How to Homeschool in Tennessee
You want to homeschool in Tennessee and aren’t sure where to start?
You can continue to read on or watch this short video…
You’ve decided to homeschool your child. The first thing you need to do is withdraw them from your school district. If your child has been enrolled in public school for six weeks or longer, they must be formally withdrawn from the school system.
The best way to do this is with a signed Letter of Withdrawal. You can mail one to your child’s school via certified mail or hand deliver. Be sure all school property is returned prior to your child’s withdrawal date.
The next step is deciding how you’re going to homeschool.
There are 3 Ways to Homeschool
You can register with…
- Your school district.
- An umbrella or church-related school.
- An accredited online school.
Registering With Your School District
Using this method, you would register with your local school district. So, you provide notice that you intend to homeschool, and submit all curriculum and homeschooling schedules. You also must provide the location of your school, your qualifications as the parent/teacher, and names and ages of all homeschooled children for approval by the district.
Being the primary homeschool teacher, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Paperwork must be maintained to submit to the school district at the end of each school year. School districts also require proof of vaccinations and any health examinations or services, as required by law.
Grades 5, 7, and 9 require standardized testing that can be arranged with the local board of education for your school district. You can also opt for private testing, via proctor, at your own expense.
Registering With an Umbrella or Church-Related School
I’m most familiar with using an umbrella/church-related school as this is our chosen route.
Similar to that of registering with the school district, recordkeeping is required from an umbrella or church-related school. The umbrella school we chose has online record keeping software that automatically submits records with the click of the mouse.
I LOVE online recordkeeping software. I enter curriculum choices, the number of days school was attended, and grades twice per year for each student.
By enrolling in this type of school, our family has been able to avoid standardized testing. I’m not a fan of standardized testing.
Our umbrella school provided the necessary forms to the public school district after the kids were registered.
My husband and I get to decide what curriculum to use and our umbrella/church-related school reviews our selections. I’ve never had them turn down a curriculum we’ve chosen.
If you Google, “Tennessee Home Education Association,” you’ll find several different area organizations just waiting for you to click on their websites. They can help you with locating an umbrella/church-related school in your area. You can always choose outside of your area if you desire.
If you’re in Middle Tennessee, my area, you’ll go to the Middle Tennessee Home Educators Association to find more information about how to get started. For East Tennessee, you can check out Chattanooga-Area Homeschooling, or Smoky Mountain Home Education Association if you’re in the Great Smoky Mountains. West Tennessee, has West Tennessee Home Education Association to help you.
Registering With an Accredited Online School
The last homeschooling option is enrollment in an accredited online school.
If this is the option you choose, make sure that the school has legitimate accreditation status. Tennessee school districts require proof that your child is enrolled in an accredited online school.
Accreditation must be given by one of the regional accrediting agencies listed below:
- SACS CASI – Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement
- NCA CASI – North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
- NWAC – Northwest Accreditation Commission
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
- MSCES – Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools
- MSCSS – Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and affiliates (e.g., SAIS)
- National Council of Private School Accreditation (NCPSA)
Here are links to two accredited online school choices:
Besides the info you’ve just read, you can find more information about homeschooling by visiting the Tennessee Dept. of Education’s website.
Finding the best homeschooling option for your family is detrimental to your success. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. So, research these options on your own. Be sure to take your family’s routines and schedules into account. Ultimately, you want to ensure you have chosen the proper fit for your children.Finding the best homeschooling option for your family is detrimental to your success. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Click To Tweet
I hope this post has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.
***There’s a free fill in the blank Letter of Withdrawal included in our Resource Library. Access it by leaving your email address in the box below.***
Hope this has helped!