You're fretting about the upcoming school year because last year was so rough for your 6th grader. You know the "Common Core" has been replaced by the new Tennessee State Academic Standards
, but nobody know what that really means. A friend hearing you out asks, "What about homeschooling?" You practically fall out of your chair. Home school? No way! I couldn't, you think. That's not for ME! Only later, at home, when the kids are asleep, you wonder to yourself ...
Why NOT Me?
And your mind is flooded by questions. Can you home school? Should you home school? Will your kid hate you for it? Will you lose your mind? Can she play sports? What about friends? What about all of the things that kids enjoy at school like pep rallies, sporting events, cafeteria and locker clutches, school plays?
So many questions can stop you dead in your tracks. That's why it's important to ease your way into the homeschooling decision. There's no rush (unless you feel urgently about it). Many parents who home school have been at this exact crossroad, leaping through a similar mental apparatus:
- My child is not thriving academically at school because she can't get the attention she needs.
- I'm not happy with the school's curriculum. I want to have more control over what she's learning.
- My child will be grown before I know it and I want to have as much time with her as I can.
- The stats show me that kids fare very well with homeschooling, in fact, they are often at the top of their classes.
- I want to set my own pace with my child's learning.
- If my child has stumbling blocks with certain skills, I will know it and be able to make adjustments. Otherwise, he may fall through "the cracks" at school.
- I want my child to LOVE learning and I can give that to her.
First things first. If your interest is piqued enough to want to know more and to see if you really could ... or should home school, start here:
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLA)
Simply enter your name and email address to go directly to the homeschooling laws in Tennessee. Here, you can "walk through" the steps of homeschooling following the home school statute:
• As long as you have a high school diploma or GED, you can home school.
• Before the start of a new school year, you must submit a notice of intent
to the superintendent of your school district for the purpose of reporting, attached to your child's immunization record or religious exemption form.
• You must teach at least four hours per school day for 180 days per academic year.
• You must maintain attendance records (available for inspection by your superintendent and submitted to the superintendent at the end of the year). Attendance reporting form.
Now That You've Come This Far ...
You're ready to take the next step:
Middle Tennessee Home Education Association
The vibrant homeschool organization can connect you to other homeschoolers, groups and online communities. Listed here are Umbrella Schools, support groups, events and more.
Home Schooling in Tennessee
Important FAQs are answered at the Tennessee Department of Education's page for homeschooling.
Middle Tennessee Homeschoolers
For $25 annual family membership, gain access to support meetings and mentorship; specific playgroups; family events including field trips; academic support and competitions; forums and more.
Should you home school your child? Simply use the above resources to explore the question. Then and only then will you be ready to take the leap.