Homeschooling FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)!
Kids do better academically when homeschooled.
Here are the facts. And I do mean facts:
- Homeschooled children significantly outperform children educated in public school systems in reading, language, math, science, and social studies.
- Homeschooled children’s tests scores were not significantly affected by their parents’ household incomes or whether their parents were certified teachers.
- Homeschooled children perform better overall in college — from their freshman years to their senior years.
And want one more fact that may surprise you?
- Homeschooled children do not lag behind public school children overall in communication and socialization skills.
Homeschooling is educating your child outside of a public or private school. While a great deal of learning occurs at home, it is certainly not the only place where homeschooled children learn.
Homeschooling takes almost as many forms as there are families doing it — from a daily routine following a scheduled curriculum to child-led learning in which parents supervise and help. Since every family is unique (number and ages of children, personalities, interests, goals, etc.), each family will homeschool differently. It’s important to remember that there is no one “right” way to homeschool. Parents will discover their own teaching style and their children’s learning style.
Just as there is no such thing as a typical homeschooling family, it’s difficult to describe a typical homeschool day. Children learn from a variety of activities, such as reading, conversation, play, outside classes, volunteer work and apprenticeships. They typically will have some time on their own at home (to read, play, build, draw, write, do a science experiment, work on math), and some time with their parents (to get help with any of the above, to talk, to do work on a project together), and some time with others outside the home (in an art class, in Scouts, in a homeschoolers’ orchestra, in a volunteer job at an animal shelter). Some families set aside a specific part of the day for academic work; others do not. Often this varies for each child and the family often adapts its schedule as the children grow and their needs change.
Membership in SCAIHS and continuing compliance with its standards fully satisfies the demands of South Carolina’s Compulsory attendance laws (see Section 59-65-45 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina). Because SCAIHS members are not under the jurisdiction of the public school district, they do not need to seek approval from their local school board.
The SCAIHS board and staff are committed to helping families experience success in home schooling. Services to member families include academic guidance, curriculum counseling, and support from a qualified and well-trained staff. SCAIHS serves home schools with students from first grade through high school, plus limited services to preschool and kindergarten students.
By endorsing both traditional and more creative approaches to education, such as unit studies and teacher developed curriculum, SCAIHS allows for variety and flexibility in curriculum choices. Parents may use traditional curriculum provided by textbook publishers or nontraditional materials from various sources as well as field trips, travel experiences, computer programs, educational television/videos, and other innovations in technology.
Progress reports, summarizing the student’s studies, are designed to help keep parents accountable.
Permanent records are kept for each student. Should a member student transfer to a public or private school from the home school or seek admission to a college or university, SCAIHS will issue a transcript to that institution upon the parent’s written request. This documentation is especially critical at the high school level. (Pertinent graduate records are kept permanently. Other records are purged after three years of inactivity.)
SCAIHS high school students routinely participate in the following programs and activities:
- Palmetto Girls State and Boys State
- Government internship programs
- Internships, apprenticeships, and travel
- TeenPact Leadership Program
- Community service projects, volunteer work, and church work
- Dual-enrollment programs in both two- and four- year colleges and universities
The High School Program provides credible documentation (credit units) for completed course work. Diplomas are issued at the formal graduation ceremony in June to seniors who have fulfilled graduation requirements. SCAIHS students are recipients of many prestigious academic awards and scholarships and continue to be accepted into the colleges and universities of their first choice.
The qualified staff from the Special Needs Department provide parents with educational counseling in this specific area.
SCAIHS members have flexibility in determining a school calendar as long as the 180 days of documented instruction are completed by May 31. Choices include a traditional nine-month school year, year-round schooling, or block scheduling.
The annual testing program gives parents the freedom to choose the test administrator and the test site.
SCAIHS members receive a membership card enabling them to qualify for some discounts available to schools.
SCAIHS members are sent informative e-bulletins twice a month, as well as updates on state and national legislative happenings affecting homeschooling.
SCAIHS members receive a 15% discount on most items in the Home School Bookstore.
Many families enjoy the flexibility that homeschooling provides for both parents and children. Children can learn about things they are interested in and at a time in their lives when they are ready to learn. No preconceived schedule forces them ahead or holds them back.
Children learn about the ‘real world’ by being a part of it – no artificial settings are needed to ‘provide exposure.’ Children can receive a superior education attuned specifically to their own needs, learning styles, personalities, and interests – at far less cost than that of a private or public school. By being allowed to learn at their own pace, with a minimum of stress, homeschooled children have the time and space to internalize and use what they learn.
Homeschooling families spend a tremendous amount of time together living, learning, and playing. They have the opportunity to develop a depth of understanding and a commitment to the family that is difficult to attain when family members spend their days going in separate directions.
A nice side benefit to homeschooling is that vacations and other outings can be planned for times when the family is ready – and often when the crowds are smaller or the costs are lower.
The best teacher for any child is someone who loves and cares about them and their particular way of learning – someone who has the time and the patience to provide one-on-one instruction. Parents do what teachers wish they could do in the classroom, but are unable because of inadequate time and help available to properly instruct a large group of students.
Parents, thankfully, do not have to be the expert in every area. Learn with your child, or search your community for resources that will help your child learn. Homeschooling families are fortunate to have the world as their classroom. There are classes (correspondence, video, support groups, community centers, colleges, etc.) taught by experts, but many children are very capable of teaching themselves – just as adults do when they have something new they want to learn.
And when searching for teachers, don’t overlook friends, acquaintances, and business people in your community – most are delighted to have a young person around who is sincerely interested in what they do and know.
With SCAIHS, you are never alone in your homeschooling. Our counselors are available year-round to provide assistance and encouragement whenever you need it.
Children are always learning – they just can’t help it! Just like when they were babies and toddlers, you can discover what they are learning by spending time with them and observing the growth in their understanding of the world.
Sometimes we question our children to find out if they remember what they learned and to reinforce that learning; but this is usually just within the context of ordinary conversations, not in the form of a test.
Testing was designed as a way for teachers to find out if students understand the material presented in the classroom. When there is one teacher assessing the development of 20 to 30 students, testing is the easiest way to determine their achievement.
In a one-on-one learning environment, tests are often unnecessary. Few homeschooling parents give lectures on which their children are supposed to take notes and study – they discuss things. The children have the time and attention to ask as many questions as they need to clarify things, and together they can explore each subject. Sometimes trips to the library or visits to museums, historical sites, places of business, etc. are necessary to answer all the questions that come up.
SCAIHS requires annual testing for students in grades 3-11 to track proper progress and to assist in correcting problem areas.
Homeschooling can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you make it. It depends on many factors, including what kinds of materials and resources you choose to use, whether you are purchasing new or used curriculum, how many children you will be homeschooling, and whether or not you will be giving up paid employment in order to homeschool your children.
Parents can easily spend a small fortune on all the wonderful learning materials and books available. On the other hand, a superior education can also be accomplished using free resources found through the public library, interlibrary loan, and learning opportunities found in your community, such as museums and trips to interesting places.
On average, homeschooling is much less expensive than the cost of your children attending a public school (in terms of transportation, food, clothing, required school supplies, special events, etc.). Once you look at the whole picture, it is far cheaper and easier.
According to a recent study, the average cost of home educating one student is only $560 per year, compared to the nearly $10,000 annually that the government spends on each student at a public school.
SCAIHS’ counselors provide assistance with transferring your homeschooled student to college. Our high school transcripts and diplomas are nationally recognized.
Many colleges, universities, and vocational institutes like homeschoolers because they are capable and independent learners that perform very well in those academic environments.
It should be noted that college is not necessarily the best route for every young person. For some teens, apprenticeship opportunities and other forms of ‘on-the-job’ training can be a faster and more satisfying entry into their adult lives.
Children with learning disabilities can and do learn well at home. An important difference between a traditional school setting and a homeschool is that [add ‘that’] a child can learn at his own pace at home, and with the encouragement of people who are concerned with him as an individual.
The counselors in our Special Needs Department will work with you and your child to develop an individualized plan of instruction that best meets the needs and goals of your student. They will offer helpful advice and recommendations, as well as assist you with requests for special accommodations.
This can be one of the biggest challenges a homeschooling family faces. Remember that many concerns about homeschooling are based on ignorance or misinformation. For example, a friend may worry that your child is being deprived of access to group experiences, not realizing that most homeschoolers participate in Scouts, community groups, homeschooling groups and other activities.
A skeptical relative may fear that this is simply your outrageous idea, not knowing about the thousands of successful homeschoolers who have gone before you. Many skeptics are reassured when they learn that homeschoolers have friends, get into college, and have a wide range of learning opportunities. Some people are also reassured by meeting other homeschoolers or listening to talks, workshops, or radio interviews.
After you have done some research and reading about homeschooling, you will be better prepared to address your critics’ concerns, but remember that it can take time to feel comfortable with homeschooling, as with any new idea. Sometimes you may simply have to live with a friend’s or relative’s uncertainty for a while. Consider inviting them to one of our informative Getting Started Workshops, where they can hear and learn first-hand from our professional staff. Or show them a copy of our e-newsletter, SCAIHS Advantage, which features some of our students’ accomplishments.
Yes, any of these tests intended for college-bound students can replace any other standardized test.
No. The accepted tests are SAT, ACT, PSAT, ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills), Stanford, Terra nova 2 / CAT6, Woodcock Johnson, and educational psychological evaluations that would be approved by the Special Needs Director.
Obtaining a transcript is easy! Simply click on “Transcript Request” on the homepage and fill out the form. If your student is not a senior or last year’s graduate, there is a small fee that you can also pay online.