DIGGING DEEPER FAQS
GET ALL THE INFORMATION YOU CAN BEFORE STARTING
- I don't know if homeschooling is right for me. Who should I talk to about this?
You and your spouse should discuss the decision to homeschool, and make sure it is a decision you can both support. Without your spouse's support, you will find it much more difficult to teach your child, and your child may rebel against your authority. For the sake of your entire family, this must be a family decision. That said, also discuss this with your child, and if they are unsure about homeschooling, encourage them to participate in the process of researching and choosing curriculum, planning lessons, and extra curricular activities. Get them involved! Home Education is an exciting world of discovery that involves the entire family (not just the child being homeschooled).
If you are pulling out of school due to social or academic problems, make sure to address whatever issues may be at the root of the problems. Homeschooling should never be viewed as an "escape" or "easy school" (it isn't--and shouldn't be.) The child (particularly a high school student) should be prepared to partner with his/her parents in the education process and put their best foot forward.
- I think I'd like to homeschool my child. How do I get started?
- First, click on the "Getting Started" tab. I recommend reading all you can about the subject of homeschooling, not only to prepare yourself for the responsibilities (and joys!) ahead of you, but to familiarize yourself with Homeschooling jargon and curriculums and concerns. Your public library contains many books on the subject. Just pick one and get started reading. Then, Read what the SC law has to say. A copy is available on SCHEA's website (we've included the link). You'll need to "get legal" by registering with a 2nd or 3rd Option Accountability Association, obtaining curriculum, and we strongly urge you to join a support group of local homeschoolers in order to receive encouragement for yourself and your children, as well as stay connected with current issues affecting homeschoolers.
- Do you provide curriculum?
- No. It is the parents responsibility to provide curriculum that best meets the learning style and needs of their child. It is our ability to match the curriculum to our child's individual strengths, abilities and interests that makes home education such a viable choice! Be aware, though--just because a curriculum company says their materials are college prep doesn't mean they are. Don't let 'ease of use' be the primary reason for choosing a curriculum. It may just fall short of properly challenging your child. Many 'hands on' 'unit study' and 'notebooking' methods of homeschooling can be the best way to teach your child not only the material, but research and problem solving skills needed for a successful future. Research and Pray!
- How do I find curriculum?
If you are online, simply type in "homeschool", "homeschool curriculum" or "christian homeschool curriculum" and plan on spending some time perusing sites and requesting catalogs. More time spent researching your options will reduce missteps and wasted time and money.
***Many discount stores sell workbooks for children in Reading, Math, etc. These are intended as supplements, not complete curriculums. Be aware of this when selecting materials.
- I have some curriculum and household items I’d like to sell. Is there a way to get this information to the homeschool community?
- YES! The Foothills Facebook Group and e-chain keeps us all connected. Once approved for membership on the Facebook Group site, you can post directly. OR Just email your prayer request, announcement, or classified ad items to the Administrator, and I’ll be happy to send it out to our members.
- How much can I expect to pay for curriculum and supplies to homeschool my child?
- This figure varies widely. Many people educate their children using "real books" from their public library, and so the cost is minimal--mostly for paper, pencils, notebooks, etc. South Carolina offers individual free classes for high schoolers through Virtual SC. Some satellite and computerized curriculum costs exceed $ 2000.00 per school year. The average cost, however, for the typical homeschooler is 45.00-300.00 per year, not including any non-essential "extras", like support group fees, field trips, etc. I know many who paid NOTHING for their curriculum because they borrow unused books from friends or the Foothills library, and heavily utilize worksheets and free online classes from the internet to fill out their program. It's really up to you and what your individual needs are and what you can afford or are willing to pay for.
- What if I leave "holes" in my child's education? Won't he/she suffer?
- Even public and private schools leave gaping "holes" in our children's education. Haven't you detected holes in your own public school education? There is no such thing as a "perfect" education. One benefit of homeschooling is that when we detect the inevitable worrisome gap, it can be quickly filled because of the loving one-on-one instruction our children receive.
- Why is membership in a support group so important?
- Local support groups serve a valuable purpose--to link us with other homeschoolers in our town, even on our own street, and provide parent-supervised opportunities for our children to make new friends, receive loving support and friendship from like-minded homeschoolers, and academic clubs and events that we cannot participate in otherwise (Such as Science Fairs, Spelling Bees, and Student Council). Support groups are parent-volunteer run. All activities that benefit our children are possible because a PARENT agreed to organize it, which often merely consists of a person willing to be a "contact person"--who will contact the place being visited, and collect the number of families interested in attending. Support groups are a wonderful way to connect.
- What is a progress report?
- The state law says you must provide a "semiannual progress report including attendance records and individualized documentation of the students academic progress in each of the five basic instructional areas". This is simply a written evaluation of your child's progress in each subject. It can also be a "report card" Some mothers write beautiful letters to their child telling them how well they progressed and in what ways and in what activities they participated in that semester. Some folks compile a report card or progress report every 6 or 9 weeks if they follow that system. Just bring the latest report you have done. Progress reports can contain grades ( A, B, C-, 78, 95, 82, etc.) or written notes on SPECIFIC progress the child has made in that subject. You may use any form or method you desire. A number of sample forms are available on this site for your use.
- I've withdrawn my child from school, but now the school says if they are not given paperwork, my child is designated as a drop-out! I don't want my child to be a drop out! Help!
Because of the link between Federal Funding of Public Schools and School Performance Data, Guidance Counselors are under pressure to account for every student that leaves the public school. They must include information on forms in case of audit that tracks where each student goes, even if they move out of state. High School Guidance counselors, in particular, will demand paperwork to "prove" they are being homeschooled so that they can attach to their 'file' on your child. This is in direct opposition to the wording of the 3rd Option Homeschool Law which clearly states that NAMES of homeschooling students are not reported to the district, ONLY NUMBERS AND GRADES. While I do not object to sharing paperwork with the public school as a courtesy, I DO OBJECT to ANYONE attempting to coerce a family to comply against their conscience and against clearly written STATE LAW. Because a "drop out" designation hurts their Federal Funding, NOT your child (as your child is NOT a drop out but a legally registered homeschooler under law), Many will become irate and threatening in order to get it, especially those who are personally against your choice to homeschool. If your Guidance Counselor tells you that your child will be listed as a 'drop out' if you do not comply, and refuses to give you a copy of their transcript if you do not comply, THIS IS A LIE meant to manipulate and threaten. YOU HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO YOUR CHILD'S TRANSCRIPT OF GRADES. Foothills Accountability Association exists to comply with the state homeschool law--providing accountability for YOUR HOME SCHOOL. It is every parent's responsibility to maintain permanent records of grades and transcripts. I have no need to request your transcript. YOU DO. So know your rights under law, and RESPECTFULLY request your child's transcript. I will be HAPPY to confirm your membership with any Public School employee VERBALLY or by email with your permission. Past that, they have no right to additional records under LAW. To be fair, MOST Guidance Counselors do not even know the SC homeschool law. they are just trying to "fill in the blanks" of a pre-existing form, and they do not know how to 'go outside the blanks'. One Guidance counselor I spoke to was amazed to learn she could simply write "homeschool legality verified by phone to Administrator" and the date.
Please be respectful and kind, in keeping with Christian principles when dealing with school representatives. They are stressed and overwhelmed with Government requirements, and need our support and prayers. They are doing a difficult job, but they also need to respect a parent's desire to have their privacy respected, and need to know we are not being difficult--we are standing for the law that was written to PROTECT violation of privacy.
- What are the benefits of keeping a record of my homeschool?
- There are many reasons you should keep good records of your homeschool. First of all, it is required by SC State Law. Keeping records shows what your child is learning and lends credibility to your endeavor, as you can easily prove that you are educating your child diligently and thoroughly. Without records, it is only your word that it is being done. Secondly, Being accountable to a fellow homeschooler, who understands the process and challenges involved, helps to keep us on track with our educational goals and encourages us to keep striving for excellence.
- What happens if I don't bring the required items to checkoff?
- You will not be considered "checked off"--in compliance with Foothills requirements until you provide the missing documents. It will be your responsibility to fill in the missing information at an adjoining table (if possible) or send the information by mail, or bring it in person to the Administrator or checkoff volunteer.
- Do I have to keep records for Kindergarten?
- Because Kindergarten is not required by law, the parent may choose to "waive" Kindergarten by signing a form at the school the child would be attending. However, if you register your Kindergartener as a homeschool student through Foothills, you must keep a planbook, progress reports and samples of work as well as attend the January and May check-off meetings. Many members consider it "good practice" to keep them during K5, because they can get in the habit of daily schooling and learn by doing what recordkeeping method works best for them.
- Should I keep my records and samples from previous years?
- Yes! As The law does not clearly state "how long" you must keep samples, some judges in past court cases have insisted on seeing records from EVERY YEAR that a family has homeschooled, so it is a good idea to keep them just in case. You don't need to keep every piece of work but a good variety of your childs work from the subjects covered is recommended as well as all progress reports or reports cards and your planbooks. I purge my files periodically--when my daughter entered High school, I purged all of her early elementary work. At the end of each school year, it helps to put it in a box or 3 ring binder, labelled with the child's name and year. Put it away on the back of a closet shelf, out of of the way.
- My child has graduated and I've given them a diploma. I'm done now, right?
- Not quite. As a homeschooling parent, You were the school, the teacher, and the principal. You compiled their Official High School Transcript based on classes taken and grades earned. Give your graduate copies of their transcript to keep, BUT KEEP COPIES PERMANENTLY FOR YOURSELF. Place in a FIRE BOX or SAFE DEPOSIT BOX for safekeeping. They will need it again in future. I DO NOT keep copies. I can only attest that you adhered to state law and homeschooled in a consistent manner, completing all requirements. Even 10 years later, after graduating college, students will be asked for their transcript. As homeschoolers, we have a greater burden of proof to maintain. I get calls every year from former students needing copies of transcripts. I tell them that their parents have those. Their answer? "Mom threw those away because she thought we no longer needed them". Big Yikes. Never throw their transcript away. Never.
Do you have a question that is not listed here? Email the Administrator, and your question and answer will be added! Thanks for asking! Your questions will help others!