House Bill 1631: Significantly Improves the Homeschool Law


Last Updated: June 21, 2011
House Bill 1631: Significantly Improves the Homeschool Law
Representative Bill Dunn

This is a companion bill to SB 1468. As signed by the governor, this bill would significantly change the homeschool law of Tennessee in the following ways:

  • Whereas the old law defined a “home school” as a school conducted by parents or guardians for their own children, the new law expands the definition to a school “conducted or directed” by parents or guardians. This indicates the legislative intent that parents or guardians do not have to personally provide the instruction but may oversee instruction provided to their children by someone else.
  • Parents who elect to homeschool in association with a church-related school are no longer required to register their children in grades 9-12 with the local education agency. Further, these children are no longer required to take state tests at these grade levels.
  • An additional option for homeschooling is created by the new law for parents who enroll their children in a church-related school and “participate as a teacher in that church-related school.” These parent-teachers are subject to the requirements established by the church-related school for homeschool teachers. No other requirements for homeschooling apply.
  • Parents who elect to homeschool without any association with a church-related school must now provide notice to the local director of schools of their intent to do so “prior to each school year.” Prior law established a deadline for giving the notice as August 1, but parents were permitted to give the notice as late as September 1 upon payment of a penalty of $20 per week. Further, under the old law, the local superintendent had the authority to waive the September 1 deadline. The new law makes no mention of any extension or waiver of the deadline.
  • Parents homeschooling through the local education agency (not through a church-related school) are required to have a high school diploma or GED to teach all grade levels, not just K-8. The old law required parents teaching grades 9-12 to have a bachelor’s degree or obtain an exemption of this requirement from the commissioner of education.
  • Parents homeschooling through the local education agency are no longer required to notify the superintendent of whether a college preparatory or general course of education will be taught for students in grades 9-12. Further, parents are no longer required to submit to the superintendent a description of the courses to be taught in each year to meet this former requirement. (Parents homeschooling through the local education agency are still required to describe the proposed curriculum to be offered in the annual notice of intent to homeschool.)
  • Regardless of which homeschooling option is chosen by parents, they may employ a tutor with the qualifications required of parents for particular grade levels to teach in their place. Prior law limited use of such tutors to parents homeschooling through the local education agency.
HSLDA's Position:

This bill should be supported.

Action Requested:
None at this time

2/17/2011     (House)     Introduced
2/23/2011     (House)     Passed first consideration
2/24/2011     (House)     Passed second consideration
2/24/2011     (House)     Referred to Education Committee
3/30/2011     (House)     Placed on committee calendar for 4/5/2011
4/05/2011     (House)     Action deferred to 4/12/2011
4/06/2011     (House)     Placed on committee calendar for 4/12/2011
4/12/2011     (House)     Re-referred to subcommittee
4/13/2011     (House)     Placed on subcommittee calendar for 4/20/2011
4/20/2011     (House)     Action deferred to 4/27/2011
4/20/2011     (House)     Placed on subcommittee calendar for 4/27/2011
4/27/2011     (House)     Recommended for passage if amended by subcommittee; referred to Education Committee
4/27/2011     (House)     Placed on Education Committee calendar for 5/3/2011
5/03/2011     (House)     Recommended for passage if amended; referred to Calendar & Rules Committee
5/04/2011     (House)     Placed on committee calendar for 5/5/2011
5/05/2011     (House)     Placed on House calendar for 5/12/2011
5/12/2011     (House)     Amendment adopted
5/12/2011     (House)     Passed House as amended 78–13
5/16/2011     (Senate)     Received from House and passed first consideration
5/19/2011     (Senate)     House bill substituted for companion Senate bill
5/19/2011     (Senate)     Passed Senate 25–7
5/24/2011     (House)     Signed by House Speaker
5/25/2011     (Senate)     Signed by Senate Speaker
6/06/2011     Transferred to Governor for his action
6/16/2011     Signed by Governor
6/21/2011     Effective 7/1/2011
6/21/2011     Became Public Chapter 499

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History