To begin homeschooling in Tennessee, families have three different options:
1. as an independent homeschool 2. under an umbrella school
3. enrolling in an online school.
Each of those options has different requirements attached to it. Once you’ve made your decision on which option to homeschool under, you will simply need to follow the regulations of your preferred path.
Modify™ can help you with your tracking, portfolio and record keeping. Download the app today.
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According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3001, “Every parent, guardian or other legal custodian residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children between six (6) years of age and seventeen (17) years of age, both inclusive, shall cause the child or children to attend public or nonpublic school.” This requirement does not apply to any child who “is six (6) years of age or younger and whose parent or guardian has filed a notice of intent to conduct a home school with the director of the LEA or with the director of a church-related school; or a student enrolled in a home school who has reached seventeen (17) years of age.”
Per the Tennessee Department of Education, “Parents in Tennessee may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K – 12. The Tennessee Home School law (Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050) states: “A home school is a school conducted or directed by a parent or parents or a legal guardian or guardians for their own children.”
Parents have three options for homeschooling in Tennessee:
Parents choosing to homeschool should begin by contacting their local school district’s Home School Coordinator (list is provided on the Home Schooling in Tennessee page on the Tennessee Department of Education website).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
A parent homeschooling a child in Tennessee must hold a high school diploma or GED. Note that “in the event of the illness of a parent-teacher, or at the discretion of the parent-teacher, a tutor, having the same qualifications that would be required of a parent-teacher teaching the grade level or course, may be employed by the parent-teacher” (TCA § 49-6-3050).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! Independent home school families must “provide annual notice to the local director of schools prior to each school year of the parent-teacher’s intent to conduct a home school and, for the purpose of reporting only, submission to the director of schools of the names, number, ages and grade levels of the children to be homeschooled, the location of the school, the proposed curriculum to be offered, the proposed hours of instruction and the qualifications of the parent-teacher” (Tennessee Department of Education).
“The cutoff date for registering to homeschool has been removed from the home school law. A parent should be allowed to withdraw their child from the public school and register for home school at any point in the school year” (Tennessee Department of Education).
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
Independently homeschooled students may be able to take classes at a public school under certain conditions. “In the case of special needs courses, such as laboratory sciences, vocational education, special education, for example, premises approved by the local director of schools may be used” (TCA § 49-6-3050).
Even though Tennessee does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Tennessee homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool (TCA § 49-6-3050):
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
According to the Tennessee Department of Education, independent homeschool students in grades 5, 7, and 9 must be tested using the “same state board-approved secure standardized tests required of public school students.” Standardized testing takes place “in the local public school which the student would otherwise attend at no charge OR by a professional testing service at parent’s expense” (Tennessee Department of Education). A test administered by a professional testing service must be administered within 30 days of the statewide assessments.
Grade 9 students should not be given the high school proficiency test. “If a homeschool student in grade 9 is taking a course for which there is an end of course test, that student should be required to take that end of course exam. That will mean some 9th grade students, depending on the courses they are taking, will have less tests to take that year than others” (Tennessee Department of Education).
If homeschool students score “1 year or more below grade level for 2 years in a row, superintendent MAY require parents to enroll child in public or private school (unless child is learning disabled)” (Tennessee Department of Education).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to the Tennessee Department of Education, independent homeschool families must “maintain attendance records and submit these records to the Director of Schools at the end of each school year; and submit proof of vaccination and receipt of any health services or examinations as required by law.”
In addition to the required recordkeeping, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:
You may also be able to find more information on Tennessee homeschool requirements through your local school district.
In general, records for umbrella school students in TN are kept by the schools themselves. However, there are good reasons for families to track their own progress as well. If, at some point, an umbrella school ceased operation, homeschoolers might not have access to their grades, attendance records, or transcripts. Therefore, both for families homeschooling independently and those enrolled in umbrella schools, it’s a good idea to keep a comprehensive homeschool portfolio. The types of records you might want to maintain include:
The conditions for homeschool graduation in Tennessee depend on which option you are choosing to homeschool under. If you are registering with an umbrella school or using an online school, then the graduation requirements will be decided by those entities. For those families homeschooling independently, though, you may be surprised to find that most of the requirements are up to you.
Even though most homeschoolers in TN register via a church-related umbrella school, it may not be enough to depend wholly on that school’s graduation checklist. To make sure your homeschooler is fully prepared for their future, it’s important to discuss with your teen his or her post-secondary goals. If they are college bound, for instance, you’ll want to research the criteria for admission for several schools your homeschooler may be interested in attending and double-check that they are meeting all the benchmarks along the way.
Modify™ helps homeschoolers to keep all necessary records and transcripts.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3001
Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050
Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-50-801.
Home Schooling in Tennessee
Intent to Home School
Tennessee Academic Standards
Tennessee Graduation Requirements
Note: All information on this site is provided with no guarantee of accuracy. Modify™ is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or outdated information, or for the results yielded through use of this information.