Each year home schools communicate with various public organizations for a variety of reasons. In many cases, contacting these organizations will require a letter from the accountability association, and in some cases, a letter verifying proof of residency.
It will be helpful to know when and why we may need to communicate with these organizations in order to avoid unexpected obstacles and achieve our goals without delay.
Members may contact the office of PIE for a letter verifying membership and/or proof of residency when necessary. These letters require a signature from the Director of PIE; therefore, we are unable to provide these documents through the Member Center or email. However, members may use their email services to request their letter. PIE's contact information is provided. Click Here
Obtaining a Drivers License: A person who is at least fifteen years of age may apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a beginner's permit. The student will be required to provide proof of residency. This document should contain their full name, date of birth, sex, race, and residence address (The DMV requires proof of residency which can be obtained through the accountability association).
The DMV does accept a letter from the home school accountability association. This letter should include the name and current address of the student applying for the student permit, or license. PIE members may contact the office of PIE for assistance.
Applying to Colleges and Universities: Transcripts, diplomas, and the student portfolio are considered educational records. According to South Carolina Code of Law for third option home schools, educational records are to be maintained by the parent/teacher (Applying to colleges and universities requires transcripts and usually requires proof of membership with an accountability association).
Each year, the office of PIE is contacted by member families who have been instructed by an administrator from a institution of higher education their student is applying to that their transcript and/or diploma must be provided through their association. This request creates confusion that requires special attention.
The office of PIE has provided counsel to member families who have contacted us under these circumstances. In every case, the institution in question, eventually accepted a letter verifying membership status from the office of PIE, as well as, the educational records from the parent/teacher, which is as the law intended.
The office of PIE recommends the following steps when applying to institutions of higher education:
- When completing the application process you should include a copy of your acceptance letter which has the parent’s information, student’s name listed, and a signature from the director of Palmetto Independent Educators.
- Have a copy of the SC Code of Law for third option home schools handy in case the administrator is not familiar in this area. A copy is provided on the back of your acceptance letter. Provide this copy only if step one proves unsuccessful.
- If steps one and two do not produce positive results, ask to speak with someone at the next level of authority. You may be consulting with someone who does not understand the home school laws. Remember to keep a positive attitude at all times.
- If all previous steps have failed, you should provide the office of PIE the admission administrators contact information. The office of PIE will contact the administrators on your behalf in order to clear up any misunderstandings.
Institutions for higher education have many responsibilities, including distributing financial aid and scholarships to students that qualify. They must ensure the home school family was legally authorized to home school before extending their services. This can be accomplished when a member provides the institution with a copy of their acceptance letter verifying their membership status with Palmetto Independent Educators.
Applying for Scholarships: The office of PIE coordinates with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education annually to ensure members of PIE receive important information concerning the application process for the South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholarship on time (Applying for state scholarships requires proof of membership with an accountability association).
Each year, time sensitive information is posted through the Member Center and eligible students are notified through the US Postal services. Members who have any questions concerning the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship may contact the office.
The office of PIE was asked by a representative of the Commission on Higher Education to pass on the following message to the home school community.
["Home school families who have decided not to home school according to the SC Code of Law will not qualify for SC Scholarships. The diplomas of these graduating students may very well not be recognized by the State of South Carolina."]
Institutions responsible for distributing financial aid and scholarships will need to verify the home school family is authorized to home school before they extend their services. This can be accomplished when a member provides a copy of their acceptance letter verifying their membership status with Palmetto Independent Educators. We received the above message during phone contact with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. In the past, there have been several families failing to qualify for scholarships because they were not enrolled with one of the state's three legal options.
To avoid possible truancy charges, the home school family should enroll in one of three options provided under SC Code of Law.
Returning to Public School: When a student returns to the public or private school setting, the receiving school will need to know where the child is academically in order for the child to be placed at the appropriate grade level (Returning to public school usually requires a transcript or progress report, as well as, proof of membership with an accountability association).
Educational records shall be maintained by the parent/teacher and include;
a plan book, diary, or other record indicating subjects taught and activities in which the student and parent-teacher engage;
a portfolio of samples of the student's academic work; and
a semiannual progress report including attendance records and individualized documentation of the student's academic progress in each of the basic instructional areas specified in item (c) of the home school law.
In most cases, the school will only require the student’s transcript and attendance record. In some cases, depending on the schools administrators, a placement test may be required. All documentation should be in order, and the parent/teacher should be ready to present the students' transcript, attendance record, and the student’s portfolio, upon request.
Applying for the Military: Students interested in joining the military will need to contact the recruiting office nearest them for the latest copy of their rules and regulations for home school students. The requirements change frequently and it is important you have the latest information (Applying for the military usually requires proof of membership with an accountability association).
The military places recruits into one of three categories, known as tiers. Tier I status is for students who graduate. Tier II status is for high school dropouts who have obtained a GED. Tier III status is for students without a diploma or GED. Students listed a Tier III status will not be able to enlist into the military.
Important information concerning home school students enlisting into the military can be found on Home School Legal Defenses Web site.