Umbrella/Cover Schools
An umbrella or cover school provides an alternative way for parents to fulfill governmental educational guidelines and requirements. Most offer a variety of services, which can include curricula, social activities, field trips, standardized testing, portfolio reviews, evaluations, and graduation materials, including diplomas. While umbrella schools do tend to the needs of homeschoolers, they are considered a type of private school in most states.
What is an Umbrella or Cover School?
What is an Umbrella School?

There is no universal definition for an umbrella (or cover) school because home education laws vary from state to state. In some states, homeschoolers can get some level of support and legal protection for their home education program. Umbrella schools typically provide legal legitimacy to a family's home education program, maintain attendance records, host field trips and activities, and more. 

Why an Umbrella School?

This forum discussion gives reasons why some families choose the option of a homeschool umbrella school. 

Tennessee Homeschool Umbrella Schools

According to the Tennessee education code, homeschoolers have three ways to follow Tennessee homeschool laws. The most popular of these options with homeschool families is to enroll their child in a church-related umbrella school. These schools are operated by denominational, parochial or other church organizations and are required to meet specific standards of accreditation. Umbrella schools in Tennessee are free to choose their own operational procedures. Each school will vary on curriculum options, standardized testing, minimum graduation requirements, parent education levels, and other details of homeschooling.

Umbrella Schools - Pros and Cons

This forum discussion goes over the pros and cons of using an umbrella school. In some states, there is a requirement for homeschoolers to register with an organization, and umbrella or cover schools offer this. 

What is an Umbrella School?

An umbrella school is an entity, typically considered a private school, which serves to oversee homeschooling families and help them meet the requirements of their state’s homeschooling laws. Sometimes the umbrella school is an actual physical private school with which homeschooling families can partner. In other cases, an umbrella school is more of an organization established to help homeschoolers comply with the law.

What Are Homeschool Umbrella Schools?

An umbrella school is a homeschooling “school” that oversees the high schoolers’ education. Different states have different names for umbrella schools.

Umbrella School: Why You Should Homeschool with an Umbrella School

An umbrella school is generally a private school which has an option available for homeschooling. An umbrella school has students which actually attend the private school, as well as students who are registered as homeschoolers.

The Perks of an Umbrella School vs. Remaining Independent

At one time or another, many homeschool families examine the possibility of enrolling in an umbrella or cyber school. An umbrella school is a homeschool program operated by public charter schools or directly by regular public schools. 

Learn How a Homeschool Umbrella School Works: Is It Right For You?

A homeschool umbrella school is an independent school that offers enrolled families a way to comply with state laws. In most circumstances, these schools offer families a chance to homeschool under private school laws, where they may find much more freedom from intervention than following homeschooling regulations individually. These types of schools can be set up as a local organization, or as a distance or online school. In some states, legal homeschooling may only be done through an umbrella or cover school, while in other states, umbrella schools can offer benefits to homeschooling families, but are not required by state law.

Umbrella and Cover Schools in Tennessee
Gateway Christian Schools
PO Box 280117
Memphis, TN 38168-0117
Phone: 901-454-1606

Gateway Christian Schools Total Home Education Program provides phone counseling by experienced home educators, two reports as required per year, maintenance of cumulative school records for college entrance, assistance with transfers between public or private schools and home education, dipolmas for qualifying seniors, and assistance with college entrance. Enrollment is limited to those living in Tennesee or Mississippi.
HomeLife Academy
HomeLife Academy offers services to homeschooling families with students in all grade levels. Customize your own educational plan, get support with record keeping, and more.
Faith Heritage Christian Academy
P.O. Box 157
Millington, TN 38083
Phone: 901-381-5218

Faith Heritage Christian Academy provides an array of service to home schooled families to help them in their homeschooling efforts. FHCA is a state-recognized, Category 2 full-accredited private school, maintaining memberships in TANAS (Tennessee Association of Non-public Academic Schools) and TACS (Tennessee Associate of Christian Schools). FHCA combines the accountability, resources, and support of private schooling with the parental involvement and flexibility of home education. This option is the perfect choice for families who believe in the value of home schooling.
Featured Resources

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Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence
It's time to change your perspective to transform the way you plan, teach, and homeschool. This book helps you to see homeschooling as a calling. With this mindset, you'll be able to dismiss the stress of impossible expectations. Find strategies to help you juggle the logistics of homeschooling with different ages, be a good support for a struggling learner, set realistic goals, dismiss the guilt, and weather any criticism. You can be a hopeful homeschooler! God uses all for good and can transfo...
The Mystery of History
The Mystery of History series is another alternative to traditional textbooks. The five volume set covers history from creation to present day, with a biblical worldview. This series is intended for grades K-8. Note that at this time, this series is not completed.
Don't Waste Your Time Homeschooling: 72 Things I Wish I'd Known
Traci Matt, a veteran homeschool mom helps you make the most of your homeschooling efforts. She takes a look back at 20 years of successes and challenges, offering tested strategies to assist you on your home education journey. This book will help you learn ways to keep a peaceful home, stay out of the isolation trap, practice self-care, learn how to live with teens, and respond to the questions of others.
Children at Play : Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development
Children at Play is an insightful exploration into the world of children's play and its tremendous significance in the shaping of each child's humanity. A mother and proponent of Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf system of education, author Heidi Britz-Crecelius offers practical suggestions and an up-to-date list of resources for today's families.
Habits: The Mother's Secret to Success (Charlotte Mason Topics - Volume 1)
This work contains a selection of the writings of Charlotte Mason, a British educator. Her writings from the 1880s are still relevant today and contain ideas that can be easily and successfully incorporated into homeschooling. This book focuses on the concept of building good habits in children, why it is important, how it can be implemented, and what impact it will make on home life and homeschooling. Written from a mother's point of view, Mason's works and ideas are explained and distilled int...