Shining the Spotlight on 3rd Option

Today, I’m shining the spotlight on 3rd Option Accountability. Who ever heard of 3rd Option? And what do 3rd Option directors do anyway? Well, we’re here–and actually the majority of homeschoolers in South Carolina utilize 3rd Option Associations.

Your 3rd Option Association Directors are proactively working toward more positive interactions with school officials. Let's shine the light on what's been accomplished.

Spotlight 3rd Option

In previous posts, we have talked about the homeschool enrollment numbers. Still, there remains a public misconception that 3rd Option homeschoolers are somehow slack or hiding something. There’s lingering questions from critics and skeptics about the quality of education parents can provide. And always the concern…what about socialization?

We’ve got some work to do to change these misconceptions. The next battle for homeschooling will be in the arena of public opinion–not in legislative measures.




I love this quote by Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress and working together is success.” I believe this is the way toward changing the public perception about homeschooling. Your 3rd Option Association Directors are proactively working toward more positive interactions with school officials. Let’s shine the light on what’s been accomplished.

Coming Together is a Beginning

When 3rd Option rights came under legislative attack in 2013,  this blog was born to help homeschoolers in South Carolina get connected (that’s why it’s called the “homeschooling connection”). I say that we were living in our own little bubbles. I certainly was. That was the beginning of a conversation about homeschoolers coming together.

Then again in 2014 when Molly Spearman campaigned for SC Superintendent of Education. Her position and attitude about homeschooling left us all wondering what policies might be forthcoming that would affect home education. Many of us realized we must continue to stay vigilant and keep each other informed.

At that time, 3rd Option directors also began a collaborative network to help improve and maintain communication between the various associations. We’ve always had some collaboration efforts in regional pockets. But, this is a new all-inclusive initiative working toward statewide collaboration.

I’m encouraged to see 3rd Options standing together on our collective rights. We believe in excellence and integrity. We promote mutual respect for one another and appreciation for the differences among our associations.


Note: all association directors are invited to join the collaboration. But it’s  possible the email invites have gone into junk/spam folders. So, any directors looking to get connected, contact me for more information at homeschoolingsc@gmail.com 




Keeping Together is Progress

Once Molly Spearman was elected as State Superintendent of Education,  she stated that her priority focus was on public education, not home education. But, it didn’t sound like she had changed her views about homeschooling.

So, the association directors have remained vigilant about policies from the Department of Education that might affect homeschool rights. We do not want any changes to the homeschool law. We like it the way it is–and we just want to abide by the law. We do not support any policy or procedure changes that would encroach on our freedoms.

In July 2016,  a policy issue arose with the Department of Education that overreached 3rd Option law. A procedural change and some miscommunications escalated so that lawyers were involved. But, Association Directors stood together against the policy overreach. A flurry of discussion and inquiries transpired amongst ourselves. Every conversation had a common goal–ultimately everyone wanted to abide by the the law as it is and did not want the policy dispute to escalate any further. In the end, the Department of Education revised their policy and went back to the previously established procedure.

Read more here about the Policy Issue and the Resolution.

After that, Ms. Spearman reached out to the association directors affirming that she supports our right to educate our children in the setting of our choice. She wants the Department of Education to be an agency of service. And she opened the lines of communication for directors to contact her in the future…to work together with us. Read a copy of the complete letter below:

Spotlight 3rd Option as we interact with the SC Department of Education

Working Together is Success

Some of the most important work directors continue to do is dealing with public school officials whenever students transition *to or from* homeschooling. We encounter several common miscommunication issues with district staff as we speak office-to-office with them.

Each district has different procedures and expectations. Varying expectation from school-t0-school within a district. And even varying from staff member to staff member within a school. Their personal attitude about homeschooling can also affect the way they interact with us.

We aim to present professionalism and leave a positive impression about home education.

In January 2017, some miscommunications and misunderstandings occurred about the numbers reporting process this year. The law says that homeschool associations produce an attendance report for the respective districts. There’s no specification about the procedure (whether by mail or email). But, several district officials responded as if there was a new procedural preference…possibly handed down from the Department of Ed. It makes sense that they might prefer the convenience of email.

So, the 3rd Option association directors reached out to Molly Spearman to discuss these communication issues between the districts. The Superintendent was eager to meet with us and discuss the various communication issues we have encountered with the school district personnel. She seemed to be genuinely supportive of homeschool rights and even somewhat knowledgeable about 3rd Option.

3rd Option Association directors met up in Columbia on March 6, 2017 before our meeting with Molly Spearman. Photo credit: Angela Jordan Perry

Molly spoke about the way our homeschool law is set up—so that the Department of Education is not actually an accountability authority over homeschooling. The law is purposely written that way, which is probably why our numbers reports go to the respective districts not directly to the DOE (which would be easier to send one report–but, that’s not how the law is set up). So we will work out communication and procedural issues within the parameters that the law allows. If the district superintendents prefer an email report, we can opt to do that instead of mailing our reports.

We hit on several common points: We don’t want to change the law, we want to improve communication with the districts, and we promote excellence and professionalism among homeschoolers.

I think it was a good meeting.  It was a comfortable conversation–not adversarial or tense. This marks a shift from her campaign, when she had stated criticisms and concerns about homeschooling. We hope to maintain the line of communication. Nothing definitive was decided about how to smooth out the withdraw or re-enrollment process transitioning to or from homeschooling.

I feel good about the directors as a collective. There’s an attitude of camaraderie and mutual respect—among those who were able to attend the meeting and also support from those who were not able to attend. I believe this is the way toward changing the public perception about homeschooling. Together.

Let’s shine a spotlight on 3rd Option.
You can help promote 3rd Option homeschooling too with a window decal:

Find out more about Homeschool Associations here: 
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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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