Updated: June 11, 2010

Home Education


There are three types of schools or three choices for parents wishing to educate their children at home.

Traditional Home Schools, Category IV (sometimes known as Church Related or Satellite Schools),

& Category III (Non-Public Schools or Accredited On Line Schools)


Tennessee Law references related to Independent Home Schools, Category IV (Satellite or Church Related Schools), and Category III (Non-Public Schools).

  • Authority for Home School: TCA 49-6-3050
  • Authority for Church Related Schools (Category IV or Church Related Satellite Schools): TCA 49-50-801
  • Authority for online non-public schools (Category III): State Board Rules & Regs. 0520-2-7


Traditional Home School

  • Intent to Home School Form completed by August 1st.  (30 day grace period) please see Home School Form on this site.  Traditional Home School is not an option after September 1st.
  • Educational Requirement for K-8 student: Parent must possess a GED or High School Diploma
  • Educational Requirement for 9-12 student: Parent must possess a baccalaureate degree
  • Attendance record for 180 days kept and reported to the Director of Schools (Home School Coordinator)
  • Four hours per day devoted to academic instruction
  • Testing in grades 5,7,and 9 (including writing assessment in grade 5)
  • Notification in grades 9-12 whether a college prep or general course of study will be taught
  • Proof of Immunization
  • GED is recommended as a completion document but not required
  • Graduation recognition is the determination of the accepting entity
  • Check TCA 49-6-6050 for anything else


Category IV (Satellite or Church Related School recognized by the State of Tennessee)

·        Proof of enrollment of name, age and address only

·        No parental educational requirement

·        No testing requirements

·        No Intent to Home School Form requirement.  (only student’s name, age and address are required)

·        Meet minimum truancy requirements as reported by the Church Related School

·        Diploma recognition is determined by the accepting entity.  (Diplomas are not state diplomas)

·        Principals are responsible for notifying the Director (Attendance Supervisor) of registered students.  (Parents are allowed to provide documentation of enrollment in Giles County)


NOTE: If a public school receives a request for records or documentation of a church related school registration, a copy of that documentation should be sent to the Home School Coordinator because each district must file a state report of all home school and non-public students.  This documentation will serve as proof of paid enrollment and should be submitted upon enrollment and annually thereafter.


“… The Department [of Education] has no oversight over Cat. IV Schools and therefore, no authority to approve or speak to the validity of their diplomas.  It is up to each individual agency, public or private, to determine the validity of Cat. IV diplomas by interpreting their own statutes and administrative code.”                                             (Commissioner of Education, Tim Webb, May 2008)


Category III (On-line Schools accredited by a regional accrediting agency and CITA)

·        Are described in SBE Minimum Rules & Regulations 0520-2-7

·        No Intent to Home School Form requirement. 

·        No parent education requirement

·        No testing requirements

·        Transcripts and Diplomas are accepted in Tennessee

·        Must be accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or one of the other five (5) regional accrediting agencies listed (please see the following list) and CITA (Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation)

o       New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

o       North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA)

o       Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)

o       Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

o       Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU)


Be aware that there are schools on-line as well as GED programs that are not accredited.

These are a waste of your time and money.  Please be careful when choosing your on-line school.


            It is the responsibility of these schools to notify the school system annually and when they enroll a           student from our school district.  Parents enrolling a child in one of these schools should take the        initiative to request that this is done. 


A few Category III schools have been identified, but the following list is only partial and it changes frequently.  The list below was compiled by the TN State Department of Education in May of 2010. 


A Beka Academy                                                         K-12 International

Ablaze Academy                                                          Kaplan

Allied National High School                                          Keystone

Alpha Omega High School                                            Laurel Springs School

American School                                                          Lighthouse Christian Academy

Ashworth College/University High School                     National Connections

Brigham Young University                                             National High School

Calvert                                                                         North Dakota Center for Distance Education

Christa McCauliffe Academy                            Northstar Academy

Clonlara School                                                            Penn-Foster

CompuHigh/Whitmore                                      Oak Meadow

Cornerstone Christian School                                        Seton Home Study School

                        (Poway CA, not GA)                           Sevenstar Academy

Florida Virtual High School                                           University of Miami On-Line High School

Forest Lake Academy                                                  University of Nebraska/Lincoln

Griggs University                                                          Western Christian Academy

International Virtual Learning Academy             Whitmore/Compuhigh

James Madison High School                                         Wilostar 3D Virtual School


Note:  To prevent a lapse in the student’s education it would be best if the parent has a new school in mind prior to the student’s withdrawal from public school.  Giles County recognizes a thirty (30) calendar day grace period at the beginning of the school term.  After a student is enrolled in public school and withdraws the student who does not provide proof of enrollment in another approved school is considered truant and subject to the Driver License Law Reporting Requirement after ten consecutive school days.


Category III schools that loose their accreditation are no longer Category III schools and no longer legal.

Information for Public Schools


Transfer Codes

  • Category IV: Satellite or Church Related school students: 06 Transfer to a non-public school in Tennessee
  • Category III:  On-line students: 05 Transferred out of state (in most cases)
  • Independent Home School students: 10 Withdrawn to a home school (formal notice of intent to Home School form must be on file prior to September 1st)


Re-enrolling Independent Home School, Category IV (Church-Related or Satellite), or Category III (On-line students in public schools


  • Category III non-public schools – accept credits – no testing (these schools are accredited)
  • Independent Home School students will not have an academic record other than a parent record or word that a student covered specific subjects.  These students will submit to a placement test for grade/class determination.
  • Category IV Satellite or Church Related school students may or may not have an academic record from the home school organization they are affiliated with.  Local systems may give a placement test for grade/class determination.
    • TCA 49-5-801 states in part, “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.


Elementary Recommendation – test the student on reading and math (suggestion).  Use principal discretion for placement.  Place testing documentation in the student’s cumulative record.


Middle School Recommendation - test the student on reading/language arts and math (suggestion).  At this level, also use principal’s discretion for placement.  Place testing documentation in the student’s cumulative record.


High School Recommendation – test the student over each subject they have covered while in the home school program.  Use a test for the terminal class covered.

  • Independent – Since an independent home school student will not have a transcript record you will need to take the parent’s word on the subjects covered and test.  Place student according to testing results.
  • Category IV – (Suggestion) These students should have documentation of courses covered and grades.  Some of the students may not have a record for some reason (example: non payment or bill or did not complete testing, etc.)  If you do NOT have a record to rely on, take the parent’s word on subjects covered.  Test the student over those subjects.  (test highest level of sequential course and award credit for all prior subjects)  Example:  A student passing English III testing receives credit for English I and II.  If the student does not have a proper academic record from a Category IV school, chances are they will not score well on the testing (earn credit) but testing is required.  Record the testing results and place a copy of that in the student’s cumulative record as well as the student’s academic record in STAR.  The grade recorded is not a number grade.  According to state ruling the grade should be a “P” Pass or “F” Fail



Home School Coordinator

Duties and Responsibilities


·        Collect and maintain a file of students for whom you have an Intent to Home School form.

·        Document that home schooling parents have met the educational requirements of TCA 49-6-3050.  This should be kept with the Intent to Home School form.

·        Collect and maintain a file of reports from non-public schools who have notified the Director of Schools of children in the district who are served by them.  A report should be received from each non-public school that serves students from the district (Giles County) near the beginning of school of school each year which is updated when new students enroll.  (We expect report by September 1)

·        File a copy of the monthly reporting forms with the state office of non-public and home schools.  These forms should be saved on computer, updated as needed and faxed, emailed, or mailed to the state by 15th of each school year month. 

·        Investigate complaints by individuals and agencies regarding alleged Home Education students.

·        Notify parents of Home School students of their responsibilities under TCA 49-6-3050

·        Notify parents of Home School students, in cooperation with the testing coordinator, within a reasonable time each year that their child is required to be tested by the LEA or an LEA approved testing service.  This includes Home School students in grades 5, 7 & 9 only.

·        Examine test results and determine a plan of action for students who do not meet required standards.

·        Provide annually to home schools with which we have contact, information regarding meningococcal disease and the effectiveness of vaccination against the disease at the beginning of every school year.  The requirements for this notification can be found on this website or more information is available at www.state.tn.us/education/schoolhealth  


For further information regarding home education you may visit the state website at:                         www.tennessee.gov/education/homeschool/


Ronny Shirey, School Attendance, Safety & Home Education

Giles County Board of Education

270 Richland Drive

Pulaski, TN  38478

Phone: 931-363-4558

Fax:  931-363-8975

Email: bhouston@giles.k12.tn.us


Dr. Connie Mayo

State Homeschool and Non-public school Coordinator

TN Department of Education

Andrew Johnson Tower - 6th Floor

710 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN 37243 (

615) 741-2731

Email:  connie.mayo@tn.gov