When I was attending Columbia International University, I remember the Dean of Women addressing us in chapel one day, asking how many of us had ventured out into Columbia in the past couple of weeks.
Beyond the Harbison Wal-Mart, that is.
She was appalled at how few of us were taking advantage of the fact that we were attending school in the capital of South Carolina, and proceeded to make us aware of all that Columbia had to offer in the way of the arts and culture.
Now that I am raising and homeschooling my own children here in the Midlands, I am even more aware of the advantages of living here. We are only a year into our homeschooling journey, but I am so excited to have learned already about the great resources available to us in the Columbia area – so much that it is easy to be so involved in outside activities that the “home” in homeschool can be hard to come by! Below are my personal faves.
- SC State Museum has special free programs on the third Friday of the month for homeschoolers and receive free admission Tuesday through Friday.
- Columbia Museum of Art – free on Sundays for everyone.
- Riverbanks Zoo – homeschool classes at the zoo are $5 per child in addition to zoo admission, ages 5 and up. Adults can stay or walk the zoo with younger siblings.
- 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 through 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 k4 to 12; parents participate and receive support from other parents.
- Principia Center – meets on Mondays at Northeast Presbyterian Church, offering classes to grades 7-12.
- YMCA homeschool swim & gym – Columbia area YMCA’s offer weekly morning athletic programs to homeschool students age 5 to 18. My daughter LOVED this!!
- Co-ops – these are general grass roots groups that are organized by parents around the interests and needs of member families. Ask around 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 (like Town Tappers) 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 Theater, Columbia Marionette Theater, Columbia Children’s Theater, 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.
- The Midlands Homeschool Convention is hosting their first conference July 24-26.
- SCAIHS – located in Cayce, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (also known as SCAIHS) has a bookstore open to the public and if you choose to homeschool through them (option 2), their offices are right here.
- Local Option 3 accountability organizations – eight out of 39 listed are in the Midlands. One if them, REACH, hosts a homeschool used curriculum sale called HERS every spring.
If you are beginning your homeschool journey, I encourage you to check out these options! If you are an experienced homeschooler, what other Midlands resources have you found?