Choosing a Homeschool Association in SC

Most homeschoolers in South Carolina register with an association. With dozens of choices, what qualities do you consider when choosing a Homeschool Association? A good place to start is by asking homeschoolers you know who they recommend. That can help you narrow down the search. While it may be easy to go on recommendations of your friends, it’s not always the best fit for you. Maybe you’re considering switching associations next year.

Important qualities to consider when choosing a Homeschool Association: Ease of Accessibility, Record Keeping Procedures, Supporting Services, Staff Personnel, Organization, and Connectedness.




Here’s some qualities to consider in addition to the friendly recommendations. Be sure to investigate the association’s web site to get a feel for their director and their requirements.

Qualities to Consider when
Choosing a Homeschool Association

Accessibility

How accessible is the administration? Can you email or call them? How long of a response time can you anticipate? Is your administrator accessible by phone or discussion forums or social media? Choose an association that answers you when you need help. Send a test email or contact form to see what response you get before you join. Some directors are only accessible during set business hours. Some associations do not set specific hours, but you should not presume they are on-call 24 hours a day.

Have reasonable expectations of their schedules.

Record Keeping

What is the record reporting procedure? What information and records does the association require? Do they require more than the law requires? Associations file an annual standards assurance form with the SC Department of Education. How each association verifies members are fulfilling these minimum standards will vary. Some associations will accept a check list form on file to verify the parent has complied. Other associations will want copies of grade reports or lesson plans on file as well. Some associations may also require mid-year reports, standardized testing or a review of the portfolio records.

Know your compliance procedures.

Supporting Services

What services does the homeschool association offer?  Are these services included in your fees or are they optional? Some associations offer additional services that you may or may not want. If you’re having a bad day or week, will they offer encouragement? Do they offer workshops on record keeping or offer assistance for members who want it? Minimal invasion does not mean minimal assistance. Consider support group activities, curriculum counseling, testing services, DMV letters, transcript assistance or class ranking. 

Find an association that offers the level of assistance you prefer.

Staff Personnel

What is the director or staff experience and personal interest in homeschooling? Do they currently or previously homeschool their own children? For how long? How long has the director or staff been working? Do they promote or prefer a certain curriculum, program or homeschool style? Does the director’s personal political or religious preference affect association policies?  Some homeschool associations have more experience and advice about educational styles or learning issues. Some associations require a statement of faith. Others do not.

Trust your director’s experience and influence.


Organization

How is the association organized? Who makes the decisions? Is there a board of advisers or officers? Is the staff paid or volunteer? What is the association’s plan in the event of death or the association closes? Where do your fees go? Emergencies happen, so what happens to your membership.  Understanding how an association handles their finances, their personnel and their emergency plans gives a fuller picture of their goals and priorities.

Look for quality in all aspects of an association’s reputation.

Connectedness

How do they handle legal inquiries from officials or someone hostile to homeschooling? Will they keep you informed about important legislative issues? Do network professionally with other associations and programs? Homeschoolers cannot thrive in a bubble of independence; Associations don’t thrive independently either. We need each other. Let’s stand together to promote respect, inspire excellence and improve communication.

Commit to team oriented associations.

Everyone has their preferences about their doctor, their grocery store, even their church.  It’s a matter of preference. So, find the association that is right for you. Keep these qualities in mind as you’re choosing a homeschool association.

Which association do you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

 Read more:
Associations Directory
Homeschool Lingo 
Homeschool Associations in South Carolina  Homeschool Lingo in South Carolina. What are we talking about?

About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I’m here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!

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