Tennessee Education Code For Homeschooling
Compulsory attendance – Between 6 and 17 years of age.
Educational requirements for parents. (See below.)
Standardized testing required in some grades. (See below.)
Attendance records must be kept.
Four (4) hours a day of instruction for 180 days as district or Church school requires.
*This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at your public library or on the Department of Education website. The state website has not yet been updated, so to confirm, look at the Tennessee Secretary of State’s bill House Bill 1631 legislation
Requirements for Homeschools in Tennessee
Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §49-6-3050, parents in Tennessee may conduct a home school for their own children.
Effective July 1, 2011.
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-6-3050(a), is amended by deleting
the subsection in its entirety and substituting instead the following:
Parents also have the option of having their children attend a church-related
school. This is not home schooling, because the church-related school is not
being conducted by parents or legal guardians for their own children. This
school is being operated by a denominational, parochial, or other bona fide
church organization as required by Section 49-50-801. Under this option there is
no need to comply with any of the home school provisions of Section 49-6-3050.
Category III schooling
This option allows parents to enroll their child in a State
of Tennessee School Board designated Category III school and comply with the
compulsory attendance laws. Home education using a Category III school is
categorized as private schooling by the state and is not included in the state’s
definition of “homeschooling.” Catagory III schools include many familiar
accredited distance learning programs. Tennessee has been slow to adopt on-line school and heretofore parents wishing to utilize an on-line or correspondence school outside of the state had to also register with either their LEA or a Tennessee church-related school in order to
comply with the compulsory attendance laws. That is now, no longer the case
saving lots of parents that extra step and/or registration fee.
Tennessee Home School Statute (Effective July 1, 2011)
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-6-3050. Home Schools.
(1) A “home school” is a school conducted or directed by a
parent or parents or legal guardian or guardians for their own children.
Public school facilities may be used by home school participants with the
approval of the principal of the school, but this permissive authority shall not
be construed to confer any right upon the participants to use public school
facilities. If approved, use shall be in accordance with rules established by
the local board of education.
(A) Home schools that teach kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12),
where the parents are associated with and where students are enrolled with a
church-related school, as defined by § 49-50-801, that are supervised by
the church-related school’s director and that administer or offer standardized
achievement tests, are exempt from this section.
(B) Parent-teachers who register with an organization, as
defined by § 49-50-801, for conducting a home school for students in grades nine
through twelve (9-12) shall possess at least a high school diploma or general
education development certificate (GED).
A parent-teacher may enroll the parent’s home school student or students
in a church-related school, as defined in § 49-50-801, and participate as a
teacher in that church-related school. Such parent-teacher shall be subject to
the requirements established by the church-related school for home school
teachers and exempt from the rest of the provisions of this
(b) Except for home schools operated under subdivision (a)(2) or
(a)(3), a parent-teacher conducting a home school shall comply with the
(1) Provide annual notice to the local director of schools
prior to each school year of the parent-teacher’s intent to conduct a home school
and, for the purpose of reporting only, submission to the director of schools of
the names, number, ages and grade levels of the children to be home schooled,
the location of the school, the proposed curriculum to be offered, the proposed
hours of instruction and the qualifications of the parent-teacher relative to
subdivision (b)(4). Information contained in the reports may be used only for
record keeping and other purposes for which similar information on public school
students may be used in accordance with guidelines, rules and regulations of the
state board of education. The director of schools or the director’s designee
shall ensure that attendance teachers are informed of parents’ rights to conduct
a home school pursuant to § 49-6-3001(c)(4), subsection (a) of this section and
§ 49-50-801 upon employment of the attendance teachers and at the beginning of
each school year;
(2) Maintenance of attendance records, subject to inspection by
the local director of schools, and submission of these records to the director
of schools at the end of each school year;
(3) Instruction for at least four (4) hours per day for the
same number of instructional days as are required by state law for public
(4) Possession of a high school diploma or GED by the
(8) In the event of the illness of a parent-teacher, or at the
discretion of the parent-teacher, a tutor, having the same qualifications that
would be required of a parent-teacher teaching the grade level or course, may be
employed by the parent-teacher.
(9) This act shall take effect July 1, 2011, the public welfare
Tennessee Church-Related Schools Statute
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-50-801.
(a) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires,
“church-related school” means a school operated by denominational, parochial
or other bona fide church organizations, which are required to meet the
standards of accreditation or membership of the Tennessee Association of
Christian Schools, the Association of Christian Schools International, the
Tennessee Association of Independent Schools, the Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools, the Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools,
or a school affiliated with Accelerated Christian Education, Inc.
(b) The state board of education and local boards of education are
prohibited from regulating the selection of faculty or textbooks or the
establishment of a curriculum in church-related schools.
(c) The state board of education and local boards of education
shall not prohibit or impede the transfer of a student from a church-related
school to a public school of this state. Local boards may, however, place
students transferring from a church-related school to a public school in a grade
level based upon the student’s performance on a test administered by the board
for that purpose. In local school systems where the local board of education
requires tests for students transferring to that system from another public
school system, the same test shall be administered to students transferring to
such system from church-related schools. Church-related schools shall be
conducted for the same length of term as public schools.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting
church-related schools from voluntarily seeking approval by the state board of
education, nor prohibiting the state board of education from extending such
approval when it is voluntarily sought.
Tennessee’s Compulsory Attendance Statute
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-6-3001.
(a) The public schools shall be free to all persons above the
age of six (6) years, or who will become six (6) years of age on or before
September 30, residing within the state.
(1) Any child residing within the state who is six (6) years of
age or who will become six (6) years of age on or before September 30 may
enter at the beginning of the term the public school designated by the local
board of education having appropriate jurisdiction; provided, that such child
enters within thirty (30) days after the opening day of the term.
(2) Any child who will not become six (6) years of age until after
December 31 shall not enter school during that school year; provided, that
school systems having semiannual promotions may admit at the beginning of any
semester children who will become six (6) years of age within sixty (60) days
following the opening of the semester.
(3) Where a pupil meets the requirements of the state board of
education for transfer and/or admission purposes, as determined by the
commissioner of education, such pupil may be admitted by a local board of
education, notwithstanding any provision or act to the
(1) Every parent, guardian or other person residing within this
state having control or charge of any child or children between the ages of
seven (7) and seventeen (17) years, both inclusive, shall cause such
child or children to attend public or non-public school, and in the event
of failure to do so, shall be subject to the penalties hereinafter provided.
(2) The provisions of (c)(1) do not apply to any child
(A) Has received a diploma or other certificate of graduation issued to the
person from a secondary high school of this state or any other state;
(B) Is enrolled and is making satisfactory progress in a course leading to a
general educational development certificate (GED) from a state-approved
institution or organization, or has obtained such certificate. Any institution
or organization which enrolls a child who is under eighteen (18) years of age
shall provide a report to the local board of education at least three (3) times
each year relative to the progress of all such persons under eighteen (18) years
of age. If the local board of education determines any child under eighteen (18)
years of age is not making satisfactory progress, then such child shall be
subject to the provisions of subdivision (c)(1); or
(C) A student enrolled in a home school who has reached seventeen (17) years
(3) For the purposes of this part, public school and non-public
school are defined as follows:
(A) “Non-public school” means a church related school, home school or private
(i) “Church related school” means a school as defined in Section
(ii) “Home school” means a school as defined in Section 49-6-3050;
(iii) “Private school” means a school accredited by, or a member of, an
organization or association approved by the state board of education as an
organization accrediting or setting academic requirements in schools, or which
has been approved by the state, or is in the future approved by the commissioner
of education in accordance with rules promulgated by the state board of
(B) “Public school” means any school operated by a local education agency
or by the state with public funds.
(4) A parent or guardian with any good and substantial reason
as determined by such parent or other person having legal custody of a child and
agreed to by the respective local board of education, may withdraw such parent
or other person’s child from a public school; provided that within thirty (30)
days the parent or person having legal custody of the child places the child in
a public school designated by such local board of education, or in a non-public
school, as herein defined.
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© Copyright Kay BrooksSometimes it helps to read a lay English version of the law as an aid to understanding the actual law itself.