Are you considering homeschooling your child? You can do it! As you get started, it’s important to make sure you comply with the education laws where you live. This page helps you understand how to homeschool legally in South Carolina—step by step.
Your child must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws starting with the academic year when he or she is 5 years old before September 1. Thereafter, your child must continue attending school until he or she graduates from high school or turns 17.
If your child is 5 but will not turn 6 until after September 1, you may choose to not send your child to school until the following year if you sign a form provided by your school district.
HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under South Carolina law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver's license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members are also eligible to use the sample letter of withdrawal for South Carolina available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.
Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.
To homeschool in South Carolina, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED and teach at least 180 days per year. In addition, you must teach the following required subjects: reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and, in grades 7–12, composition and literature.
In addition to complying with the above requirements, you must choose one of these three options for homeschooling legally and follow the requirements listed below the one you choose:
Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:
Contact the board of trustees of your local public school district for information about their homeschool application process, and submit an application. The board “shall approve” your application (it has no discretion) if you include in your application assurance that you have completed or will complete the steps listed below.
Here is what to do if your application is rejected: You may appeal decisions made by the board of trustees to the State Board of Education within 10 days. An appeal from the state board decision to the family court must be done within 30 days.
Your curriculum must include the required subjects listed above. You must teach your child for at least 180 days per school year. A school day is at least 4.5 hours, not counting lunch or recesses.
As evidence of regular instruction, you must maintain the following records for inspection upon reasonable notice by a representative of the school district:
You must submit a semiannual progress report including attendance records and assessments of your child’s progress in each of the required subjects to your school district.
Make sure your child participates in the annual statewide testing program and the Basic Skills Assessment Program. The tests must be administered by a certified school district employee.
If your student does not perform well enough on the test to meet the public school standard for advancing to the next grade, the school district will decide if your child should be put in a public school, receive handicapped services, or have instruction support for homeschooling at your expense.
Option 2: Homeschooling with the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS):
You may homeschool by enrolling in SCAIHS and following the rules and policies for homeschooling that SCAIHS requires. Additional information about SCAIHS is available on its website.
Option 3: Homeschooling with a homeschool association (also known as a “third option group”):
The South Carolina Home Educators Association (SCHEA) lists several third option groups on its website.
State law requires homeschool associations to maintain the following minimum requirements for homeschooling parents:
You can find South Carolina’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.
These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.
Home School Legal Defense Association is a national advocacy organization that supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. We are dedicated to protecting the legality of your homeschool while equipping you to successfully teach your children.
HSLDA members have 24/7 phone and email access to our staff of attorneys and legal assistants, who can help you understand the homeschool law in your state and will go to bat for you if a school official or other authority challenges your homeschool. Our 80,000 members—families like you!— also receive personalized advice on everything from homeschooling a high schooler to teaching a child with special needs from our team of education consultants.
Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Last updated October 19, 2017