South Carolina

South Carolina’s homeschool statute offers three options:

  • School district: Parents must apply to the district board of trustees for approval to homeschool, have a high school diploma or GED, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, maintain basic academic records for inspection, and have their children take the same annual Basic Skills Assessment Program as students attending public school. There is an intervention process for homeschooled children not making adequate academic progress.
  • South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools: Parents must be members of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. Parents must have a high school diploma or GED and provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects. There are no bookkeeping or assessment requirements.
  • Homeschool association with at least fifty members: Parents must be members of a homeschool association with at least fifty members. Parents must have a high school diploma or GED, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, and maintain basic academic records. There is no assessment requirement.

(1) District Board of Trustees

“Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is approved by the district board of trustees of the district in which the children reside.” The district board of trustees is required by law to approve any homeschool that meets the standards listed in the statute. See S.C. Code § 59-65-40.

Notification: “The district board of trustees shall provide for an application process which elicits the information necessary for processing the home schooling request, including a description of the program, the texts and materials to be used, the methods of program evaluation, and the place of instruction. Parents must be notified in advance of the date, place, and time of the meeting at which the application is considered by the board and parents may be heard at the meeting.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(B).
Qualifications: The parent must have either a high school diploma or GED or have earned a bachelor’s degree. The law states that parents with high school diplomas or GEDs must to attain a passing score on a basic skills examination developed by the South Carolina State Department of Education. However, this exam was found invalid in Lawrence, et al. v. S.C. State Board of Education (1991). See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(A)(1).
Days or hours: 180 days, for 4.5 hours per day. See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(A)(2).
Subjects: Reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, and, in grades 7 through 12, composition and literature. See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(A)(3).
Bookkeeping: The parent must maintain the following records “for inspection upon reasonable notice by a representative of the school district”: “(a) a plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities in which the student and parent engage; (b) a portfolio of samples of the student’s academic work; and (c) a record of evaluations of the student’s academic progress.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(A)(4).
Assessment: Parents must have their children tested annually using the same Basic Skills Assessment Program used in the public schools. “The tests must be administered by a certified school district employee either with public school students or by special arrangement at the student’s place of instruction, at the parent’s option. The parent is responsible for paying the test administrator if the test is administered at the student’s home.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(A)(6).
Intervention: If a student scores below the minimum for promotion to the next grade, “the district board of trustees shall decide whether or not the student shall receive appropriate instructional placement in the public school, special services as a handicapped student, or home schooling with an instructional support system at parental expense.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(D).
Other: (1) “If a parent is denied permission to begin or continue home schooling by a district board of trustees, the decision of the district board of trustees may be appealed, within ten days, to the State Board of Education. Any appeal from the decision of the State Board of Education must be taken, within thirty days, to the family court.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-40(E). (2) In order to homeschool a foster child, parents must have approval from the Department of Social Services or other agency having custody of the child. See See S.C. Code § 59-65-46.

(2) South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools

“Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. Bona fide membership and continuing compliance with the academic standards of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools exempts the home school” from the requirements of the regular homeschool statute. See S.C. Code § 59-65-45.

Notification: “By January thirtieth of each year, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools shall report the number and grade level of children home schooled through the association to the children’s respective school districts.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-45.
Qualifications: “A parent must hold at least” a high school diploma or a GED. See S.C. Code § 59-65-45(a).
Days or hours: 180 days. See S.C. Code § 59-65-45(b).
Subjects: Reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature. See S.C. Code § 59-65-45(c).
Bookkeeping: None.
Assessment: None.
Intervention: None.
Other: n/a

(3) Other Home School Association

“Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of an association for home schools which has no fewer than fifty members and meets the requirements of this section. Bona fide membership and continuing compliance with the academic standards of the associations exempts the home school” from the requirements of the regular homeschool statute. See S.C. Code § 59-65-47.

Notification: “By January thirtieth of each year, all associations shall report the number and grade level of children home schooled through the association to the children’s respective school districts.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-47.
Qualifications: “A parent must hold at least” a high school diploma or a GED. See S.C. Code § 59-65-47(a).
Days or hours: 180 days. See S.C. Code § 59-65-47(b).
Subjects: Reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature. See S.C. Code § 59-65-47(c).
Bookkeeping: “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 . . . above.” See S.C. Code § 59-65-47(d).
Assessment: None.
Intervention: None.
Other: n/a

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: Yes, at the district’s discretion. 
Extracurriculars: Yes.
Special needs: Yes. 
Other: n/a

Background:

In early 2013, the state legislature sought to tighten South Carolina’s homeschool regulations by requiring annual testing for children being homeschooled through the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools and by eliminating the South Carolina’s third option. The bill failed.

Resources:

South Carolina’s Homeschool Statutes

Home Schooling, South Carolina State Department of Education

South Carolina, International Center for Home Education Research

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

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