Interested in Unschooling in South Carolina? We can help

We’re lucky to be living in a country that allows parents to take their kids out of school and educate them at home. However, there are still often a lot of regulations placed on homeschoolers, especially if you’re living in a stricter state like South Carolina.

This can be a problem if you want to do unschooling — that is, to let your children chart their own educational courses on their own timelines. How do you give your kids authentic freedom if they have to take tests and are required to learn certain subjects by law? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

South Carolina’s Regulations

In South Carolina, you have 3 options for homeschooling legally: 1) Homeschooling under the homeschool statute, 2) Homeschooling with the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS), or 3) Homeschooling with a homeschool association (“third option group”).

1. Homeschooling under the homeschool statute

  1. Must obtain approval from the district board of trustees by submitting an application
  2. Must teach the required subjects (traditional subjects) for at least 4.5 hours per day and 180 day per school year
  3. Must maintain records of regular instruction, which includes: a written record of the subjects taught and the activities participated in, a portfolio of work samples, and a record of academic progress assessments
  4. Must submit a semiannual progress report to your school district that includes attendance records and assessments of your child’s progress in each subject
  5. Must ensure your child has access to library facilities
  6. Must test your child annually via the statewide testing program and the Basic Skills Assessment Program.
  7. If your child doesn’t perform well enough on the test to meet the public school standard, the school district can decide to put your child in a public school, have them receive handicapped services, or have instruction.

2. Homeschooling with the SCAIHS

You must follow all rules and policies required by the SCAIHS.

3. Homeschooling with a homeschool association 

  1. Must enroll in a homeschool association that has at least 50 member families
  2. Must comply with homeschool association’s requirements, including: 
    • You must have at least a high school diploma or GED
    • Must teach your child at least 180 days per school year
    • Must include a curriculum of reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and in grades 7-12, composition and literature
    • Must keep educational records that includes a record of subjects taught and activities, a portfolio of work samples, and a semiannual progress report including attendance records and documentation of your child’s academic progress in each subject

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in South Carolina, you are required by law to abide by the above regulations. However, these regulations may or may not be enforced at the local level. If you are interested in unschooling, you can give your local school district a call to find out what guidelines they actually enforce.

This can go the other way too. If your local school district is asking for something that is not required by the state, there are homeschool legal defense associations that will step in and help you maintain your rights.

Loophole #2: Online self-directed private school

If your child is enrolled in a private school, they are not considered a homeschooler and are exempt from all homeschooling regulations.

But isn’t the whole point of unschooling that the child is not in a school?

Enter The Open School. We have a virtual program that you can enroll in from anywhere in the world. And as a self-directed school, our program is perfectly aligned with unschooling. We have no required subjects and no tests. Instead, students design virtual activities to do with other students and staff, including art projects, video games, workshops, one-on-one lessons, and anything else you can imagine. It’s a community of self-directed learners, and a great place for unschoolers to make deep, lasting friendships.

If you want your child to be a free learner in South Carolina, without being subject to standardized tests or a strict curriculum, a virtual private school may be your best bet. You can read more about our virtual program, or contact us directly, by clicking one of the buttons below.

Learn MoreRequest Information