What subjects am I required to cover?
Option #3 state law 59-65-47 states that your curricula must include, but is not limited to, five subjects: reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature.
What curriculum resources should I use?
PHA parent-teachers are free to choose whatever materials they determine are best for their students’ interests and learning styles. You may purchase a formal curriculum package, use an eclectic approach which includes texts from different companies, use prepared unit studies, create your own unit studies, use an objectives checklist, use library books, or enroll in a correspondence school with or without full record-keeping services. The possibilities are limitless. The most important thing is that you use what meets your family’s needs.
What records am I required to keep in my personal files?
According to Section 59-65-47, parent-teachers must keep a planbook or diary indicating subjects taught and maintain a portfolio of student’s work, including attendance records and semi-annual progress reports. Progress reports must be completed for each student at mid-year and year-end.
What kind of documentation is required for Kindergarten students?
According to SC Compulsory Attendance Law, parents homeschooling kindergarten students are agreeing to prepare their students for first grade. Therefore, they are required to keep the same documentation as all other grades.
What records must I submit to PHA?
Our online application form requires a course of study for each student and a signed commitment statement, promising to uphold the requirements of Section 59-65-47. In order to verify that you have met the requirements of this statute, you will be required to fill out:
- September 30 – Deadline for High School Transcript Application
- January 15 – Mid-Year Checklist due
- January 15 – For high schoolers Courses in Progress due along with Mid-Year Checklist
- February 28 – Deadline for Diploma Program Application (for high schoolers only)
- May 15 – Final Grade Report for high school seniors due
- May 25 – High School 9th – 11th grades Final Grade Report due
- June 15 – Year end Completion Statement due
Your actual tests, lessons, progress reports, planbook or diary, etc., are to be maintained in your personal files. Please do not send these to PHA.
How should I record educational activities in which the parent and teacher engage?
Parents may tailor their record-keeping methods to suit their particular teaching styles. Some may choose to write out daily lesson plans a week or two in advance, while others may want to log in activities after they’re finished. Some subjects, like math and reading, require daily building of skills and need to be taught each day. However, others like science and history can be alternated in weekly, monthly, or semester blocks or integrated with other disciplines such as unit studies. Please note: If high school students are working towards Carnegie Units, a 120-hour minimum of course work with an instructor must be covered. Strictly speaking, this breaks down into 1 hour of instruction per day, 5 days per week, for a total of 24 weeks per academic year.
How should attendance records be maintained?
The school year must be at least 180 days. Ten days are allowed for sick days. A good way to keep up with attendance is to use a planbook or journal with weekly layouts in which the day and date are blank. Fill in the days and date each week, then keep a running cumulative total of days present and absent somewhere on the page. This will make it easy to transfer to your semi-annual progress report.
What should I include in my portfolio?
To meet state requirements, keep samples of daily lessons in all subject areas, your planbook or diary, your semi-annual progress reports, assessments, and attendance records. You may also want to include any information from special evaluations such as speech, vision, hearing, psychological evaluations, or medical conditions needing special provisions or services.
What about testing?
Option 3 Statue 59-65-47 does not require standardized testing, so neither does PHA. However, you are required to maintain individualized documentation of the student’s academic progress in each of the basic instructional areas. Therefore, some type of assessment is required whether it be a curriculum-based test, checklists of objectives, teacher-made tests, an inventory of basic skills, a standardized test, or other creative means of assessment.
In what situations should PHA require additional information from student portfolios?
Statute 59-65-47 requires Homeschoolers to keep copies of the parent-teacher’s diploma, GED, or higher educational degree, attendance records, lesson plans, samples of work from each required subject area, and semi-annual progress reports in their files. PHA requires a signed Mid-Year and Year-End Completion Statement from the parent-teacher verifying that he or she has the required information on file. Only if PHA receives a report of educational neglect would we require submission of copies of the additional information listed above.
Will I have any problems entering my child into public school later if I decide to?
Be prepared to answer questions and provide documentation about your homeschooling methods, materials, and course of study. The thoroughness of your record keeping during your homeschooling years will help school officials determine the best grade placement for your child as well as whether the student will receive credit for homeschool courses. Some schools may require your child to take a placement test. Standardized test scores also assist the process of public or private school enrollment. As PHA members, parents are ultimately responsible for all aspects of their homeschool.
NOTE: For high school students, see High School Section.
Why does PHA require that members report previous and future contacts by local authorities, student expulsions or suspensions from previous schools, and special needs status of students?
In the event DSS or the local school district contacts us about one of our members, we want to be able to speak intelligently on your behalf. By being well informed on certain basic facts concerning students, we are better able to defend your membership in good standing. Additionally, school districts often offer special services to special needs students. We identify these students for our private records only, so that we can pass along information about these services to our members.
Information submitted to our office is for our files only. We do not give members’ names, addresses, or phone numbers to anyone. We only report the number and grade level of our members to the local school district once a year, as required by law. When a school district calls to verify membership, they must provide us the name of the student before we will verify membership status. We do not give lists of homeschoolers’ names to local authorities.
What other options for homeschooling are available in South Carolina other than Section 59-65-47?
Two other options are available. Option 1 is registering through your local school district (often using South Carolina Virtual Charter School). This option is free, but requires that you teach 4 ½ hours per day and comply with state standardized testing. It also gives the school district authority over your Homeschool.
Option 2 is to come under the umbrella of the South Carolina Association of Independent Homeschools. SCAIHS’ law requires standardized testing and differs from Option 3 in record keeping requirements.
More information is provided by the State of South Carolina for a more complete understanding of the three options available to parents.