The first thing you need to know about homeschooling in Tennessee is: It’s totally legal and an estimated 30+thousand homeschoolers utilize this educational option in this state!
You must –
1) Register: as an “independent homeschool” with the Local Education Agency (LEA) -OR- with a church-related “umbrella” school -OR- with an “accredited online school.” The majority of TN homeschoolers register under a church-related umbrella school. This is where you will send your grades and attendance records each year.
*NOTE: If you are withdrawing your child from public school, register with your umbrella school first and they will assist you with that very easy process.
2) Decide what approach you will take, anywhere on the spectrum from formal “school-at-home” to unschooling. This will evolve the longer you homeschool as you see what style best suits you, your child/ren, and your family. Explore and decide upon curriculum. The most thorough (and overwhelming) way to do this is to attend a used curriculum sale like SHAPE’s sale each summer, or a homeschool convention like Teach Them Diligently or the Great Homeschool Convention!
3) Complete 180 educational days per year (just like TN public schools) with a minimum of 4 instructional hours per day. Some of that time may be “teacher preparation” or planning days, time spent reading and exploring interests and hobbies, and field trip days absolutely count as “school”!
How to Homeschool in Tennessee
For more information:
The very best site for national and local homeschool information is HSLDA, the Home School Legal Defense Association. Give yourself lots of time to explore their extensive site and sign up for their very informative emails.
Our statewide homeschool entity is the Tennessee Home Education Association (THEA), which has been around since 1984 providing support to home educating families. THEA hosts the annual statewide Rally Day on Nashville’s Capitol Hill on the first Tuesday of April when homeschooling families from across the state gather to “take the good report about home education to their elected officials.”
Serving our region with support and activities and a wealth of information on their website is the Middle Tennessee Home Education Association (MTHEA). More info on homeschooling in Tennessee here and here.
Homeschoolers in Williamson County can find good resources here.
Our Tennessee government provides homeschooling information here.
Great Homeschool Conventions provides an extensive listing of support groups, enrichment opportunities, and umbrella programs for Tennessee here.
In addition, Fast Transcripts is a service branch of HSLDA that enables you to track your high schooler’s courses via online record keeping, and then helps you produce an official transcript with an auto-calculation feature for determining yearly and cumulative GPAs. You even have the option of having your final transcript printed on watermark protected, academic record stock! Discounts for HSLDA members.