In Tennessee, homeschooling is legal and is considered a form of private education.
Home education is regulated by the Tennessee Department of Education.
If you’ve decided or are now just starting to think abouthomeschooling your child in Tennessee, the first thing you have to do withdraw them from public school (unless of course, you’re starting from your child’s first year in schooling).
Here’s what you need to do to withdraw your child from public school and start homeschooling in Tennessee:
First you need to inform the school that you will be withdrawing your child.
File a Notice of Intent (NOI) with your local education agency (LEA) by August 1st of the school year. This form is available on the Tennessee Department of Education website.
Your NOI should include:
- Name, age, and grade level of the child
- Name and address of the parent or legal guardian who will be responsible for the child’s education
After submitting the Notice of Intent to Homeschool form, you can start looking at creating a homeschool curriculum.
Tennessee law requires that homeschooling parents provide instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
You can choose to use a pre-made homeschool curriculum or create your own! Many parents do a hybrid of both.
There are three different forms for homeschooling in Tennessee:
Independent Homeschooling: This is the most common option. Parents who choose to homeschool independently are responsible for developing their own curriculum, creating their own lesson plans, and assessing their child’s progress. They are also required to submit an annual Intent to Homeschool form to their local school district.
Umbrella Schools: Umbrella schools provide homeschool families with support and resources, such as curriculum, lesson plans, and assessments. Parents who choose to homeschool with an umbrella school are still responsible for developing their own curriculum and lesson plans, but they may use the resources provided by the umbrella school.
Accredited Online Schools: Accredited online schools offer a full-time, online curriculum for homeschool students. Parents who choose to homeschool with an accredited online school are not required to develop their own curriculum or lesson plans.
Tennessee law requires that parents who homeschool their children notify the local school district each year of their intent to homeschool.
This notification must be submitted by August 1st of each year. The notification should include the names and ages of the children being homeschooled, the address where the homeschool will be located, and the curriculum that will be used.
In addition to the annual notification, Tennessee law also requires that homeschooling parents keep attendance records and submit them to the local school district each year.
These records should include the number of days and hours of instruction for each subject.
You’ll also need to submit an annual notification and attendance records to the local school district.
As a parents or legal guardian who homeschools your child in Tennessee, you have to meet certain qualifications.
You need a high school diploma or equivalent, or have your homeschooling supervised by someone who does. A criminal history check is also required.
Curriculum and Recordkeeping
While you get to enjoy the freedom to choose your own home education curriculum and teaching materials in Tennessee, it’s really important to ensure that your child is receiving an education that is at least equivalent to what he or she would receive in a regular school.
You could also be asked to provide evidence of your child’s progress – such as a portfolio of work or standardized test scores.
You should also keep records of your child’s attendance and progress plus any other relevant information, like as field trips or extracurricular activities. The LEA could request these records at any time so it’s ideal to stay organized and on top of things.
Assessment and Testing
How will you know if your child is progressing through his or her education while you’re homeschooling?
Well, just like in in-person school you’re going to rely somewhat on testing and assessments.
In Tennessee homeschooling parents are required to have your child assessed or tested at regular intervals.
And while the law doesn’t specify how often this should be done, most home educators will do it at least once each year so you can keep on top of progress and work to “mop up” any areas where your child might be falling behind.
This could include standardized tests, evaluations by certified teachers, or assessments by a homeschooling support group.
Keep the results of all assessments and tests on file with your child’s other education records.