Missouri’s Homeschooling Laws Are Fantastic
I knew homeschoolers in Tennessee faced some restrictions, but I wasn’t aware that parents need a bachelor’s degree or their superintendent’s permission to homeschool high school–aged students. (Parents of younger children need only a high school diploma or GED.)
There are many happy homeschooling families in Tennessee, and I haven’t heard of widespread protests over the degree requirements. My guess is that many homeschooling parents in Tennessee earned these credentials before they had children. Or, if they don’t have the degrees they need, they could enroll their children in an online school or a correspondence school and combine its structured program with their homeschooling. It’s also possible that superintendents readily grant exemptions, either because they personally know the homeschooling families in their districts, or because they want to avoid the hassle of a bunch of homeschoolers demanding appeals.
If Tennesseans want to improve their homeschooling laws, they need look no further than Missouri for an excellent model. Missouri doesn’t set any rules about credentials or impose other prerequisites. Homeschoolers have to keep a log of the hours they spend on certain subjects, but no one looks at the logs unless there’s a problem. Missouri parents don’t need to get permission or prove anything before they can homeschool.
Homeschooling laws like Missouri’s are of course desirable from the point of view of homeschooling parents. And their effects extend further. Free homeschooling laws contribute to a free education market in general; any district can potentially face competition from homeschooling. No one in a public district can say, “We don’t need to satisfy these parents. They couldn’t pull their kids out to homeschool, because they don’t meet the requirements.”