What are the basics you need to know if you plan to homeschool high school in Tennessee? Here are some of the top questions I get (also check out my Homeschooling High School Resource Guide here!).
NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and this is not intended to give legal advice.
There are three ways to homeschool in Tennessee:
1. Register through your Local Education Association (LEA), basically your local public school.
Advantages: Free, simple to do, only have to track the days you were schooling (minimum of 4 hours per day) for 180 days (the calendar you have to turn in can be found here)
Disadvantages: Have to test in 5th, 7th and 9th grade, do not have a homeschool-friendly advocate for you, the parent has to have a GED or high school diploma or utilize a tutor who has a GED or high school diploma, and there is no diploma/transcript issued (parents create diploma and transcript and have to send to colleges).
I've heard the following questions SO many times!
Do I really need to take algebra?
Why do I need to read that book?
Why am I required to study history?
When am I ever going to use proofs?
Am I actually going to use chemistry?
This is a waste of time!
I get it. There are a bunch of subjects that are required for high school that, if you look from the outside, seem like they are completely unrelated to the direction we are headed. So why are they required? How can we motivate our teens to do their best in a subject when we can't name the last time we had to diagram a sentence or complete an algebraic equation?
You Don't Know Where You're Headed
I'm not doing what I thought I would be career-wise in high school. Statistically, neither will your teens. Right now the average person is holding 12+ jobs over the course of their life according to Zippia! The days of preparing for and staying in one career field for life have been replaced with a progression of...
My senior doesn't have many credits left for his senior year and is doing Dual Enrollment, how many Dual Enrollment credits should he take so his transcript doesn't look weak that year?
If your teen is starting credits early in junior high, or if they end up taking very full semesters or a super senior year, it's very easy to end up in a situation where there just aren't many credits left their senior year.
That is normal.
Don't stress out over trying to pad their schedule with a bunch of extra courses. You don't need busywork to get into college. Here are a few considerations when trying to determine how much to take on that senior year:
Is your teen applying to a college that has a holistic application process?
We refer to a college as having a "holistic" application process if they are looking at all angles of the student, not just transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Many lower tier and state schools are not holistic, so having a bunch of DE course might help some, but not as...
I received the following question about science credits:
I have a daughter finishing 9th grade. She has done well in Biology 1 but doesn't want to take Chemistry or Physics. She is preparing for college and is unsure of her career at this point. She's not interested in science or math careers. She's English and History minded and artsy. What is your opinion of allowing her to take advanced Biology and maybe Marine Biology instead of Chemistry and Physics.
Great question! It can be confusing on the requirements when it comes to science, as we typically associate the core sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as being mandatory.
Flexibility in Science
However, unlike math where Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry are pretty much required nation-wide, there is a lot more flexibility in most states when it comes to science requirements. By far Biology is the most commonly required science (if any), with Physical Science coming in second. In most states, there are...
For dual enrollment, does each college semester class count as 1 credit or .5 credits for high school?
Great question! So when you are looking at the content that is covered in a Dual Enrollment course, a one-semester college class is typically considered to be the equivalency of a year of high school. So what you would normally cover in a whole year of high school Spanish 1 will be covered in one semester of Spanish at a college, a year of biology in high school will be equivalent to the first semester of biology in college, etc (should definitely take that into consideration when evaluating if your teen is ready for Dual Enrollment!).
How does that count when it comes to your transcript? When you take a Dual Enrollment course through a college (whether online, at the college campus, or at your high school through a DE arrangement), you will typically receive 3 hours of college credit (which will be on a transcript from that college that you will send to the school you...
I received the following question:
My daughter is in 8th grade this year. I am curious, if she takes classes this year that meet her HS requirements, can I count them as such or does she have to wait until next year for them to count?
The answer to this really depends upon your specific school or entity that you are under academically, but generally speaking yes, you can typically count 2-3 credits from junior high (7th/8th grade) towards your high school credit requirements.
Usually there are restrictions on the type of credits that are allowed, and they typically fall into the following three categories:
PHASE 1: ACADEMICS
What classes do I need to take?
That's a really important question, and is based on two factors:
The answer to the first question is dependant upon the state and academic program you are with (if you are homeschooled check out the bottom of this article for a little more advice). We have a list below of the ranges of credit requirements for most states.
The second question is a lot easier. Most colleges have relatively straightforward credit requirements, and pretty much any state's basic graduation requirements would meet the admissions requirements for ~90% of schools. There are some top-tier colleges that are looking for more challenging academic workloads, and there are some specific departments/majors that might want more than the standard number of credits (engineering may prefer students with 4+ science credits, for instance). To find...
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