Truth About Homeschooling in TN: Tennessee Homeschool Laws

By Dr. Jon

State laws change from time to time and though we try to keep the laws up-to-date at all times please check with the department of education for any changes that may have occurred.

There are many reasons to seriously consider to homeschool in Tennessee: you’re in control of what your children are learning, you get to decide how much time you want to spend on different subjects, you can adapt the material to suit your children’s needs, and you don’t have to worry about your children dealing with schoolyard bullies.

Whether you’ve already made this decision or you just plan to, we’re here to show you how to start homeschooling in TN. We’ll help you make full use of the educational potential of Tennessee, we’ll let you in on the Tennessee homeschool requirements, and we’ll offer you a diverse range of useful online homeschool resources that will guarantee your homeschooling success. You can use the infographic and video below to help you create a homeschool that thrives.

Homeschooling in TN

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The Volunteer State

This unlikely nickname comes from the large numbers of Tennesseans who volunteered for the Mexican-American war – over 30,000. Not surprisingly, energy, industriousness and willingness to work hard are highly valued here, and your children have a lot to learn, both in terms of culture and science.

With US’ most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains, in the eastern part of the state, nature lovers have plenty of beautiful places to visit, and lots of breathtaking views to admire. The Cummins Falls State Park, the Warriors' Path State Park, and the Burgess Falls State Park are just a few of the other many natural spots you can admire in the beautiful Tennessee.

History lovers can visit the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, or explore the Titanic Museum Attraction, in Pigeon Force. Your kids will also love hands-on learning at the Creative Discovery Museum, in Chattanooga – and that’s just one of the many children’s museums in the Volunteer State.

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art, and science fans will have all the fun in the world at the Adventure Science Center, both of which can be found in Nashville.

Tennessee Homeschool Laws

You’ve got three options if you want to start homeschooling in TN: you can operate under the Tennessee homeschool statute – which also means the most amount of paperwork. Alternatively, you can operate in association with a church-related school, either in association with the respective school, or as a satellite campus. Finally, you can enroll your children in a distance-learning program run by a private school.

As we’ve mentioned before, the first option is also the most demanding. The Tennessee homeschooling laws require you to have at least high school diploma (or GED for grades 9-12), you’ll have to file an annual notice of intent with the local director of schools, maintain attendance and immunization records, provide at least 180 days of instruction, and have your children take standardized tests in grades 5, 7, and 9. Test results will be submitted to the local director of schools, and repeated failure will result in having to enroll your children in a public or church-related school.

If you opt to homeschool in relation to a church school, the qualifications, enrollment, bookkeeping, and assessment requirements are similar to the first option, but there’s no state-determined intervention procedure.

Long-distance learning under the guidance of an accredited private school means that you’ll operate under the specific private school requirements. There are no TN homeschool requirements in this case.

Tennessee Homeschool Friendliness Grade: C

We’re giving Tennessee a C in terms of homeschool friendliness, because the TN homeschool laws are a bit more demanding than the average. However, the variety of options more than makes up for the stuffy legal demands.

Conclusion

If you plan to homeschool in TN, the state offers lots of educational potential. The TN homeschool laws, however, may be a bit discouraging.

Nonetheless, they’re not meant to be a burden, but a guideline to help you along the way. Get in touch with the active Tennessee homeschooling community and you’re bound to succeed in offering your children the best home education there is.

If you’ve got any questions on the homeschool laws in Tennessee, or on homeschooling in general, you can always contact us – we’ll be more than happy to help you!

Resources

Here’s a selection of websites related to homeschooling in Tennessee:

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/TN/ - the official HSLDA website is a great place to find legal information and news related to homeschooling in Tennessee

http://www.tnhea.org/ - the official webpage of the Tennessee Home Education Association offers news and support to homeschooling families throughout the state

http://www.csthea.org/ - this is a homeschooling association dedicated to homeschoolers in and around Chattanooga

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