Alabama homeschool regulations have changed in few ways since I first began this website in 2002 on www.LeapingFromTheBox.com. Most significantly, compulsory attendance ages have expanded and a private school option has opened up for homeschooling. What hasn’t changed is that the church school option remains the most popular among Alabama families who homeschool.
There are now three ways to homeschool in Alabama:
- Enrolling in a church school (a service provided by a church, not an actual bricks and mortar church school)
- Hiring a private tutor
- Creating your own private school.
The first option – church school – affords you the most freedoms, depending upon which church school you use.
The Education Code of Alabama defines a church school as:
CHURCH SCHOOL. Includes only schools that offer instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or home programs, and are operated as a ministry of a local church, group of churches, denomination, and/or association of churches which do not receive any state or federal funding.”The Education Code of Alabama
The church school option has some simple requirements:
- Enroll in a church school (some families who home church will establish their own church school). Church schools vary widely in their requirements and the services they offer their families. You can check out many Alabama church schools in my Alabama Church School Directory.
- File the Church School Enrollment Form (provided to you by the church school administrator) with your local school superintendent’s office. Always keep a copy of this for your own records.
- Keep attendance records for your students. Your church school administrator may require you to submit these to him/her, or that you simply keep them yourself. These are not required to be submitted to the local public school or anyone else.
- Follow the policies and requirements of the church school you chose.
The second option – Private tutor – is done under the auspices (regulations) of your local school board. The tutor must be an Alabama-certified teacher and must follow the public school calendar year, plus use curriculum authorized by the public school. Due to the requirements of this option, relatively few families choose to homeschool in this manner. If you are interested in this option, please refer to Section 16-28-5 of the Code of Alabama 1975.
The last option – private school – is the newest option. The Education Code of Alabama defines a private school as:
PRIVATE SCHOOL. Includes only such schools that are established, conducted, and supported by a nongovernmental entity or agency offering educational instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or home programs.”The Education Code of Alabama
The private school option requires a more record-keeping and has more regulations than the church school option:
- You must be able to show proof of immunization (or medical / religious exemption) for each child in the school
- You must keep daily attendance records for each child
- The names and addresses of each school-age child enrolled in your private school must be reported to the local school superintendent within five days of the beginning of the public school year
- Then you must continue to report on a weekly basis the names and addresses of each child enrolled, and also report any student who is absent without a legal excuse
- And you must include a “good faith” physical education program in your curriculum.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is based upon my personal experience and those individuals I have come in contact with. In no way should any information on this site be considered legal advice. I urge everyone to familiarize themselves with the State of Alabama Education Code, to seek out other websites pertaining to homeschooling, and talk to your own legal counsel. Do not rely solely upon what you find at any one site!