We're planning to move to South Carolina in the next month or two. Our current state just requires us to tell the public school district that our kids aren't attending public school, and we can design our homeschool curriculum, schedule and everything else as we choose. We have six kids (so far) and the oldest four are school age. It seems that South Carolina has a lot more rules and regulations than what we're used to. So we have a lot of questions.
The SC state law says our instructional day has to be at least 4.5 hours and our instructional year has to be at least 180 days. We use a shorter day and a longer year. This works particularly well for our oldest (11 year old son) who learns a great deal in short bursts but needs frequent breaks during the day so he can process information without getting overwhelmed. We decided to use the same model for his younger siblings. So our school day "instructional time" is less than 4.5 hours, but we have school for more than 180 days throughout the year. We feel that this gives our kids a better balance than getting a lot of information during part of the year and then regressing because they get nothing at all for three months in the summer. This probably adds up to the total number of annual hours that SC requires, but would we be able to use this schedule after we move? I said "probably" because I keep meticulous notes on what each of the kids learns, but not how many minutes, hours or days it takes for them to learn it. Will I have to start keeping those kinds of time sheets?
Also, we consider religious education and experiential learning (museum field trips, hiking trips with field guides) to be important parts of our kids' curriculum. Would the state count that time as instructional time if we have to meet a minimum number of hours?
Thanks very much for any advice you can provide. We look forward to our new life in SC!