By Ava Miller
May 12, 2003
The information provided here is merely a guide to help you,
it in no way covers all the information available for every subject listed.
It is not legal advice, I am not an attorney and do not give legal advice.
You should always contact your attorney or HSLDA for legal advice.
SC homeschoolers have some very unique and helpful homeschooling support groups. Luckily for SC homeschoolers, there are choices. What is right for you, is not necessarily right for me. Many areas will have several types of support groups and even if you belong to them all, you may still be longing and desiring something more for your children's education, something different. Well, you and your children can make it happen.
You, and perhaps some of your friends have one or more needs for support in homeschooling that are not being met. You have chosen to start your own play group, support group, co-op, 4-H or other educational and/or social groups to have more interaction with other homeschoolers and to enjoy a more diverse homeschooling experience. I say way to go Mom, way to go Dad, as your children will remember all of these great experiences for the rest of their lives, and so will you.
You will find that often times a parent or several parents will lead several different groups and activities, their desires and their children's desires have driven them to fulfill their dreams. Often times folks will wonder how in the world do they do it all, well for the biggest part they have the desire! They will either have very good organizational skills that help them to juggle many things at once, or their desire to do it all, and to give their children the best education possible will drive them to learn those organizational skills needed for the task, and to do it successfully.
I'm not trying to scare you off, but I'm giving you some fuel for thought, for down the road. Once you've figured out the type of group you and your children want now, you all are bound to find other desires that are not being met too. Therefore, you should try to encompass your desires and dreams of what a support group is suppose to be, in this one you are preparing to start. As it grows, and the needs become more diverse you will find others that are willing to help as they want to obtain their educational dreams and desires and those of their children.
However, if one day you look back and say, "hey I'm doing the juggling act that so and so always did (and I'm loving it), and I never could figure out how they manage to do it all, how did I get here?" You will know, it was you and your children's desires, and those desires drove you to fulfill theirs and your hearts dreams and longings.
Below I have provided much more than most folks will ever need to start their support group, so don't let it scare you. There are personalities that want all their i's dotted and their t's crossed, and knowing this I have tried to supply everything they will want and need to get started. Please keep in mind, you can make your group as simple and easy going as you'd like, or you can get all the i's and t's dotted, and then have fun. You and those helping you to organize your new group will decide how loose or defined the structure will be.
You should research your the 501 (3) (c) to decide if your group will want one or not. If you are not collecting any money, then a simple support group with simple guidelines maybe sufficient for your group, you will have to decide.
You must research your options to decide if you will or will not have a board. The links below will get you off to a good start. If you are not collecting any money, then a simple support group with simple guidelines may be sufficient. If your support group functions mainly online in a community, an egroup, or members area; you may only need to designate one or more moderators.
You must research your options to decide if you will or will not have ByLaws. Each group situation is different, the links provided below will help you in that decision. If you are not collecting any money, then a simple support group with simple guidelines may be sufficient.
You must research your options to decide if you will or will not have a Constitution or Articles of Incorporation. However, with the links below you will be able to get started researching the information needed to make your decision. If you are not collecting any money, then a simple support group with simple guidelines may be sufficient.
The group of homeschoolers starting this new support group will decide the membership requirements. You may choose to be inclusive and have a statement of tolerance for members to agree with, or you may choose to have a Statement of Faith for members to agree with, or nether. You may limit your membership to a specific county, town, or region of the state, you will decide how the membership of the support group is defined. As the homeschooling movement has grown, many support groups have formed. We are lucky that we have so many already in SC; however, your local support group may meet your needs and not mine. Some folks like lots of field trip opportunities and may belong to several support groups.
A new intrusive requirement of some homeschooling support groups has recently surfaced. In the last couple of years within the SC homeschooling community some support groups have started very intrusive questions on their member applications, and I advise you against implementing such questions for your support group's application. Homeschool support groups are there to support each other in homeschooling, not to police each other. This new intrusive requirement appearing on some support group applications is a requirement to list which option you homeschool under. If you list option 1 also known as 59-65-40, or option 3 also known as 59-65-47 you must list the district or association you homeschool under. I personally believe this to be very intrusive, unnecessary, against your right to privacy, and an act against those grassroots campaigners that helped to get all three SC homeschooling laws.
It is one thing to ask on your application if you legally homeschool, or to place a simple statement on the application such as, we as a support group do not offer you legal accountability for homeschooling under SC law; however, it is another to include intrusive questions on a support group application.
You will need to decide your membership rate based on the answers to a few questions. Will you conduct most of your business over the Internet and via Email? Or will you conduct most of it by mail and phone? What services will you provide to members? Will you make joining SCHEA, the state support group mandatory or optional? If it's mandatory you will need to add the $12 fee per person to your support group fee. If it is optional, then you need to provide a place for them to add the $12 fee to their membership fee on the application form. Your support group does not need to charge a fee if you will not be providing a newsletter, or services that cost. If you will have an informational web site, and or an email group that are free, you support group need not charge a fee.
There has always been a very large number of consumers that want to know that their information is confidential. After all most clients do not want their personal information given out with any business, support group, or association. There are federal and state laws that govern how our personal information is handle and great thought was put into the protection of our rights especially with our medical and dental care by our legislators. As with most business, support groups, and associations you will need some type of confidentiality policy in place, for the protection of your association and your members. Please make sure you put great consideration and thought into your policies on behalf of your members. If you have an email loop, you should consider setting up an automatic file with the membership confidentiality statement and the measures that will be taken if the policy is broken.
I recommend that you do a website for your support group, even if you are a very small group. By utilizing the Internet and providing your basic information and application online, you will save yourself and your association a great deal of time. The more information everyone has, the better prepared everyone will be at getting organized; and those that are organized, will be prepared for the future. You can make so much information available at a web site (this is the best place for a new homeschoolers information packet/page to be placed, as most folk can access the Internet, even if it means a trip to the local library), and this can help to reduce your membership fee, or even to make it free.
This is a very good and inexpensive way to communicate with support group members. It's free if you use a free Email provider, or if your server offers you Email with your Internet access. It is much faster than the US mail and will save you and your members much time while generally you both get the needed information needed and sought, much quicker than by mail. Inexpensive and/or free services provided to members will help you to provide more services at a lower fee. You will have to evaluate any and all free Internet services, to decide whether the pop up adds and banners are worth the free services offered. If not you will then need to decide how much you can pay for what you want. Provide the free list below for those that do not have an email account. Those without Internet or Email access, can sign up on the Internet at the library for their very own free email account.
There are paid groups and free groups, just like the many other services one can find on the Internet. Choosing a free or inexpensive group to host your support group, could really help you in getting a support group up and going. There are many different services that each type of group offers you, but most do offer an email loop. If you are paying for Internet Provider Services for a personal web site, support group web site, or other and you do not mind setting up an email group on your site, you should check with your server to see if they offer the mailing list/group service as part of your Internet package. The server we use for CHASE SC, ServerPro offers free groups. However, we have not opted to utilize it at this time. We have been busy setting up many various resources for our members and all the homeschooling families of SC; therefore, we have opted to use the well known Yahoo Groups. As time permits and some of our resource projects are completed, we can give it a try and let you know how it goes. However, if you choose ServerPro and start up one first, please let us know how it goes so we can pass along the information to others looking to start a homeschool support group.
Our local support group utilizes Yahoo Groups as well. You can set up automatic files to go out at various times such as on a pending subscription, a newly approved subscription, once a month (we use this for our reminder files), upon unsubscribing, and upon a member being banned.
Yahoo has a calendar that members may input events, field trips, and other activities that they've either heard or read about, or perhaps that they have set up for the homeschool support group.
An email group is much more efficient than a telephone tree, where you might end up making a large number of calls. Where as with the email group, the poster only has to post the one message and it will go out to everyone. Check into having an email group for your support group, they are very easy to set up.
These are not required; however, they can be provided complimentary by your support group. Members can utilize them in the local community for obtaining special teacher and homeschooling discounts offered in bookstores, on field trips, and other educational opportunities.
You may choose to participate in the HSLDA Group Membership Discount Program, we originally started at our members request. Individual families who belong to an HSLDA discount group save 15% on our membership fee, paying $85 instead of $100. For more information:
To participate in the SCHEA Group Membership Program and offer members the discounted price of $12 per year for their membership fees, your support group must do the following:
1) Agree with this statement of purpose and, as time and resources allow, will support the work of SCHEA.
2) Pay a yearly $25 group fee.
3) Provide a contact person willing to receive: a) inquires about the local support group; b) telephoned and/or faxed alerts in the event of urgent messages needing to be passed quickly to the membership.
Your group representation as defined According to the SCHEA By-laws:
“Each support group may send a voting representative for every twenty (20) registered SCHEA member families. The representative must be authorized as an official representative in writing from the secretary of his/her support to the SCHEA office as the same by the September meeting or no later than January 1st of each calendar year. Each support group in the state having at least seven (7) member families will be invited to elect/appoint one of its members to be its voting representative to the Board of Directors. Large groups may appoint one representative for each twenty (20) member families. (Couples are encouraged to attend and both may vote if: 1. their support group has forty (40) or more member families, and, if 2. they are each elected or appointed as voting representatives.) Support group representation will be appointed/re-elected on an annual basis.”
Providing new homeschoolers with the how to, curriculum companies, and resources should be planned for. If you do not choose to do a website where you can add this information, then please consider providing a new to homeschooling packet with resources for those homeschoolers in their first and second years of homeschooling. They will greatly appreciate any resources you can provide, they will make the choices of what to do and use; however, if you arm them with the information they will be able to make informed decisions.
I wish that I had learned about individual Learning Modalities and Styles before I had started homeschooling, before I had purchased my first curriculum, and resources. Please consider including some information on them in your new homeschoolers packets, here is our information on Learning Modalities/Styles http://www.chasesc.com/LearningStyles.html .
We all learn differently and knowing how we learn, and how each of our children learns, will help to save new homeschooler a lot of stressful moments, and will help to reduce the amount of money spent on curriculum or resources that will never be used.
Another great resource for new homeschoolers is information on Timelines. Consider making copies of our information available at Timelines http://www.chasesc.com/timeline.html, and include other information on timelines that you may find.
In order to assist new homeschoolers and those homeschoolers joining your support group, you will need to become very familiar with 59-65-40, 59-64-45, and 59-65-47. However, you need also to become familiar with all the laws listed under 59-65. Several links are provided below for this purpose. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be at getting organized; and those that are organized, will be prepared for the future.
These are optional for your support group, but a good flyer will make folks take notice. If you choose to have them you can design them yourself, or have a someone you know to make them for you. You may choose to create one down the road, if you do not want one now.
You can put together a very nice but easy flyer to distribute at educational book stores, local libraries, toy shops, and other educational locations.
When you are first getting your support group started, flyers can help you find homeschoolers that are looking for support.
via email at CHASESC@chasesc.com
Email me your questions and concerns,
and I'll help you the best I can or refer you to someone who can.
The information provided here is merely a guide to help you.
There is a lot laid out for you to make it easier to get started;
however, there is much work ahead of you in order to get your support group up and going.
Once you make your announcement you will have the nuts and bolts assembled,
but you will find there will always be a few that need some adjusting.
Each support group is unique and each will have to adjust different nuts and bolts in different seasons.
If there is something not here about starting a support group,
that you think would be beneficial to others starting a support group,
please email me and tell me what you think should be here and why it would be beneficial.
A gathering place for South Carolina homeschool leaders from state or local support groups (co-op, play group, or any type of support group for homeschoolers) and accountability associations to share information, and discuss issues concerning SC homeschoolers.
Any board member, group contact, or other person(s) representing a group may join.
~ CHASE SC Lifetime Membership Application ~ CHASE SC Yearly Compliance & Update Form ~
~ SC Support Groups ~ SC Accountability Associations ~ Q & A About CHASE SC ~
Be Prepared, Evaluations, Assessments, Report Cards, Planners, Goal Sheets, Sample Letters, Transcripts, High School Course Credit & Syllabus, Diplomas, Journals, Logs, Checklists, Traveling Through Time Timelines, Other Helps for the Homeschool (Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies), Postcards, and Getting Organized in Your Home are the categories you can choose from.
Q. Can you provide other forms on your web site?
A. As time permits, we would be happy to serve you with as many forms as we can. Please email us and let us know what you'd like to see, CHASESC@chasesc.com.
Please contact our webmaster if you find any links that are not working, or if you encounter any difficulties maneuvering at the CHASE SC site.
CHASE SC gives permission to all homeschooling support groups and individual homeschoolers (for personal use with homeschooling records only) to copy any CHASE SC information in its entirety if 1) copies are not sold at a profit (a reasonable charge for copying is acceptable), and 2) if you note on all copies that you 'Reprinted with the permission of CHASE SC, PO Box 58, Ruffin, SC 29475, Email address: CHASESC@chasesc.com, Web Site: http://www.chasesc.com.' All rights are retained by CHASE SC for CHASE SC documents, information, and forms available throughout the CHASE SC web site.
All others may not modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any information obtained from this site without the explicit written permission of CHASE SC! You may not send, or cause to be sent, any part or anything posted on this site without the explicit written permission of CHASE SC!