What is home education?
Home education is a tutorial method of education in which one or both parents assume the entire responsibility of schooling their own children. While many people think of home education as a relatively new concept, in truth, it has been the predominate form of education during 6,000 years of recorded history. Famous home schoolers include Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, Winston Churchill, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Pearl Buck, Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis, Franklin D. Roosevelt ... to name only a few!
What are the benefits of home education?
One major benefit of home education is its academic superiority. Research shows that home educated children perform at a 75-90% average on nationally-recognized achievement tests. This can be attributed in part to the fact that in the home, the quality of learning is held constant (until mastered) and the lesson time varied as needed from child to child. Conversely, in a classroom, the lesson time is usually held constant and the quality of learning varies from child to child. In addition, the home educator can specifically design a program of study that will meet the needs of each child and allow for individual strengths and weaknesses. Each child can work at his or her own pace without wasting time for other students to finish their work. Due to this economy of time, the extremely low student-teacher ratio, and an environment that is relatively free from distraction, home schooling is a very efficient and productive form of education.
The second major benefit of home education is in the area of character development. The home-schooled child is educated in a multi-age group setting which is a more accurate reflection of the world in which we live. This encourages the adoption of parental values as opposed to peer group values and teaches the child to relate to people of all ages. A loving home environment builds a child's self-esteem, thus enabling him or her to make decisions based on what is right instead of what peers dictate. Home-educated children typically get plenty of social interaction through their family, church, neighborhood, and friends. Instead of producing children who are peer-dependent and lacking self-esteem, home education usually results in self-confident, independent thinkers with strong family roots and the ability to relate to people of all ages.
How do I get started?
Is Home Education legal in Tennessee?
Yes. In 1985, primarily as a result of the Tennessee Home Education Association and home educators across the state, Tennessee enacted its current home schooling law (T.C.A. 49-6-3050). In grades K-8, home schoolers have two options in order to be in compliance with the law:
- Register with the local superintendent of public schools. You must register by August 1, maintain attendance records, and instruct 4 hours per day for 180 days. The teaching parent must have a high school diploma or G.E.D., and students must be tested when public school students are tested in grades 5, 7 and 9.
- Register with a Church Related School that offers services to home schoolers. You must meet the requirements of that particular school and have your child tested whenever they test their students.
On July 1, 1994 a new law went into effect lowering requirement for parents home teaching grades 9-12 from a BA degree to a high school diploma. The law requires that the parent register their students with the local public school. For those families unable to comply with this new law there is still the possibility requesting a waiver from the Commission of the Department of Education.
Many home schoolers choose to join the Home School Legal Defense Association. While prosecution of home schoolers in Tennessee is relatively infrequent, it can and does happen. HSLDA provides experienced legal counsel and representation by highly qualified attorneys to every member family who is challenged in the area of home schooling. Attorney's fees are paid in full by HSLDA.
For more information about home school legal issues, read this information from HSLDA.
Is homeschooling right for my family?
The following is a video from HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) that might help answer some of your questions:
How do I get my discount for HSLDA membership?
To obtain your discount for HSLDA membership you will need to use the MTHEA code when you sign up. For renewals, your discount should automatically be included (but double check to be sure). If you need assistance with the code, please contact the MTHEA office.
Where can I download a copy of the forms to inform the Metro schools that we are homeschooling?
There is a link on our website under "Web Links" in the category "Legal News and Information" to the Tennessee home school information page. From there, you can download the latest form(s).
How can I find out more information about SAT or ACT testing?
To find out more about SAT schedules and locations, please visit www.collegeboard.com.
For information regarding ACT testing, please visit www.act.org.
What counties does MTHEA include?
Bedford County, Cannon County, Cheatham County, Clay County, Coffee County, Davidson County, Dekalb County, Dickson County, Franklin County, Giles County, Hickman County, Houston County, Humphreys County, Jackson County, Lawrence County, Lewis County, Lincoln County, Macon County, Marshall County, Maury County, Montgomery County, Moore County, Overton County, Perry County, Putnam County, Robertson County, Rutherford County, Smith County, Sumner County, Stewart County, Trousdale County, Wayne County, White County, Williamson County and Wilson County.