Start Home Schooling Today


Covid-19 has forced many families into home school.  That's OK.  Many home schooling families have been anticipating your arrival.

The Tennessee Home Education Association, or THEA, is here to help you as you begin your journey into home schooling. 

THEA was formed in 1984 to help make home education a clearly legal alternative and to assist families as they make the very personal decision to start educating their children at home. 

When you decide to teach your own children, even though you may not be a certified teacher, you will have many questions.  That's good. 

My name is Claiborne Thornton and as President of THEA since 1984 I want you to be assured that no matter where you are in Tennessee, there are home schooling families close to you.  The eight chapters of THEA and tens of thousands of homeschooling families across the state are ready to help you get started. 

Actually, when you taught your child to speak the same language you speak, you taught them the most difficult lesson they will ever learn.  You were your child's first teacher on their hardest lesson ever. 

Educating your child at home can be a most enjoyable experience.  So many things will be different from their recent school experience.  You and your child may be learning together.  That's a good thing. 

It can be like this.  When you and your child go to a park, you decide what interests you and you pursue that or you see what interests them and you pursue that.  That type of exploration teaches many lessons about curiosity, respecting and enjoying another person's interest, and seeing what is right in front of you sparks convivial conversation.  All of which build bonds of love and joy between you making the experience enjoyable. 

Learn how to make learning fun. 

Some lessons are harder than others.  Learning how to learn what is hard to learn is a good lesson for everyone to know, so learn through "the hard to learn" times, too. 

Here is some new vocabulary to assist you in your homeschool journey. 

You do have many options and we want you to find the path that is best for you and your students in the shortest amount of time. 

Every homeschooling family must make two decisions.  Decide where your child will be enrolled to satisfy the compulsory attendance law and decide what curriculum material your child will use for each subject they will learn.  The two choices are tied together. 

The number one factor in your child's learning success is parental involvement.  They need you to be engaged with them.

First, you need to know your legal status.  Home Education in Tennessee is perfectly legal.  You can begin any time, including today.  There are organizations and individuals who will help you get started now. Contact your local Chapter of THEA

The school in which you enroll will dictate much of what you are required to do.  You and your child's school will make the decisions of what is best for your student.  Some families want to make all the decisions.  Other families may prefer for the school to make more of the decisions. 

What is best for your style of teaching and your student's mode of learning, audio, video, doing?  PE and field trips are part of well rounded, excellent educational experience.  Yosemite is so beautiful and the waterfalls are so full with the spring thaw.  Perhaps you'll plan to go there in March next year to celebrate your first year of being involved in home education.  A trip there could be filled with lessons on geology, map reading, biology, botany with plan life cycle observations, geography, navigation, and cultural exchanges as you get to know other visitors.  Your homeschool can go there or some place closer, if you wish.  What lessons can be part of any trip, even going to the grocery? 

Some schools in which your child enrolls will offer support and assistance with testing when you want to.  Other schools offer virtually no support.  Your support may be something you must find outside the school.  Many support choices are available through your local THEA Chapter. 

Here are some diagnostic questions for you, as follows:

  1. Do you plan to homeschool the shortest amount of time that you have to, like hopefully just until January? Please see "Have to, Don't want to"
  2. Have you been wanting to homeschool and Covid-19 provided the final push?  Please see "Finally we begin"
  3. Do you have a very limited amount of time to spend home schooling?  Please see "Tight Time"


Links to Homeschooling 101 Resources

THEA is blessed to have strong chapter leaders and incredible families willing to volunteer their time to assist home schoolers all across the state. 

Just below you'll find a link to an extensive video about home education in Tennessee that two mothers from SMHEA in the Knoxville area prepared.  Also the board of the Memphis area group, MHEA, asked Shannon Bellamy prepared a document to help you better understand what entering into home education means and can be accomplished. 

In the Knoxille area April Shepherd and Andrea Salzman are experts on home education.  They have prepared an excellent, thorough two hour Homeschooling 101 to answer your questions and they cover the topic with current information.  They are from Knoxville and talk both about local and statewide information.   Watch here

 Other resources will be added as they become available. 

Home education is not easy, but it is an exciting way to build strong ties within your family for now and for the future.