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How to Register an Independent Home School

Independent Home School is one option for homeschool registration in the State of Tennessee. To register, a parent or legal guardian must either have a minimum of a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED), and file an Intent to Home School Form (NOI – notice of intent to home school) with their local school district. An NOI may be submitted for the first time at any time during the school year, and each subsequent year by the first day of school in your zoned school district.

When you file an NOI, you are accepting responsibility as parent-teacher for meeting all education requirements under the law for your child. That includes maintaining student records, creating transcripts, and issuing a diploma upon graduation.

1) Complete the Intent to Home School Form { get form }.

2) Collect required documents:

  • Intent to Home School Form
  • Student’s birth certificate.
  • A copy of the parent’s GED or high school diploma (or college degree)

3) Submit all documents to the home school coordinator in your zoned district (find district and coordinator).

Make a copy of the documents, for your record, before submitting them to the home school coordinator.

Although registration may be handled electronically, if you are a new homeschool family registering for independent home school, we suggest you go to the school board office to meet the home school coordinator, and submit the required documents. The coordinator will be your point of contact and the one who is responsible for assisting you with independent home school compliance.

Since home school coordinators are not required to provide a “receipt” for receiving the documents, it is suggested you also e-mail the documents, so you have some proof of record for submitting the documents.

NOTE: The home school coordinator collects and maintains your documents and is not an academic counselor.

As an independent homeschooler, you are on your own – independent – for managing your home school and ensuring your child is meeting their academic and grade level milestones. You are responsible for determining their graduation requirements. Many parents use the State requirements as a guide, but as an independent home school, the parent decides the grade level curriculum and graduation requirements for their child.

Although the last day of independent home school each year is June 30, you may close your school year once your 180 days are completed.

1) By June 30 of each school year, the parent is required to submit an attendance sheet to the home school coordinator noting 180 days of school that have been completed. Some districts may require bi-annual attendance to be submitted. Check with your home school coordinator to learn if that is a requirement for your district.

2) If you plan to continue as an independent home school, you will be required to submit the NOI for the following school year. You may submit the NOI as early as July 1 (the first day of the school year for independent home school) and as late as the first day of school in your zoned school district.

Students registered in an independent home school are required to complete 180 days of school, from July 1 to June 30 (365 days to complete 180 days of school), at a minimum of four hours/per day. Currently, the only number that is monitored are attendance days, so a daily account of the hours spent each school day is not necessary to be recorded. The four hours do not have to be bookwork. Considering a child is learning from the moment they wake up until the time they go to bed, somewhere in those 24 hours of a day, four hours of learning has happened.

Testing Requirements
Students in an independent home school are required to take the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades. A student may test for free through their local school district or at the expense of the parent at an approved testing site within 30 days of the statewide test. No alternative test may be taken.

NOTE: Although some school districts in Tennessee are still allowing students to take alternative tests, the TCAP is the required test for all independent home school students, per the State of Tennessee.

Independent home school is probably the most flexible and hands-off registration option. Outside of the TCAP testing requirement, parents are able to choose the grade-level academic requirements for their home school as well as graduation requirements.

Watch the following video created by Sandy Couch, Non-Public and Home School Coordinator for the State of Tennessee.

QUESTIONS?: Read more about Independent Home School requirements.

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