Monday, July 7, 2014

Home Schooling in Tennessee

Somehow we have home schooled 4 years already!

For the first three years, we chose the Independent Home School option.  We registered with the local school district (we've lived in two different counties, so we have registered with two different boards of education at different times), provided a list of what we would be learning, the kids immunization records, and my college transcripts (since it is required you must have at least a high school diploma to teach your children in TN).  At the end of the year we submitted our attendance record (a calendar with the days we completed four hours of instruction marked off).

We never had any bumps in that system, but we made a change for last year.  We switched to the other option for home schoolers in TN.  We were expecting Elliana and wanted to have more flexibility in when our school year began and ended (the calendars for the local district ran from July 1st to June 30th.  We could begin earlier with a Church-related Umbrella School.  We chose HomeLife Academy for our umbrella school.

In addition to the benefit of a bit of extra wiggle room in the calendar this option also means our children will not be a part of the testing that is required for students at certain grade levels (5th, 7th, and 9th).  We aren't opposed to all testing, actually we paid to test Kate before and will test all the kids again, since some day they will probably need to take standardized tests, I don't know what is on those tests to prepare them at all.

On the down side of the umbrella option, we do have to pay enrollment fees, since hey have expenses on their end.  I also submit an education plan and grades for each student with this option.  There are subjects that are hard to give grades, and without anyone to compare the girls to, I am sure I sometimes grade them a little harder.  Thankfully they do have a pass/fail option for grades too, so I do use that for classes like art.  They maintain records for us, provide digital report cards, and will generate a diploma when the time comes.  These are things I can do, but it is nice to have off site copies too.  I have not used the resource, but our umbrella school also offers counseling services and they will handle paperwork for driver's licenses and ID cards.

Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but over all we've been pleased with both options when we've used them.

Here is a link to the TN Department of Education's regulations on home school.

I'm linking up to the Homeschooling State by State:


thatgirlwholovesgod said...

I enjoyed reading this and will share it with my TN friends who are considering homeschooling. I was amazed at how much we have in common. We are currently in our 3rd year homeschooling (in TN as well, Cheatham County), use Homelife Academy, and have 2 children, one of whom is named Eliana. :) God bless!

Kristy said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Rhonda Nelson said...

Great post, wanted to help offer a source of info to parents, like myself with no degree. HSLDA provided this explanation on their site. "Parents homeschooling through the local education agency (not through a church-related school) are required to have a high school diploma or GED to teach all grade levels, not just K–8. The old law required parents teaching grades 9–12 to have a bachelor’s degree or obtain an exemption of this requirement from the commissioner of education."