Homeschool 101: Tennessee

WHAT IS THE TENNESSEE HOMESCHOOL LAW?

You may read the State of Tennessee homeschool law on the Tennessee Department of Education (TNDOE) website. The information on that page is the most accurate regarding how to legally homeschool in Tennessee. The following is quick information about how to get started homeschooling. The process is the same in all Tennessee counties.

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What do I do first?

Relax! If you are ready to homeschool, know there is a lot of support in West Tennessee. Right here (and always), you have got Homeschool Roster.

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At what age must I register my child to homeschool?

The compulsory ages in Tennessee are six to 17. A child must be five by August 15 of the school year in which they are being registered for kindergarten, and may register as early as five years old. A child may be registered for kindergarten as late as their sixth birthday by August 15 of the school year they are being registered.

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How may I register to homeschool in Tennessee?

There are three legal ways to register to homeschool in Tennessee:

1) Independent – Register with the local school board. (free)

2) Church-related Umbrella School (umbrella school) – Register with an umbrella school. (fee-based)

3) Accredited Online School (AOS) – Register with an accredited online (private) school. (fee-based)

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Do I have to Register to Homeschool?

Registering to homeschool in Tennessee is mandatory. You are only required to register using one of the three options listed above. You do not have to choose two or all three. You only need to choose and do one, and register each school year. If a child is a Tennessee resident by August 1, they should be registered to homeschool by the first day of school in their school district. If a child becomes a resident after the school year has started (ex: moves to the state), a child should be registered to homeschool within 30 days of moving to the state.

A parent may choose to homeschool their child at any time during a school year. It is suggested a parent register their child to homeschool before withdrawing them from their current school to reduce the chance of truancy.

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What are the requirements of the three registration options?

1) Independent – Register with the local school board as an independent by filing a notice of intent (NOI) to homeschool with the local school board.

Parents are able to choose and use curriculum of choice, and determine graduation requirements.

State testing is required in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades. A student may test for free through their local school or a parent may purchase and provide an approved test that may be taken at an alternative location.

The parent is required to submit attendance by the end of the school year (June 30). Some districts may require bi-annual attendance.

2) Umbrella School – Each offers a variety of services and support from minimal to maximum, and has its own student requirements. Contact the umbrella school of interest for more information.

Typically, parents are able to choose and use curriculum of their choice. Some umbrellas do have course requirements, require curriculum choices to be approved, testing, and/or graduation requirements to be met. Check with the umbrella school of interest to learn its student requirements before registering.

Although “church-related” is in its description as a registration option, an umbrella school is not required to be religious-based. In Tennessee, many umbrella schools are religious-based, but all do not require its registered families to be Christian or of a faith. If that is a concern, be sure to ask if religious requirements of the family or in the curriculum are required, before registering.

3) AOS – Each offers different services and support and has its own student requirements. Contact the accredited online school of interest for more information.

Typically, this school option chooses and provides the curriculum your student will use, which includes the course load for each grade level of school work.

Testing (periodic or annual) may be required as well as there may be additional graduation requirements. Contact the school of interest to learn its student requirements.

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How do I learn more about registering?

1) Independent – You will need to complete the NOI form and submit it along with the requested information on the form to the homeschool coordinator in your county. That process is the same in each county. Contact the homeschool coordinator in your county for direction on how to submit the NOI form and requested information to them.

2) Umbrella School – Each school has its own registration process. Contact the umbrella school of choice.

3) AOS – Each school has its own registration process. Contact the accredited online school of interest to learn how to register.

How do I learn more about homeschooling and connect with other homeschoolers?

West Tennessee (the entire State of Tennessee) is a great place to homeschool. Tennessee is homeschool-friendly. There are 21 counties in West Tennessee and many have homeschool support groups, as well as groups that offer opportunities like tutorials, co-ops, field trips, and more. You may learn more about homeschooling in West Tennessee by joining the West Tennessee Homeschool Support group where you can ask questions and get connected with other homeschoolers in your area.


Do you have more questions?

E-mail Homeschool Roster at [email protected] with your questions. We like to talk homeschool.

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