Parents have a right to home school their children in the State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050 provides that a “home school is a school conducted or directed by a parent or parents or a legal guardian or guardians for their own children.” Parents may choose from three options: independent home school, church-related umbrella school, or accredited online school. Under TCA 49-6-3050, families who wish to homeschool their children are required by the state of Tennessee to register each child either with the Local Educational Authority or with a church-related school as an “umbrella.” In both instances the Department of Education maintains control over the education of the child by way of testing requirements and other controls.
It has come to my attention that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services doesn’t favor homeschooling. Through Child Protective Services, they will send a worker to the home of a homeschooled child to investigate reports of children not attending school by “well-meaning neighbors”. The minute you receive a call from CPS, call an attorney! Do not allow them to “inspect” your home without your attorney present. Many times CPS uses this inspection to drum up charges of dependency or neglect so that they may take your child into the custody of the state. Yes every child has to attend school but they do not have to attend public or private school. It doesn’t matter if CPS likes your homeschool curriculum or not – if it complies with Tennessee law they have no right to tell you that you must enroll your child in a public or private school.