The first step to homeschooling in Clarksville TN is to become familiar with state homeschooling laws. Tennessee is one of the more stringent states in regard to homeschooling requirements. Keeping on top of your paperwork and establishing a solid base of support will ease the way along your homeschooling journey.
Wherever you are homeschooling, you need to be aware of the homeschool laws for your region. A complete outline of the statutes in place for Tennessee is available from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA.) In brief, as a homeschooling parent in Tennessee you will need to be aware of the following:
- Parents are required to register with the Local Education Authority (LEA) and fill out an Intent to Homeschool form by August first of each school year. For Clarksville, you can contact homeschool coordinator Joyce White at 931-920-7886 or email [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com]. Alternatively, contact Montgomery County Student Services for more information about resources available to homeschooling families.
- Children between the ages of six and 17 must receive four hours of education daily, 180 days per year. This does not necessarily mean four hours of seat work. Nature walks, playing sports, or reading stories together can all be considered instructional time.
- Parents are required to keep attendance records for all children involved in home-based schooling. You can download a simple attendance sheet in Microsoft Word format from the Tennessee Department of Education.
- Proof of vaccination is required except in cases where vaccination contradicts religious tenets, in which case a letter to that effect is required.
- Parents must possess a high school diploma as a qualification to teach kindergarten to eighth grade. To teach you high school-aged child, you are required to hold a baccalaureate or higher.
As an alternative option, many of these requirements can be avoided if you are affiliated with a church-based school, or if your children are enrolled in a distance learning program with a recognized private school such as K12.
Support for Homeschooling in Clarksville TN
A support group can prove to be your most valuable resource. Whether your group takes the form of a few like-minded friends or a formal homeschooling co-op, the power of numbers can help you navigate the system while you are getting started or provide emotional and informational support on an ongoing basis.
If you already know other homeschooling families, creating a support group might be as simple as deciding on a regular meeting date. Many new homeschoolers, however, find themselves alone in their situation. Fortunately, numerous support groups exist online, allowing you to meet up with other families with similar interests.
- The Clarksville Area Homeschool News is a Yahoo group for families homeschooling in Clarksville TN. The group keeps area parents updated on field trips and community activities, as well as providing a forum for questions or curriculum swapping.
- The Middle Tennessee Home Education Association is a Trinitarian support group that spans a number of counties in the Middle Tennessee area. Membership includes social activities, a regular newsletter and discounts at their curriculum fair.
- Middle Tennessee Secular Homeschoolers is a Yahoo group intended to be inclusive of all homeschooling families, regardless of learning style or religion.
- People of Color Homeschooling is a Yahoo group intended to provide a connection point for homeschooling minorities in middle Tennessee. The group provides playgroups, field trips, and support.
- Secular Homeschoolers: Any Religion, Eclectic is an inclusive Yahoo group based out of Clarksville. Each month, the group aims to organize a show and tell day, an arts and crafts day, a field trip, and a science experiment or similar activity.
Homeschooling in Tennessee can present challenges that homeschooling families in other parts of the country avoid. By being informed about your rights and responsibilities and finding community support in Clarksville and surrounding areas, you can be sure that your homeschooling experience will be a rewarding one.