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Third Option Homeschooling
What are the advantages of enrolling in a Third Option association?
The main advantages of registering with a Third Option association are: fewer requirements for documentation, no mandated testing, less intrusion, and less cost. Families who register with these associations also benefit from the mandate written into the third option stating that parents are responsible for maintaining student records, ensuring a higher level of privacy for enrolled families.

Most Third Option associations provide extra services such as online classes, field trips, transcript programs, diplomas, graduation ceremonies, regular office hours, bookstores, resource centers, special needs counseling, curriculum counseling, scholarship guidance, and more. Check with the different associations to see which offers the services that are important to you.

I heard that my children may not be accepted into college unless we homeschool through Option 1 or Option 2. Is that true?
No, it isn't. Regardless of what option you choose (1, 2, or 3), their primary purpose is to provide the mandated accountability for your homeschool. That's all. They don't provide the materials or the education - you do. They also don't provide a state-accredited diploma. The SC Department of Education accredits diplomas that are distributed only through the public schools. Private school diplomas, homeschool association diplomas, and parent-made diplomas are all outside of the state's purview. They're not better or worse than state-accredited diplomas, they just have a different origin.

In any case, the most important aspect of the college application, admission, and scholarship process is your child's transcript and SAT or ACT scores, not diplomas. A transcript provides details about what your student has accomplished, a diploma doesn't. Colleges and scholarship committees probably won't even ask for a copy of your child's diploma.

I recommend that you choose an association which provides the level of expertise and assistance you need to navigate the college admissions and scholarship process. Ask them questions about their experience before choosing the one that's right for you.

Many associations have boasted Palmetto, LIFE, and college-specific scholarship recipients. Students from every association have been admitted to colleges, started careers, or have gone on to achieve great things, regardless of the association they "graduated" from.

The information I received from the SC Department of Education says I have to homeschool for 4.5 hours each day and fill out forms for my local school district. Is that correct?
The paperwork you received tends to confuse many prospective homeschoolers. The 4.5 hour per day requirement and forms are requirements for those who homeschool under section 59-65-40 (through the oversight of the local school district, otherwise known as Option 1). They are not requirements for those homeschooling under section 59-65-47 (Option 3). For exact requirements, please see our SC Homeschool Law link (at the top of the page) area and consult your association.


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