSLDA. This is not required by South Carolina law. For $115 a year they will represent you, at no extra cost, should you face any legal situations with homeschooling. Use the link at the top of this post or call 1-504-338-5600.

**What is a Support Group? A support group is different from a Third Option group. Third Option groups handle only accountability paperwork, and maybe some counseling or resource rooms. A support group consists of families working together on a cooperative basis to provide field trips, meetings, clubs, etc. to those who are members of their group. Support groups are not legal Third Option groups, and usually do not offer any handling of accountability paperwork. However, you may find that some groups offer both. To find a support group in your area visit

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