About three years ago, and after a lot of deliberation, I made the decision to homeschool my children. My oldest was only four then, so I had some time to do a great deal of reading and research. I was able to work out the details of my approach to educating my children.
One of the things I learned was that there are endless resources to help get you started and support you as you move through the school year. Homeschooling can be as exciting, adventurous, and adaptive as you make it! Now that I am a few years into this journey, I am grateful to find so many fun ways to teach my children not just at home, but in and around Columbia.
Here are some excellent resources around the city to expand your homeschool outside of your home:
- SC State Museum – Offers a special free programs on the third Friday of the month for homeschoolers (September to April) and you receive free admission.
- Columbia Museum of Art – Admission is free on Sundays for everyone.
- Riverbanks Zoo – Provides homeschool classes at the zoo for $5 per child in addition to zoo admission, ages 5 to 13 with an accompanying adult.
- EdVenture – Offers classes for homeschool students on the first Friday of the month.
Classes for Homeschool Students
- Arrows Academy – A twice-a-week “school for homeschoolers” in West Columbia and an Option 3 accountability group.
- Excelsior – A once-or twice-a-week homeschool program in West Columbia for ages 4-high school; parents drop of kids for the day and they participate in a variety of classes.
- Classical Conversations – A support organization for homeschooling parents using a classical approach; numerous campuses around the Midlands offer classes once a week for grades PrK4-12; parents participate and receive support from other parents.
- Principia Center – Meets on Mondays at Northeast Presbyterian Church, offering classes to grades 7-12.
- Chapin Academy
- YMCA Homeschool swim & gym – Columbia area YMCA’s offer weekly athletic programs to homeschool students age 5 to 14.
- IT-oLogy – This non-profit group offers a variety of learning opportunities. These include: classes, field trips, and summer camps, to K-12 students interesting in learning about working in the IT field.
- Co-ops – These are general grass roots groups that are organized by parents around the interests and needs of member families. Ask around, even search on social media, and you are sure to find one!
Library and Arts
- Richland Library – We have a wonderful public library system in the Midlands with resources that will help round out your homeschool curriculum for FREE.
- Arts programs – Some classes offer special deals on day-time classes for homeschool students. In addition, Columbia offers numerous opportunities to expose your child to the arts for very reasonable prices: the Columbia City Ballet, the Columbia Orchestra, Town Theatre, Columbia Marionette Theatre, Columbia Children’s Theatre, and more! In addition to all of these, South Carolina law allows homeschooled students to participate in interscholastic activities in their local school districts.
- Classical Conversations offers several Parent Practicums in the Midlands (and across South Carolina) every summer. They also offer free parent webinars throughout the year.
- SCAIHS – The South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) in Cayce, has a bookstore open to the public. If you choose to homeschool through them (option 2), their offices are right there.
- Local Option 3 accountability organizations – There are six of these organizations in the Midlands. REACH has a calendar of events for homeschool activities in and around Columbia.