How do I legally comply with homeschool laws in South Carolina?
South Carolina has 3 options for for legally homeschooling your child. Choose one of the accountability options.
1. School district
2. SCAIHS (South Carolina Association of Independent Homeschools)
3. Other Accountability Association maintained by parents to hold one another accountable (RTT is one of these)
Please note that you must be covered by a legal accountability group within 10 days of the beginning of school in your school district or your children will be considered truant. If you’re withdrawing a student from school mid-year, you will need to obtain a membership letter. RTT can provide this letter and also issue a withdrawal letter to inform school officials so you will be released from compulsory attendance requirements.
What is a homeschool accountability association?
An accountability group is an organization operated by homeschoolers that provides a means of legal compliance for its members under SC Code of Laws 59-65-45 (SCAIHS) and 59-65-47 (all others). Each organization has its own policies and membership fees. New and renewing REACH members have the option of joining REACH the TOP (RTT) for accountability.
Why should I join a third option group?
The law requires parents in any options to maintain these minimum records:
- Your school year must be at least 180 days long.
- Your curriculum must include, but not be limited to, the areas of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, and for grades 7 and above, composition and literature.
- You must keep records of lesson plans or a journal, progress assessments or grades, attendance, and a portfolio of student work.
Third option accountability groups usually have less paperwork to demonstrate the parent’s compliance. You have maximum freedom to choose curriculum and scheduling with minimum paperwork. Minimal requirements does not mean minimal assistance. RTT and REACH can help your student achieve maximum potential.
What kind of records do I have to keep?
The records must include a plan book, diary, or other record indicating subjects taught and activities in which the student and parent-teacher engage; a portfolio of samples of the student’s academic work; and a semiannual progress report, which includes attendance records and individualized documentation of the student’s progress in each of the required academic areas.
The format for these records is up to you, and examples can be found on the Internet or from a homeschool planning book or program. We do not collect these records from you; however, you must submit to RTT a 90-day progress report by January 5th of the school year, and a 180-day report by June 5th of the school year. High school students must also submit a copy of their working transcript and GPA by June 5th.
Do I have to test my child?”
Testing is only required by state law if you homeschool through the school board of the district in which you reside (see Section 59-65-40), although SCAIHS also has an annual testing program. Each third option accountability group has its own rules about standardized testing, and RTT does not require testing. However, if you would like to test your student, you may contact the following for information on their testing programs: Bayside School services; Bob Jones University Testing; and HSLDA members (see the HSLDA web site). Testing services are also available through local programs, including Excelsior, Principia, Arrows Academy and Blackwell Homeschool Testing.
What services are provided by REACH the TOP?
- RTT maintains membership records and 90-day/180-day compliance forms.
- RTT offers quick and easy online electronic registration and payment.
- RTT provides printable registration forms upon request.
- RTT keeps a copy of high school GPA and transcript on file.
- RTT prepares a class ranking report for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades by June 15th each year.
- RTT provides letters for dual credits approval, DMV, Governor’s School, & scholarship programs.
- RTT can issue a withdrawal letter for students transitioning from public school programs.
- RTT offers free transcript tutorials and forms.
- RTT provides transcript preparation upon request for an additional fee.
- RTT’s local director provides prompt response for member assistance.
- RTT maintains a complete handbook and ranking policy online Here (Handbook)
Why do I have to join REACH?
REACH stands for Resources, Encouragement, and Activities for Columbia Area Homeschoolers. We welcome everyone, regardless of ethnic background, religious belief, lifestyle choice or educational philosophy.
By keeping RTT under the REACH umbrella, we limit our group geographically and encourage our membership to be local. We don’t think we can adequately service homeschoolers from every corner of the state. If we all belong to the same support group, our paths will cross more often so we can become personally acquainted with each RTT member. If you should ever need RTT to vouch for you, we can speak more authoritatively because we know each other.
Why the separate steps?
We believe that membership in REACH is an important step, and we don’t want anyone to miss that step. REACH the TOP (RTT) is technically a separate group, as is any accountability option. We have a separate bank account, separate post office box, and separate application process. RTT also has separate responsibilities to maintain your legal documentation should you ever need them.