How to Homeschool in Tennessee: 2024 Unbiased Guide

Looking for an unbiased homeschool resource that doesn’t have a hidden agenda? You’ve come to the right place to learn how to homeschool in Tennessee.

To homeschool in Tennessee, a parent or guardian should become familiar with Tennessee homeschooling laws and regulations. Families must decide on a curriculum that fits their needs and be prepared for the self-discipline required to maintain a robust academic schedule.

Home helping homeschooled daughter

How to Homeschool in Tennessee

To homeschool in Tennessee, you will need to follow the homeschooling laws and regulations set forth by the state. Here are the steps you can take to begin homeschooling in Tennessee:

  1. Determine your eligibility to homeschool: In Tennessee, you can homeschool if you are a parent, guardian, or another person who has custody of a child, or if you are a person who has been designated as the primary educator of a child by a court.
  2. Notify your local school district: You are required to notify your local school district in writing that you will be homeschooling your child. You can use the Homeschool Notification of Intent form provided by the Tennessee Department of Education.
  3. Develop a plan for your homeschool: You will need to create a plan for your homeschool that includes the subjects you will be teaching, the materials you will be using, and the schedule you will follow. You can use a variety of resources to develop your plan, including textbooks, online resources, and curriculum guides.
  4. Keep records of your homeschool: You are required to keep records of your homeschool, including attendance records, records of academic progress, and records of any standardized testing you may do. You should also keep a portfolio of your child’s work to demonstrate their progress.
  5. Evaluate your child’s progress: You are required to evaluate your child’s progress at least once a year. You can do this through a variety of methods, including standardized tests, evaluations by a certified teacher, or portfolio reviews.

By following these steps, you can homeschool your child in Tennessee in accordance with state laws and regulations.

It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney or homeschooling organization for more information and guidance on homeschooling in Tennessee.

Homeschooling with a private tutor

Free Tennessee Homeschool Programs

Tennessee has abundant free homeschooling options to suit children at all educational levels, from elementary to high school. These programs are cost-effective and cover a wide age range.

Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular, giving parents access to all the resources and support they need for success.

Students have lots of chances to learn with interactive tasks, physical projects, and advanced digital resources.

Tennessee’s free homeschooling programs include access to academic counseling, which gives parents helpful advice on choosing teaching materials and making lesson plans, as well as reports on their child’s learning progress.

In conclusion, free educational opportunities make for a great resource for families deciding against public or private schooling. To receive extra backing for teaching your child at home in Tennessee, check out the Tennessee Department of Education.

Parents looking for help when homeschooling should check out the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They provide information about Tennessee homeschool laws, webinars, and articles to help parents.

Between 2019 to 2020, the percentage of homeschooled students changed from 3.4% to 9%.

Does Homeschool Have to be Accredited in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, parents who wish to homeschool their children do not need to be certified or officially accredited. Although it is simple to begin a homeschool charter, parents should still make sure that they are following all state laws and regulations related to homeschooling in order to remain compliant.

By taking this step, parents can be confident that they have met all the requirements while also providing their child with the best educational possibilities.

If Tennessee families understand the legal requirements, they can have a successful and rewarding homeschool experience.

67% of the homeschooled students successfully graduate from college.

Tennessee Accredited Homeschool Programs

Accredited homeschools must provide proof of enrollment and track attendance, maintain grade records, administer yearly standardized tests recognized by the state, have a supervising teacher with at least a high school diploma or equivalency, and stay up-to-date on curriculum changes.

Private schools should clearly outline their compliance with regulations in their admission policies to ensure they meet state requirements for attendance.

Parents can provide quality education to their children at home through an accredited homeschool program, allowing them to stay in a comfortable environment.

Boy at home studying

Create a Designated Learning Place

Homeschoolers should have a specific area set aside for learning, to help establish a daily routine and provide an environment where their child can concentrate on schoolwork.

A dining table is an ideal spot for studying. It’s easily cleared off at the end of each day which allows it to be used for eating as well.

You can also provide your child with their own desk in their bedroom for added privacy and the opportunity to decorate it. Whatever you decide, be sure to create an environment that helps them focus on learning.

Over 300 million students were homeschooled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay On Track with a Daily Schedule

Sticking to a daily schedule for homeschooling has many advantages; here are some of them:

  • Establishing a daily routine can help homeschoolers prioritize tasks, complete more in less time, and improve productivity. Families with multiple students or other outside commitments may particularly benefit from this strategy.
  • Effective time management begins with planning. A daily schedule makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done and when, and prevents feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Allocating specific blocks of time to tasks can help your family stay organized.
  • Homeschooling can provide a sense of structure and regularity, especially beneficial for kids accustomed to attending a traditional school. This can make them feel safer and more prepared to learn.
  • Families can benefit from daily schedules to stay accountable and meet their homeschooling objectives. This is important for those who tend to be easily distracted or delay their tasks.
  • Having a daily schedule in place can facilitate better communication among family members, helping to avoid misunderstandings and building a stronger bond between them.
Homeschool Calendar

Ease Into It

Homeschooling for new parents can be a big shift, so it’s crucial to not apply excessive pressure from the start. It is best to ease into this transition and move forward at a steady pace.

Homeschooling parents can begin with just a few basic supplies and then build on their resources as they get more confident with the homeschooling process.

When it comes to homeschooling, there are numerous options, so you should find one that works best for your family. Don’t be afraid to venture out and experiment with different techniques; the less stressed you feel, the more successful your learning experience is likely to be.

Regardless of the educational level of their parents, homeschooled students score between 80% and 90%.

Involve Your Child in Setting Learning Goals

Involving your child in homeschool assignment planning and curriculum scheduling is important for several reasons:

  • Offering students a sense of importance and ownership in their education will provide them with motivation and boost engagement.
  • Involving them in the homeschool process will help them feel that they are part of it, rather than it being done to them.
  • Getting your child involved in the homeschooling decision-making will give you a better understanding of their likes, talents, and shortcomings; allowing you to modify the learning environment to better accommodate them.

Generally, having your kid involved in homeschooling planning is key to a successful experience for everyone.

Mom and children looking at a globe.

Explore Other Ways of Learning Outside the Classroom

Homeschooled kids have an advantage as they can explore many educational possibilities not found in a regular school. This helps them gain a diverse range of knowledge and experience, resulting in a more comprehensive education.

In many cases, homeschoolers benefit from strong connections in the community. These relationships can open doors to new learning opportunities, such as classes and workshops taught by experts or members of the community.

Parents who homeschool their children should seize these chances to broaden their kids’ education.

Homeschooling families can give their children a very enriching education by exploring different learning techniques.

Children learning at a museum

Reach Out to Other Homeschool Families

Homeschooling can be difficult, especially for families without a support system. Luckily, there are various ways to make connections with other homeschoolers and build a community. One way is by connecting with local homeschooling organizations.

Homeschool groups can provide emotional support, practical advice from experienced homeschoolers, and opportunities for field trips and social interactions.

Joining an online forum or Facebook group is an excellent way to network with other homeschool parents.

Joining a parenting group can be helpful for exchanging resources, asking questions, and obtaining advice from parents who have the same experiences.

Making connections with other homeschooling families can help parents lessen the feeling of isolation and build a supportive environment for their kids.

When educated at home rather than in public schools, boys do 44% better on reading examinations.

Can Homeschooled Students Play Sports in Tennessee?

In 2013, Tennessee allowed homeschooled children enrolled with a Local Educational Agency (LEA) to join interscholastic sports. The Director of Schools must discuss the student’s academic qualifications with their parents according to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA).

A notarized affidavit must be sent to the local school district every year in order for a homeschooled child to participate in sports.

The affidavit should specify that the student is being educated in accordance with state regulations and passing all subjects.

The student must also provide their physical address to the school district so they can determine the right attendance zone.

When the criteria are completed, homeschooled scholars are entitled to try out and participate in any sports team of their local high school.

Homeschooled boys playing soccer

How to Homeschool When Both Parents Work

Tennessee parents who opt to homeschool their children have to be creative with balancing work and school, as it is a difficult task.

With some ingenuity, it’s possible to work and homeschool at the same time. Let’s examine some pointers to help you achieve it.

Prior to February 2020, just 68% of parents who had homeschooled their children said it had been a success.

Get Your Childcare Involved

Some parents are lucky enough to have assistance in homeschooling while they’re away at work due to childcare.

When it’s not achievable or budget-friendly for all households, one should think outside the box to devise a plan that fits everyone’s needs.

Boy doing schoolwork

Delegate Chores

Involving your children in household tasks is an effective method to reduce the strain you may be facing between work and homeschooling. It also provides them with an opportunity to learn about responsibility.

It’s prudent to be mindful of your child’s abilities. A five-year-old probably won’t be able to do the laundry, but they can lend a hand with things like dusting or laying the table.

As they age, give your children more chores. By involving them in household tasks, you can reduce your work while teaching them essential life skills.

Before the epidemic, 69% of homeschooled children expressed a desire to continue their studies in this manner for the upcoming school year.

You and Your Spouse Work Alternate Shifts

Balancing homeschooling with both parents working can be difficult, especially if you and your partner have alternating shifts. Here are some strategies to help make it work:

  • It’s important to organize your week in advance by creating a schedule that includes all of your work hours and other responsibilities. This will help you plan effectively for homeschooling.
  • Make use of online materials: Utilizing online components like lesson plans, videos, and virtual excursions can be a great way to supplement your kid’s schooling when you are not able to be with them in person.
  • Be flexible with your homeschooling: If your daytime commitments don’t make 9 to 3 schooling feasible, think outside the box. For instance, you can do lessons at night or at the weekend. Or, break up the day into shorter chunks of time for educational activities.
  • Ask for assistance: Don’t be scared to look for support when you need it. This could involve employing a tutor or nanny to aid with home-based instruction while you are busy, or requesting the aid of relatives and friends.
  • Homeschoolers should be aware that it’s okay to take breaks. Finding a balance between work and homeschooling will help ensure that commitments are met on both fronts.

Homeschooling can be a tricky task if both parents are working. But it can be done with the right amount of planning and creativity, making it an enriching experience for the whole family.

Girl doing schoolwork on the computer

Take Advantage of Online Curriculums

Homeschooling is a great option to personalize your child’s education, yet it can be difficult to fit work and school into one schedule. To make it easier, why not opt for an online curriculum?

Structured learning programs can assist your child in their development and ensure concentration while you are away.

Furthermore, online learning can be tailored to your child’s individual requirements, making it convenient to discover a course that suits their distinctive learning approach.

In their children’s upcoming academic year, 54% of parents who were homeschooling before February 2020 were likely to do so full-time.

Assign the Child Solo Activities to Do While You’re at Work

Parents in Tennessee who teach their kids at home must find ways to keep their children entertained while they are working. One way is to assign independent curriculum projects.

Tasks such as reading assignments, research projects, and math and writing exercises may be included.

It’s essential to select activities that are suitable for your child’s age and skill level.

If your child attends childcare, ask your provider to remind them to complete their homeschooling tasks daily.

Proper planning can help your child become independent and accomplish tough tasks during the workday.

Homeschooled girl doing school work

Allow Yourself Flexibility and Grace

Balancing a job and homeschooling can be difficult for parents, so it’s vital to give yourself some leniency and kindness while managing these duties.

Striving for perfection is an unattainable goal that can lead to disappointment. Focus on the successes, no matter how small, and congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Keep in mind that your kids are observing you, and will take after you. By displaying a positive outlook and openness to change, they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Balancing work and homeschooling can be difficult, but it also presents an excellent opportunity to impart valuable lessons to your children. Show them how to be adaptable and graceful in any situation, setting them up for victory down the line.

The typical cost of homeschooling is between $350-$750 per year for the parent(s).

Tennessee Homeschool Curriculum Requirements 

Homeschooled students in Tennessee must receive instruction in all major academic subjects, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Physical education

Homeschooling parents can tailor their instruction to students’ interests or learning styles, which gives them lots of flexibility.

Another benefit of homeschooling is that parents can customize the curriculum to meet their children’s needs, making it an effective educational option for Tennessee families.

Parent writing a letter of intent to homeschool

Letter of Intent to Homeschool in Tennessee

Parents in Tennessee who wish to homeschool their children must submit a Letter of Intent to Homeschool, which is important for many reasons.

This document serves to register the child for homeschooling, as well as enable the school district to maintain records of homeschoolers should they need to contact them.

Additionally, it safeguards the rights of parents who want to homeschool their kids.

Submitting a Letter of Intent to Homeschool lets parents demonstrate their commitment to providing an excellent education for their children.

Therefore, Tennessee respects and promotes parental rights in determining how children ought to be educated.

The federal government saves $24 billion in taxpayer money thanks to homeschooling.

Is the Tennessee Homeschool Curriculum Free?

In Tennessee, more and more families are opting to homeschool their kids for a variety of reasons. A common concern the cost, but there are several free homeschool curricula and resources available online.

Conducting an online search will uncover numerous sites that provide free homeschool materials, such as curriculum packages, lesson plans, and worksheets.

Homeschooling families often receive discounts or free memberships from educational organizations.

It is achievable to homeschool your children without spending too much if you devote time and effort.

Older girl sitting holding a jar of money

How Much Does It Cost to Homeschool in Tennessee?

Depending on the number of children, materials used and assistance required, costs for homeschooling in Tennessee can vary. However, many families benefit from the money saved on things like daycare and transportation when they choose to educate their kids at home.

Homeschoolers can find free or low-cost resources, like online courses and support groups, available to them.

Thus, Tennessee families that take time to research and manage their budget correctly can find homeschooling costs to be within a reasonable range.

A safe environment was cited as the main motivation by 50% of parents who homeschool their children.

How Many Days Are Required for Homeschool in Tennessee?

The Tennessee Department of Education explains that a child attends school for at least 180 days out of the year. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as online learning, attending a hybrid school, or teaching at home.

Parents who homeschool their children must also submit an annual report to the Department of Education.

This report must include attendance records, standardized test scores, and a portfolio of the child’s work.

Homeschooling months of the year

Tennessee Homeschool Record Keeping 

It is important for any homeschooling parent in Tennessee to keep accurate records of their child’s educational progress. By law, parents who homeschool their children must keep a portfolio of work samples and other documentation that can be used to demonstrate that the child is receiving an appropriate education.

While this may seem like a daunting task, it is actually fairly simple to maintain records if you develop a good system.

For each subject, simply keep a file folder where you can store work samples, tests, and other materials.

Make sure to date everything and put it in chronological order so that you can easily find what you’re looking for.

At the end of the year, simply put all of the files into a binder or box so that they are well-organized and easy to access.

Here are some things that are important to keep a record of during the homeschooling years:

  • Test results
  • Samples of your student’s academic work
  • Documentation of the type of curriculum being provided to your child
  • Dialog with state and/or school officials
  • Attendance records

A good rule of thumb is to save these records for at least two years or longer if required.

Taking the time to keep good records will pay off if you ever need to show proof of your child’s educational progress.

Test results, extracurricular activities, and socialization were mentioned as reasons for homeschooling by 14% of the parents.

Tennessee Homeschool Diploma 

For homeschooled students in Tennessee, earning a diploma can be an even greater accomplishment. Homeschooled kids don’t have the structure of a regular school schedule, so they have to be self-motivated and disciplined to do well. A high school diploma is a symbol of hard work and dedication.

Earning a diploma shows that they have what it takes to set goals and achieve them.

In addition, a diploma for Tennessee homeschoolers can open up new opportunities, such as colleges and scholarships.

For homeschooled students, a high school diploma is an important milestone on the road to success.

HS diploma

How Does a Homeschooled Student Get a Diploma?

Parents in Tennessee who homeschool their children have the unique opportunity to be the sole provider of their child’s high school diploma. This means that they get to decide what criteria must be met in order for their child to earn the diploma.

Of course, parents will want to ensure that their child meets all the necessary requirements for graduation, such as taking required courses and passing exams.

However, they also have the freedom to tailor the curriculum to their child’s interests and learning style.

As a result, homeschooled students often emerge with a well-rounded education that prepares them well for success in college and beyond.

Before COVID-19, 42% of parents said they wished their kids had more freedom to pursue their hobbies.

Are Homeschool Diplomas Valid?

The homeschooling movement has been growing steadily recently, as more parents opt to educate their children at home. While homeschooling can provide a number of benefits, there is one potential drawback: homeschool diplomas may not be as recognized by colleges or employers.

Some institutions may require additional testing or coursework for homeschooled students, so students should be prepared to take some tests to show their level of academics.

It’s not uncommon at all for homeschooled kids to be more academically advanced than their peers who attended a public school, so in the long run, homeschoolers are quite capable of holding the advantage.

However, it is important to note that homeschool diplomas are becoming increasingly common and should be accepted by most colleges and employers.

As of February 2020, at least 9 million Americans had been homeschooled at least once.


Although the information in this article was researched with the utmost integrity and sincerity, it cannot be held legally liable or expected to take the place of legitimate legal advice for your specific situation.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering their educational options. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.