The state of Tennessee passed homeschooling into law in 1985. Maybe you live in Tennessee and plan to use homeschooling for your children. In that case, there are many elements to consider before moving forward with this critical decision.
To homeschool in Tennessee, parents must:
- Indicate the name, age, and grade of each homeschooled student.
- Address of the school (home address).
- The proposed curriculum.
- The number of hours of classes proposed.
- Parents must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Proof of vaccinations.
All parents considering this alternative method of schooling should thoroughly investigate state regulations. For all these arguments, this article will give you all the information you need to know about homeschooling in the state of Tennessee.
Tennessee has several different types of homeschooling for your children.
This type is the traditional homeschooling option where parents teach their children from home. Parents must submit an intent form to the school district at the beginning of each school year in this option.
In Tennessee, the school district endorses homeschooled teachers to work under the umbrella of schools that have ties to the church. This methodology is the most popular homeschooling option in Tennessee.
Church institutions in the state are responsible for managing these schools. They must also meet specific requirements to obtain legal accreditation.
These schools deliver the entire curriculum through a web-based portal. Parents who choose this alternative must ensure that the school selected has legitimate accreditation from the school district. This school is responsible for providing the school district with all required class attendance information.
The decision to adopt the homeschooling system will be transformative for your child and family. This importance implies knowing as much information as possible. Knowing this will help us understand the scope of this decision and whether or not this approach will be the best option for everyone in the household. Some things to consider are:
- Before starting the homeschooling process, parents should be clear about the expected school objectives with this process.
- The traditional face-to-face education method offers students and parents academic counseling, student records, the generation of certified diplomas, and many other services. In homeschooling, these benefits and responsibilities fall entirely on the parents.
- Homeschooling is not just about teaching a child at home; homeschooling is a lifestyle that will impact all family members.
- Experts recommend that parents as educators look for a legitimate partner with whom they share specific responsibilities. An example of this would be registering with the local Board of Study, umbrella schools, or seeking support with groups or associations dedicated to working with this type of teaching.
- Parents should identify their teaching style, whether it is the flexible type or more of a structured profile.
- Parents should identify their children’s learning styles.
- It is necessary to locate the most convenient curriculum for students’ learning needs.
Homeschooling families today have many alternatives and resources to support homeschooling. Today technology is present in all people’s daily activities, and homeschooling is no exception. The options available are vast, from online books, videos, virtual reality, audio files, interactive TV, touchscreen computers, and on and on.
The key is to discover the educational needs of the child and the family group. Many times these needs and goals are not met by a single curriculum. So the parents decide to combine several subjects that include technological aspects. In this way, parents ensure variety and homeschooling.
Here is a small list of homeschool programs and companies to start your search. It can feel overwhelming when you first begin, but taking advantage of free trials and special discounts will help you narrow down the selection until you find the curriculum that best fits the learning objectives.
- ABC Mouse and Adventure Academy
- Khan Academy
- Hooked on Phonics
- Schoolhouse Teachers
- Alpha Omega Publications
- Supercharged Science
- Code Advantage
In Tennessee, attendance records under homeschooling vary depending on which schooling option the family selects.
- Under traditional schooling, or when parents are solely responsible, record-keeping is mandatory. In this case, parents must submit attendance records to the school district annually.
- Under the umbrella school approach, the school has the discretion to decide whether to maintain academic records. However, parents must submit attendance records and the curriculum they wish to use.
- In the case of online schools, the online school will make all decisions regarding maintaining the student’s academic records.
Like private school students, Homeschooled students may qualify for special education services provided by the school district at no cost.
The state of Tennessee considers homeschooled students to be private school students for purposes of applying for access to special education services.
Another important fact is that parents of special education students can apply to the Individualized Education Account program. This program can allocate funds to parents to cover extraordinary education expenses.
In Tennessee, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) allows homeschooled students to participate in extracurricular athletic activities or events in public schools. This authorization is possible as long as the parent has filed a notice of intent and has complied with Tennessee’s educational requirements.
When the homeschool students study through the church, they are also allowed to participate in public school athletic activities. You should only verify that the umbrella school or church is a member of the TSSAA.
In Tennessee, the requirement to take standardized tests in homeschooling will depend on the parent’s study option.
- Every homeschooled student must take a test in grades 5, 7, and 9.
- The school district provides these tests free of charge. However, parents may choose an alternative test only if they can obtain approval from the authorities.
- Tennessee has the authority to mandate that homeschooled students with low scores return to public schools.
- Parents are the ones who determine and submit grades to the school.
- Umbrella schools rarely require students to take a standardized test.
- Most private online schools will require a homeschooled student to take annual standardized tests.
- The students will take this test online, and the virtual teacher will grade them.
In terms of graduation requirements for homeschooling, Tennessee requires that a student earn 22 credits, regardless of the mode of study. The required credits are as follows:
- Math: 4 credits.
- English: 4 credits.
- Science: 3 credits.
- Social Studies: 3 credits.
- Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits.
- Personal Finance: 0.5 credits.
- Foreign Languages: 2 credits.
- Arts: 1 credit.
- Electives: 3 credits.
Tennessee has fantastic places as a complement to the homeschooling like:
- H. Nash Museum. Students will be able to see how Native Americans lived before the arrival of Europeans.
- Lichterman Nature Center. On this visit, everyone will learn about environmental conservation, take nature walks and appreciate the wildlife exhibits.
- Discovery Park of America. This museum combines military history, regional history, science, space technology, and more.
- Shiloh National Military Park. This park has three battlefields, monuments, a cemetery, and Indian mounds. If you wanted to reinforce your Civil War classes, this is the place to get it.
- Frist Art Museum. Here, you can tour Tennessee artists’ most outstanding works of visual art. It has a strong academic focus, but the whole family will also have a great time here.
- Tennessee State Capitol. The Capitol Museum has free guided tours of its facilities. This tour is the perfect place to reinforce Tennessee’s government, history, and culture lessons.
- Adventure Science Center. In this museum, students will have the opportunity to contact many interactive exhibits; it is a must for science lovers.
Tennessee is a state where there are several groups and associations dedicated to helping families make homeschooling successful for the benefit of the students. Some of them are:
- CSTHEA Chattanooga Homeschool Association.
- Ebony Homeschoolers.
- Memphis Area Homeschool Buzz.
- Knoxville Homeschoolers.
- Sevier County Homeschoolers of Tennessee.
- Clarksville Homeschool Social Group.
- Murfreesboro Homeschoolers.
Tennessee is a state that requires parents to meet specific requirements for the authorization of homeschooling. However, once a family complies, Tennessee supports it without reservation. It makes available to parents multiple alternatives to facilitate their academic and educational goals.