Tennessee Homeschooling Laws
Families who wish to homeschool in Tennessee have three options to choose from. The general rule is that every child must be taught for a minimum of 180 days in an academic year by either the child’s parent or guardian. A parent may however employ a qualified teacher to administer instruction in the homeschool.
1: Homeschooling independently
i. Have the qualifications to teach in a homeschool
ii. File a notice of intention
iii. Teach for the required amount of time
iv. Keep record of the child’s attendance
v. Provide immunization records of the child
vi. Have the student take tests in 5th, 7th and 9th grades
2: Homeschooling under a church school
This is a school under the umbrella of a religious organization. The church operates the school and it must be approved by the association of Christian Schools in Tennessee, a school associated with Accelerated Christian Education, the International Association of Christian Schools, the Independent Schools Association, the non-public Academic schools association, orthe church related schools association.
i. The first step is to enroll in a church school
ii. Provide immunization records of the child to the church related school
iii. Fulfill all the requirements established by the church school
3: Category 3 online schooling
The schools in this category are nonpublic and must be accredited such as those approved by the National Association of Independent schools or the accreditation commission. The accrediting commissions include the Independent Schools Southern Association, private school Accreditation National Council and they follow the procedures provided by the association.
These schools are required to submit the attendance records of the child to the local school director of public schools.
This page provides more information regarding every option of homeschooling include:
· Homeschooling in Tennessee
· Enrolling in a Homeschool from a Public School
· Recordkeeping for Homeschoolers in Tennessee
· Requirements for Graduation
· Switching from a Homeschool to a Public School
*This information is by no means intended as legal advice; its purpose is merely informational. It is each parent’s responsibility to get informed and understand the applicable homeschooling laws which regulate homeschooling in his or her state.
Requirements and Laws on Homeschooling in Tennessee
The three options of homeschooling in Tennessee are:
i. Homeschooling independently
ii. Homeschooling under the umbrella of the church
iii. Online schooling
Every child in Tennessee between 7 and 16 years of age must attend school either in a public school, private school or a homeschool. Most families choose to homeschool under a school because of the services offered to their student such as: the students are allowed to take part in the social activities in the school, one may choose to adopt one of the school curriculums, and the school helps with keeping the student’s records as well as allow the student in additional educational activities.
Homeschooling Independently in Tennessee
One needs to do the following:
1. Submit your notice of intention to homeschool before the school year begins. The parent or the tutor giving instruction must be qualified and must have a high school diploma or an equivalent such as a GED.
2. Provide the immunization records of the student
3. Keep records of the child’s attendance and submit the records to the Director of School every end of academic year
4. Give students in 5th, 7th and 9th grades standardized tests
Homeschooling under a Church School
A home study program may start at any time in a year. Homeschooling under this option does not require one to submit a notice of intention to the local school. The page on umbrella schools provides more information on this homeschool option.
Teaching in an Accredited Online School
Families are required to:
1. Choose a school accredited by the SACS CASI, NWAC, NCA CASI, WASC, NEASC, NCPSA, MSA, NAIS, MSCSS or MSCES.
2. Provide the school district with evidence that your child is enrolled in an online school that is accredited.
Notice of Intent to Homeschool in Tennessee
It is a good idea to officially withdraw a student previously enrolled in a public school to avoid truancy complications in the school. The common way is sending a letter or an email informing them of your intention to start homeschooling the student. Umbrella schools mostly inform the former school of the student of the change on behalf of the parent.
Recordkeeping for Homeschoolers in Tennessee
Students in umbrella schools have the schools keep records for them. Parents are however expected to keep track of the child’s progress in case the umbrella school ceases to operate. Every homeschooling family is therefore advised to maintain a homeschool portfolio. Some of the things that may be included in the portfolio include:
· Records on attendance of the child
· Reports on the child’s progress and the grades achieved
· High school transcripts
· Standardized tests results
Requirements for Graduation in Tennessee
This is different for every homeschooling option; for online schools and umbrella schools, the schools dictate the requirements for students to graduate. For the independent schools, parents decide on the requirements and when their student will graduate.
Many families rely on the school’s requirements to graduate and fail to consider the child’s after high school interests. Families should discuss the child’s future plans such as enrolling in college to have the homeschool goals aligned with the requirements to join a college.
The chart below shows the comparison between graduation requirements in public school and homeschool in Tennessee.
Diploma requirements in Tennessee
To receive a diploma in Tennessee, a minimum of 22 credits must be completed. The courses include Math, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, Physical education, Fine Arts, Personal Finance, Foreign Language, and Electives.
Parents in Tennessee have the liberty to determine when their student will graduate. They then proceed to award the high school diploma under their own terms.
|Testing requirements in Tennessee||To receive a regular high school diploma, all students enrolled in a Tennessee public school during their eleventh (11th) grade year must take either the ACT or SAT.||
There is no law in Tennessee that compels or forces homeschoolers to undertake a test as a requirement in order to graduate high school.
Tennessee high school transcripts
Students can choose to contact their school or use E-transcript system to submit a duplicate of the student’s transcript to the college they wish to join. Unless prices are offset, there is a reasonable charge.
Parents in Tennessee can create the homeschoolers’ transcripts which may include information they considered relevant to institutions the homeschoolers may intend to apply to. This may include schools, colleges, workplace organizations, or the military.
High school course credits in Tennessee
|The following course credits must be completed by the student: 3 Sciences including Chemistry and Biology, career and tech instruction or Physics, 3 Math including Geometry, Algebra 1 and 2,and Statistics Probability, 3.5 Social Studies(History of the world, the US, Geography, Economics and Government and Citizenship), Language Arts, Physical education, Art and 7 electives.||
Many parents in Tennessee choose to specify or assign academic credits to the courses taken during the homeschooling period as this may aid during the transcript creation process.
Eligibility for GED in Tennessee
English: 4 credits
Homeschoolers in Tennessee are eligible if the meet the same criteria as public school students.
Homeschool High School Transcript Template
Track your homeschooler’s credits, courses, and accomplishments with this free homeschool high school transcript template.
Switching from Homeschooling to Public School in Tennessee
There are no laws on enrolling students to public schools in Tennessee. Families homeschooling under the umbrella school are required to inform the school on your intention to switch to a public school and request all the child’s records from the school. These records may be required by the public school you plan to enroll the child for appropriate grade placement. The decision on placement lies with principal of the school, the credits and standardized tests that will be accepted by a particular school is unique to every school. Some schools may require the child to take placement tests to help in determining the proper grade for the child.
Lernsys Homeschooling makes it easy to keep a summary of the curriculum used including grades, topics covered, quiz and test scores, teacher credentials, etc.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Tennessee
Have other questions about homeschooling in Tennessee? You may find the following pages helpful.