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?
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.

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.

Why an Umbrella School?

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

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

Featured Resources

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Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home
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In numerous lectures and through teaching teachers for the first Waldorf school, Rudolf Steiner described and suggested methods of education based on the rhythmic unfolding of spirit, soul, and physiology in children as they grow. In each section of "Rhythms of Learning," Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli introduces the reader to lectures on specific aspects of children's rhythms of development and how Waldorf education responds. We are shown how Waldorf teachers must, through their own inner capa...