Guide to Homeschooling High School in SC

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Homeschooling high school can seem like a daunting task for many families, but with a little planning, you can have a very successful experience.

When planning courses for high school, choose courses that are interesting to your student and have some fun creating meaningful courses for your high schooler. High school is also a wonderful time to set up shadowing opportunities for your child and find ways they can volunteer and make a difference in their communities. I highly recommend including your student in the high school planning process.

Record keeping in high school is essential. Do not put off keeping up with your course descriptions, grades, and transcripts because you will not remember everything your student did in 9th grade when his/her senior year rolls around. Plus, you are required by law to keep records of your student’s learning.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact TSCHAA. You can do this!

What To Teach

In SC, Third-Option Homeschoolers are required to teach literature and composition, math, science, and social studies for 180 days each year. As the homeschool teacher, once your student has met the minimum requirements of the Third Option Law , you are able to graduate him/her. However, TSCHAA strongly recommends, at a minimum, following the SC diploma requirements for graduation.

It is very important to have a vision and a plan for your homeschool to ensure you are planning your courses accordingly. If your student is college bound, you need to make sure you are including the specific courses colleges require for entry. A two-year college and a 4-year college will have different course requirements.

TSCHAA offers a free high school planning sheet on the Applications/Forms page of the TSCHAA website. You can also access it here.

What Makes a Class

There are different ways you can count a high school course. Some families choose to count courses by the number of hours spent on the subject rather than the number of days. Others determine a course’s completion when the curriculum is completed. HSLDA has a helpful article about determining how to count a high school course: https://www.hslda.org/highschool/docs/EvaluatingCredits.asp

Course Descriptions

It is recommended to make a course description for each high school course. If you purchase a curriculum, you can just make a copy of the publisher’s description, syllabus, or table of contents. If you create your own course, make sure you are keeping up with an outline of topics covered and books used.

Transcripts

As a Third -Option homeschooler, you have been given the power to create and maintain your student’s records. This includes transcripts. However, some colleges insist that your transcript comes from your association. Always check with a college before sending in a parent-made transcript so you do not miss important deadlines.

A transcript should include numerical grades, course level (college prep, honors, dual credit, AP), credit (.5 or 1.0) and course name. You should have your student’s name, address, date of birth, and graduation date. In SC, you should calculate your student’s grade point average using the SC Uniform Grading Policy (SC UGP). (More on this below.)

You can find many transcript templates free online. Let’s Homeschool High School has many free templates available.

For members who need assistance with transcripts, TSCHAA offers a transcript service for $25. You can order one on the Application/Forms page of the website.

Students must have a graduation date on or before June 15th of the senior year to qualify for SC scholarships.

New 10 Point Scale

SC adopted a new 10 point grading scale for the 2016-2017 school year. In order to qualify for SC scholarships, you must use this scale on your transcripts. Any classes taken prior to August 2016, must still use the previous 7 point grading scale.This is a requirement set forth by the SC Department of Education.

New 10 point scale:

A=90-100 B=80-89 C=70-79 D=60-69 F=59 – below

Old Scale – use on all courses taken prior to August 2016:

A=93-100 B=85-92 C=77-84 D=70-76 F=69- below

Types of Courses (Honors, AP, Dual Credit, and College Prep)

1. College Prep courses are high school level courses that prepare students for college. Most courses in high school are considered college prep.

2. Honors classes go above and beyond a college prep class. Adding more work does not make a class honors level. The work required should be at a higher level than a college prep course. SC implemented a new guide for determining honors level. TSCHAA will no longer validate honors level courses on our transcripts. You can learn more about the honors requirements here.

3. AP courses must be approved by the college board. A homeschool educator who wants to label the course as AP must create an account with the college board and submit your course materials for approval. To get AP credit on your transcript, you must have a copy of the approval from the College Board.

Homeschoolers can take the AP test even if they have not taken an AP course. You can find more information about taking the test here: https://professionals.collegeboard.org/testing/ap/scores/prepare/homeschool

4. Dual Credit courses are taught at a college. A student takes a course at a college and the score earned in the course will also count on their high school transcript.

GPA using the SC UGP

(Please keep in mind if calculating GPA is confusing or more than you want to do, don’t worry. TSCHAA has you covered. Our transcript service takes care of all of it for you!)

When calculating your student’s GPA (Grade Point Average), you should use the SC UGP (SC Uniform Grading Policy) for scholarships and SC colleges. South Carolina has the uniform grading policy in place so that all students can be compared more accurately. Students must have a graduation date on or before June 15th of the senior year to qualify for SC scholarships.

1. To calculate the SC UGP, you will first need to classify each high school course as either college prep, honors, AP, or dual-credit. Most high school classes are considered college prep. Honors, AP, and Dual Credit courses receive more weight on the SC UGP.

2. After classifying each course, you will need to assign each numerical grade earned a quality point as determined by the SC UGP. Classes taken prior to August 2016 must use the 7 point grading scale. Classes taken after August 2016 must use the 10 point grading scale. Use the charts below to determine quality points.

3. Next, multiply each quality point by the credit value (1 for a year class and .5 for a semester class) and add them up. Take that total and divide it by the total number of courses attempted. Do not round!

Follow this step by step example of how to calculate SC UGP (see page 5):

***make sure you substitute the new conversion chart linked above for courses completed after August 2016.***

TSCHAA Diploma

TSCHAA offers two diploma options for members. TSCHAA will create a diploma for your student as long as you have met all the requirements of a third option homeschooler.

You can order a diploma in a navy blue padded cover from Gowns4Good for $35. Gowns4Good donates dollar for dollar the amount spent on their graduation supplies to build wells in impoverished communities. TSCHAA has partnered with them for ordering our padded diploma covers.

You can also order a diploma that comes in a navy blue card stock folder for $15.

Both diplomas can have your homeschool name printed on them. Diplomas can be ordered on the Application/Forms page. As a 3rd Option homeschooler, you can also create your own diploma.

SAT and ACT

Colleges use the SAT and ACT to determine college readiness. These tests are also used as an option to qualify for SC scholarships. Visit the College Board to learn more about the SAT and ACT.org to learn more about the ACT.

You will be required to put in a school code and have proper id. For the SAT click here. For the ACT click here.

CLEP Testing

One way to earn early college credits is through CLEP testing. CLEP tests are designed by the College Board and allow a student to test out of a college level course. Your student will earn credits but not grades toward their college degree. Some colleges have a limit on the number of CLEP tests that they will allow. You can find more information on CLEP tests at the link below.

Scholarships and Ranking

South Carolina offers some amazing scholarships. In order to qualify for a SC scholarship for the following year of college, you must end your school year by June 15th. If your school year runs past June 15th, you will not be eligible for that year’s scholarships.

The most popular scholarships are the Life, Hope, and Palmetto Fellows. You can only qualify for one of them. Colleges will let you know if you qualify for the Life or Hope, and TSCHAA is responsible for applying for the Palmetto Fellows on your behalf.

Since TSCHAA leaves record keeping up to the parents, it is your responsibility to contact TSCHAA if you think your child qualifies for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. Reminders will be sent out as deadlines approach.

So, why doesn’t TSCHAA rank? If TSCHAA ranked, every student taking high school level courses would be required to turn in grades by June 1st of each year. Each high school student would also be required to purchase the transcript service because every SC UGP has to be verified by the director. Not every family is interested in ranking, and TSCHAA wants to allow families to homeschool without adding requirements that go beyond the Third Option Law. If ranking is important to you, there are many wonderful associations that offer ranking. You can find a list with short descriptions of each association here.

Equal Access Interscholastic Activities Bill

The Equal Access Interscholastic Activities Bill allows homeschoolers to participate in extra curricular activities at their local public school. This includes athletics, music, speech, and other activities.

You must contact the school before the season begins. A homeschool student must meet the same requirements that a public school student is required to meet. Your student must have been homeschooled in the school’s district for 1 academic year to qualify. Every school handles this a little differently. They will probably want a report card (and may insist that it comes from your association) and proof homeschooling. TSCHAA offers a report cards service for $8 and a free compliance letter on the Applications/Forms page of the website.

Earning High School Credits in Middle School

Your child can begin earning high school credits in middle school for core courses. In order to earn high school credit, your middle schooler must be doing high school level work. If you put your child in public school, the school may not accept your courses as high school level. It is at the school’s discretion when determining the level of your child.

Helpful Websites

The South Carolina Homeschooling Connection

The HomeScholarshe offers a paid service, however, many of her resources are free

TSCHAA’s Pinterest Page College Bound Board and High School Board

Homeschool Checklist

Homeschool Checklist

TSCHAA membership requirements:

    • Fill out application and pay member dues.
    • Print out (or save) acceptance letter and member cards.
    • Fill out the End of Year form at completion of 180 days.
  • Notify TSCHAA if any contact information changes or if enroll children in public/private school.

Required documents for YOUR homeschool records (do not send to TSCHAA):

    • Semi-annual progress report – mid year (90 days)
    • Semi-annual progress report – end of year (180 days)
    • Samples of student’s work
    • Attendance record (180 days required)
  • Lesson plans (plan book, diary, or other ) that documents instruction in reading, writing, math, science and social studies, and, in grades 7-12, literature and composition.

(Parents are in charge of record keeping as stated in the law. If you enroll your child in public/private school, you should take your records to the school. You should also request a Compliance Letter from TSCHAA to show proof of homeschooling. The Application/Forms page of the TSCHAA website has printable progress report templates, high school planning sheet, and a compliance letter request form.)

How to Contact TSCHAA:

    1. admin@tschaa.com
    1. Phone/Text: 864-939-8341
    1. PO Box 463 Gray Court, SC 29645
  1. Fax: 864-509-9382

The South Carolina Homeschool Accountability Association, LLC

Scholarships and Grants

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Paying for college can be a challenge for many families. Thankfully, South Carolina has some amazing scholarship and grant opportunities for SC residents. You are matched up with many of the scholarships and grants when you fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid) paperwork.

FAFSA started taking application on October 1st and will continue to accept applications through June 15th. Please be aware that money is available on a first come, first served basis, so the sooner you fill out your FAFSA, the better.

Scholarships and Grants available to SC residents:

Students must have a graduation date on or before June 15th of the senior year of high school to qualify for SC scholarships.

(Please note that requirements and amounts can change. Always verify information with The Commission on Higher Education.)

You are matched up through FAFSA or the College:

Life Scholarship –  You can get up to $5000.

Requirements:

2-year college – 3.0 SC UGP

4-year college – Earn 2 of  the following 3: 3.0 SC UGP, 1100 SAT/ 24 ACT, top 30 percent of graduating class

You can take gap years before starting school. (The college matches you for this scholarship.)

Hope Scholarship – You can get up to $2800 at a 4-year college.

Requirements:

3.0 SC UGP

This scholarship allows gap years before starting school. (The college matches you for this scholarship.)

Lottery Assistance – You can get $100 per credit hour (up to $1200) at  a 2-year college.

SC Needs Based Grants – You can get up to $2500 at a public college

Foster Care Youth Grant – up to $2500

College Transition Program– This is for intellectually disabled students seeking college certificates and is available at 5 SC colleges.

SC Tuition Grant – You can get up to $3200 at a private college.

Your association applies on your behalf:

Palmetto Fellows Scholarship

You can get up to $6700. There are 2 application times: May of junior year -April 15th of senior year (Early Award – based off final transcript for junior year) or May 15th of senior year – June 30th of senior year (Late Award – based off final transcript of senior year).

If your association ranks, you can also qualify by scoring at least 1200 SAT/ 27 ACT , 3.50 SC UGP, and rank in the top six percent of the class.

If your association does not rank (TSCHAA) or you do not fall in the top six percent of your class, you must score a 1400 SAT/ 32 Act and have a 4.0 SC UGP.

You can take 1 gap year before starting college.

Other Useful Links:

Academic Common Market – You can get in-state tuition at out of state colleges if SC does not have a major you are wanting to pursue.

Other Financial Aid Opportunities 

www.sccango.org – South Carolina Can Go to College!

www.che.sc.gov – Commission on Higher Education

FAFSA – Free Application for Financial Student Aid

As you can see, SC has some wonderful scholarships and grants available for you!

Goals

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When homeschooling, it is extremely important to have a vision statement and goals. If you know why you are homeschooling and what your goals are, you are more likely to be able to choose appropriate curriculums and teach your children in a manner that provides success.

A homeschool family that just homeschools day by day may find themselves struggling and falling prey to curriculum jumping and the feeling that they aren’t successfully homeschooling. On the other hand, a homeschool family who knows why they are homeschooling and knows what their goals are will be more likely to stick with homeschooling and be successful.

Ask yourself the following questions when making your vision statement and goals for each year:

  • Why am I homeschooling?
  • What is my goal as a homeschool family?
  • What is my educational philosophy?
  • What is my child’s learning style?
  • Do I plan to put my child in public or private school in the future?
  • Do I want my child to go to a 4-year college? Tech school? Or straight to work after graduation?
  • How much money do I want to spend on educational products each year?
  • What fun things can I plan?
  • Are there any field trips I want to take this year?
  • Are Co-ops right for my family?
  • What are my long-term goals?
  • What are my short-term goals?
  • What spiritual and/or character building goals do I have?
  • What life skills do I want my child to learn?

Once you know your goals and vision, you can map out a homeschool journey that lines up with your homeschool’s purpose. Once you have your plan, refer back to it often and make sure your homeschool is not getting off track.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to figure out the vision for your homeschool. Then, make sure you visit your vision throughout the year to make sure you are keeping your homeschool on the right track.

Planning High School Homeschool

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Are you struggling to figure out what courses your high schooler needs to graduate? If you have a high school student or a student about to enter high school, planning for graduation is crucial. You need to think beyond the homeschool law, and make sure you are choosing courses that will prepare your student for whatever path she chooses.

The Third Option homeschool law only requires the basic instructional areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature. ( Learn more about the law here.)  Technically, you can graduate your high schooler having only covered those general subjects, but that does not mean that you are meeting the requirements for college admissions.

A tech school and a 4-year college are going to have different criteria for admissions. Here is a handy chart to help you see the differences in requirements for colleges:

College Requirements 

As the homeschool teacher, you have the right to choose the courses and path that your children pursue. However, TSCHAA recommends following, at a minimum, the SC requirements for a high school diploma since some students who say they do not want to go to college end up changing their mind about their plans after high school. These courses will help prepare your child for the military, tech school, and some colleges.

SC Diploma Requirements:

English (4 credits)
Math(4 credits)
Science(3 units)
US History and Constitution(1 unit)
Economics(.5 unit)
US Government(.5 unit)
Social Studies – other(1 unit)
PE/ Jr ROTC(1 unit)
Computer Science (including keyboarding)(1 unit)
Foreign Language or Career & Tech Ed(1 unit)
Elective(7 units)

SC Diploma Requirements

If your student is 4-year college-bound, you will want to include higher levels of math, lab sciences, 2 foreign languages, and specific history and literature courses. The Commission on Higher Education has the college-bound prerequisite requirements at the following link:

College-bound prerequisite requirements

To help you plan your child’s high school path, TSCHAA offers a free printable high school planning sheet.

You may also find the following links useful:

The Common Application

College Navigator

SC Scholarships and Grants

Guide to Homeschooling High School

Whatever path your student chooses, please plan carefully, so you can prepare him for his future. High school can sound intimidating, but I know you can successfully graduate your child with a little planning. If you have any questions about homeschooling in high school, please feel free to contact me at admin@tschaa.com.

TSCHAA offers a transcript service for members for $25 and diplomas for $18 (cardstock cover) or $38 for a padded diploma cover from Grads4Good. Each can be ordered on the Application/Forms page of the TSCHAA website.