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Tennessee (TN) State - Homeschooling Laws and Regulations

Homeschooling is legal in every American state.  The Department of Education states, "Parents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have the option to home school their children" (Department of Education, NCES). School attendance is compulsory for all children; however, parents have the legal right to withdrawal their children from government schools to enroll them in qualified private schools or to educate their children at home.  This is only proper considering the fact that the duty and the right to educate the next generation were appointed by God to parents even before God created governments.

Each state has laws that govern matters such as how parents are to declare their intention to homeschool and what topics must be included in your home-education program.  Some states require periodic standardized tests and more formal records be maintained. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is the liberty of homeschooling parents to choose their own curriculum.  GETTING STARTED CAN FEEL OVERWHELMING, BUT MULTITUDES OF PARENTS ARE HOMESCHOOLING AND SO CAN YOU!  It is my pleasure to help your research efforts.  Below are links to key government and non-government pages.

Tennessee:  "There are two sets of procedures for home schooling in Tennessee. One is for Independent Home Schools and one is for Church-Related Home Schools. A Church-Related School is a school operated under denominational, parochial, or other bona fide church organizations that are required to meet standards of accreditation or membership in one of several private school associations. Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-50-801. Parents can register with church-related schools to conduct home schools in grades K-12. An Independent Home School is a school conducted by parents or legal guardians for their own children that is not a church-related school. The intent to operate an independent home school must be submitted to the local superintendent before the commencement of each school year. These home schools register only with the local school system. Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3050(b). Health records must be included the first time an application is filed. Home school students entering public schools are treated as students entering from other non-approved schools regarding credit for work transferred and examinations that may be required. State Board of Education Rule No. 0520-1-2-03 (11). No diplomas or certificates of attendance are given by Tennessee to students who are home schooled. Independent Home Schools: Parents or legal guardians conducting an independent home school must register their child by August 1 of each year with the superintendent of schools. There is a provision for late registration and possible payment of a late fee. Parents or legal guardians conducting an independent home school must have a high school diploma or a GED to teach grades K-8 or a BA to teach grades 9-12. Parents or legal guardians conducting an independent home school may subscribe to any curriculum they choose. Students must attend a minimum of four hours of school per day for 180 days per year. Attendance records are sent to the Superintendent at the end of the school year. Independent home school students are required to take the same State Board approved secure standardized tests required of public school students in grades 5, 7, and 9, except that the high school proficiency test is not required of ninth graders who are home schooled. If students score one year or more below grade level for two years in a row, the Superintendent may request that the parent enroll the child in public or private school, unless the child is learning disabled. State recognized church-related home schools: All home school students registered with a State recognized church-related school in grades 9 through 12 must register with the local school system as well as the State-recognized church-related school. Parents or legal guardians conducting a State-recognized church-related home school in grades K-8 must have an educational level as determined by the church-related school; those teaching grades 9-12 must have a high school diploma or GED. A parent who meets these educational requirements may start a church-related home school at any time during the school year set by the State-recognized church-related school. Parents register in grades K-8 with the State-recognized church-related school and for grades 9-12 with both the church-related school and the local school system. The hours of attendance are determined by the State-recognized church-related school. All students must attend school for 180 days. Record-keeping is also determined by the State-recognized church-related school. Testing in grades K-8 State-recognized church-related home schools is under the supervision of the church-related schools. State-recognized church-related home school students in grades 9-12 must take the Secondary Subject Area Test. The curriculum may be determined by the State-recognized church-related school in grades K-12. Students in grades 9-12 who score below average in achievement on standardized tests two years in a row shall be enrolled in public or private school." (Source:  "State Regulation of Private Schools," Tennessee, by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Non-Public Education (2000).)



Disclaimer:  Balancing the Sword makes no claims about the timeliness nor the completeness of the links or legal information posted.  These homeschooling laws and legal information are being provided free of charge.  Postings of rules and regulations are subject to change.  Seek the advice of other home-educating parents or homeschooling organizations in your area for more help or contact your county superintendent of schools.  Plan to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool with your county superintendent or child's current principal.  (This document may also be known as an Affidavit of Intent, a Letter of Intent, a Notification of Intent, or a Declaration of Intent.  Sample from Tennessee.)   

Homeschooling Conventions in Tennessee (TN)
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