For the most part, homeschooling in the U.S. is pretty simple. In most states, you just need to notify the school district and have your high school diploma, and you don’t really need anything else.
But like most other things, the rules and regulations differ depending on which state you live in. If you want to homeschool your children and you live in Tennessee, then you have come to the right place.
We have put together a complete guide to homeschooling in Tennessee.
So, if you live in this state and you are ready to begin the homeschooling process, read on to find out everything you need to know.
Requirements For Homeschooling in Tennessee
Every state has its own requirements when it comes to homeschooling, and Tennessee is, of course, no different.
You will need to notify the school district before you take your kids out of school, and you will need your high school diploma in order to do it.
This is pretty standard regardless of which state you live in, but in Tennessee, there are a few more requirements you need to follow. Some of the most important requirements include:
- Maintaining attendance records, immunization records, and test/evaluation records.
- Notifying the school district and the local superintendent of schools 30 days before you start homeschooling. This has to be in writing for it to be legal.
- Children in grades 5, 7, and 9 must take part in standardized tests that are administered by a qualified person(s).
- Parents or guardians must have their high school diploma, GED, or equivalent qualifications.
- You must homeschool your children at least 4 hours per day over 180 days.
- Plan and provide a curriculum that also includes the core subjects required by the state: reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies.
All of the requirements listed here must be followed, and they are required by law in Tennessee if you want to homeschool your children.
It might feel a bit overwhelming at first, but there are plenty of resources online that you can read through, and you can contact your school district for advice if you need to.
Qualifications For Homeschooling In Tennessee
In the state of Tennessee, you do not need any teaching qualifications or college credits in order to homeschool your children. You are required by law to have your high school diploma, GED, or any other appropriate equivalent though.
As long as you have your high school diploma and you have gone through the proper channels and regulations, you should have no issues in homeschooling your children.
Homeschooling Options In The State
It is very important to know that there are three different types of homeschooling that you can turn to if you live in Tennessee.
Depending on your and your children’s needs, look through the three options now and see which one feels like a good fit.
The Independent Homeschool option is the most common in Tennessee. If you want to go with this option, there are a few requirements you will need to follow in order for the process to be legal.
Submit A Notice of Intent
This involves writing a letter to your school district and local superintendent stating that you plan on homeschooling your children.
It has to include the names and ages of your children, how many homeschooled children live at your address, their grade levels, your home address, which curriculum you plan on using, and the hours of instruction you plan on teaching.
You must also provide proof of your high school diploma or GED in this notice of intent. Another important thing to note here is that you need to send the letter 30 days before you actually start homeschooling.
Proof Of Immunization
With your notice of intent, you must also provide proof of your children’s immunizations. This includes any medical/religious exemptions.
It is the law in Tennessee that you provide the correct information here, especially if you want to homeschool your children as soon as possible.
Day & Hour Requirements
In Tennessee, it is required by law that you teach 180 days a year, for at least 4 hours a day. You must submit your children’s record of attendance once a year, too.
You can teach more hours a day if you want to, but you will be required to teach 180 days a year, regardless. This is why it’s important to create a plan and submit it to the appropriate authorities.
Standardized Testing is another homeschooling requirement in the state of Tennessee.
Children in grades 5, 7, and 9 are required to take these tests, and the tests must be administered by a commissioner of education or by a professional testing service that can be obtained via your local education agency.
Category III Distance Learning School
Another option you can choose for homeschooling in Tennessee is Category III Distance Learning. This is a type of private school that follows the school district’s curriculum but in a homeschool setting.
You still need to notify the school district and superintendent if you choose to go down this road, but you won’t have to plan and create your own curriculum.
This is because your children will be learning the same things they were learning in public school.
If you choose to follow the Category III Distance Learning School option, you will also be required to report student attendance and information to the school district to which your child/children belong.
Church-Related School (CRS) (Category IV)
The final homeschooling option in Tennessee is church-related schools (CRS). This homeschooling option is associated with the church and is often described as an ‘umbrella school.’
Parents are allowed to teach their kids as part of these church-related schools that are overseen by the CRS school director.
Church-related schools also have a few requirements you need to follow. Some of the most important requirements include:
- You and your children must be formally enrolled in the CRS.
- Proof of immunizations must be submitted, or (proof of exemptions) to the CRS.
- You and your children must comply with all policies laid out by the CRS. This includes documentation, testing, and attendance requirements, but policies do vary from school to school.
Days Required For Homeschooling In Tennessee
It is compulsory in all areas of the state of Tennessee for homeschooled children to be schooled for a minimum of 180 days per year.
Furthermore, they must also have a minimum of 4 hours of teaching each day.
The advantages of homeschooling, however, mean that you can homeschool practically any day that you want rather than following the traditional public school schedule.
You can also teach for longer than 4 hours a day, but regardless, your children will still need to do a full 180 days of school.
It is also vitally important that you record their attendance and days in school, as they must be submitted to the appropriate authorities once a year, as required by schooling laws in Tennessee.
Standardized Testing In Tennessee
Standardized testing is required in the state of Tennessee, but you only have to administer these tests in three grades.
Children who are in grades 5,7 & 9 are required to take standardized tests that are administered and overseen by designated agencies or the school board.
It is required by law that these tests be taken in the appropriate grades, so it is important to seek advice if you have a child in one of these grades and you are unsure of anything.
If you have permission to push tests back a year or anything that makes your child exempt, it is important to have evidence of this, too.
Keep All Of Your Records
As you have probably pieced together by now, record and documentation keeping are incredibly important when it comes to homeschooling within the state of Tennessee.
You have to submit test scores, curriculum plans, and lots of other things in regard to homeschooling every year, and this is why it is important to keep all of your records and write everything that is required down.
Tennessee focuses a lot on attendance as well, so make sure you keep a record of attendance for your children, as this is mandatory.
Keeping records of everything, even if you end up not needing it, is important so you can make sure you have the appropriate information to submit to the school district when the time comes.
Homeschooling is very legal in Tennessee, but there are a few requirements you need to meet before you start.
These requirements might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you use this guide that we have put together for you, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Choosing to homeschool your children is an important decision, and it is important that you use all of the tools and information you can find before you make a final choice.
And remember, you can contact your school district if you are unsure of anything, too.