We offer expanded membership services for:
- SC families who need accountability services required by SC’s Option 3 homeschool law
- families in other states who want to join us for our online activities and classes, member events, and trip discounts
- Option 3 coverage (for SC members)
- Discounts for most trips, camps, and events
- Members-only events
- Priority registration for events that have limited enrollment
- Online activities (examples: book groups, Oregon Trail, writing and Latin classes) and a safe, private community for students
- Outsider’s Group get-togethers at state parks throughout South Carolina (where we play games, share insights, have picnics, walk the trails, geocache, and just get to know each other). We’re expanding to parks in other states and national parks, and hope to add a camping group soon.
- Member newsletters to keep you informed about new events and resources
- All the extras (field trips, online activities, classes, events, etc.) are optional. You choose what you want to participate in.
Our 2014-2015 membership year runs from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015, and our fees are $75 for one student, and $25 for each additional student.
We accept checks, BillPay (through your bank), online email transfers from partner banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and FirstBank), PayPal, and money orders.
If you need fast turn-around, PayPal is the fastest payment method, followed by a Bank of America transfer. Wells Fargo and FirstBank transfers are usually processed within three business days. Checks and money orders usually take three business days from receipt, and BillPay usually takes a few days longer, depending on how quickly your bank prints the check and mails it out (it’s not electronic).
Early Application Discounts for 2015-2016
Fall is usually very busy for me because of new member applications, fall trips, and the holidays. To spread my workload more evenly throughout the year, I’m offering discounts for families who apply in January through April for 2015-2016 membership.
The earlier you apply, the more you’ll save:
- January: $20 off
- February: $15 off
- March: $10 off
- April: $5 off
How is Carolina Homeschooler different from other SC homeschool associations?
We provide an interactive learning community for students and parents, both online and off. We coordinate field trips, camps, online activities, and longer group trips so children (and parents) can get to know each other and have enriched learning experiences together.
We provide transcripts for our seniors, and guidance for our high school students, but we don’t rank our students (for various reasons) or provide a graduation ceremony. For families who want diplomas, we work with a company who provides them (at an extra cost).
For time-management and record-keeping purposes, we communicate primarily via email. If telephone support is important to you, please choose a different association for your family.
Your fee is higher than other SC homeschool associations. Is Carolina Homeschooler worth the higher fee?
Every family has different needs, so you’re the only one who can decide if our services are worth it. Here’s what others have to say about us. We hope their reviews help you decide if we’re the right choice for your family. (No one receives a payment, commission, or discount for their review of Carolina Homeschooler or resulting memberships.)
I live in (NC, GA, OH, TN, TX, MD, Canada, Puerto Rico, etc.) and want to join your group for the (online activities, trip discounts, member-only events, etc.). What is the fee?
We welcome homeschoolers from other states and countries. The fee is the same regardless of where you live. You’ll have access to everything we offer, but I won’t need to include your family in the paperwork I do for SC homeschoolers.
Will you teach our children the all the required subjects?
No, but we hope you’ll use our online and offline educational activities and field trips to enrich and inspire your children’s learning and connect with other homeschoolers.
Can we “count” your classes, workshops, and field trips as part of our curriculum?
Yes, absolutely. To make it easier for parents, I often provide a description of skills and topics learned to include in state-required record-keeping.
Do you provide membership cards? A membership letter?
Yes, your membership letter serves as proof of your legal status as a 3rd Option homeschooling family in South Carolina. Your membership card is great for discounted or free admission to museums, zoos, etc., if offered.
I have a high school student, can I join?
Yes, we welcome high school students and provide transcripts and guidance for LIFE Scholarships, Palmetto Scholars applications, and other financial aid. However, we don’t rank our students (for various reasons) or provide a graduation ceremony. We work with a company who provides diplomas (for an extra fee). See our High School FAQ for more information about homeschooling high school.
Do we have to participate in any of your activities?
No, all of our activities are optional. Our goal is to enhance your homeschool experience, not add more requirements and stress. Feel free to join in as many activities as you want, and leave the rest.
What are your office hours? Can I call you if I have questions?
We are an internet-based organization and are available frequently throughout the day (and evenings). After providing services, support, and group trips for over ten years, we’ve found that email is the fastest and most efficient way to communicate with our members. If a brick-and-mortar organization and telephone support are important to you, please choose another association.
What am I required to do to homeschool in SC?
If you choose to homeschool under section 59-65-47 (commonly known as “Option 3″ or “Third Option”), these are the requirements:
- The primary instructor (parent or guardian) must have at least a high school diploma or GED.
- You must teach 180 days (if you begin homeschooling after the school year begins, count any days spent in public or private school as part of your required 180 days).
- You must teach, at a minimum, the areas of reading/literature, writing/composition, mathematics, science, and social studies.
- You must maintain a plan book, diary, or other record of instruction and activities for each student.
- You must keep a portfolio of samples of each student’s academic work.
- You must maintain semiannual progress reports documenting attendance and progress in each required academic area.
What does your organization require for SC homeschoolers?
When you submit your registration, you’ll confirm you meet (or will meet) all the legal requirements stipulated in Section 59-65-47. At the end of the year, we’ll ask you to submit a form confirming that you completed 180 days of homeschooling and met all requirements.
Do you require us to mail our records to you?
No. The law mandates that parents/guardians maintain student records. However, Carolina Homeschooler reserves the right to request copies of your records if an official audit is requested by a SC agency (DSS, DJJ, Department of Education, etc.). In this case, you must mail a copy of your records within three days of receiving my request.
Do I have to notify our local school district that we’re members of Carolina Homeschooler?
When you withdraw your children from school, give them a copy of your membership letter as proof of your legal status. If you’ve never registered your children at your local school (under school age, or transferring from another state), then you don’t need to notify your school that you’re homeschooling. To protect your privacy, I won’t provide member information to any agency or organization unless I receive an official request for confirmation of your legal status.
Do you require textbooks for SC homeschoolers? Do you approve curriculum? Do you require standardized testing?
No to all three questions. My experience as a school psychologist and a parent with over 20 years of homeschooling have proven to me that learning happens all the time, with a breadth and depth that can’t be confined solely to textbooks or accurately measured by the narrow focus of standardized tests. Please feel free to use the resources and assessment methods that best meet the needs of your family.
Are membership fees refundable if we decide to re-enroll our children in public or private school?
Membership fees are not refundable for any reason.
What happens if DSS (or another agency) contacts me about my homeschool?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org within 24 hours with details about the situation and the name and phone number of the person who contacted you.