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New SC resident with question about school hour/day/year requirements


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#1 VanessaKhalsa

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:23 PM

Hi everyone,

 

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!

 

Vanessa Khalsa



#2 Dianna

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:33 PM

Hi Vanessa,

 

What you read about 4.5 hours as a daily requirement only applies to those who homeschool under Option 1 of our homeschool law. Very, very few homeschool under this option (I don't know anyone who does, actually). The vast majority of homeschoolers use Option 3. You can read the text of the 3rd Option at http://www.carolinah...com/alegal.html.

 

For answers to frequently asked questions about homeschooling in SC, see http://www.carolinah...r.com/afaq.html

 

Let me know if you have any other questions.

 

Warmly,
Dianna



#3 kohlby

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 02:42 PM

Option 3 means not having to count hours.  I do need to count days.  We go over 180, but 180 is all that is required.  Certain core subjects need to be covered, but you can add additional subjects however you want.


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#4 VanessaKhalsa

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 07:08 PM

Thanks very much! We probably do some type of schoolwork on close to 230-240 days a year, so that's not a problem, and we cover all of the core subjects the law lists (and more). I'm very relieved that this doesn't appear to be as complicated as it first looked, and also that my kids (my 11yo son in particular) won't be required to take on a longer day than I think they could handle.

 

Does anyone have experience with their kids doing extracurricular activities (sports or otherwise) at PS? My younger ones might eventually be interested in that, but I know people whose kids have done that and didn't feel like they "fit in" because all the other kids were in school together all day and treated them like outsiders.

 

Also, we'll probably never do this, but does SC let HS kids take individual classes at PS?

 

Thanks again, VK



#5 Dianna

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 07:43 PM

I think the experience with extracurricular activties varies from family to family, and school to school. You could always try it out to see how you like it at your local school and then drop out if it's not a good fit.

 

SC schools are not required by law to provide access to individual classes to homeschool students, and I don't know of any that do. The only exception is the SC virtual school program for high school students (see http://www.carolinah...ers-ap-classes/). This is not the same as the free virtual public schools that provide a full program (like K12, Connections, Calvert, etc.). This is SC's own virtual program that provides AP and other classes for high schools that don't offer the classes locally, and credit recovery classes for their students who failed a class and need to make it up.

 

Warmly,
Dianna



#6 VanessaKhalsa

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:24 PM

Thanks again! I appreciate all the very detailed and helpful answers!


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#7 Dianna

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:27 PM

You're welcome, Vanessa. Let us know if there's anything else we can do to help!

 

Warmly,
Dianna



#8 kohlby

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 11:14 PM

We haven't participated in extracurriculars but I'd think my kids would likely be okay if they did.   I go to the local school for speech therapy for my youngest and we usually pass at least one public school child we know in the hall.  It's not a tiny town either - there's 4 public elem schools - but we seems to often know someone.  I think having 4 elem schools may help too - the kids aren't one tight-knit group and are used to doing activities outside of school with more than just their classmates.


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#9 Laura Launius

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 04:01 PM

Keep in mind that the law to allow home-schoolers access to public school extra-curricular activities is still really new so it's a work in progress for all parties.  This is our first year to attempt to participate, our middle ds is working out with the local high school baseball team and will be trying out the end of January.  We've found the school to be open to this venture - although since we are the first to ask to participate in this particular high school it's taken a few extra calls and visits to work out the paper-work side of it and to get the coach accustomed to needing to text or call ds if he's calling a conditioning session, etc. rather than just having the school make the announcement.  I have heard from another mom who had their dc participate in a program w/ another high school and they felt that their dc ran into issues with not feeling like they "fit in".  So far we haven't experienced that, but our ds knows a lot of the kids on the team and has played summer ball with them, etc.  

 

We do have some local private schools that have been very open to home school kids participating in a class or two or in their extra-curricular activities.  In fact, if they had had a strong baseball program it is an option that we would have considered. 

 

I think you'll also find, depending upon the area that you are moving into, their are a lot of extra-curricular options for home school kids within the homeschool community itself.  There are home-school sports programs (which I still admit to hating to step away from the team we've been with, but ds is hoping to play in college so he feels he needs more), bands, orchestra's, etc. 


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#10 mommanessy

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:29 AM

:D  I'm a Vanessa too & am a new member & will be (3rd option) homeschooling our 9 yr old autistic son within the year.


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#11 Dianna

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:34 AM

Welcome, Vanessa! :)