While some states strictly regulate homeschooling parents and other states have virtually no regulations, Tennessee falls somewhere in the middle. The state's level of involvement depends on which homeschooling avenue you choose.
Parents who choose to homeschool strictly on their own must adhere to these requirements:
- The teaching parent must have a high school diploma or GED.
- The parent must notify their local superintendent before the start of each year if they intend to homeschool. This notification must include the names, ages, and grade levels of each student, as well as the location of the homeschool, the hours of instruction, the curriculum to be used, and the parent's qualifications.
- The parent must maintain attendance records to be turned into the superintendent at the end of each school year.
- The child must be schooled for at least 4 hours per day, for at least 180 days per year.
- The parent must submit an immunization record to the superintendent.
- Students in grades 5, 7, and 9 must take a standardized test given by the commissioner of education or by an approved testing service.
Other parents choose to associate with an umbrella school or church-related school. These schools maintain records, offer testing (if applicable), and serve as the child's official school. Parents who enroll their child in such a school are exempt from the homeschooling requirements above, though they must still possess a high school diploma or GED in order to teach 9-12 grade. Umbrella schools in the Memphis area are:
- Faith Heritage Christian Academy
- Gateway Christian Schools
- Home Life Academy
Beyond the legal requirements of homeschooling, there are likely other things you want to know such as: What are the costs involved with homeschooling? What about socialization? What if I can't teach an advanced subject?
Fortunately, there are a lot of homeschool resources available to Memphis area parents. While the following is not an exhaustive list of resources, these will provide you with the information you need to begin homeschooling your child.
- Memphis-Area Home Education Association -- This local homeschool association charges a small annual membership fee to families but provides its members with: homeschooling news and support, graduation ceremonies, sports programs, science fairs, and discounts at some bookstores and school supply stores. Mid South Homeschool Convention -- This is a great event for anyone considering homeschooling. The convention includes workshops, curriculum vendors, speakers, and more.
- Homeschooling in Tennessee website -- This website provides tons of information and personal experiences regarding homeschooling in Tennessee.